Eating Out In Bali
Regardless of your taste, the food in Bali is one of the highlights. The variety is endless, the settings are superb, and the quality is most places these days is excellent.
There is every conceivable style of food available these days, from the traditional favourites such as nasi goreng or banana pancakes, to mouth-watering cuisine from around the world – most with a Balinese.
Some of the settings and restaurants will rival the best in the world, yet dining even in one of the best restaurants in Bali will cost about the same as a reasonable quality restaurant in Australia. (This can vary if eating in an hotel though).
While the infamous Bali-belly does still afflict some visitors, in many cases it is more a stomach upset due to the change in diet and dehydration (you should drink plenty of water, not so much alcohol). This is not to say it does not exist still, but most good restaurants now only use distilled water to clean utensils and plates, and wash all food in.
Ice is also not usually the cause since it is also distilled water, and the outside of the ice is constantly melting off in the heat. If you are eating in very traditional warungs then you should take care and ensure the place looks clean and well patronized, but in most hotels and restaurants and bars, the quality is very good.
These are some of the restaurants around Bali we can recommend.
Kuta / Tuban Area
- Ma Joly – Set overlooking the ocean in Tuban, this stunning new restaurant and bar serves some quite unique dishes with a French / Asian style. It’s a very romantic setting and stylish restaurant with a touch of class. It is located at the southern end of Tuban along the beach, or follow the road along until the end past Balihai Resort.
- Warung Made’s (Old) - The original Warung Made’s, like Poppies, is an institution in Bali, attracting the in-crowd who spend hours sipping on coffee as well as those wanting one of the best Nasi Campurs in Bali. It is located about 25m towards the beach from “bemo corner” and is good for lunch or dinner.
- Aroma’s (vegetarian) – located on Jalan Legian just after the Bounty Ship Restaurant, Aroma’s serves wonderful fresh vegetarian dishes with quite a wide variety. From the street it looks a bit ordinary, but there is a quieter garden area out the back. Whether you are vegetarian or a meat lover, the food is delicious.
- Kunyit Balinese Restaurant – Located on Jl Kartika Plaza outside Santika Hotel, Kunyit specialises in traditional Balinese cuisine served in local style. This is a very good quality restaurant for diners desiring good food, lovely setting, and a taste of real Balinese food.
- Cafe Batan Waru – Sister cafe to the popular one of the same name in Ubud, and only opened in 2005 opposite Waterbom Park on Jl Kartika, this casual but well presented restaurant serves one of the best menus in town with a bit of everything. While most has a unique Balinese touch, there is something for everyone, and great value too.
- Poppies Restaurant – This is one of Bali’s most well known restaurants and a popular Balinese style garden restaurant great for dinner. Located down Poppies Lane not far from “bemo corner”, the restaurant serves very good seafood and Balinese dishes to suit western tastes. The tables are set in a Balinese garden and it is quite pretty at night. Prices are average.
- Kuta Markets – For those wanting a taste of real local food, Kuta markets are located not far from “bemo corner” (away from the beach). They consist of dozens of makeshift local restaurants and cooking carts. Some of the restaurants have excellent food and it is as cheap as you’ll get, but aim for ones with most customers – this is usually a sign the food is good.
- Hardrock Café – If you need a fix of good old steak or a burger, the Hardrock Café is on Kuta Beach, and is just like being at home. The food is just as good if that’s what you want, though the price is higher by comparison than you’ll find in many other restaurants.
- Jalan Double Six area – Like Kuta and Tuban, there are cafes and restaurants everywhere, but one stretch which has become very popular for lunch or dinner is at the end of Jl Double Six. You can also reach the strip by walking along the pathway in front of the Legian hotels, and only just past the Jayakarta you’ll find half a dozen good little places overlooking the ocean. These include Zanzibar and Tekor Bali as a couple we suggest you try, but there are plenty more around Legian.
- Zanzibar – at the end of Jalan Double Six and turn left at the beach you’ll find a number of good café / restaurants providing a great spot to watch the waves. Around sunset it becomes really busy with people on the beach, so is a good place to go people watching – but for lunch or dinner Zanzibar has a pleasant setting and good, cheap food. A little further along is Kafe Warna offering excellent local and Sante Fe style dishes, including quite a few vegetarian dishes. They even make their own tortillas on premises, so the food is super fresh and prices are very good – a great spot for dinner.
- Tekor Bali – just a bit closer to Jl 66 is this small and cosy Balinese restaurant, more reminiscent of the old Bali style and serving a wide variety of more traditional Bali dishes. The staff are friendly and the food is very good and very well priced.
- Poco Loco Mexican Restaurant - Located on Gang Padma in Legian (near Melasti Beach Resort), this is an excellent restaurant with a lively and casual atmosphere and very good food. The bar is a great spot for an early drink before dinner, or try a shooter from Minibar.
- Antique Thai – At the top end of Jalan Abimanyu, Antique is one of the few and best Thai restaurants you’ll find in Bali, but don’t expect the normal style. With a trendy interior and cosy front verandah, the dishes here are quite unique and authentic and definitely not your typical Thai. A great spot for dinner before hitting one of the nearby bars and nightclubs.
- Warisan – In Seminyak on Jalan Legian (just before the turn off to Intan Bali), this is one of Bali’s finest restaurants. While not cheap, the food is excellent with a quite a unique menu of dishes. Lunch is quite casual, but evenings the setting is lovely. The restaurant is adjoined by a boutique offering very high quality furnishings and materials – not cheap but worth a browse at the least.
- La Luciola – In a fantastic location on the beach overlooking the waves in Seminyak, La Luciola is a must. Prices are reasonable and dishes vary from fresh garden salads to a mixture of Italian and Indonesian with some interesting variations. In the evening the place transforms into a romantic setting with the sound off the ocean roaring in the background and frangipani trees lit with fairy lights.
- Warung Made’s Seminyak – Warung Made’s Seminyak is located on Jalan Legian on the right hand side past the Double Six crossroad (best to ask for directions) and has the same great food in a more modern and trendy casual setting. The restaurant is in an open-air courtyard and is full most nights so is worth booking ahead. It also has some top quality boutiques surrounding it and is very popular for dinner and average priced.
- Ku De Ta – Probably Bali’s number one restaurant at the moment, Ku De Ta commands a prime beachfront location next to the Oberoi Hotel and offers contemporary styling and modern cuisine. The restaurant has a cocktail bar and cigar lounge. Prices are high for Bali but reasonable if you consider the quality compared to home prices.
- The Living Room – This relatively new restaurant is located a bit further on from La Luciola and has quickly gained a reputation as one of THE spots for dinner. While the location is a bit bland, the actual restaurant and food is anything but and for a more special evening out this is well worth a try.
- (Eat Street) Jl Oberoi area – half way down the road running down to the Oberoi Hotel is a stretch of excellent restaurants with a variety of cuisine to choose from including Italian, seafood, Chinese and Moroccan. The Kharma is something a bit different, offering great starters and interesting setting, and you can even try a hookah if you wish. They also have belly dancing on some nights.
Jimbaran Bay area
- Seafood Markets – Located right on the beach in Jimbaran Bay, originally a few little makeshift restaurants sprung up with very simple tables and benches placed on the sand near the water. Today there are dozens of these restaurants side-by-side and some have grown quite large. The one we suggest is Sharkies which is located at the airport end (turn off to the beach before Pansea Hotel and turn right at the beach). It is one of the larger ones and has undercover tables (in case of rain) as well as table and chairs on the beach. Fresh fish, prawns and crayfish are cooked on open fires and come with rice and simple salad or jacket potatoes, and though simple it is delicious. This is one of the best places to try lobster of grilled prawns and you can choose your own. Prices have gone up a bit in recent times but are still quite reasonable, and the setting is great. You can even call Sharkies and they will pick you up and drop you off to your hotel for a small charge.
- PJ’s – Part of the Four Seasons Resort, PJ’s is an alfresco café / restaurant with a fantastic view, a good spot for lunch or dinner. Being part of the hotel it is a bit more expensive but has a good varied menu and delightful setting.
- Café Batu Jimbar – Located on the main Sanur road next to a ceramic shop, this little café has excellent food with good soups and salads. The setting is very pleasant under a creeper-covered pergola and the food is very fresh.
- The Teraz – this new little complex is adjoining the Gazebo Cottages in central Sanur and is quite a delightful little setting with an open-air courtyard. For breakfast, lunch or dinner, there is a wide variety of local and western dishes, plus a variety of fresh pastries and cakes, or it is just a pleasant spot for a coffee.
- Bayu Garden – Located on the main road in central Sanur, this is a typical little Balinese open air restaurant with cheap but good food and a pleasant setting for somewhere simple and with friendly staff.
- Café Jepun – Located near the bemo corner in Sanur, Café Jepun is a nice choice for dinner with a bit of a different menu and quite romantic setting in the garden section. The menu is a mix of Balinese meals but cooked in a slightly western style.
Nusa Dua area
Most of the restaurants in this area are located in the five-star hotels, however there are some good local style and a few modern restaurants springing up in the back streets of Nusa Dua near the markets (around Jalan Mengiat). There are also a number of large restaurants in the Galleria Shopping Centre.
- Bumbu Restaurant – One of Bali’s finest Indonesian restaurants, with beautiful design and a traditional Balinese atmosphere. Located in Tandjung Benoa just before the Novotel Hotel, the menu offers some of the best Balinese cuisine prepared to a very high standard. They also run cooking classes for those interested.
Ubud is only an hour and a half’s drive from Kuta and Nusa Dua, and less from Sanur, so even if you are not staying in Ubud, you should try to spend a day up there and try lunch somewhere like Indus where the scenery is just stunning. It’s well worth the trip.
- Lamak Restaurant and cocktail bar – see pciture at the top of this page. Located at the top end of Monkey Forest Road, the decor is very out there and the setting is really enticing. The food at Lamak is delicious and although not cheap, this is one of the cooler restaurants in Ubud and well worth a visit, whether for dinner, a snack, or to try one of their delicious cocktails.
- Café Batan Waru – located near the soccer field on a road running off Monkey Forest Road, this is one of “the” places to go for any time of day or night. The food is excellent with a unique range of dishes you’ll find hard to choose between. Just ask any of the locals for directions and they will know where it is.
- Warung Kopi – next door to Café Batan Waru, Warung Kopi has a bit of a Bohemian style and the best coffee in Bali. It’s a very popular hang-out and great for breakfast, lunch, or afternoon tea.
- Terazo – This quite trendy art-deco styled restaurant is located up the road from the main temple in Ubud (opposite the markets) and has some of the best food you’ll come across. The dishes are a mix of Italian / Mediterranean / Indonesian and the prices are very reasonable. Great.
- Indus – In a fantastic location not far from Pita Maha Tjampuhan Resort, Indus offers wonderful views of this lush valley with a variety of excellent dishes to suit everyone, and quite a variety of healthy juices. While evenings are popular, breakfast and lunch is probably a better time to capture the views.
- Casa Luna / Honeymoon Bakery – Across the road from Mumbul’s, this is a bakery with fresh pastries and bread, plus a very good restaurant up the back. For snacks, coffee or dinner, the food is very good and the setting is pleasant.
- Gajah Biru Indian – this quite new restaurant is beautifully designed and positioned overlooking rice paddies and for dinner is a delightfully romantic choice for some interesting and delicious Indian styled dishes, though not what you might expect. There is a good choice of vegetarian dishes and the food is very good, and quite cheap. Treat yourself to dinner here one night at least. It’s located up the road turning off opposite Tjampuhan Hotel, left just after the bridge.
- Nomads – very popular with backpackers and the well-traveled, Nomads is a typical Balinese restaurant but with good, cheap food and quite a friendly atmosphere. Located just past the markets on the main street.
- Ari’s Warung – located on the main street near the tourist centre, Ari’s is a bit of an institution in Ubud and offers a good quality Balinese style menu. The setting and service is excellent and they have quite a few different dishes and juices on the menu. If you like Balinese style, this is a good restaurant, but also check out Ari’s bookshop just a bit further along.
- Mumbul Café – Next to Lotus, this little café has good sandwiches and Thai food, great muffins, and real icecream. There are tables and cushions to relax on, and the view is very nice from the balcony looking down the valley.
- Dirty Duck Diner – Located on Monkey Forest Road downa small lane next to the soccer field, this has been a favourite spot of travelers and locals for many years and certainly worth a visit particularly for dinner. The food is very good and the setting quite Balinese with modern touches. An ideal choice for groups or couples.
- Murnies – Located next to the bridge, this is one of the old-time favourites. It has been extended recently but still has a good feeling and delicious food, including Murnie’s Mud Cake.
- Bridge Café – Opposite Murnies and next to the bridge, this newer restaurant is set on 3 levels overlooking the river and is a pleasant spot for lunch or dinner. Lotus Café – Near the large temple in Ubud, this is very popular restaurant with large lotus ponds and a good variety of food on the menu. It is quite casual and good any time of day or night.
- Jazz Café – Later in the evening this place becomes one of the few live-music spots in Ubud, but it is also a popular place for dinner and cocktails where you can relax before the entertainment commences. The music is performed by very talented musicians and is a very popular hangout for muso’s in Bali.
- Three Monkey’s Art Café – located down Monkey Forest Rd, this is quite a funky little restaurant with interesting décor and artwork. There is even a small garden terrace out the back looking out of the rice paddies. The menu varies quite regularly and food is very good, and although small it can get quite lively in the evening. A really nice little place.
If you try enjoy a restaurant we have not listed, please let us know your comments and we’ll add it to the list for others to try.