Eating! One of my very favorite things! Bali offered no shortage of great things to eat, so let’s get right to it…
Aside from the so-so menu at our hotel and the infamous Babi Guling (suckling pig) from Ibu Oka that I wasn’t very impressed with, everything we ate in Ubud was seriously amazing. Everything was so bright and fresh and flavorful, I couldn’t get enough. Their curries with the fresh flavors of lemon basil and lemongrass were my absolute favorite but I also loved the satays and spring rolls and some of the more traditional Indonesian/Balinese dishes that we tried like Gado Gado, Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng, and Nasi Campur.
A big plus of dining in Ubud was that almost everywhere we ate was so ridiculously inexpensive. There are definitely pricier options but you can easily find quality food on a tight budget here. On our last night we ate at the #1 rated restaurant in Ubud on TripAdvisor and our entire meal that included 2 beers, 3 entrees, and a dessert cost us $24. The owners are French and followed their dreams to Ubud and you can find them hanging out at the restaurant, Melting Wok Warung, most nights. Their chicken curry with coconut milk was also the most delicious curry I have ever eaten and has ruined me from all curries to come! The creme caramel dessert was also a dish to remember…
Breaking away from traditional cuisine for a night, we also gave Naughty Nuri’s Warung and Grill BBQ a try. This expat haunt is about a 20 minute walk from Ubud Center along rickety sidwalks, but just look for the line of people out front and the large plumes of smoke from the grill that sits alongside the road and you’ll know you found the right place. Anthony Bourdain deemed their martinis “the best in the world” and I can vouch that the margaritas offer quite the kick as well…the heat and smoke from the grill will encourage you to have several. The ribs and pork chops that we tried weren’t quite at the Kansas City level but they were still pretty darn good and left me wanting more!
We found a great bar/restaurant, Oops Restaurant and Bar (that’s actually the name), that had 2 for 1 mojitos during happy hour. Their mojitos were some of the best I’ve ever had and the list of flavors was a mile long (the strawberry was my personal favorite!). They have indoor and outdoor seating with options for people watching along the main road up front or green, serene views out back. We didn’t have a chance to eat here but all the food that came out looked delcious! The close proximity to Ubud Center makes this the perfect place to start your evening!
Another great find thanks to TripAdvisor was Seniman Coffee Studio. Even if you don’t like coffee I would definitely recommend stopping in. They have juices, Indonesian cuisine, free wi-fi, indoor and outdoor seating, coffee making workshops, and of course…coffee! Cold, hot, espresso, latte, liqueur…coffee any way you like it! We went with the 5 variety taster and it was a great way to try several different varieties. Don’t waste your money on the over-hyped Luwak coffee, visit Seniman for the real deal.
Although the chicken curry from the Melting Wok was my favorite dish of the trip, my favorite meals weren’t actually from restaurants at all. The best meals we ate were the traditional Balinese meals eaten in the homes of Balinese families. We took a cooking class (Paon Bali) at the home of Wayan and Puspa where we actually helped cook the food ourselves and we also had a meal at Yoga’s home after a countryside cycling tour with his company, Halo Bike Tours. More on both of these activities in a future post because they definitely deserve more than a few lines here. The point is-if you have the opportunity for a home cooked meal in Bali, take it!
Here’s a rundown of everywhere we ate in Ubud and a few places we would’ve tried if we just had a little more time….
Where we ate in Ubud
Melting Wok Warung: The BEST chicken curry! The creme caramel dessert is also a great treat. Inexpensive, reservations necessary
Warung Schnitzel: Indonesian cuisine + schnitzel! Nice atmosphere just off the main road, inexpensive, great green chicken curry special
Seniman Coffee: Relaxed coffee shop and studio with Indonesian cuisine and free wi-fi
Naughty Nuri’s: BBQ in Bali, a popular spot for expats and visitors, hot and smokey, the best martinis according to Anthony Bourdain
Oops Restaurant & Bar: 2 for 1 mojitos during happy hour, great location, great people watching
Cafe Wayan: Stopped in for lunch and wasn’t too impressed with their Nasi Campur, but the open-air seating out back in the gardens is fantastic
Ibu Oka: Most well-known spot for babi guling in Ubud but in my opinion, it wasn’t all that great
Restaurants we would’ve tried in Ubud if we had more time
Mosaic: Multiple courses, small beautiful plates. This is the place to go if you want to spend some $$$ on dinner in Ubud
Fair Warung Bale: Trades spots with the Melting Wok for #1 restaurant in Ubud on TripAdvisor, inexpensive and all for a great cause
Bali Buda: Wide variety of options perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or in between. Vegan/vegetarian friendly options, juices, bakery, coffee, ice cream, indonesian dishes, sandwiches, and even pizza!