#23 Food Garden
#23 Food Garden is fairly new in its present location, but the fast talking owner Hanifa and previous locations have been a land mark at Arugam Bay for a long time.
Hanifa learned to speak good English and acquired his brilliant cooking skills somewhere in the Middle East. On his return to Sri Lanka he opened a very small hut on the sandy beach front, in the middle of the Bay.
Thereafter, in 2003 or so the old Food Garden shifted to a more permanent location just in front of what is now #22 Rocco’s Hotel. Here business was brisk. A good name was established and many guests from #20 Aloha came to dine, as the Swiss owned cabana park had no kitchen facilities in those days.
Indeed, Hanifa even branched out into the small guest house business and build some some small rooms, right on the beach front. This was a brilliant location, but bad timing: On 26th December the Food Garden ceased to exist.
However,as far as the writer is informed nobody died or was seriously injured.
Although immediate assistance and new building materials were supplied to Haniffa,Â he decided to shift again,away from the unpredictable sea front to a location on the land side of the road, opposite #22 Rocco‘s.
Clever Hannifa sold the property to Roccos (who incorporated the sea front cabanas into their establishment) and business went down.
Not because of the quality of his food and service – but because of the war andÂ few proper visitors in the Bay (NGO’s used to dine at other places).
Not contented, in 2008 the legendary Food Garden moved again!
Now, in Mid 2008 a new Food GardenÂ is located somewhere near #32 Tristar and #37 Hidaway Hotel, on the land side of the main road.
Again, the reputation speaks for itself and Hannifa is one of the very few Dine-out Restaurants which manages to attract enough business away from all the hotels, which normally like their guests to eat in at all times. Competition is sharp, but good old Hannifa always seems to manage to get on top of them all, with an ever changing menu and innovative, good food.