I went to Thaproban upon the recommendation of local friends who suggested as one of the few suitable location to spend the day at the beach with my Sri Lankan parents (who generally prefer the more eloquent dining offered by 5 star beach side hotels). It had easy access, comfortable shaded seating, extremely clean and away from hustlers.
I was warned that Thaprobane or "Tap" as its more affectionately known gets incredibly busy and to expect delays if it was full, but that the food was worth the wait aaaaaaand that quality was never compromised. They weren’t wrong! By Sri Lankan standards, we were early for lunch (circa 12 noon) and with few patrons putting in orders, the chef obliged and accepted my request for a special dish: Freshly caught prawns, with the veins removed, but shell on, tempered with garlic, chili and cashew nuts. Divine. Probably the biggest and best prawn dish I had this trip. My parents had catch of the day seer fish, one baked and one grilled - to perfection apparently. (My parents, loved the food and decided to return with their own fussy troupe of friends - possibly the highest accolade a chef can receive)
At the last minute we decided that we would also take a room for the day - and for such a beach front location, the rooms were well priced, extremely comfortable and charming, very clean, well maintained - complete with welcome flowers on the bed.
Staff were also very sweet and obliging - as per Sri Lankan custom. Wee tipped lots. (For those visiting Sri Lanka for the first time, a minimum of 10% for your waiter and upwards of Rs 100/150 for the other staff who look after you).