Nirvana Café, Sri Lankan food in Manhattan

March 24, 2008 at 7:56 am 2 comments


I would describe Sri Lankan food as spicy and pungent (which may scare off people more than the spice part). These were from a visit earlier this month but I was sidetracked by other stuff, so finally here are the pictures from the Nirvana Café 218 3rd Ave New York, NY 10010. (Menu)

We missed the lunch buffet but there is the dinner special. Get one entrée and the second one is half off.


Passion fruit cordial and Faluda (mixture of milk, rose syrup, and jelly). The sweet drinks really helped to curb the spice load.


We had the Appetizer Assortment (platter of three cutlets, spring rolls and vadais/lentil cake). The cutlet is like a knish with tuna, I really liked it. The spring rolls were good with the spicy dipping sauces. The lentil cakes were hard and I didn’t really care for them.


We really filled up too much on the appetizers. So the Eggplant Moju side was really unnecessary. It’s a deeply caramelized dish of onions and eggplant, its okay, would’ve been better paired with plain rice.



For entrées; I had the String Hopper Kottu: shredded, steamed rice noodles sautéed with vegetables and egg served with fish curry sauce (had to contend with some small bones, not too many). Evan had the Lamprai: dutch-style savory rice accompanied with a curry, sweet-spicy onion relish (seeni sambol) fish cutlet, ash plantain and shrimp blachan (malay shrimp paste) wrapped altogether in a banana leaf. The shrimp paste gave it a really strong smell but the taste wasn’t as strong. It was a lot of food, we end up taking home half our plates and most of the eggplant. I had the Curd and Treacle (forgot to take pic) for dessert, it’s a tart yogurt drizzled with honey (good for digestion). Next time I want to try more desserts and maybe cut back on the appetizers.

lina-sm.gif – Lina

Entry filed under: food, restaurants, travel. Tags: , , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. skiz1  |  August 25, 2008 at 4:40 pm


    The food looks good, but you might want to try Sigiri on 1st Ave for another Sri Lankan option. The best Sri Lankan food I’ve had in NYC, though, is in the borough of Staten Island where there is a large Sri Lankan community and several great (and cheap) restaurants.

    I’ve just written a Sri Lankan cookbook called Rice&Curry: Sri Lankan Home Cooking (available at, which tells you how to make all of those yummy dishes. And while it may seem complicated, Sri Lankan food is very easy once you have a grasp of all the spices.

    Happy eating!

  • 2. sasha  |  July 6, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    that is DEFINITELY NOT lamprais.


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