Home News NYC hidden dining gems: Lakruwana in Staten Island’s Little Sri Lanka

NYC hidden dining gems: Lakruwana in Staten Island’s Little Sri Lanka


If you’ve been patiently waiting for a Staten Island review, it’s your lucky week. You might’ve thought I forgot about the Forgotten Borough, but my desire to try Sri Lankan eatery Lakruwana was a good enough reason for me to schlep my way over on the free Staten Island ferry to pay a visit.

Established in 1995 by Sri Lanka-native Jayanatha Wijesinghe, Lakruwana was opened in Tompkinsville, the Staten Island neighborhood affectionately called Little Sri Lanka. Daughter Julia Wijesinghe currently helps run the show. When I entered Lakruwana on a Sunday night, her warm smile was there to greet me in the gold-ladened restaurant.

The buffet at Lakruwana in Staten Island. (Kaitlyn Rosati for New York Daily News)
The buffet at Lakruwana in Staten Island. (Kaitlyn Rosati for New York Daily News)

While the area surrounding Lakruwana is fairly neutral, the restaurant’s decor lets you know you’re about to enter a place that will certainly stimulate the senses. Before even ordering any food, I was won over by intricately detailed carved walls, giant Buddha statues and even a Ganesha statue.

Lakruwana offers an an a la carte menu and an all-you-can-eat buffet from 12:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Despite coming to Lakruwana on a Sunday, my friend and I decided to order a few things off of the a la carte menu despite how tempting the buffet was. We split the Kottu roti with chicken and the lamprais with vegetables.

Lamprais at Lakruwana in Staten Island. (Kaitlyn Rosati for New York Daily News)
Lamprais at Lakruwana in Staten Island. (Kaitlyn Rosati for New York Daily News)

Kottu roti is a chopped roti stir-fry loaded with veggies, scrambled egg, and green chilis, and served with a curry dunking sauce. At Lakruwana, it’s adorably shaped into a heart mold. Kottu roti gives stir-fried rice a run for its money, and while I can’t speak to how it compares to other kottu roti since it was my first time trying it, the dish was fragrant, slightly spicy, and particularly ideal in the winter, I imagined, especially with that warmly spiced curry on the side.

I was particularly intrigued when the lamprais came out. As you uncover your Sri Lankan treasure wrapped in a banana leaf, you’re greeted with a boiled egg that has some blistering on it thanks to the addition of being fried after boiling. I had never had a fried boiled egg before, but when in Staten Island, there’s a first time for everything. Lamprais is made with basmati rice, a fish cutlet, seeni sambol (think caramelized onion chutney), curried cashews, eggplant moju (eggplants in a sweet and sour sauce), and eggs.

The atmosphere at Lakruwana in Staten Island. (Kaitlyn Rosati for New York Daily News)
The atmosphere at Lakruwana in Staten Island. (Kaitlyn Rosati for New York Daily News)

The hodgepodge of ingredients makes eating lamprais particularly fun.Each bite leads to a different texture, taste and strike of the senses. Legend has it that lamprais, which roughly translates to “packet of rice,” was introduced to Sri Lanka when Dutch colonizers brought rice and condiments inside a banana leaf from Indonesia. While lamprais was technically introduced to Sri Lanka by the Dutch, Lakruwana reclaims it right on the menu: “The Dutch call it Lampijst, we call it Lamprais. Our recipe is over 300 years old.”

After or even before your meal, make sure to swing by the Sri Lankan Arts & Cultural Museum, owned by the restaurant owner’s daughter Julia. Filled with plenty of Sri Lankan memorabilia, including sculptures, paintings and various other artifacts, your venture out to Lakruwana can make for a fun history lesson about one of the largest Sri Lankan populations outside of Sri Lanka itself.


  • Address: 668 Bay St., Staten Island, N.Y., 10304
  • Phone: (347) 857-6619
  • Hours: Tuesday–Friday 12 p.m.–3:00 p.m. and 5 p.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 12:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; closed Mondays
  • Prices: Appetizers $4.95-$6.95; Main dishes $16.95 to $19.95; Dessert $5.95; Weekend all-you-can eat buffet $20.99
  • Takeout and delivery available; no reservations

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