As you wander along the winding, crumbling road from Seminyak to Kerobokan, past countless stalls selling traditional batik garments alongside the infamous Bintang singlets, you unsuspectingly pass some of Bali’s finest eateries.
Positioned slightly back from the bustling road of Jalan Petinget are countless restaurants giving the world’s best a run for their money. These mouth watering culinary adventures stretch even further than the typical tourist hotspots. From the sands of Jimbaran Bay, to the township of Nusa Dua and the hills of Ubud, the Island of Gods is bursting with places to tempt your taste buds.
When you think of world class restaurants, you probably think London, New York, Sydney, Hong Kong. So what’s bringing such a high standard of food and expertise to Bali?
“…you can dine day after day and night after night on this beautiful island and never be disappointed with the food”
The Chef and Owner of Bumbu Bali, Heinz von Holzen, came to Bali 24 years ago as the opening Executive Chef of the Grand Hyatt and has been here ever since. He tells us that once Bali puts a spell on you, you’re done. “I honestly think it is a lot easier and more rewarding to open a restaurant here”.
Holding citizenship in Switzerland and Australia, it was here in Bali that von Holzen decided to open the doors of his very own restaurant. “Here, we have great people that are willing and happy to work hard. They never complain and never seem to take a sickie. I love Bali and its people from the bottom of my heart. Without their total support, I would have achieved nothing.”
You can dine day after day and night after night on this beautiful island and never be disappointed with the food that’s placed in front of you. Here are our recommendations for a fabulous food affair in Bali:
World class restaurants in Bali #1: Sarong, Kerobokan
Sarong is an institution in Bali. It is influenced by Indonesian, Thai and Indian cuisine, and while you’d normally find yourself steering clear of any restaurants attempting all types of “Asian” food, this is an exception to the rule. Work your way through the entire menu. For entrée, try the chicken betel leaf with roasted chilli capsicum relish that bursts with flavour, as well as the grilled scallop with sweet crispy duck. As you move onto mains, the tandoori butter chicken with cashew nuts, ginger and tomato sauce is a house favourite, to be enjoyed as you take in the lounge décor and statement chandeliers. Sarong is a stunning establishment that serves accessible food with an air of fine dining. Book ahead to sit inside the restaurant or on their outdoor terrace. They usually have room for walk-ins if you want to be a little more spontaneous.
Address: Jl. Petitenget No. 19, Kerobokan
Phone number: +62 361 4737 809
World class restaurants in Bali #2: Mama San, Badung
The sister restaurant of Sarong holds its own and is even a little more modern and sexy than its older sister. The lofty upstairs bar has an extensive cocktail list; position yourself on a couch or bar stool and try the coconut mojito, garnished with sweet coconut chips. Or if you’ve managed to snag yourself a seat downstairs, take in the amazing wallpaper artwork by Australian artist, Justine Missen, and eat your way through the delicious Asian inspired menu. We recommend the ginger and shallot sashimi with snapper, salmon and tuna or the stir fried prawns with chilli jam, cashew nuts, long bean bay corn and Thai basil.
Address: Jl. Raya Kerobokan No. 135, Badung
Phone number: +62 361 730 436
World class restaurants in Bali #3: Merah Putih, Kerobokan
This lavish restaurant in Kerobokan offers both modern and traditional Indonesian fine dining. Expect to be blown away as soon as you walk through the doors. The eco friendly interior is unlike anything else – you immediately feel as though you’ve walked into a rainforest. The grand translucent columns capture their own rainwater and solar glass walls give the restaurant light. You can mix and match between small and large shared plates making this a perfect group setting.
The Makassar Angus beef short rib with peanut sambal leaves you wanting more with its tender meat falling away from the bone, melting in your mouth. Don’t forget to finish with the bite sized desserts, designed for you to walk away feeling good, not guilty. Our favourite is the young coconut pannacotta with mango sorbet and hibiscus. Hello!
Address: Jl. Petitenget No.100, Kerobokan
Phone number: +62 361 8465 950
World class restaurants in Bali #4: Seminyak Italian Food, Seminyak
If you’re familiar with the famous Sydney restaurant overlooking Bondi Beach, Icebergs, then you’ll know the face behind this new Seminyak dig. Robert Marchetti has opened his doors inside the new Double Six Luxury Resort. Ignore the weird, over done foyer as you make your way upstairs to the chic, open-air restaurant. The menu consists of antipasti, an array of buffalo mozzarella dishes, homemade pasta and mains like veal and perfectly cooked steaks.
The spaghetti marinara cooked inside a paper bag is a delicious option from the pasta selection. But make sure you leave room for dessert, with the baby doughnuts filled with thick vanilla custard and strawberry lemon jam dusted with cinnamon sugar being a perfect way to end the night. If you need a break from eating Asian food, you can enjoy a truly authentic Italian experience here at Seminyak Italian.
Address: Double Six Luxury Resort, Mezzanine Level, No. 66, Double Six Beach, Seminyak
Phone number: +62 361 734 300
World class restaurants in Bali #5: Locavore, Ubud
When you walk through the wooden door of Locavore you feel the humble nature of Ubud itself. The design is cool and minimalistic with quiet and attentive staff waiting on your every need. If you’ve never tried a degustation menu before, this is the place to start. The menu changes seasonally, with an entire vegetarian degustation menu on offer too.
It is a true paddock to plate experience with nearly all of their produce sourced locally from around the island. This innocuous and impressive menu can be enjoyed any which way from three to nine courses, with matching drinks if you please. We’re particularly fond of their chilli vodka cocktail, which is the perfect mix of sweet and spicy. Dining at Locavore is a complete experience and is totally affordable, it’s worth making a day trip to Ubud for Locavore alone.
Address: Jl. Dewi Sita, Ubud
Phone number: +62 361 977 733
World class restaurants in Bali #6: Bumbu Bali I, Nusa Dua
Last, but certainly not least.
Drawing inspiration from his Balinese wife, Puji, Swiss owner and chef Heinz von Holzen lays claim to Bumbu Bali One and Two (just a few doors away from each other). Everything about this restaurant screams authentic Indonesian, from the slow roasted poultry in banana leaf, to the traditional Balinese dance performances within the open-air restaurants. Bumbu Bali’s goal is to make diners feel as if they’ve walked into a locals home and sat down at the family table.
They offer so much more than your typical Indonesian dishes. The food is morish and the wait staff are willing to tell you if you’ve ordered way too much. Enjoy these gems in Nusa Dua and make time to partake in their daily cooking classes. Don’t forget to book in advance – we’re not the only ones who love the Bumbus.
Address: Jl. Pratama, Tanjung Benoa, Nusa Dua
Phone number:+62 361 774 502