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, http://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. Dinner is dégustation-only and often booked up weeks in advance due to the TripAdvisor factor – lunch is à la carte, and it’s usually easy to get a table round 12 or 2.30.
Jalan Dewi Sita, +62 (0)361 977 733, http://restaurantlocavore.com
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 a couple of doors down from Nuri’s, Room 4 Dessert is his new dessert bar, and if a nine-course sharing dégustation, or perhaps a cocktail-dessert pairing, is your idea of fun, you’re in the right place. It’s open from 7pm till late.
Jalan Raya Sanggingan, +62 (0)361 553 2598
Ubud’s Best Speciality Restaurants
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
Italian: Mamma Mia
Whether it’s polpe e patate, a rucola salad, or hand-made pasta or pizza, this is an excellent value, low-key Italian restaurant, down close to Arma. If you’re craving la bella Italia, come here.
Jalan Raya Pengosekan, +62 (0)361 918 5056, facebook.com/MammaMiaBali
A lovely, light and breezy cafe in pretty Penestanan, complete with swings out back for kids – or kidults – this is all vegan, all raw, all organic and genuinely effective. Salad bar offerings, with toppings such as cashew “feta”, are stellar, as are juices; the raw desserts and raw chocolate can be highly successful.
Jalan Penostenan Kelod, +62 (0)361 971 981, alchemybali.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. A great choice with kids, who can charge around the football field while you relax with the papers.
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.
Jalan Pengosekan,+62 361 2123818, tacocasabali.com
Scarlet globe chairs and an expansive garden make this is a sophisticated spot to bring older spawn of an evening. Reliably good sushi and sashimi, plus cocktails and wine for the grownups.
Jalan Bisma, +62 (0)361 971424, rougebali.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 Sriwedari, +62 (0)361 970 744, warungschnitzel.com
Best Indonesian Restaurants in Ubud
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, and portions of meat and skin are much larger.
Jalan Suweta (by the Royal Palace), no phone, no website
If you want an overview of Indonesia’s diverse cuisine, all in one place, “Tasty Restaurant” is as good a place as any to start in Ubud. The menu comes complete with explanations of where the dishes come from and what they’re made of.
Jalan Pengosekan, +62 (0)361 972 911, warungenakbali.com
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
The food at Lotus is pleasant enough, but what makes the place is when there’s a dance at the temple next door. You can sit and eat ayam betutu, or bebek betutu, watching the dancers do their thing, though ringside tables are priced a little higher.
Jalan Raya Ubud, +62 (0)361 975 660, cafelotusubud.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
Nuri’s martinis are legendary, and the Bloody Marys aren’t half-bad. And that’s still the case even though Nuri’s husband, Brian, recently passed away. Ribs, while you’re hitting the hard stuff, are a succulent Bali legend. Be aware that Indonesia taxes imported spirits at a swingeing 400%.
Jalan Raya Sanggingan, +62 (0)361 977 547, no website
A delightful coffee shop with wares from all over the island, and their provenances explained, plus an airy terrace that’s absolutely perfect for laptop luggers. Naturally, they do juices, too.
5 Jalan Sriwedari, +62 (0)361 972 085, facebook.com/senimankopi
A remarkably slick downstairs bar – the toilets, with koi carp circling round the back, vaut le voyage in itself. Cocktails tend to the tropical fruit flavours but are reliably well-made.
Jalan Raya Ubud, +62 (0)361 975053, dekco.com/aryswarung/
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 Bali travel information, check out this post on places to stay in Bali