Eating in Bali is all kinds of fun, dining that’s fancy, basic and everything inbetween. When I knew I was headed to Bali I was super excited about trying local cuisine, and other than one bad experience I wasn’t disappointed.
Bali is bursting with culinary choices for all different budgets and palettes. There’s your typical western takeaway (which we didn’t eat), street stalls, family restaurants, cafes, bars, fine dining restaurants and lots, lots more. Honestly, the choices are overwhelming, which is why (thanks to your suggestions) I had a bit of a plan of where I wanted to eat.
Every morning we chose to eat breakfast at the hotel, mostly for convenience and because it was included in our package, but also because it gave us the opportunity to chat with and get to know the staff. Our hotel had a fairly basic breakfast, we could choose to have eggs anyway including from the omelette making dude and fancy juices along with bacon, sausages, rice, noodles, cereals, fruit, pastries, French toast and even deep fried banana.
We didn’t overload on breakfast (except for the first couple of days) because I wanted to leave room for scrummy lunches and dinners. Seminyak and the mountains are my picks for the most amazing culinary experiences. Oh man we had some fantastic meals in Bali, total ‘experiences’ that tantalised all the senses.
So where did we eat? Here’s my 5 favourites….
MOTEL MEXICOLA -Seminyak
This place stole my heart. It was love at first sight as soon as I clapped eyes on the colourful exterior I just knew I was going to have a good night. Inside is a feast for the eyes, Mexican themed, lots of white, lots of punchy colour, amazing tiles, stone walls, breeze block walls, open air rooftop, people everywhere smiling and laughing and dancing. I’m in bliss just thinking back about that night.
This is a place that has a party atmosphere, you’re encouraged to dance, even on your chairs and sometime on the tabletops. There was a crazy conga line, a wedding party all in cool coastal white clothing that drew us in to their celebrations. Then there were the amazing cocktails ($30 Margarita jugs and espresso martini) and the best Mexican I’ve ever eaten. Ever!
The food was clean, fresh and the guacamole was hands down the best! We chose the $20 banquet (each) which gave us tastings of multiple dishes. Bali is hot and humid and to be honest big meals are just not needed. Save the room for amazing cocktails and thirst quenching juices instead.
To end the night the owner ran around the room with bottles of tequila, patrons danced and clapped to the song ‘tequila’ while he pour shots down our throats…sooo much crazy holiday fun!! Find ‘Motel Mexicola’ on Facebook HERE
THE KITCHENETTE – Kuta beach walk.
We stumbled on this place one night while walking along the beach at Kuta. It’s part of the ‘beach walk’ complex and we loved it so much we made multiple visits.
The kitchenette is a creperie that also serves home cooked goodness to satisfy all palettes. There’s Italian, Mexican, Indonesian and more. The salad bowls were huge, the Mac and cheese satisfied me late one evening, frappes and iced coffees were ace and the local Indonesian meals got the thumbs up. They also do brilliant juices and green smoothies.
With an ‘industrial modern’ interior that felt homely the Kitchenette was more ‘western’, it was very clean with friendly staff. ‘Tia’ was our favourite waitress, so friendly and bubbly. The outside deck had lounging beds as well as tables where you could people watch and view the craziness on the streets.
If you go try the banana bread dessert- AHmazing! I was a fan of the iced coffee, you need to add some sugar (comes in liquid form in a little jug) to these but the coffee packs a punch. Find ‘The Kitchenette’ on Facebook HERE
POTATO HEAD – Seminyak
Now this place was fun, set just back from the beach it’s a multicultural feast of food and tasty cocktails with great coffee, I highly recommend you pop in. Designed as a modern take on a colosseum and clad in teak shutters the entry is breathtaking, you just have to stop to take it all in and of course take a photo.
Once inside you’ll see multiple bars, restaurants and an infinity pool. The days are a little quieter than the evenings but this is a popular place and it fills up so it might be worth booking a table or poolside cabana in peak season. Anything goes when it comes to what to wear, some dressed up while others were only clad in a bikini. I chose to wear my five dollar market frock and sandals and felt fabulous…or maybe that was the cocktail talking 🙂
We chose our seats and ordered cocktails (of course), mine was the ‘Kookaburra’ with a massive head of to die for passion fruit foam that I’m still dreaming about. The huz chose the ‘Wai tai’ with Jamaican rum and citrus.
On to lunch, open sandwiches with lobster and crab topped with loads of aromatic coriander….swoon. Our sandwiches came with some pretty fabulous vege chips but we also ordered fries because I was on holidays and that’s what I do.
All up we paid $93 for two cocktails, two sandwiches, fries and a coke and they threw in the coffee. A little pricey for Bali with more western prices but totally worth it for the ‘experience’. Find ‘Potato Head’ on Facebook HERE.
SARDINE – Seminyak
We jumped in a cab thinking we would head to Revolver for a light dinner and halfway to Seminyak I asked the driver if he knew where Sardine was. He did and offered to take us the instead, I said “yes” and the rest is history. Now, while we exited the cab and jagged a table straight away I would recommend you book in advance, the universe was definitely in play for us that night.
Sardine is a massive bamboo structure overlooking rice field paddies and duck ponds. During the day the ducks roam free but on the night we were there they were tucked up in bed in their timber shed. There’s carp in the pond too which are definitely not served. Nuh uh, Sardine serves the best of the best only.
Sure you’ll find fish (including sardines) I had Barramundi while the Mister had Kingfish all served with organic greens and the most amazing brown rice dish that’s ever passed my lips.
The ambiance was stunning, candle torches lighting the path through the ponds to the rice paddies, with large illuminated black and white check parasols and potted plants. There was a stunning lounging area with the most incredible bamboo lounges and chairs, we decided to move to the lounges for dessert which was romantic AND tasty, winning!
Dessert blew my mind, my pictures are shit but the food was freaking fabulous! The huz had ‘tarte tartin’ and I ordered a mango crime brûlée thingy that I’m still dreaming about.
The service at Sardine was seriously the best I’ve ever had, no detail was overlooked and we certainly felt special while still feeling relaxed. Dinner with cocktails, mains and dessert and coffee was $94 and came with a free appetizer of a deconstructed Waldorf salad…very cool. Find ‘Sardine’ on Facebook HERE
TebaSari – on the way to Ubud.
On our second day in Bali we hired a driver and took a day trip up to Ubud, which is something I highly recommend. Our driver took us to the most stunning restaurant that was set over a fish pond and overlooked rice paddies. I couldn’t remember the name, but thanks to some readers they knew what I was talking about and it’s Bebek TebaSari.
The inside of the restaurant was all bamboo and an artwork in itself, while the view was lush green as far as the eye could see.
The restaurant is split into two levels and then if you go downstairs and across the footbridge you can dine in little huts that are literally on the pond…just magical. On arrival we were served a complimentary refreshing lemon drink mango chips with a chutney dipping sauce. I ordered and devoured the duck and the huz had fish, it was all the yum!
We paid around $35 for our meals which included extra drinks we ordered. The view though, that’s priceless. You can find TebaSari on Facebook HERE.
There are soooo many cafes and restaurants in Bali, thousands! Some look tired and dodgy but can be delightfully good, some are stuff that dreams are made of and are worth every rupees just for the experience. We didn’t quibble over how much we spent on any meal as it was our first trip to Bali and I wanted to do what I wanted and not think about money. You can definitely eat like a king on a budget in Bali but it’s nice to treat yourself too.
Trust your gut when choosing where to eat, if it’s busy then it must be good. We steered clear of salads other than at reputable restaurants because I didn’t want or need the dreaded Bali Belly. All accounts come with a food and service charge and if you eat ‘on’ the beach it’s extra. It’s up to you whether you tip, personally we always did.
We ate at Jimbarren Bay on the beach and my advice is save your dollars. We paid $200 for some of the worst seafood ever and the beach was heaving with tourists, not the romantic evening I had envisioned and we were outa there in under two hours.
I missed out on eating at a few highly recommended places, if you get to Bali before me then check out Sarong, Ku De Ta, Biku and Sundara and Mamasan. I desperately wanted to try them all but ran out of time, oh well it gives me an excuse to book another trip right ?
We only scratched the surface of eating in Bali but what wonderful food and experiences we had. Feel free to add your favourite places to eat in Bali in the comments, I’m sure people reading and planning a trip to Bali will appreciate it.