As you can tell from previous posts, eating good food is a major thing for me. I think about food/cooking/dining out A LOT; always have done. Back in the UK I am known as the ‘family chef’, as I cook for everyone. For me, cooking is a form of therapy – to lose yourself in the process and produce something that’s ‘you’ and that others enjoy is an amazing feeling. It connects people, gets people talking and makes people happy (most of the time), what is better than that?
So, in the spirit of sharing is caring I have compiled a list of my favourite eateries in Bali (mainly the south west where I live) to suit every pocket…
Backpacker/budget (15k-40k IDR)
– Warung Makan Made, Jalan Uluwatu – Made’s is right by my house so I eat here all of the time, it’s cheap with fast and friendly service and all food is cooked to order rather than a buffet-style warung. Popular dishes include: Ayam kacang mente (chicken with cashew nuts, veg, and rice), Nasi/Mie goreng special (egg on top as well as throughout the dish), Teriyaki chicken (served on a sizzling skillet), and the pancakes are pretty epic. Its breakfasts are decent as well. Delivery and takeout is also available.
– Warung Heboh – this warungs flagship store is in Canggu but a newer one has recently opened on Labuan Sait – buffet style, very reasonable, and tasty. Pile your plate up high enough and that’s all you’ll need to eat all day. The egg roll and corn cakes laced with sambal and topped with crispy tempeh are my favourites. If you want to ‘splash out’ whack the beef rendang on your plate as well. Delicious.
– Ayu’s Restaurant – German-Indo owned, this chilled eatery is amazing for breakfast! A continental will set you back 35k and comes with carrot bread (three chunky slices toasted), eggs of your choice, butter and jam. The scrambled egg from here is not to be missed; it’s topped with avocado and bacon – real bacon! The pasta, salads and HUGE sandwiches are good, and the Gado-Gado is exceptional.
– Thai Resto at My Dream Bungalows, Jalan Uluwatu – this brand new addition to the Bukit is rather impressive, the owner, Ivan, has built an amazing, authentic, and gigantic place. Not only a restaurant, My Dream Bungalows has 20 unique wooden bungalows starting at $50 per night. The intricate carvings in all the woodwork is to be admired. There is also a pool and outdoor cinema! But it’s the food at this place that has captivated me, I haven’t eaten such authentic Thai food since being in Thailand – it really is that good! The green curry is MASSIVE and can easily be shared by two (helps with the cost as well), and the Pad Thai is scrumptious – it comes wrapped in and eggy parcel with dried chilli, palm sugar, crushed nuts, and lime on the side so you can season to your liking – all for a teeny-tiny 28k. All ingredients are imported so when you’re eating Thai basil and cucumber – you really are!
– Warung Yoshida, Jalan Uluwatu – Funny thing about living in Bali – you start to really miss other cuisines (not just home-cooked food) so this cute little Japanese restaurant in Ungasan is spot on when you want sushi or just something a little different from Nasi goreng. Don Katsu is my go-to dish, a deep bowl of sticky, sweet rice topped with fried chicken or pork with a katsu dressing and spring onion garnish (I always ask for chillies and soy sauce too). There’s also draft beer here – bonus. You can spot it by the old fashioned bicycle that sits outside.
– Bukit Café – ah Bukit Café! I don’t know how I have lasted here for so long without you. It’s only been open for a couple of months and I eat here, especially for brunch, loads (probably a bit too much seeing as I am skint but it’s just soooooo good). It’s Mediterranean-inspired so you can find everything from quinoa salads with sun blushed tomatoes and feta (yes, actual quinoa in the Bukit peninsula!!) to sweet potato, Moroccan-spiced dishes. My favourite brunch is the smashed avocado on sourdough toast topped with a poached egg, rucola (rocket) and a delicate balsamic glaze to finish. They also serve my favourite juice of all time APGL (apple, pineapple, ginger, lime). Other favourites include the fruit parfait (like a healthy Knickerbocker glory), the Bukit Burger – a huge, cheesy beef burger served with a basket of fries and homemade slaw (great for a hangover), and the fajitas.
– Warung Ohana, Jalan Uluwatu – if you are a fan of Mexican food this place has to be on your hit list of restaurants to visit when you’re here (especially if you are spending time in the south west). Mexican cuisine was actually the first style of food I learnt to cook at the tender age of 13 so it has a special place in my culinary heart. The wet burritos are a firm favourite for those with a big appetite – it’s basically a massive burrito filled with either meat/veg/fish then covered in Ohana’s special sauce like an enchilada! Speaking of enchiladas the shredded beef ones here are lip-smackingly good. The taco plates are also great and can be ordered to your preferences – hard or soft, refried or black beans, and come with rice and salad. Extras are available such as jalapenos, sour cream and guacamole. Try the strawberry margaritas if you’re in fiesta mode.
– Casa Asia, Ungasan – for years the go-to pizza place was Pizzeria Italia at the top of the Bukit hill (Labuan Sait) and to be fair the pizzas there are still delightful (and huge) but for a genuine taste of Italy head down to this hidden place in the heart of Ungasan. It’s a bit of a trek to get to as it’s in the middle of nowhere but believe me the food is worth it. All dough and pasta is handmade on the premises daily so you really are getting the freshest of the fresh. The pizza menu is the most extensive one I have ever seen…ever! You can check it out here. There is also a cheese and meat board!!! Very rare down in these parts (99k between two).
– Yoga Barn Garden Kafé, Ubud – aaaahhh back to the Yoga Barn, yes, I am a huge fan but if you’re not into yoga fret not, you will still be into the food here. Everything is meat, gluten and dairy free as well so it’s great if you have intolerances. Dishes include: fern-tip and quinoa salad, pumpkin and tempeh curry with red rice, ayurvedic breakfast wrap (egg white omelette with coriander, pickle and raita), bircher, fresh fruit salad, stir fried spicy greens – everything is super, super tasty and super, super healthy. The cakes are ones to die for as well, my absolute favourite, tastiest thing I have ever sampled in Bali is the Yoga Barn’s orange and almond tart – just get it please, you’ll thank me later. The Yoga Barn Kafé is located in the Yoga Barn grounds, however, if you’re situated further up in Ubud there’s exactly the same menu available at Kafé on Jl Hanoman.
– Cashew Tree, Bingin – the food at Cashew is like that of the Yoga Barn – all organic, fresh, and tasty, however, naughtier treats and meat options are available here as well, such as chunky fries with chutney, nachos, corn cakes with sweet chilli dipping sauce, chicken burger, falafel wrap (with cheese an chilli), Balinese chicken curry with white rice etc. The breakfasts and salads are also a dream – eggs benedict, soul bowls (veggie), halloumi salads, feta and walnut salads – just lush. Note, if you want a peaceful dining experience here do not go on Thursday’s in high season as it is party central.
– Plumbers Arms, Canngu – I am sorry about this entry but I simply had to give the Plumbers a mention – I am an expat — I miss comfort food! This is an actual English pub…in Bali…done well! They do full English breakfasts, beans on toast, jacket potatoes, pie and mash, bangers and mash, steak and chips, fish and chips, cheese and pickle sarmies, and the daddy of them all a proper SUNDAY ROAST! They even serve beer and Guinness on draft. This place is great if you’re missing home and/or severely hungover. Prices are on the steep side as a lot of produce is imported.
El Kabron – this cliffside tapas bar is what dreams are made of. Its views are unrivalled and it’s a great spot to just chill by the pool all day and watch the sunset with a few white wine sangrias. The menu has changed a bit recently and a lot of the salads that I loved have gone but the core tapas menu is still there with added bonuses like caviar topped potatoes braised in garlic – posh, I know! There’s also the creamiest jamon and manchego croquettes you’ll ever sample, fresh and delicious calamari (not the deep fried kind), crab cakes, marinated olives (of course), and much more. They have also started serving open sandwiches with great flavour combos such as brie and caramelised onion chutney – mm, mmm, mmmmm. Oh and if you like gin, you’re in for a treat as there is an entire gin menu. The presentation and service here is also exceptional. Honestly, if you have cash, come here A LOT.
Room 4 Dessert, Ubud – I visited this hipster-looking joint rather recently after a recommendation from a friend who lives in Ubud. I couldn’t find it at first as there’s nothing outlandish about its exterior, I couldn’t even see the name (thank god for Google maps) but we made it in the end, and I count my blessings we did. We went on a Tuesday especially as that’s when it’s cheese and wine night. For those who know me, they know how much I adore both…to the point of obsession, and unfortunately decent wine and cheese can be difficult to find in Bali, unless you’re well off. Upon stepping inside, you are transported to another world…I felt like I was in a dark jazz cafe in NYC; truly wonderful. Live music, a super chilled atmosphere and the set cheese menu…incredible. Obviously everything is imported so prices are a tad steep but believe me, it’s worth every penny. Five cheese and four wines later, I was in heaven. I don’t think I stopped smiling all night. The cheese is served with various accoutrement which all accompany them to perfection. Cannot wait to try this place again, I may even go on a non-cheese night. Crazy.
Tendan Korean BBQ, Batu Belig – this place is insane! We arrived pretty late on a Sunday night so it was quiet and I actually thought we would get turned away but we didn’t – hooray! It’s Asian in its aesthetic so already you think you’re in Korea town with its dimmed red lighting and fragrant aromas coming from the kitchen. The menu is vast and it’s great if you want a few picky things to sample but because we were starved and it was late we went for the set menu for two people which consisted of egg soup (bit like Miso), fresh veg, salad, Korean pancake, kimchi, and chicken and pork (we substituted pork for beef). Everything came out very fast including your very own BBQ complete with a tinfoil pot of whole garlic cloves (which makes for a delicious dipping oil). You also get a teriyaki marinade so you can spice the meat and veg as you like. Truly delicious and a great, fun dining experience.