Overview: Owners Saman and Thanuja opened the Red Pepper Diner in an old roadhouse with plans to serve classic American fare, not realizing their menu would morph into the primarily Sri Lankan menu it is today. The couple is happy to educate customers on Sri Lanka’s proud culinary tradition, not to be confused with Indian.
The menu: Sri Lankan dishes feature complex curries and sauces, but here they serve as an enhancement. Their deviled spice mix does an especially good job. Order it with chicken, beef and pork, or shrimp and calamari. For a starchier alternative, try the pol roti, a pan-grilled flatbread made with coconut, green chilies, and onion and served with a side of onion sambal (sweet and spicy fried onions) and choice of curry. Whatever you choose, be sure to order a side of hoppers, made by mixing rice flour and coconut milk and frying it into a crispy bowl. An egg can be added to its center and is strongly recommended.
Standout Special: Come for their Friday Sri Lankan buffet where you can get a full sampling. Live music plays as you dig into the array of colorful options laid out on a side table.
Regulars Recommend: Black Curry Pork, according to Zoraida Lopez (local artist/mom)
Notable Feature: In a back room you can order a cocktail or one of Sri Lanka’s Lion brand beers at their tiki bar. The Lion stout gets a respectable score of 88 on beeradvocate.com.