So you moved to a tropical island paradise away from the city life. You happily slipped your feet into a pair of Havaianas, tucked your makeup bag in the farthest corner of your wardrobe, and planned to enjoy wearing a torn t-shirt, eating street food and drinking Bintangs for the rest of eternity. But to your surprise, you started to miss all that glam and champagne much faster than you expected.
Luckily, Bali is the island of contrasts, and the posh part of island life is as equally developed as the budget one. So put on those high heels and red lipstick, dress up your date in a nice collared shirt and go dine in style!
Welcome to part one of our guide to the best restaurants in Seminyak.
Merah Putih – an elegant take on traditional Indonesian savours
Let’s start with hot tip number one: begin your evening with an aperitif at the bar. The menu’s selection of traditional and signature cocktails – created with the use of local fruits and spices by one of Bali’s most knowledgeable mixologist, Agung Ari – is accompanied by a broad range of fine wines and premium imported spirits, some of which are quite exclusive and won’t find in many bars around Bali.
The young coconut mojito and the pomelo gimlet are two perfect examples of how well-known and popular concoctions have been twisted to incorporate Indonesian flavours.
The tables and seats at the bar are positioned to keep you nested in its secluded atmosphere, to save spoiling the magnificent view witnessed as one enters the main dining area of the restaurant.
The design of this space deserves a special mention – it is undoubtedly one of a kind. The tall ceiling is supported by translucent columns and glass walls, which are not only visually spectacular, but also functional at the same time. The windows are made of UV-filtered glass, which keeps the space cool and lit with sunlight during the daytime, and the columns collect rain for the water-flow system, where it gets purified and recycled.
By implementing this system, Merah Putih doesn’t use ground water and saves power, keeping it sustainable. And if you happen to dine here during rainy season, you will appreciate the view of the rainwater running down the surface of the slightly lit columns.
The positioning of the tables and plants throughout the space gives a sense of intimacy – you feel like you are sitting away from the other guests even when the restaurant is full.
The name “Merah Putih” means “Red White” and refers to the colours of the Indonesian flag, which in turn hints to the cuisine specialty of this fine establishment. At the base of the menu is traditional Indonesian cuisine. You are expected to dine Asian style, with the dishes placed in the middle of the table and the guests sharing all the food that gets ordered.
Executive chef Kieran Morland has separated the menu at Merah Putih into sections, presenting an opportunity to discover two unique trends of Indonesian cuisine.
The ‘traditional’ section of the menu consists of the dishes that are prepared according to simple, authentic recipes, using the finest locally sourced produce.
Viewed from an alternative angle, ‘baru’ or ‘modern’ are culinary creations from a more modern era, challenged with the delicate tastes and aromas of local spice markets and food halls. Indonesian fusion, you may say.
Merah Putih’s 12-hour slow cooked babi guling and fresh grilled Jimbaran style ikan bakar are just a couple of the classic local dishes that are presented in a modern fashion without altering their original textures and flavours.
There are some other absolutely-must-try dishes on the menu; babi panggang (pork belly pancakes with kecap manis and pickled radish); beef shin bak pao (rendang beef bakpao with cucumber and sambal bajak); tahu isi terong (vegetable tofu fritters with eggplant and oyster mushroom); padang crispy boneless duck with rendang sauce; and Flores king prawns with mind blowing house made seaweed noodles.
These delicacies are just to name a few – the colourful list goes on.
Overall, Merah Putih will give you a true high-end dining experience whilst welcoming you to a “taste” of Indonesia.
Sip – the discreet charm of the wine loving bourgeoisie
This tiny little gem on busy Jalan Seminyak will surprise and delight. When entering Sip, you find yourself in the atmosphere of a European bistrot; the space is small, romantic and intimate despite its street side location.
If we had to name the one best thing about this restaurant, the thing that really makes it stand out, our answer would be “attention to the detail”. And that extends to everything – the service, the menu, the wine list. Even the bathrooms feel like boudoirs – everything is top-notch quality.
The owner of the restaurant, Christian Vannequé, is an acclaimed sommelier and wine lover, so the wine list is extensive and showcases exquisite options for both bottles and by the glass sections. The prices range from $40 to $700 per bottle, catering to the varying budgets and tastes that walk through the door.
Even the bathrooms feel like boudoirs – everything is top-notch quality.
There are usually special deals on the “Wine of the Month” as well as the wine sampler – 4 different wines, a quarter of a glass each. The sampler gives you an opportunity to taste a few options before choosing your full glass or bottle. Every Tuesday you can join the so-called “Wine Sock” evening. What’s a “Wine Sock”, you say? Order your food, inform your waiter if it’s red, white or rosé you prefer, and advise your budget per bottle. Your wine, chosen for you by SIP, will be served hidden within a sock.
At the end of dinner you then have an opportunity to guess the grape variety of your wine. If you guess right, your first bottle is free.
But enough about the wine, let’s move onto the cuisine. Be prepared, reading the menu attentively might take a while.
The names of the dishes are complex and your brain might imagine those flavours on your taste buds, sending commands for salivation. French onion soup, Alyaskan crab ravioli, beef carpaccio that literally melts in your mouth, duck ‘a l’orange, the 7-hour lamb – these are but a few mouthwatering dishes on the menu.
SIP also offers dinner and lunch sets, as well as “Bouillon Sip” – a range of affordable starters, mains and desserts, which you can mix and match to your liking.
With such a variety of choices, you might never get bored with this restaurant. Your experience will always be fresh and fabulous. And you might want to keep it a secret too – like all the best things.
Jl.Raya Seminyak No.16A, Seminyak, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Operating hours: Sun 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm, Mon – Sat 11 am – 10:30 pm
Metis – socialites, oysters, foie gras and a lotus pond
Metis is one of Bali’s most famous and exclusive restaurants.
From the minimalistic interior to the menu, this venue is all about luxury. It gathers under one roof a fine dining restaurant, a bar, a boutique gallery and a newly opened lounge.
Upon arrival, you will enter through the gallery filled with gorgeous antiques, exclusive handmade jewellery, textile pieces, art objects from all around Asia, and an array of Buddha statues. It’s true eye candy, so take your time to wander around the space, enjoying it like a museum experience.
The fine dining area sits more than 300, yet retains a laid back chic feel. It gets elegantly busy at night, with diners schmoozing over white cloth-covered tables and dim lighting.
The chef and co-owner of the restaurant, Nicolas ‘Doudou’ Tourneville, has created a menu with roots in French cuisine, finished with an Asian touch. Think entree of escargot, main of rabbit confit or 14-hour crispy Bershire pork belly and hot Grand Marnier soufflé for dessert.
There is a special treat for all foie gras lovers out there – a separate menu dedicated to both hot and cold variations of this dish. We strongly recommend the Trilogy of Foie Gras (port wine, champagne and red wine foie gras) and Metis’ infamous pan-seared hot foie gras with port and raspberry reduction.
Metis is also known for its savouring oysters when the ‘treasure shells’ are in season. Your half or full (or few) dozen will be served to your table on a dome of ice, with lemon and perfect mignonette – classic French shallot vinaigrette.
Metis Bali has an exclusive collection of wines from around the world, as you would expect from the french restaurant of such class.
The private cellar, surrounded by wine bottles and pieces of art, is another Metis attraction. You can even book the cellar for private gatherings of up to 10 people – an experience on its own.
In May 2014 Metis opened its lounge, complete with trendy interior design, a powerful high quality sound system and gorgeous 180 degree views of rice paddies and a lotus pond – the perfect place for sunset aperitifs and tapas.
Dabble in 10 different martini variations, some classic cocktails with new twists (think Prawn Mary or Rubyrita), Spanish bites, Asian starters, some main menu interpretations and caviar. Yes, caviar.
Metis offers lunch and high tea menus, and every Friday it’s AperoChic sunset with DJs and cheap cocktails.
Metis is a relatively new restaurant on the block, with its doors only being open a few years. It gained rapid popularity thanks to the owners’ previous praising as the “ones behind Warisan”, a dining institution in Kerobokan.
Metis is a place for fine dining and wining, to see and be seen, to share a fun evening with friends or to have an intimate dinner for two. An absolute must visit.
Jalan Petitenget No.100x, Kerobokan, Seminyak, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone:+62 361 8465950
Operating hours: Noon – 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Mozaic Beachclub – relaxed seaside vibes and a treat to your tastebuds
The offspring of the famous Mozaic Restaurant in Ubud, Mozaic Beachclub is not only a gastronomy heaven – it’s a place to relax and chill away from the crowds, possibly all day long, shifting from breakfast to lunch, from sunset to dinner.
Currently in the process of changing its name (but not its philosophy) to Sea Salt, The Mozaic Beachclub offers relaxed ocean view dining in a contemporary environment. The ambience and food in this fine dining restaurant is completely different to the Beachclub Lounge, where the cuisine is much more simple and the service more relaxed.
The restaurant upstairs is an elegant space with exquisite ambiance. As you would expect from an eatery related to Mozaic Ubud, the main ace here is the food. A bit like the culinary philosophy of the original, Western dishes have been inspired by Indonesian flavours and the menu is designed to suit all tastes and appetites.
There is an affordable 6-course tasting menu for 495k IDR ++ or a more lavish 12-course for 1.2 mil IDR ++, which will take you through the highlights from the à la carte menu and beyond. For those who enjoy a variety of flavours and want to experience lots of treats there are ‘nibbles’, which are mini version of the main dishes starting from 15k IDR ++.
The à la carte has a good range of dishes with plenty of satisfying pescetarian and vegetarian options available. There are also some great sharing dishes like the bouillabaisse and 1.5kg cote de boeuf, as well as a new grill section for those who want that perfect steak.
Each dish is not only delicious, but also served in an artful manner.
Beef rendang carpaccio with parmesan bubbles, crispy pork belly with slow cooked octopus with kaffir lime gel, a light cappuccino of king oyster mushroom soup scented with black truffles, chocolate and nutmeg cigar with brandy jelly – the dishes are varied and eclectic, rich in flavours yet light, and always promise to delight to the palate. There is also a separate caviar menu, for those feeling especially hedonistic.
The concept for the Beach Club Lounge is a place which suits all times of day; breakfast by the bar or on the benches, a mid-morning laze in the private gazebos, lunch and a sunbathe on the deck, an afternoon dip in the pool. Rinse and repeat.
The same goes for the food. There are light tapas, big dishes and an evening bistro menu. The lounge menu has a mix of day and evening options, and again the food is Western with Indonesian flavours. The tapas provide tasty bites such as sea bass cromesquis, mini wagyu burgers, salad of shashimi, and iberican acron fed pata negra ham.
There is also a 3-course bistro menu in the evening and larger dishes for those who want a hearty meal. The highlight on the bistro menu is the pork chop – an unbelievably juicy and gigantic pork chop cooked sous vide.
On the drink side, the bar list is long with good value wine options from all over the world and a wide variety of posh and luscious cocktails. Big enticers include the Mozaic Kalimansi, Jim & Jack (Jim Beam and Jack fruit based drink), Mozaic Bloody Mary (might be the best on the island) and Spice Breeze (Ketel One Vodka, lime, lemongrass, Thai basil, mint leaf & chilli).
Aside from cuisine and location, Mozaic Beachclub (or should we say Sea Salt) has unique music that vibes on a strong soul/funk/motown influence. For something really different, visit for brunch and enjoy a live jazz band playing a mix of modern contemporary and classics songs.
The venue is a perfect spot for those chasing sunsets in Bali. It’s only just outside central Seminyak, and is more chilled and unspoiled by crowds than Ku De Ta or Potato Head.
Address: Jl. Pantai Batu Belig, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia
Phone:+62 361 473 5796/ +6281999420349
Operating hours: 11:00 am – Midnight
Sarong and Mamasan – a chic approach to the best street food recipes
Sarong and Mamasan are the reflections of the Asian adventures of Chef Will Meyrick, aka The Street Food Chef, who is famous for his passion for Asian fusion cuisine.
Both Sarong and Mamasan are about Southeast Asian eating, inspired by street food recipes handed down through generations of families and often only found roadside. But they are all very different – from the regions the dishes are from to the way the food is styled and served.
Sarong was the first to open in 2008, and Meyrick still calls it his flagship and the stage setter for everything he has done since. It gained an instant popularity and was even named The World’s Hottest New Restaurant in 2009 by Conde Nast Traveler.
Sarong Restaurant and Lounge Bar is designed with a calm, elegant interior decor. Offering seating for 160, arranged under two traditionally high ceiling pavilions and decorated by dark mahogany wooden tables plush armchairs and artworks, as well as sheer, flowing golden curtains and chandeliers – a chic setting with Suzy Wong ambiance.
Sarong focuses broadly on Indian, Thai, Sri Lankan and Indonesian flavours. There are lots of curries done with freshly made coconut milk and herb leaves, to keep them light and easy to polish off, rather than heavy and oily. The signature dish here is a massaman curry with chicken, shallots, pumpkin, potato, peanuts and tamarind and a range of heart-warming soups and wok-frys.
Sarong’s signature dish is a crispy pork belly with Sichuan chilli, salt, tamarillo and tamarind sauce. Regular customers also praise the peking duck with open steam buns, slow-cooked Sri Lankan lamb curry, Peranakan black pepper stingray and black bean crusted barramundi. Sarong also has gluten free options and a vegetarian menu for those who walk on the healthy side.
Do not miss the delicious Asia-inspired cocktails at the bar, such as the Shanghai Donkey (mandarin vodka, fresh orange and lime juice mixed with homemade ginger beer), Ginger & Green Tea Mojito (ginger infused rum, mint, citrus syrup and green tea) and Chilli & Lime Margarita (tequila, honey pressed lemon, pineapple and chilli).
Sarong’s younger, easy-going and air-conditioned sister, Mama San focuses on China and Indochina, is slightly less priced, and serves from lunch till late.
With Mama San, Will Meyrick wanted to give people an opportunity to explore the stories and recipes of other Southeast Asian regions, in a more informal and relaxed manner.
Street food is also the name of the game at Mama San – authentic recipes, made with traditional techniques, but polished up by using the best quality ingredients and served in a fairly chic, fun room. Environment can make all the difference.
Not everyone wants to head down a back alley and sit on a plastic stool, taking a chance on what might come out of that big, bubbling pot, or sit on the side of a main road in a far-flung town in Sulawesi, trying every dish to determine what the real winners are. So the Street Food Chef has done that for you, and you get to try his favourites, whilst sipping on a killer margarita at Mama San.
The unique purpose built warehouse interior blends vintage and retro eras with tanned leather chesterfield sofas, mirror walls, oriental side lit screens and quirky one-off art pieces including a 10 x 4 metre retro wall mural created by textile designer Justine Missen.
A range of black and white pictures showcasing Will Meyrick’s food travels around Asia adorn one of the walls of the ground floor dining room and scatter cushions help to create a homely feel on both levels.
Respecting the Mama San tradition, the entire upper floor is open plan accessing the terrace bar, his/her toilets and a 1000 bottle wine retail room allowing consumers to buy wine by the bottle or case.
Mama San’s menu gravitates towards Vietnamese, Cambodian, Burmese and Chinese recipes, with some dashes of Indian and Balinese. The signature dish here is a massaman curry with chicken, shallots, pumpkin, potato, peanuts and tamarind. You should also try the heart-warming soups and sizzling wok-fries.
The second floor of Mama San is a busy cocktail bar and lounge. The wine list here is one of the most extensive in Bali and the cocktails are creative and delicious. Try a Coconut Mojito, Moscow Mule or P.I.M.P.
Sarong and Mama San use fresh ingredients produced by the local farming, making sure there is a balance of “take and give” that involves the local community and supports sustainability.
Neither of these restaurants has (nor needs) any weekly or seasonal specials, apart from the dim sum lunch on Sundays at Mama San. But they host regular media dinners, tastings and small events to assist with explaining the origin of the flavours, the use of sometimes unusual or obscure regional ingredients, and the significance of the dishes within the communities and cultures they hail from.
Address: Jl. Petitenget No, 19 x. Kerobokan, Bali 80361, Indonesia.
Phone:+62 361 4737 809
Operating hours: 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Address: Jl. Raya Kerobokan No. 135, Banjartaman, Kuta, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Phone:+62 361 730436
Operating hours: 12:00 – 3:00 pm, 6:30 pm – 1:00 am
So, there you go. You know where to turn your footsteps for Bali’s food best. When you feel like having that classy dressed up outing, sipping wine and enjoying gourmet dining. Fill up your Bali “to-do” list with our hints and recommendations and get your stomach ready for some serious gluttony and overeating.
You have been informed. You have been warned.