I was a bit disappointed by Paiva's. I was eager to eat rice and curry with a beer for once in Sri Lanka, and while indeed they did have beer, they seated us in the upstairs area where only Indian and Chinese dishes are served. The place was a bit of a labyrinth, with what looked like a kottu roti stand on the ground floor, then a somewhat more seedy and smoky drinking room in the back filled with Sri Lankan men, and then a room upstairs that was a bit cleaner (though still smoky) and where plenty of foreigners were seated, I suppose drawn in by the fact that every guidebook mentions this place.
Despite the claims of the young men who decided we needed to be accompanied to the restaurant we already knew about, and the clearly drunk 'manager' (all three of which helped themselves copiously to beer and left me with the bill), 300 Rs for a Lion Lager is not cheap, though of course, it's cheaper than other, more touristy joints. We had a dish of chana masala and a dish of alu saag and one roti, for a total of 450 (yes, they charged 100 Rs for a single roti). The dishes seemed a bit meager to me---we eat at 'local' restaurants constantly in Colombo as well as everywhere we've traveled in Sri Lanka, and if there's one thing you come to expect, it's plentiful food, even if you are paying a premium for beer and tablecloths.
The biggest disappointment was that, despite 'befriending' us and taking advantage of our hospitality by getting himself even drunker, the 'manager' (a skinny guy missing most of his teeth) couldn't even get our order in, so we sat there for hours waiting first to order, and then to get our food. Then we had a bit of conflict when our bill arrived and the pricing made absolutely no sense. Eventually they waived the 10% service charge. In addition to the fact that I paid for much more than I drank, the bill was also higher in that the manager pushed 'strong' beers on us, claiming that he didn't have any regular beer (which was obviously untrue)---'strong' beers are 50 Rs. more.
We clearly had a unique experience as we were seen as an easy mark, despite the fact that we live and work in Sri Lanka, and I ended up paying for the vast majority of the beers not out of gullibility, but because I realized what I was getting myself into when I let the two young men (who were actually nice and not creepy, despite their tout-ish qualities) sit down with us. All in all, we're not bitter, as the night was entertaining. Based on this experience though, and the fact that the creepy manager kept hitting on us, two women in their twenties, and even tried to follow my friend in the bathroom, compels me to note that Paiva's definitely does not receive high marks for customer service.