I’ve updated my old post on eating in Ubud to include (I hope) the very best restaurants Ubud has to offer: this version is current as of February 2017. If you’re interested in food, and around in May, try not to miss the annual Ubud Food Festival, an assemblage of things and people good and edible that began in 2015.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, meanwhile, please do visit my post on where to stay in Ubud.
Ubud’s Best Restaurants for Special Occasions
People bitch and moan about the prices here, but I can’t see why. Chris Salans, who trained with Thomas Keller, inter alia, serves outstanding, creative dégustation menus in a dazzling, tranquil garden in leafy Campuhan. The cooking is modernist European with Balinese flavours, and this food in this setting would cost at least four times the price in most parts of the world.
Jalan Raya Sangginggan, +62 (0)361 975 768, mozaic-bali.com
A low-key environment for extremely creative cooking, courtesy of Ray Adriansyah and Eelke Plasmeijer. The food is beautifully presented, and based almost entirely on local ingredients, hence the name. The dégustation-only sittings are often booked up weeks in advance, a situation that their position as best restaurant in Indonesia on Asia’s 50 Best is not likely to ameliorate. Order the 7-course dégustation, which comes in omnivore and herbivore, with the drink pairings.
Jalan Dewi Sita, +62 (0)361 977 733, locavore.co.id
Room 4 Dessert
Will Goldfarb is the pastry chef’s pastry chef, a texture fiend who speaks at conferences around the world. Opposite NEKA and not far from Mozaic, Room 4 Dessert is a sexy contemporary dessert and cocktail bar. If a nine-course sharing dégustation, or perhaps a cocktail-dessert pairing, is your idea of fun, you’ve come to the right place. It’s open from 7pm till late, and the drinks, many with housemade spirits, are amaze.
Jalan Raya Sanggingan, +62 (0)361 553 2598, room4dessert.asia
Celebrity street food chef Will Meyrick, of Sarong fame, turns his attention to Indonesia exclusively in this casual but still very special central Ubud opening. Dishes come from across the archipelago, all spun through Meyrick’s technicolor pan-Asian filter. The feel is cool, colonial and relaxed, and the pricing is a little more friendly than the other event options.
5 Jalan Sri Wedari, +62 (0)813 3972 0306, hujanlocale.com
Ubud’s Best Speciality Restaurants
This lovely, light and airy raw vegan restaurant looks out over the ricefields of Penestanan, complete with its own garden for home-made delights. Desserts, including a raw passionfruit “cheesecake” are standouts, but the range of mains and juices, from raw pasta through to raw tacos, continues to impress. Chef-patron Made Runatha was at Five Elements before coming here, making this a must for anyone who’s curious about raw food.
Banjar Kutuh, Sayan, Ubud, +62 813 3977 4787, moksaubud.com
Steak: Café Des Artistes
Starters and puds can be a little uneven here, but the steaks and sides are simply fab. Great hunks of bleeding imported beef, served with your choice of sides and sauce: the Cafe de Paris comes with a fantastic garlic and herb butter. The garden area is cute and prettily lit.
9x Jalan Bisma, +62 (0)361 972 706, cafedesartistesbali.com
High-end Japanese fusion – think snapper sashimi with a wakame and green leaf salad – is served in a pristine white space or the beautiful, fountain-centred garden. Japanese classics from gyoza onwards are also on offer.
Jalan Raya Sanggingan, +62 (0)361 970 013, minami-bali.com
Best Ubud Restaurants with Kids
The breakfasts here are stellar, with Eggs Benedict to die for, smooth lattes and good-quality bangers. The Western-Asian menu later in the day is very reliable, and the consistency, over the seven years I’ve been coming here, is phenomenal. A great choice with kids, who can charge around the football field while you relax with the papers, or as a place to catch up on work when you’ve dropped them off at Pondok Pekak.
Jalan Dewi Sita, +62 (0)361 975 754, tutmak.com
The Ubud branch of the mini-chain of taco joints does not disappoint. It’s a simple concept, done extremely well and very reasonably priced: order from the minimalist menu, or build your own tacos from the list on offer. The salsa and the guac are great, the meat is perfectly spiced, and staff are super-helpful. This is modern, no-frills Mexican as it was meant to be.
Jalan Pengosekan, +62 (0)361 212 3818, tacocasabali.com
Craving bangers and mash? Look no further! The schnitzels at Schnitzel aren’t amazing, but sausages come in a range of flavours, from chorizo through to bratwurst, with every accompaniment you could wish for. No garden, but there are beanbags upstairs.
2 Jalan Sri Wedari, +62 (0)361 970 744, warungschnitzel.com
Best Indonesian Restaurants in Ubud
The grand old man of Indonesian street food, William Wongso, created the menu at this ricefield joglo joint down the bottom of Jalan Hanoman, and dishes span the archipelago. If you’re looking for an introduction to the sheer diversity of Indonesian food, generally served prettified but unaltered, this should be your first stop. Standouts include binte biluhuta Gorontalo, a coconut, sweetcorn and shrimp soup, and Wongso’s signature nasi goreng, daringly
hybridised with rendang.
Jalan Hanoman, +62( 0)361 846 8933, manisanbali.com
Arang Sate Bar
The sheer diversity of Indonesian sate comes out for a spin in this casual but stylish restaurant not far from the Royal Palace. You can enjoy classic versions, like the coconut sate from Madura, as well as modernist interpretations like lamb with a stilton filling or quail’s eggs. All comes courtesy of Agung Nugroho, the guy that brought you Fat Gajah in Seminyak.
8 Jalan Raya Ubud, +62 (0)361 479 2199, satearang.com
People are very rude about Ibu Oka, because it’s “touristy” and “expensive”. This remains one of the best restaurants Ubud has — probably THE best restaurant Ubud has — to introduce people to the joys of Balinese sucking pig (babi guling). Hygiene is more pernickety than in a local joint, portions of meat and skin are much larger, there’s much more space and there’s a drinks license. If you’re still after authenticity get up at 6am and go to Ubud Market.
Jalan Suweta (by the Royal Palace), 11am-6pm daily
A Western chef with a Balinese wife champions traditional Balinese cuisine, with high-end style. The restaurant is a longstanding Ubud favourite, while the cooking courses are fantastic.
Jalan Monkey Forest, +62 (0)361 976 698, balifoods.com
Puteri Minang Padang
Padang food is a spicy style of cooking that originated in Sumatra but has since spread across the archipelago: it brought us beef rendang, inter alia. There are tonnes of Padang food joints in Ubud, all with their wares on display in the window, but Puteri Minang Padang has a reliably large selection at typically bargain basement prices.
Jalan Raya Ubud (near Ganesha bookshop), no phone, no website
Best Spots For Drinks in Ubud
If you love the cocktails at Locavore, you’ll love their new bar, just around the corner from the original restaurant over Golden Monkey Chinese. Bartender Raka works his flavour magic to craft concoctions using home-made liqueurs, liquor and juices, some a homage to the tastes of the archipelago, others more classically styled. Cocktailians visiting Ubud should go here and Room 4 Dessert, end of story.
10 Jalan Dewi Sita Ubud, +62 (0)819 9917 1886, locavore.co.id
Ubud is not known for its buzzing late-night scene – even during the Bali Spirit Festival, the hippie drummers turn in early. So if you’re out late and want to have fun, you’ll be in CP Lounge, because it’s open until a stellar-for-Ubud 4am. It’s a good laugh, the drinks are generally cold, and it’s right on the football field for an easy stagger home, so you really can’t complain.
Monkey Forest Road, +62 (0)361 978 954, cp-lounge.com
Seniman Coffee Studio
This delightful coffee shop offers wares from all over the island, with their provenances explained, plus an airy terrace that’s absolutely perfect for laptop luggers. One for the serious coffee geek, their baristas offer variations on the basic coffee from all over the world, from a Taiwanese pour-over to your latest nitrous cold-press nonsense.
5 Jalan Sriwedari, +62 (0)361 972 085, facebook.com/senimankopi
And Finally, for Ice Cream…
The main branch, out at Gaya Fusion art gallery, has a stellar selection of flavours: don’t miss the chocolate-orange “sorbetto”. All are organic, natural and delicious – and they deliver within the Ubud area, too.
Jalan Raya Sayan, +62 (0)361 979 252, gayafusion.com
Gorgeously playful and inventive gelato, from the fertile brains of an Italian couple. Fabulously fun, in an ever-changing feast of flavours.
Jalan Monkey Forest, +62 361 8989630, gelatosecrets.com
Any of your favourites missing here? Do let me know — if I haven’t been I’ll get down there and add them in. And, if you’re looking for more Ubud travel information, check out this post on where you should stay in Ubud.