TGI Friday’s has always been a favorite restaurant of mine when I used to reside in the Middle East. Although the franchises in the Middle East did not have the whole cocktails/alcohol + pork ribs scene. (It was still pretty lit!)
Now TGI Friday’s is a restaurant/pub that focuses on GREAT food and INCREDIBLE atmosphere where the moment you walk in, you know, that in here it’s ALWAYS Friday (Thus, the name).
Being in Sri Lanka for over four years, it has only increased in levels of standards and proven to be quite the place for all your frolic & laughter. Be it a legit Friday night, to basically any day of the week because HEY! In here, it’s always Friday (I should stop saying that).
Where is it?
Where did you think it was? Of course it’s conveniently located at the Dutch Hospital premises and you cannot possibly miss the restaurant with its catchy phrase & name in huge block letters.
What is it like?
Let’s just say the moment you walk in, you feel like you walked into a scene of an American movie. At least the scene where they head into a great restaurant/pub to grab a couple of drinks, delicious comfort food + keep up with the latest score on baseball (only in this situation, it’s cricket or rugby. Go Sri Lanka and all.)
The place looks super dapper and screams out a retro vibe with a great deal of old CD’s, guitars and picture frames placed around with adorable red booths and seating areas. Not to mention, the bar with the beer taps & bartenders. (Lets just say that you can live a small fragment of the American dream while dining in here with your family or friends).
What’s up for grabs?
A great deal is up for grabs! You’d need a good few minutes to scan the menu and decide. Here’s what I finally ordered, once I made up my mind.
What did I try?
Fried Mozzarella | Rs. 670/-
Crispy and golden on the outside – Check
Creamy and melted cheese on the inside – Check
To die for marinara sauce as dip – CHECK!!
The fried mozzarella is literally a dream come true with 6 juicy and CHEESY chunks for the price of 670/- is a WINNER!
It was crunchy and golden on the outside with a nice gooey and smooth insides that’s worth melting for (Pun intended). Dip into the marinara sauce and enjoy the sudden burst of flavors as your taste buds get on a high like never before! A cross between salsa and pasta sauce, this is the ultimate dip for anything!
Jack Daniels Chicken & Shrimp | Rs. 910/-
Sorry Jack, none of that sauce for me! Instead the chef offered a BBQ sauce that would literally blow your mind all the way to the moon! I solemnly swear, I’ve never quite tasted a BBQ sauce like that before. Firstly, it was smoky and tasted sweet, sour and all things amazing with tiny bits of sun dried cherry tomato bits, honey, Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar being key ingredients to cook up this heaven sent sauce. The dish comes with a tender grilled chicken breast that’s stunned with flavor and black pepper, two scoops of “smoother than your pick up lines” mashed potatoes sprinkled with the spring onions, along with 5 Cajun spiced shrimp that was slightly spicy, very crunchy and juicy on the inside. Oh and your daily dose of veggies, which was surprisingly yum! Broccoli + cauliflower well seasoned with butter, salt and pepper ended up being your perfect cleanser for the dish. (Plus it’s healthy. Pfft.)
Ultimate Jack Daniels burger | Rs. 1400/-
Again, no naughty Jack Daniels! Simply two 7-oz beef burger patties that’s insanely juicy and packed with flavor you really don’t need a sauce to glaze it with! This is stacked with cheese, Cajun – battered onion rings on a toasted bun. Served with freshly cut potato fries! Guaranteed to fill you up, and your ultimate and (GIANT) gourmet burger. Might be a tad more pricey than usual, but you’d thank me once you try it out.
Fried chicken pasta | Rs. 890/-
Once again Cajun fried chicken strips served over a gloriously creamy fettuccine with corn, diced tomato and smoked onions. The chicken was crispy and in plenty, with a pasta that had a fabulous smoky flavor thanks to the onions. However, in comparison to the rest of the dishes, this was quite mediocre but I enjoyed it nevertheless!
Strawberry Lemonade | Rs. 630/-
Now this tasted more or less like a tangy strawberry Mojito. It was refreshingly sweet and fizzy too! Absolutely stunned with the real strawberry bits and lemon slices enhancing the overall flavor.
Pineapple, orange and honey combination | Rs. 440/-
Fresh orange juice and pineapple juice with honey instead of sugar making it a rather healthy alternative. The drink wasn’t too sweet, but slightly sour and tangy with a strong orange flavor with a mild pineapple undertones. Super refreshing and lasts throughout the whole meal!
Chocolate milkshake | Rs. 380/-
Your average chocolate milkshake, not to thick or not too watery but has reached the right consistency. It wasn’t very chocolaty either, the kind you regret having a sweet tooth but rather the perfect amount. Adored!
Sugar? Yes please!
Brownie obsession | Rs. 400/-
This was one crispy and LEGIT gooey brownie you’d find in town. The kind that’s cooked to perfection yet crispy and everything warm and gooey. The best part about it was the chocolate & caramel sauce with vanilla ice cream. It’ll definitely leave you obsessed and vulnerable to this baby!
Would I come back?
How could one resist the superior burgers & fantastic grill menu to the mouth watering starters? Of course I’m coming back!
The Halal controversy.
Now despite the TGIF you find in the Middle East is 100% Halal certified, where you could blindly order anything and not worry about it. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said to TGI Friday’s Sri Lanka. You see, TGI Friday’s DO serve pork & alcohol. They also have certain signature sauces that’s got alcohol content in it, and as Muslims we wouldn’t be able to try it out. BUT;
- The kitchen staff and layout is made in a way to ensure that pork is cooked separate to the usual dishes – inclusive of separate grills, utensils etc.
- The menu emphasizes a lot on platters that could be shared among friends and family, although it says pork – remember things are cooked separately and you have all the rights to inform the waiter before hand that you do not wish to have this addition to your meal. (Trust me, they have some incredible options to switch)
- The Jack Daniels sauce is their signature sauce, and as “Islamic” as we claim to be, we ALL know that Jack Daniels is not just an innocent man but rather an alcohol. (You can switch it up with the BBQ sauce or any recommended sauce from the chef – that is to die for)
- Alcohol and beer is served like most restaurants, however there’s a neat page showing you all the non alcoholic options. PLUS! You get to order the cocktails and request them as virgintails (which is made possible, if you really want to try the mojitos without the alcohol)
- Apart from that, TGI Friday’s has strict kitchen procedure which is adhered at all times for it’s an international franchisee. You have a great deal of items on the menu that you can enjoy with ease! So no fuss, try TGI Friday’s ASAP!
* All those who are comfortable with the pork + alcohol element added to the dishes, then go ahead and splurge! I’m sure TGI Friday’s wouldn’t disappoint y’all!
– BBQ sauce + mashed potatoes = LIFE.