Cafe Ceylon serves South Asian fusion and Sri Lankan cuisine.
I have known the owners of this resteraunt for almost a year now, and they have shown me time and time again that they take great pride in their work. In the kitchen they use all fresh authentic spices to emphatically flavor their food. It is a fairly small menu so I think consistant visitations will result in a loss of flare, which you don't want at this place. I have had every entree on the menu and I am always completely satisfied with everything, and I am very impressed by the freshness factor here. The desserts are delicious, although the Honeydew Yogurt is interesting, worth a try if you like this type of thing. It is also a great place for lunch as the menu completely changes. The Floating Bangkok Seafood Pot is my recommendation, it is such a massive meal I don't know how they can serve it for the price they do. When I enjoyed my Floating Pot I constantly ate for 1 hour straight to polish it off. I was impressed again by the fresh spices they encorporate into everything.
FYI: Ceylon was Sri Lanka pre-1972.
My husband and I eat at Cafe Ceylon regularly and we return often because it is some of the best food we've eaten. The portions are generous, the flavours are divine, and the overall quality is consistently excellent. What's most remarkable about the food at Cafe Ceylon is that in addition to being delicious, it leaves us feeling healthy and renewed. Any time that we feel a little under the weather, we go to Cafe Ceylon and we always feel better after the meal.
The service has been consistently excellent - and the food comes within a reasonable time, always piping hot and freshly prepared. The wait staff and manager are attentive and respectful.
As far as value, Cafe Ceylon is unmatched - the food is reasonably priced and the portions are incredibly generous. The ambiance is also lovely - calm and attractive, with beautiful art and peaceful music.
We will continue to eat at Cafe Ceylon as often as possible. For the combination of delicious and healthful food, it is unlike any restaurant I've ever been to. The people of Victoria are very lucky to have such a fine restaurant in this town.
It is a pleasure to have a meal that satisfies not only the alimentary tract but also the whole body and the mind. I had the pleasure of having enjoyed several such meals at Cafe Ceylon. On our first visit I had the salmon while my wife had chicken. She was very happy with her meal and I felt that for the first time I was encountering a meal that was not only pleasing in all respects but which seemed to invite me to go further into my senses to enjoy endless subtleties and nuances of the entire experience. Pleasing to the body, healing to the spirit, joyful to the mind. The first of many great meals at Cafe Ceylon. Highly Recommended. Five stars
My husband and I moved to Victoria just over a year ago and we were absolutely thrilled to discover Café Ceylon.
Ken and Tamara were so warm & friendly. They made us feel so welcome. This is very comforting when one moves to a new city.
The food at Café Ceylonis outstanding and as my husband and I are very fussy eaters we are often quite critical of most restaurants. I have sensitivities to any food that is not completely natural and will have a reaction within minutes of consuming it. I always feel well whenever I eat at CaféCeylon. The food is always beautifully presented and the taste and aroma exquisite. Tamara is a culinary artist and you can taste and feel the love that goes into her cooking. My husband and I actually crave Tamara’s deliciousBangkokSeafood Hotpot and Tamara’s desserts are the only ones I am able to eat without feeling ill from the sugar content. She makes the best Kulfi we have ever tasted in our life. (having moved fromLondon,England we had tried a lot of them).
Whenever we have visitors to Victoria and in our first year here we had 4 sets, we take them to Café Ceylon. Everybody raved about how delicious the food is and how efficient and friendly all the staff are.
We expect more visitors this year and can’t wait to take them out to this brilliant restaurant. Another thing that we love about Café Ceylon is the ambience as it has a peaceful environment which is very rare in today’s busy, noisy hectic world. The location is also superb as it is easy to park and central to most locations in Victoria. We highly recommend this fabulous restaurant, it is a culinary delight!
Cafe Ceylon is a unique dining experience in Victoria that should be on everyone's radar. Each dish is prepared with such loving attention and the result is a delectable feast for the eyes and the tastebuds. I am hooked on the prawns and also love the Sri Lankan chicken dinner, which has several different elements: the luscious lentil dish, the yummy chicken, the perfectly cooked saffron rice and the handmade crunchy wings that fly out of the rice as well as vegetables and spicy sambal. The first thing I do when the food arrives is inhale the scent of the food deeply. I don't know any other restaurant where the food is as fragrant and quickens your appetite. Beautifully presented beet, red onion, goat cheese salad. The vattalapam, a custardy non-dairy dessert, is exceptional (order ahead when you make a reservation so they will save you some!) Tamara Bailey's soups are so wonderful. Her vegetables are cooked to perfection. It's all good. One taste will keep you coming back for more and more. The ambience is relaxing and peaceful. The portions are generous and the food arrives promptly, carried by friendly attentive servers. Kudos to this extraordinary chef!
I had an argument about restaurants the other day. Well, maybe more of an animated conversation than an actual argument. It centered around, what is really important about a restaurant? What makes a restaurant great as opposed to just run of the mill? My sparring partner
was convinced that it was just the food and service. He was adamant that nothing else mattered and that a really good menu, well served, was literally, everything. I was not about to give up on my personal notion that a restaurant is the sum of its parts, a complex interaction of ambiance, decor, food, wine, service and much more, that gives a place that special feel. Worried that I might not convert my opponent to my point of view, I searched my mind for the ultimate clincher. "What about Café Ceylon?" I said, slamming home my proof point. Let me tell you why this is such a great example...
Café Ceylon literally envelops your senses as you walk in the door. The decor is decorated with Sri Lankan art and artifacts that is warm and inviting. The food is outstanding with elegantly presented dishes that are innovative and packed with interesting flavours and unusual combinations. Award winning chef Tamara Bailey does an outstanding job of delivering approachable and affordable food that delights the palate. The staff are attentive and professional and the food and desserts is superb. It really is the sum of its parts and they add up to one of my favorite restaurants in Victoria. Needless to say, my argument was easily won in the end, mainly because I ranted on for so long about the place that I think he just wanted out!
Surprise your taste buds and visit Café Ceylon today!
After reading other reviews submitted on this restaurant, I feel as though I have to say something.
My husband, my two friends and I decided to venture out to the critically acclaimed, five star awarded, Cafe Ceylon. We had very high expectations as I am a chef and restaurant owner myself and of course because of Pam Grants rave review. We were greeted by a very welcoming server who took our coats and sat us at a charming table near a piano, situated at the back of the restaurant, which made for a very intimate atmosphere, despite how busy the restaurant was. My husband and I ordered the "beet and goat cheese stacked" salad as an appetizer and the "Salmon mignon" and "Blackened coconut prawns" as main courses. Our friends had the Traditional Ceylon chicken dinner. When the beet salad arrived I was in awe over the sheer presentation of it. It was literally medallions of goat cheese, beet, tomato and onion stacked in a ‘leaning tower of Pisa -esq fashion. It was delectable!
When all of our food arrived, the server very knowledgably explained to us how the dinners were traditionally eaten and served in Ceylon. The presentation was fabulous and tasted even better! My salmon mignon was done to perfection, as were my husband’s jumbo prawns. After we had finished our meal the co-owner made his way over to our table to personally ask us how the meal was and ensure our satisfaction. This was the best dining experience I have had in many years, from the quality of the food (which is all organic ingredients) to the staff and the service. I would HIGHLY recommend Café Ceylon to anyone who is looking for an exceptional restaurant. It was FABULOUS!
After seeing a 5 star review of this restaurant in the local paper, we selected the restaurant for a special occasion dinner. We were very disappointed. The soup, which was presented to us by the server as fabulous, tasted to us more like Campbell's tomato soup. Our entrées, though one chicken the other prawns, seemed to be served in the same sauce, to us much like a brown gravy. Service was attentive and polite however and the homemade ice cream was delicate and flavourful..
My sister and I recently had an opportunity to visit my niece in Victoria. She suggested having dinner at "this incredible restaurant" on Cook Street. She told us that she has dined there several times for lunch and raved about their Bangkok Floating Market Seafood Pot. She couldn't wait to try the dinner.
Upon entering Cafe Ceylon, we were impressed by its charm and warmth, as well as by the tantalizing aroma that filled the air.
Everything on the menu sounded so delicious that it was difficult to make a selection. My sister chose the stack salad which was made from beets, goat cheese, thinly sliced tomato and red onion rings. It was beautifully presented as a tower. My niece selected stuffed calamari which, unlike the usually deep-fried rendition, was oven baked, Sri Lankan style and was succulently delicious. For entrees, we chose Sri Lankan style Blackened Coconut Curried Prawns, Sri Lankan Traditional Dinner and Salmon Mignon. Our server explaied that the blackened coconut is a Sri Lankan tradition and very time consuming to prepare. I was so impressed. It is hard to find words to adequately describe the quality of the food.
My sister was advised that to properly enjoy the Sri Lankan Traditional Dinner, she must be sure to combine the food on the plate a little at a time. Mixing is very important. It seemed to work for her. She loved it! The Salmon Mignon is unlike any salmon dish we've seen or tasted. My niece couldn't stop raving about the Malaysian curry flavor.
The desserts at Cafe Ceylon absolutely coplimented the rest of the menu. We ordered three, different desserts and shared; Amazing koulfi, delectable Vahalapam and soothing Shrikand.
With its charming authentic Sri Lankan decor and atmosphere, its friendly and knowledgeable staff and, most of importantly, of course, the sublime food, I can honestly give Cafe Ceylon 5 Stars.
We happened on this restaurant by some stroke of luck. We both love savory, spicy food, and had yet to replace our favorite flavours from our old special spots in Vancouver, and our travels in Africa and Thailand. We usually love Thai, Ethiopian and Indian food for their simultaneous commitment to savory and spicy--so many layers to the flavours.
But there is something almost magical about the sensory creation of food at Ceylon Cafe. This is true Ayerverdic cooking, in fine dining quality. There is an amazing balance of flavour, texture and taste. We kept looking at each other with that knowing "we found it" look on our faces. Each meal is prepared fresh by a stand-alone chef, whose training in Ayervedic healing techniques turns this otherwise exceptional dining opportunity into a balancing, healing experience for the attuned diner. No joke. We left warmed, lighteneded, laughing. In fact, we now go there whenever we feel the need to treat ourselves to a balanced mind/body/soul, in the guise of incredible food.
The chef/owner came to our table, to discuss the food, the ayervedic traditions and the Sri Lankan traditions at length with us. It had that family business feel, with that fine dining excellence. The chef is so passionate about what she does that it is no wonder our taste buds could detect her... love--of healing, of flavour extravaganzas, of gorgeous presentation, of the people for whom she cooks.
When greeted by a staff member at our table (7:30 pm reservation) the first words out of his mouth were "I won't tell you about the soup special, there isn't any." Bad omen, there were also 2 other starters and one main unavaible -- we had to settle for less desirable choices. Sensing a pattern we indicated as we were ordering our first courses that we wanted their coconut custard dessert -- could it be put aside. We were assured that there would be plenty. Quess what? -- when we got to dessert, we were told that an adjacent table had just taken the last ones.
On exiting we expressed our disappointment in polite terms only to be informed by the arrogant co-owner/maitre d' that he wasn't interested or going to take our "criticism" and that we could not talk to the chef. 'You must understand, we have a very small kitchen -- chimed in his wife the chef, who was within earshot.
No apologies from either. Not ready to serve the public, and the rudest owner we have experienced on any continent in our 50+ years of dining.
When we entered the Ceylon Cafe on this Friday night there was only one other table with two customers in this coffee shop looking, dinky restaurant. We were seated at a tiny coffee shop table, probably a leftover from the previous restaurant that was at this location, a Korean restaurant, because I remember being seated at a similar table when I visited there previously.
This being our first time we decided to first try an appetizer and only one main dish and share it and then if that were successful, to perhaps order another dish. We ordered a stuffed calamari dish, the Traditional Sri Lanka set, a nan bread to go with it and one ice cream.
We waited for approximately 45 minutes before our calamari came. My wife asked the waiter why everything was taking so long but did so in a nice way. He could offer no excuse because the restaurant was empty and so he just shrugged his shoulders. The stuffed calamari was OK, nothing too exciting but nothing offensive either but quite tiny. The main dish came ten minutes later. The presentation was good if that is what one is into. However for me, the taste is in the pudding. The basmati rice was served on a small square of a banana leaf (big deal) and there was a small amount of fried cabbage and carrots beside it and a small tumbler of hot sauce to the side. There were also two side dishes of dahl and curry chicken. However despite its pleasing appearance the food was totally tasteless. I even shut my eyes trying to see if I could make out some spice in the dahl or the curry, nil, zilch, nada. The dahl, all two ounces of it, looked like vomit with a relative consistency of weak porridge and the curry was absolutely devoid of any taste, no coriander, no tumeric, no garlic, no onions, nothing that I could detect and that was most disapointing. It was only after I emptied the tumbler of chili sauce on everything that I got some spice to the meal. The side dish of naan was also disappointing. It was the same naan that I buy at the corner store that they had zapped in the microwave and added a bit of chutney. After that fiasco we decided against having another dish and asked for our desert, which was an Indian or Sri Lankan style ice cream and that was quite good but pricey at $10.
After we finished this the waiter came to pick up the dishes and as he was doing so my wife asked for the cheque. Without saying anything he chucked it on the table. During our meal not once had anyone come over and asked if everything was alright or if we needed anything at all. I always try to be fair and so even though he had chucked the bill on the table with a loud thump, I told him that the ice cream was good. As I was signing my bill the maitre'D and probably partner or part owner judging by his arrogance, came over and in front of other customers starting berating my wife. He said that he had heard that we were upset about waiting so long but in a restaurant of this quality that that is not uncommon especially food that is made from scratch. He took things totally out of context. Even if the food were made from scratch that is no way to treat a customer. Furthermore, anyone who knows Indian food knows that good Indian food, especially dahl and curry are best if made beforehand and allowed to simmer, as this food was. The meal should have taken five minutes to put togethe because it was ALL made beforehand or if should have been if they knew what they were doing and even so It was total crap. This man has absolutely no idea what being a good restauranteur means. You don't tell people your food is good and force it down their throats, you let them tell you. He was one of the most arrogant and rude persons I have met in a long time. It was a most disagreeable experience and I will never go back there again and never, ever, recommend that lousy food to anyone.