Where to eat in Bali is the main question asked over sunset drinks. Bali is an absolute hot-spot for foodies, with options available to suit all tastes and budgets, from cheap local home cooking to luxurious five-star international cuisine. With so many incredible choices available, whichever dining option you choose will be amazing, but it’s making the decision that’s the hard part. Mu guide aims to help you make the choice about where to eat in Bali, along with some recommendations of Bali’s best and most popular restaurants which are amongst my favourite places to eat in Bali.
Where to eat in Bali: Prices
Bali is an affordable holiday destination for travellers, but it’s no longer the ultra-cheap Asian destination it once was and many visitors to the island are surprised to find a lot of restaurants now on par with western prices. Your budget alone may determine where you choose to eat, so if you’re on a shoestring, doing some research before you head out will help you stick within your budget while still giving you the chance to sample the mouth-watering foods Bali has to offer.
Remember that alcohol is heavily taxed in Bali, so if you choose to treat your friends to a few corked bottles, you might wind up having to earn your meal by way of doing the dishes. Beer and some cocktails can be incredibly cheap, but wine is imported and can cost a lot more than you would pay for it at home, so keep an eye on your tab to avoid any shock when reaching for your bill.
Low Range – Where to eat in Bali
For those on a budget, warungs will be hands-down be your best bet, with excellent local meals costing around $3-$8 depending on what you order. Warung food is the most cost effective option (as well as the tastiest), and is always best to buy earlier in the day when the food is fresh and therefore safer for consumption.
- Warung Ocha: A small little warung in Seminyak. Easy to spot, the food is amazing and it’s very cheap. Ocha is the owner’s name – he’s an Italian expat living in Bali but sure knows his way around Indonesian cooking.
- Made’s Warung: A well-established warung that’s considered a must-see for visitors to Bali. They have classic Indonesian food, western food and even pizza, all at affordable prices.
Mid-range – Where to eat in Bali
If your budget allows for a little stretch while still staying within limits, you can expect to pay $8-20 (depending on what you order) at quality mid-range restaurants in Bali. When deciding where to eat in Bali in the mid-range price tag, you’ll have a proper café to sit in, with attentive waiters available to take your order. The mid-range options are generally western driven, and offer a nice blend of atmosphere and tasty food.
- La Cassetta: A small Italian restaurant with traditional cooking, just how mamma use to make.
- Green Ginger: Vegan and vegetarian food freshly made, best for an easy lunch or dinner.
- Betelnut Café: Healthy, fresh and happy foods served best for breakfast, as an after surf brunch or high-energy lunch.
High end – Where to eat in Bali
If your budget allows you to splurge, spending from $20-$40 can get you an incredible meal in one of Bali’s many high-end restaurants, although the bill can be dramatically more expensive depending on how upper scale the restaurant is. High-end restaurants in Bali are great for dinner, or even just sunset drinks, as they typically have music playing with space for dancing, not to mention that the evening food and bar menus are spectacular. These trendy venues attract the hippest of Bali’s expats and travellers, and can be a great way to meet new people.
- Potato Head: Great bar scene and caters to large parties
- Petitenget: Delivers exceptional service and food with generous portions
- KuDeTa: Serves global gourmet cuisine with bold flavours, flaunting high quality presentation in a party-vibes atmosphere
Where to eat in Bali: Breakfast/Brunch
My recommendations for breakfast and brunch in Bali are based on atmosphere and great service. If you partied the night before and need a little extra pampering, a majority of Bali’s breakfast spots now offer energizing juices and health tonics to help bring your body levels back to balance.
- Biku Café: A unique combination that blends a book store, tea lounge and restaurant for casual, laid back breakfasts in a cute little environment
- Cous Cous: A lovely cafe lounge, serving a blend of Morocco and healthy Middle Eastern inspired food
If you wish to spurge on a high-end brunch, I suggest:
- W Hotel: This is where the world’s finest meats, seafood and spices are introduced to Asian flavours by way of Western preferences, in a five-star hotel right on Seminyak beach
- Regis: Guests have access to a generous selection of imported artisan foods, wines, and coffee from around the globe.
What are the rules and etiquette when dining in Bali?
The dining rules and etiquette in Bali are virtually the same as in the west, except in the budget places where you do not have to wait to be seated. In Padang style Indonesian warungs, where the pre-cooked food is in full view, you will get a plate of steamed rice and then choose what you want to eat, receiving a ticket and paying for your meal before you leave. If you need attention from the wait staff, just look in their direction and raise your hand. In Indonesian, the word ‘permisi’ means ‘excuse me’, so if you want to give your Bahasa a go, say “Permisi blee” to a waiter, “Permisi mbah” to a waitress.
In a restaurant or tourist warung, it’s not unusual for your food to arrive before other members of your group. In Indonesia, it is fine to start eating before other people.
Service and tax equalling 21% will be charged in restaurants, but not in warungs. Tipping is not a Balinese tradition, however if you would like to leave an extra 5-10% the staff will certainly appreciate it. Warungs will not usually accept credit cards but credit cards will, so you should always come prepared with cash just in case. If in doubt, ask the wait staff before ordering to avoid getting caught-out without a way to pay at the end of your meal.
Where to eat in Bali: Food Safety
Although it’s wise to take care when deciding where to eat in Bali, remember there are no rules and no guarantees regarding what will be safe and what won’t, so don’t stress yourself out too much trying to avoid certain foods. Some people will become ill from eating in the local markets while others won’t, yet some may become ill from eating in the most exclusive hotel or restaurant. It’s an unfortunate risk you take when eating in Bali.
There are several possible illnesses that can be contracted from food or from poor hygiene in food preparation areas. Generally, getting sick from food in Bali is infamously known as “Bali Belly”, with symptoms that can include anything from a mildly sore stomach to outright retching abdominal pain. If you experience vomiting or diarrhoea that doesn’t go away, go to a pharmacist at once as they will generally be able to prescribe an antibiotic to make sure your Bali Belly doesn’t ruin the rest of your holiday.
Most people who travel to Bali regularly will have a story to tell regarding getting sick from food. Myself, I have fallen victim to Bali Belly in an organic food restaurant. Once I recovered, I returned to the place to inform them of my misfortune and asked if the food was prepared using gloves. The man who worked there replied yes, but when I asked if the gloves were new each time for preparation, he gave me the strangest look, as in to question who in their right mind changes gloves to prepare food… Ugh!