Cosmopolitan Bali offers just about every style of dining and cuisine imaginable, from the upscale restaurants of five star hotels to small family owned cafés. Many restaurants cater to somewhat tamer Western palates, while others cook up the full and complex flavours that Balinese and Indonesian cuisine is known for. In our updated guide to Bali’s 10 best restaurants we bring you 10 more unmissable places to eat in Bali.
Abe-Do is a friendly little restaurant known for its raw and organic cuisine. The owners, Nyoman and Sri, are extremely warm and welcoming. The restaurant’s interior features bright lime green paint around the entrance, homey seating areas, and eclectic artwork. The menu offers plenty of locally-inspired dishes including nasi goreng, spring rolls and Balinese curry. The stuffed omelettes and mie goreng are particularly popular with regulars. The menu also includes a great selection of fruit juices. The relaxed atmosphere encourages diners to linger long after cleaning their plates.
Bale-Bali Warung provides a unique cultural experience with its Chinese-Javanese-inspired cuisine and décor. The interior is decorated with intriguing antiques and colourful Chinese embellishments. The restaurant’s second floor is open-air, complemented by a tropical garden and trickling waterfall. Open since 1998, the restaurant’s speciality is nasi goreng bale-bali, which is spicy rice fried with shrimp, chicken and egg. There’s also an appetizing choice of dim sum, from veggie dumplings to pork siomay, all of which are served in traditional bamboo baskets. In addition to the carefully-selected menu, the prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming.
Bali Asli is founded on strong principles of promoting locavore diets and sharing Balinese culture without exploiting it. The restaurant is steadfastly committed to Balinese food, using local ingredients and traditional cooking methods. Set in the foot hills of Mount Agung and surrounded by greenery, the restaurant was founded by Chef Penelope Williams, who worked in leading kitchens in London and Sydney before creating this restaurant. It’s possible to come here just to eat, but Bali Asli also offers a number of ‘Experiences’ including cooking classes and guided food tours, which promote a deeper understanding of Balinese cuisine.
A signature dish at Bebek Bengil | Courtesy Bebek Bengil
Located in the Ubud area of Bali, Bebek Bengil has become a veritable Bali institution since first opening in 1990. The restaurant’s name literally translates as the ‘Dirty Duck Diner’, a reference to the restaurant’s speciality. This signature dish consists of half a duck steamed in Indonesian spices, and then deep fried and served with a choice or sautéed potatoes, side salad or rice and Balinese vegetables. Aside from duck, the menu includes plenty of other meat and seafood dishes, as well as vegetarian options like the grilled vegetarian sandwich on foccacia bread. Despite the restaurant’s self-effacing name, the setting is actually quite picturesque, overlooking a wide vista of rice fields and trees.
The Café at The Mulia Bali interior | Courtesy The Mulia Bali
The Café at Mulia Bali
It’s rare for buffet-style food to rank among a place’s top restaurants, but the Café at Mulia Bali is a welcome exception. Set in Mulia Bali, a six-star hotel in Nusa Dua, the Café offers one of Bali’s largest and most diverse spreads. The dining is divided into six sections: Indian, Chinese, Southeast Asian, Western, Indonesian and dessert, with each cuisine prepared by a native chef for authenticity. The options range from sashimi and Thai salads, to butter chicken and Italian-inspired pastas. The restaurant emphasises keeping the food fresh, with diners able to watch the chefs prepare their meals at most of the food stations.
Lamak Bali exudes Balinese traditions through its thoughtful décor and menu, both of which fuse classic local dishes with modern Asian and European flair. Try the steamed seasonal ocean fish with curried couscous and green chili yogurt broth; or dip into the special vegetarian menu with a dish like spiced tomato risotto with sautéed mushrooms. The restaurant’s elegant interior incorporates stones, local wood and ornate carvings. The setting is beautiful for a full meal or even just a post-dinner drink, with an extensive cocktail and wine menu also available.
The latest venture from Chef Will Meyrick, a major figure on the Bali culinary scene, Mamasan is a hip restaurant and bar. The retro décor is inspired by 1920s-era Shanghai, and although the interior looks ultra-trendy, the atmosphere is surprisingly relaxed. Guests are encouraged to enjoy a meal or linger around for hours chatting with friends. The menu features Indonesian staples, along with a rainbow of Asia’s other popular cuisines, from Singaporean and Indian to Vietnamese and Cambodian. Gluten-free and vegetarian menus are also offered.
Named one of the 50th best restaurant in Asia by San Pellegrino, Mozaic features an ever-changing menu of seasonal Asian-inspired cuisine. Those who can afford this splurge can expect a unique culinary adventure. The restaurant offers a number of set menus, featuring always-surprising dishes like the slow-roasted pigeon with a mamey sapote puree, braised radicchio and green peppercorn demi-glace. The signature experience, however, is the ‘Surprise Menu’, in which Chef Chris Salans creates six surprise courses based on the diner’s preferences. Smaller menus are available for guests at restaurant’s lounge, where the creativity shown in the food is mirrored in the imaginative signature drinks.
Sea Circus doesn’t take itself too seriously, from its unexplainable name to its eclectic identity as a restaurant, cocktail bar and coffee den. The menu offers small tapas-sized dishes like honey-roasted pumpkin risotto with spinach and parmesan; and bacon wrapped prawns with lemon potato and sauce vierge. There are also larger one-person dishes, such as the beer-battered fish tacos; and the veggie burger with mango, shallots, guacamole and mustard. The décor is as colourful as the food, and with additional cocktail and coffee menus available, there are plenty of reasons to stay for a while.
Popular with locals and tourists, Warung Padang Kecag is a modest restaurant that offers a mix of Western and Indonesian cuisine at budget-friendly prices. The restaurant features something for almost every taste, from crispy roast duck to pan-seared chicken with black pepper sauce. There are plenty of vegetarian options, as well as shareable dishes like satay skewers. Dining is open-air, surrounded by trees and lush vegetation, a setting perfect for a full meal or a few drinks. There’s a great selection of cocktails and beers, along with refreshing non-alcoholic drinks like ginger lemonade.