Lunch Buffet at Ceylonta
Foods from Ceylonta

2012 Aug 19
Went back this week, after a few months, and was disappointed. Portions were smaller, prices seemed higher.
Masala dosai has shrunk to half the size it used to be, and we practically didn't get ANY filling.
Curried shrimp (which is my favorite there) is still good, but it's not worth 16$ for a small plate like it was.

I've said it before, if you come out of a restaurant and the price of the bill you just paid is the only thing on your mind, it's because you didn't get your money's worth.
I will now try other indian restaurants.

2012 Jun 2
Decided to try something different and ate at Ceylonta tonight.

Service was good. The waitress was especially nice with our daughter, bringing out tandoori chicken and red rice noodles just for her. The naan was quite good, as well.

The rest of the food, though, was generally mediocre. We got vegetable samosas, vegetarian thali, and beef kuatha roti. The chickpeas were on the crunchy side. The eggplant tasted overcooked. We liked the green beans, the lentils and the spinach. The kuatha (basically stir fried bread, beef, onions and egg) was ok, but the crunchy onions turned me off. The most unfortunate note was the samosas - ours were obviously frozen and reheated,since we found still-frozen chunks inside.

I wouldn't say avoid, but maybe don't go in with high expectations. I think we'll try Basmati, just down the street, next time we want Indian food.

2012 Apr 30
Ventured to Ceylonta for some lunch buffett which is against my current dicipline of only buying lunch on fridays.

The value to taste ratio is incredible! Sure the selection isnt huge, but they have the staples (although I would have liked to see some paneer).

Now I have a tasty lunch for 4 days!

at $14 / 4 days thats only $3.50 daily. I couldnt even make my lunch for that amount!

2011 Sep 1
I came here and got the lunch buffet for takeout the other day. I'm still eating it. It's great value and the food is delicious -- I wouldn't mind it a little hotter but that's how you run a buffet, I suppose.

The little chickpea nuggets (Vaidi?) were delicious and I found the beef curry to be quite good. The chicken was less interesting and the chickpeas were nicely buttery (I'm no Indian food expert so I'm not sure if that's how they should be, but I enjoyed it).

Will go back to check out the regular menu.

2011 Jul 25
kothu roti was definitely made to order - just reminded me of something I'd try to make as leftovers :) No red sauce on it, not at all like the devilled dishes - dry fried. You can see a very good picture of it on the restaurant web site.

2011 Jul 25
@sourdough - kothu roti is, if i recall correctly, chopped up naan bread with chickpeas, onions and peppers in a red sauce similar to the 'devilled' but not quite as spicy. Also, it's awesome. Also also, it's usually made to order, not leftovers, and i know this because I asked.

2011 Jul 24
I finally got to go here on Friday. My dining companion and I split all the items on the menu. I wanted to try things I hadn't had before. First off I was impressed with the menu, nothing like the standard indian fare. We had the 2 types of Vadai, one with chick peas, and one with lentils. These are little fritters and served with a coconut chutney. It was an excellent way to start off. The server was pushing us towards the Thali, however I just didn't feel like it and wanted to try a couple of other unique offerings. (next time I will try the thali). For mains we had the Deviled Beef, and Kothu Rotti. We requested the spice level to be dialed down a smidge as my dining companion has a lower level of spice tolerance (say medium). The Deviled Beef came out with just enough heat, and was really delicious. The beef chunks were really tasty and complimented the sauce. I suggest people try the beef instead of the chicken for the Deviled dish. The Kothu Rotti I thought was pretty good. Actually it reminded me a bit of fried up leftovers, which is probably its origin. The spicing was unique and I found it really tasty. My dining companion did not care for it, she mentioned it reminded her of soap she used to use. My guess, was coriander seed or something which some palates can not stand. I also had a Ceylonta coffee (spiced coffee made with condensed milk). This was quite enjoyable. The only disconcerting part of the evening was that we were the only people in the restaurant (Carling location) on a Friday night. I really hope business is ok for these guys, as the food is great and prices are very reasonable.

2011 Jun 30
ilikerealfood, thanks for checking!! :-)

It makes total sense that the containers would be for curry. After all, curries are often served in individual bowls to be eaten with naan or rice. I was thrown off when you referred to them as soup bowls.

One more reason to love this place!

P.S. I've trimmed some of the discussion in here that arose when I questioned the ethics of putting curry into "soup containers." Turns out not to be a problem!

2011 Jun 30
I went to Ceylonta for the lunch buffet again and I did the same thing as last time.

I asked about it.

For the record, it's totally ok! In fact I was given two small containers and when I asked whether it was okay to put curry in it, the lady said "sure, what else do you think they are for?".

I responded by saying, I thought they were for soup and desert. And she said, soup, desert, curry, whatever, take what you like.

So I can definitively say, it's okay dish-up pounds of food at Ceylonta.

And letís be serious, chickpeas, rice, beans and naan don't cost much produce, so they are still making a hefty buck in profit.

Yay! a long weekend to enjoy all this Sri Lankan food (in addition to the other gorging I will be doing).

2011 Jun 28
ilikerealfood, maybe try a Thali take-away next time - it almost makes the concept of an "AYCE-take-away" redundant. Plus, they containerize the individual curries, sparing you that run-togetherness a single container leaves you with.

Also, i'll mention that the manager (at Carling location) will often upsize the take-aways, particularly if you're a repeat custie at the end of a slow night - he's v. generous and seems (as far as i can tell) to have an adversity to food waste.

in any case, you might have asked first. I've found Ceylonta staff, on the whole, unfailingly nice / deferential. Who knows what was going through the attendant's head - perhaps embarrassment on your behalf, as in who the hell merges the concepts of AYCE and take-away? Perhaps muted respect - that guy's a genius(!)? Or maybe nothing - as in s/he doesn't feel the bottom line?

Not moralizing too strenuously here remembering the lengths i went to fill a 20 year old stomach, some of my own escapades involving AYCE S. Asian resties. Just pointing out its probably not necessary to sidestep the "expected" conventions to get a great deal @ Ceylonta.

one minor quibble - i think its a great place to bring people who don't or think they can't eat "spicy" food, etc. I suggest this b/c of the diversity and balance of what you get in their Thalis, which often include dishes that are, i think, fairly moderate on the spices (e.g., tumeric) that can put some off.




2014 Mar 4
I have been a long time lurker for this awesome forum/website and actually use it once in a while... certainly a helpful tool to find Ottawa's hidden gems...

I went to Ceylona for lunch based on the amount of thumbs up it got on this website. But in all honesty and like I said below, I was not too pleased with the Ceylona lunch buffet.

I also think that SweetCookie shouldn't be criticized for comparing it to Haveli since they are both pretty similar in terms of flavors and curries.

That said, I promise to share both my BAD & GOOD experiences around town :)

2014 Mar 3
I for one have always enjoyed the Carling location buffet. Limited selection but great flavours and some damn good soups, 2 co-workers from South India commented how good the food was. They have been back many times and speaks volumes of the taste and spices. I will be back !!

2014 Mar 3
Gotta point out that Ceylonta ayce lunch buffet is far far far from their best work.

It's decent as far as a lunch buffet goes, but to really get the reason so many people love this place, I'd strongly suggest dinner.

2014 Mar 3
Thanks for the support Tajinesaucube- but I would tell you to save your 12.95$ and spend it at Haveli instead:)

2014 Mar 3
I would tend to agree with SweetCookie, not the most appetizing lunch but I mean you can't ask for much since the price is pretty cheap ($12.95) afterall...

2014 Mar 3
After reading the positive reviews on this restaurant I was excited to try Sri Lanken food for the first time.
I went there for lunch and was very disapointed with the buffet menu. Not many choices and the food did not look fresh. Quantities were so small for a buffet. For example, there were only 6 small pieces of tandoori chicken in the plate which made you feel bad to take many.

The server was nice but having the kitchen door open for customers to see what was happening in there really cut my appetite.

Also, the music playing was so bad, felt like a scratched CD that was put on repeat. I can still hear it in my head.

Overall, I would not recommend this place, food had no flavour.

At the same price, go to Haveli, amazing Indian buffet with great variety in dishes and deserts.

2014 Feb 23
Probably the most colourful lunch buffet in Ottawa! Everything is pretty tasty, although the tendency is toward the sweeter and not spicy (i.e. bland) end of the spectrum. $12.95 for AYCE lunch.

2010 Feb 22
- Lots of yummy condiments.
- Delicious rice pudding.
- Many vegetarian options. Sweet potato in coconut sauce was a standout.
- Excellent pappadam.
- Cheap & plentiful.

- Little deep-fried nugget things that were hyped up to me were way overcooked and thus unenjoyable.
- Nan was sub-par. Store-bought?
- Egg in curry sauce tasted as though it had been sitting for a long while.

Overall, pretty good value. I would like to go back and try the dinner menu.

2010 Feb 21
i went just for the dosa and now i quickly understand the comments from schtickyrice (nov 6).

first off, i don't want to say it was a bad meal; everything was fine and tasty, but it stops there. nothing special... considering so many delicious options at that price range (12.95$ sunday brunch), there's other places to go to.

the "unlimited dosa" was quickly disappointing as it was quite soft (not so fresh), and the filling didn't excite enough to make up for the deficiencies.

saffron rice - looks the part, but doesn't quite taste or smell so much
naan - a bit dry; sitting out too long.
curried green beans - blackened?
curry chicken - tomato-based? REALLY tender

everything else is on their website and is good, but enough to write about.

i'm just disappointed because my stomach is only so big, so going for Indian food is a commitment!

i'm definitely aware that buffet food is a grade lower than ordering from the menu, but i reckon basic items like rice and naan could be cared for better, since the saucy curries can sit around with no real detriments.

in the end, the food was good, but the value wasn't there. for a 13$ to fill you up all day, does that equate good value?

(does anyone have recent comments about dosa during dinner hours?)

2009 Nov 5
Went for the lunch buffet and was underwhelmed. I've been for dinner and enjoyed the food, but didn't find the lunch particularly appealing.



2008 Sep 6
i love the masala dosa (or dosai?) from Ceylonta. When i go there, i make sure to also get Shrimp curry, because the shrimp curry sauce goes perfectly with the Masala dosa.



2007 Jul 31
Oh, adding the (Goat) to the end is a great idea.

And, yes, the red sauce is amazing. Sauces like that are why you have to order naan or dosai or whatever bread-thing you can imagine.

I don't think it's *too* too spicy, but I may be losing my sense of taste.

2007 Jul 30
Thanks guys. You're right of course! I added a "(Goat)" to the title for clarity...

Now I'm intrigued... and that angry sauce sounds most appealing!

2007 Jul 30
I can confirm that the mutton at Ceylonta is goat :-). I think that Momomoto is right... it's common for South Asians to call goat "mutton". My favourite Sri Lankan restaurant here in Toronto, at least, does the same thing!

Because of this, for the longest time, I didn't know that mutton was sheep.

2007 Jul 28
:) It's definitely confusing, particularly for people who come here *from* India, ask for mutton, and get old sheep instead of goat!

Tough thing to standardize, for sure.

2007 Jul 28
Weird! Maybe they should call it chevron instead of mutton then. ;-) (In case you don't know french: mouton == sheep and chevre == goat. The word "mutton" comes from mouton.)

2007 Jul 28
Based on how it tasted and the shape of the pieces I'm pretty sure that it was goat. It's common in south Asia to call goat mutton, and the description they have for their mutton roll appetizer says that it's goat.

I pity the poor sheep that has to live so close to the equator! More sensible for it to have no woolen coat ;)

2007 Jul 28
Mutton is sheep not goat! The angry red curry sounds great, but can you please let me know whether it is mutton OR goat so I can correct it? Thanks :)

2007 Jul 28
I just picked up an order of this for takeout in order to stretch the rice and dal that I've been eating recently.

This type of curry sauce takes really well to the intense flavour, and slightly rough texture, of goat. It's got a dark, nutty, almost coffee-like flavour from the roasting of all the spices, as well as having that spicy kick that comes in after the fact, to clear your sinuses and remind you that life is good.

I'd definitely order this one again, particularly if I were having a sit-down meal.


2007 Mar 17
Their lunch-time buffet usually has excelletn tandoori chicken.


2009 Jul 28
I love the expression on my girlfriends face when she gets the "rogue chili" coughs, haks and tears come from her eyes but can't remember which "thali" was hot. I love the veg at this place!

2009 Feb 19
I would reccomend this to anyone going to this resturant as a solid choice, as the seafood here is cooked for far too long. Ive had this 5 times and its great everytime!

2006 Nov 1
I didn't try everything that came with this, and I don't know the names of what I tried, but it was good! There is enough variety in this dish that it's good for sharing and every part will be liked by someone.



2006 Nov 1
This was OK. It seemed that it was store-bought and heated. It wasn't the best I've ever had, but not the worst eiher.



2009 Feb 19
Ive had this on three different occasions and the shrimp is absolutely hammered every time! Sauce is really good though, too bad. :(

2006 Nov 1
This was outstanding. The flavours were rich yet not overpowering and the shrimp was perfectly cooked.


2009 Jul 28
had the pleasure of being introduced to the chef one night when i was there w/ a bunch of friends (inc. people fr. other restaurants) -- they also ordered and thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

The manager (great guy) brought Chef out to introduce us and to swap restaurant stories (no other customers left). The man is past official retirement age, but on that question, his response is that he'd rather stay busy working in his kitchen than retire. Very modest, but friendly and energetic ... sort of a walking / breathing endorsement for the benefits of Sri Lankan / S. Indian food.

2009 Jul 28
This dish is great! I asked the chef to make how he would have it for himself.. Then make it twice that hot! Sooo good. So many chilis it rocked my world. The chef at the carling location is really great and has picked it up alot since last winter.

2006 Nov 1
This dish was just ok. It wasn't bad but it didn't "wow" me either. The chicken was extremely lean which I really admire.



2008 Feb 13
String Hoppers is one of my favourite traditional foods from Sri Lanka. It is delicious with curry chicken or mutton. My husband and the two sons love it too. I am a good cook, but I could not get the proper consistency when I make string hoppers myself, but, hey, I have no trouble getting my supply when I need it, I call CEYLONTA RESTAURANT, it is just a phone call away. I am loving it. Noeline, Ottawa.

2006 Nov 10
Frozen 'mixed vegetables'...! Peas, corn, diced carrot, a couple of green beans.

I'm not so snobby as to write off everything made with once-frozen veg, but it's always a letdown when it's that ubiquitous, blah blend where the carrots are invariably mush, the corn dry, the peas shrivelled and the beans blah.

Okay if you ignored the veg, but...

2006 Nov 1
[This review is for Vegetable String Hoppers Kothu]
This was a very great dish. There was no sauce but the flavours were great and it soaked up sauce from other dishes and complimented everything.


2011 Jul 24
Very tasty sauce. I reminds me of mexican mole. Quite complex and a nice bit of heat. I'm thinking beef holds out better with this sauce rather than chicken, but I haven't tried the chicken yet.