From casual cafes to fine dining, and from Balinese cuisine to international specialties, there are so many fantastic options for all budgets. I have rounded up some top picks of where to eat and drink in Bali to help you get the most out of your trip.
The peaceful coastal town of Jimbaran is home to one of the best restaurants in Bali, Cuca. Billing itself as a casual sharing experiennce, it serves up an eclectic menu including this Cocoa 99, a mix of warm organic chocolate, mint ice cream and cocoa croutons. Chef Kevin Cherkas honed his skills at the famous El Bulli, La Broche in Madrid and Arzak in San Sebastian amongst others. He studies all the ingredients to find out how they were traditionally used and then prepares them, applying Western techniques. Make time to enjoy a drink before or after dinner in their peaceful garden lounge.
There’s also a great Indonesian restaurant Tapis, which is located next to Cuca in the Kayumanis Jimbaran Private Villas and Spa. Tucked away in a traditioanl Balinese compound and next to a pool, you’ll find excellent service and a focus on market-fresh ingredients, particularly seafood and spices. Why not try the Rijstaffel feast for two, a sampler menu showcasing a range of Indonesian cooking styles and specialties.
With a whole host of dining establishments, Seminyak is the place to go for trendy beach bars, cool cafés and more fine dining restaurants than you can shake a stick at. For a relaxed ambiance, Ginger Moon is located on the main shopping street, also knicknamed “Eat Street”. There’s a huge choice of eateries here but Ginger Moon is a good choice if you’re looking for very reasonably priced Modern Asian cooking.
For dessert, I can highly recommend the trio of creme brulees…
Continuing the casual theme, SOUQ is a funky boutique and café, located close to Eat Street, that is great for a healthy pitstop at lunchtime. Who knows, you might even pick up a bargain whilst you are there!
One of the most visually appealing places on Eat Street is La Favela bar and restaurant, with its intricate decor and signature cocktails.
The outdoor terrace is ideal to escape the hustle and bustle outside.
The last of my Eat Street picks is The Bistrot, a French shabby chic style venue over two floors. I loved the comfy armchairs, vintage theme and cobbled floor.
They serve very tasty comfort food including these ribs, plus a range of healthy salads.
Mama San has been a fixture on the Seminyak dining scene for several years. The brainchild of Will Meyrick, it aims to be more than just a restaurant and has a clubby vibe. It complements renowned sister restaurant Sarong with its 1920s style, spread over two floors. There’s a bar and cooking school as well as valet parking.
If you’re looking for somewhere to party, drink and eat at the same time, then Potato Head is the ideal spot. With a prime location right on the beach, you can choose to relax in their swimming pool or stay cool under a shady umbrella. The buiding itself is stunning and was designed by well-known architect Andra Matin to be a modern take on the Coliseum.
There are two restaurants, one offers Western style dishes and the other is Lilin, serving Indonesian specialties. We opted for the latter and washed down our meal with a coconut mocktail served in the shell.
Equally popular at night time, Ku De Ta is an iconic beachfront venue that has been popular since first opening in 2000. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset whilst sipping a signature cocktail and enjoying the DJ set.
Whilst my final beach front venue is renowned for the quality of its cuisine – Mozaic is the place to come for fine dining with a spectacular sea view, and its sister restaurant in Ubud is equally popular.
Merah Putih means red and white, and it’s the colours of the Indonesian flag. This spectacular restaurant serves up fine Indonesian cuisine and was the ideal place for our wedding anniversary dinner.
One of the most romantic restaurants in Petitenget near Seminyak is Sardine, where you’ll dine overlooking a working rice field. The restaurant is housed in an imposing bamboo structure and the menu changes daily to include the very freshest seafood and vegetables.
No trip to Bali is complete without a visit to Ubud, the spiritual heart of the island. If you’re looking for a quick bite before or after a visit to the Monkey Forest Sanctuary, then Locavore to Go is a brilliant option. The little sister of Locavore, the hot newcomer on the Ubud dining scene, rustles up unpretentious food in a rustic setting.
We feasted on pulled pork sandwiches with homemade coleslaw but they also have a range of vegetarian options.
For fine dining in the gorgeous hills surrounding Ubud, Alila’s Plantation Restaurant makes an excellent choice. On certain evenings, they arrange Balinese dancing by local children whilst you dine. Executive Chef Eelke Plasmeijer believes that thoughtful travellers are prepared to be adventurous and the menu offers locally sourced delicacies such as mackerel, beef, king prawns and rabbit.
Finally, Three Monkeys Ubud is just right for a sundowner. Overlooking a rice field and a few minutes walk from the Monkey Sanctuary, this café really comes alive in the evenings when the lanterns are twinkling. I hope you’ve had fun reading this list, it’s by no means exhaustive and I would love to know what eating and dining places you have enjoyed in Bali. Do check out my beginner’s guide to Bali for more tips.