The waters surrounding the tiny Indonesian island of Bali are a rich source of fresh seafood, which can be enjoyed everywhere from family-run warungs (roadside cafes), to world-class fine dining establishments. These are the best seafood spots to try.
Named ‘Best International Restaurant in Bali 2013’ by the Indonesian Government, Meads in Bali offers simply prepared seafood in a welcoming environment. The owner, Warren Mead, still personally selects seafood from the Jimbaran Fish Market several times a week, resulting in an ever-changing menu that features prawns, lobster, squid, Spanish mackerel, bluefin tuna, and other fresh-from-the-sea favorites. Although the focus is on seafood, the restaurant also offers Australian tenderloin, roasted half chicken, burgers, pizzas, and a special kids menu. The restaurant’s interior plays on its proximately to Nusa Dua Beach, with sand floors and bright, beach-like furnishings.
Rock Bar has gained international recognition for its arresting location, ranked among the world’s best bars by leading media outlets like Forbes Travel and the New York Times. This chic bar is set on top of a natural rock, 14 meters above Jimbaran Bay, providing diners with a 360-degree view of the ocean. Lined with diners every night hoping to snag a table in time for sunset, the bar can only be reached by a dramatic cable car ride down the cliff-face. The bar also features regular music performances by world-famous bands and DJs. The tapas menu includes seafood dishes like lobster spring rolls and calamari fritti, or a full seafood menu can be enjoyed next door at Kisik Bar and Grill.
Sardine offers a romantic traditional Balinese setting, along with some of the island’s freshest produce and seafood. Set under an open bamboo structure, this elegant restaurant overlooks an expansive stretch of rice paddy, which is illuminated in the evening. The interior includes a sleek bar made of polished bamboo and a lounge area set beside a pond of white koi carp. The menu emphasises seafood and organic produce from its own farm, with dishes changing daily depending on what’s available. Typical dishes include miso-grilled triggerfish with sake-mirin crab butter; and pan seared diver scallops with mushroom ravioli.
Sarong is known for its innovative ‘gourmet street food’ menu created by top Australian chef Will Meyrick. The dishes focus on local ingredients, incorporating the flavours of Indian, Balinese, Thai, Malaysian and other Asian cuisines. The menu features seafood entrees like poached prawns with green mango, and salmon sashimi with pickled radishes. There are two dining pavilions, including a relaxed outdoor lounge, garden and bar; and a modern interior dining area decorated with dark mahogany wood tables, chandeliers, and comfortable sofas. The atmosphere is upscale yet still cozy and unpretentious.
Menega Café is widely regarded as one of the best seafood restaurants in Jimbaran, an area of Bali already known for its fantastic marine produce. The restaurant offers a diverse selection of seafood, including jumbo prawns, lobster, squid, and clams, as well as fish such as red snapper, king fish, grouper, and barracuda. Diners begin by choosing raw seafood from tanks or ice trays, which is then grilled on traditional coconut husks. Meals are served with four signature sauces, which range from sweet to spicy, along with steamed rice, stir-fried veggies and fruit. With seating at tables right on the sand, this restaurant is one of the best places on the island to watch the spectacular sunset.
Located amid tranquil gardens, Kori Restaurant & Bar is a favorite of those looking to escape Bali’s crowded Kuta Beach area. The setting is authentic and romantic, with seating in an open pavilion surrounded by ponds dotted with lotus flowers. The menu features a mixture of local and Western food, although the seafood dishes are the most popular. Highlights include the ‘Giant Hanging Seafood Grill’, fresh prawns, tuna, snapper and squid grilled on a skewer; and the ‘Singapore Chili Crab’, which is Bali black crab served with spicy sauce and steamed rice. The restaurant also offers a great selection of cocktails and live acoustic music on certain nights.
Urchin Bali is a hip restaurant that uses seafood sourced from top local suppliers to create ‘modern Australian style’ seafood. The restaurant is headed by Chef Steven Skelly, known for his successful Sydney-based restaurants. His menu features raw items like sushi and sashimi, as well as expertly prepared dishes like roasted scallops with chicken jus; and crispy skinned red snapper with almonds and sherry vinegar. The restaurant is reminiscent of a stylish beach house, with a large open kitchen dominating the centre of the room. The interior features recycled wooden tables, and a theme of sea urchin decorations inspired by the restaurant’s name.
Part of Blue Moon Villa, this restaurant perched on a cliff attracts diners with its lovely views, diverse menu, and laid-back atmosphere. Komang John’s Café’smenu features Balinese, Indonesian and Western cuisine, including fresh fish sourced daily from local fishermen. The tuna, red snapper, swordfish, mahi mahi and other fish are cooked the traditional way, grilled over coconut husks. The restaurant offers a small library and table games, with Komang John and his friend often providing musical entertainment in the evenings.
Taksu Spa & Restaurants, Bali | Image Courtesy of Sambal Shrimp
Taksu Terrace Restaurant offers a menu focused on organic ingredients in a beautiful setting overlooking jungle foliage. The restaurant’s name comes from the Balinese word for ‘spirit’. Its tranquil garden setting is designed to feel soothing for the soul. With a spa, yoga studio, and wellness workshops offered in the same space, the restaurant’s menu emphasizes the center’s health-conscious principles. The restaurant blends Western and Asian flavors, changing the menu frequently to reflect seasonal produce. Typical seafood dishes including appetizers like shrimp bruschetta; and entrees like grilled salmon fillet served with wasabi-mashed potatoes and veggies.
As Sambal Shrimp’s name suggests, this restaurant is all about seafood. Set in a traditional building, the interior is authentic and inviting with high ceilings and warm wood accents. Seating is offered both inside and in two outdoor dining areas. Although the restaurant offers a variety of seafood dishes, their speciality is shrimp. Its eponymous signature dish ‘Sambal Shrimp’ features boiled, fresh water shrimp covered the restaurant’s distinct sambal powder. Even the restaurant’s signature cocktail, the ‘Sambal Shrimp Shooter’, pays homage to shrimp, consisting of vodka, gin or tequila, gazpacho sauce and boiled shrimp.