Bali is a haven for food lovers, offering mouth-watering local cuisine and world-class dining, with something available to suit all tastes and budgets. Whether you’re hunting for the most soul-warming soto ayam, or craving a hamburger that would give New York City a run for its money, Bali provides the perfect platform for a global food safari.
Mouth-watering food can be found all over the island, with the south coast catering best to the Western palate, while the adventurous may venture further inland for meals off the beaten path or head to Denpasar for a true taste of local eating. We’ve dished our favourite locations to head to when you’ve got a food craving that needs to be squashed.
Local Balinese Food
Although not as well known for its street food as other South East Asian destinations like Thailand or Malaysia, Bali offers cheap, local food that will leave you dreaming of your next trip to the island. The best local Indonesian food can be found in the warungs (which literally translates to mean “shop”) which can be found all over Bali. These small, casual restaurants offer no-frills dining, serving home cooked meals for just a couple of dollars. Warungs usually offer a small number of traditional dishes cooked according to old family recipes, and this is where you’ll find the best Indonesian food. They don’t often have much signage, but are easily identifiable as they are always packed with locals. Look out for local specialities like nasi goreng, soto ayam, gado gado, lawar, babi guling, nasi campur and bebek betutu.
Some good starting points for local bites include:
- Warung Padmasari: Jl. Padma Tim. No.14, Legian
- Warung Mak Beng: Jalan Hang Tuah 45, Sanur
- Sate Plecing Arjuna: Corner Jalan Arjuna and Yudistira, Denpasar
Fine Dining in Bali
Some of the world’s best chefs can be found cooking up a storm in Bali’s high-end hotels, so if world-class dining is what you’re looking for, head to any five-star hotel or resort and you can be sure to be wowed by the dining options. For example, Il Ristorante in Uluwatu’s Bulgari Resort was crowned the Best Hotel Restaurant in The World by International Food & Beverage Forum, while Ju-Ma-Na at The Banyan Tree won Best Fine Dining Restaurant in Indonesia. You don’t have to be a guest at any of the hotels to dine there, so even if the hotel is out of your budget it can be worth the splurge for an opulent dining experience. Do your research and you can find plenty of other award-winning restaurants and gastronomies around Bali, like Mozaic, which is the only restaurant in South East Asia to be selected by Traditions & Qualité as one of Les Grandes Tables du Monde.
Check out these fine dining favourites:
- Ju-Ma-Na: Ungasan, South Kuta, Badung Regency
- Il Ristorante: Jl. Uluwatu, Pecatu, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung,
- Mozaic: Jl. Raya Sanggingan, Kedewatan, Ubud
Best Heath Food
Bali has long been a destination for health-conscious travellers, offering juice bars and vegetarian cafes long before the clean-eating movement became popular. While you’ll find gorgeous health cafes all over the major tourist towns in Bali, Ubud is the hands-down winner when it comes to vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, macro-biotic and raw food options. The book and subsequent movie starring Julia Roberts, Eat Pray Love, sent hordes of karma-conscious yogis and spiritual seekers to the lush jungles of Ubud, resulting in an influx of health focused cafes catering to a wide range of dietary needs. Think turmeric lattes, wheatgrass shots, tofu, green smoothies, macro-bowls, protein balls, raw chocolate and just about every other health food fad you can think of, and chances are you will find it in the cafes of Ubud.
Treat yourself to these heath food favourites:
- Yoga Barn Kafe: Jl. Raya Pengosekan, Ubud, Gianyar
- Clear Cafe: Jalan Hanoman No. 8, Ubud
- Earth Cafe: Jl. Lesmana/Oberoi No. 99 Seminyak or Jl. Gautama Selatan Ubud
Bali’s Hip Eateries
Ever since Instagram made #foodporn famous, hip new eateries catering to the trendy, hipster crowd have been popping up quicker than we can keep track of, and in no area of Bali will you find more of these uber-hip restaurants than Seminyak. Seminyak has a reputation for attracting upper-class travellers, but the ever-rising popularity of trendy eateries means Seminyak is starting to draw a younger crowd looking for the next Instagram-worthy meal to post to their social media followers. Think vibrant, unique interior designs, quirky restaurant names and menus with more in common with Bondi Beach than Bali – but we’re talking seriously delicious stuff. Standouts include Sea Circus, Motel Mexicola, Revolver Espresso, Sisterfields and Saigon Street.
For the hippest eateries in Seminyak, check out these hot spots:
- Motel Mexicola: Jl Kayu Jati No 9, Petingenget Beach, Seminyak
- Sea Circus: Jl. Kayu Aya No.22, Seminyak
- Sisterfields: Jl. Kayu Cendana no. 7, Seminyak
Fast Food in Bali
While half the fun of travelling is trying new foods, sometimes after a few days of adventurous eating you can find yourself dreaming of the tastes of home. If you’re looking for familiar food, there’s no better place to head than Kuta. Kuta is filled with Western fast-food options and restaurant chains, and you’ll find everything here from Burger King to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Head to any of Kuta’s shopping malls and you can get your daily dose of Starbucks or grab a Cold Rock Ice Cream, while most fast food chains like KFC and even McDonalds will deliver right to your hotel room. Travellers seeking a true cultural experience will cringe at these options, but fast food delivery is incredibly popular with partygoers seeking hangover cures from the comfort of bed, and can be really helpful for families with younger kids who are picky about what they eat. For something a little different from the tired old options you can find at home, there are plenty of local Balinese takes on classic fast food.
Sink your teeth into these fast food classics: