Ratnagiri on Canal Row has been feeding Colombo’s hungry office workers since 1934. We decided to skip our hotel breakfast one morning to give this 85-year-old joint, long a hangout for the city’s journalists and newspaper folks, a try, as we really wanted to know what locals here eat before they start their day.
Office workers pausing by a Buddhist shrine for a quick morning prayer before making their way to office
It was opposite that little Buddhist shrine that we chanced upon this very popular 85-year-old eatery, and decided to go inside and join the queue to order our food:
We chose two types of breakfast plates:
The other breakfast plate was a Jaffna-style soft dosa similar to the traditional kal dosa of South India.
Both dishes were simple but quite filling. Service went on with clockwork efficiency - when your turn comes, choose your main carb (idiyappam, idli, rice, parotta or thosai) and point to the side-dishes/curries you want. Your order will be handed over to you and you bring it over to the cashier for him to tally the total amount for you to pay, before you bring your breakfast plate to your table.
Everything tasted superb - I can see why this place is into its ninth decade of operation. Stunning but derelict colonial architecture - you wonder what to make of the ambience of this place.
Ratnagiri Restaurant & Bar
39 Canal Row
Colombo 00100, Sri Lanka
Tel: +9411 2431984
Opening hours: 7.30am to 10pm