A Guide to Beautiful Bali, part 2- WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
Welcome to part 2 of my ‘Bali Blog’ where I take you through some of the best places to stay, eat, drink and play on the beautiful Indonesian island of Bali.
(If you missed my first blog on some of the best resorts and villas to stay at, you can check it out -> here.)
There’s nothing worst than getting to a new country or city and spending all your meals eating at crappy, over priced places. Guide books such as ‘The Lonely Planet’ don’t cover all the newbies and websites such as Tripadvisor are full of subjective reviews by (usually) pissed off holiday makers who believe their Mai Tai’s took too long to reach their table.
In this bad boy I will be recommending some of the best cafes, restaurants and bars to check out, depending on which area of Bali you’re staying in. Best of all they ALL have free wifi so for those of you who forget to organize international roaming, you can do all your Facebook stalking while you’re chowing down.
Bon appetite / drink up!
- Sea Circus: one of my favourite little café’s in Seminyak (if not just for the brightly coloured interiors, Hollywood dressing room light bulbs in the bathroom and Instagram-perfect mural out the front). Sea Circus is a great place for breakfast or lunch- think yummy baguettes (chicken and salad is my fave), fresh juices and according to Jake- delicious ice coffees.
- Ku De Ta: although currently going through a bit of a re-vamp, Ku De Ta is still one of the best places to catch the sunset over the beach. Pull up a beanbag and sit on the grass with a passion fruit martini or have a more formal dinner at their restaurant (I once ate here two nights in a row). It’s not really a trip to Bali without a few nights spent at Ku De Ta.
- Potato Head: Potato Head has become a bit of an institution for the young and the beautiful visiting Seminyak. With their over-sized day beds by the pool, swim-up pool bar and foray of international DJ’s throwing regular parties (we missed Fatboy Slim by 2 days!), it’s the place to be seen at. Highly recommend booking at day bed and going around 3/4pm in the afternoon so you can make sunset. Try the Kookaburra cocktail- patriotic AND delicious.
- Café Bali: the interiors of this place are what keeps me coming back again and again. Shabby chic vibe with mix-matched vintage mirrors on the wall, plush pink velvet couches to collapse into, chandeliers and a bright turquoise pool out the back make it the kind of place you can come for a meal and hang around hours afterwards until it’s dessert/coffee time. My picks are the garlic prawns and chocolate mousse.
- La Favela: stepping into La Favela is like stumbling onto the set of a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ or ‘Indiana Jones’ movie. That or a scene from Harry Potter, Diagon Alley specifically. With it’s indoor/outdoor rain forest, babbling brooks, wooden bridges and walkways and thick rope dangling all over the place, it’s hard not to feel like you’re in paradise. Try the ‘Jumbo Tempura Prawns’ if you’re eating there or hit the dance floor a little later in the night for a party you won’t remember in the morning.
- Sisterfields: Sisterfields has a modern-milk-bar-feel, good coffee and mouth watering Wagu burgers, making it a must-visit café. Due to it’s deliciousness, it can get busy around lunch time so maybe pop in a little earlier to avoid the rush and score a table.
- La Lucciola: I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to visit La Lucciola this time around however was lucky enough to attend an ex mother in-law’s birthday dinner there a few years back and the food was almost as magical as the setting. Definitely book in a romantic dinner for two. (They also do a great breakfast apparently!)
- Mamasan: recommended by my dear friend Lindy Klim who is also a Bali local, the gang and I put on our best threads for dinner at one of the ‘higher end’ restaurants. We were not disappointed- every meal we ordered (and we ordered a lot) was delicious and the restaurant itself felt authentic and classy. Worth the extra $$$.
- Zuccini Café: cheap and cheerful little local with fantastic vegetarian options and juices.
- Motel Mexicola: If I ever get married, I want to hire out Mexicola and for the reception. The colours, the kitschy Mexican themed décor (I almost stole a life-sized Frida Kahlo print), the music, the vibe is all up there with the best in Seminyak. The tacos are DELICOUS (prawn and pork ones are the best), the coconut cocktails are HUGE and the staff run around with bottles of tequila doing laybacks whilst the rest of the restaurant cheers and claps. Every day is a party at Mexicola!
- Woo Bar: Woo Bar is the W’s beach-front bar and another place to be seen at (even if it’s just via some carefully thought out selfies by the famous white ‘W’ sign on the beach!) Think fancy finger food (prawn rice paper rolls were amaaaazzziingg and fresh) and brightly coloured cocktails with a view of either the W’s pool or the beach. They often also have international DJ’s and guests. During our stay there, we were lucky enough to attend the W’s 4th birthday party here which included fireworks, a runway show and free nail art! Little bit on the pricey side (think Australian’s prices, not Indo prices) but worth it for the good-looking crowd.
- La Plancha: perfect place for an afternoon Bintang watching the sunset. Food here isn’t the best on the island but with the big comfy bean bags, your toes in the sand and all the brightly coloured parasols, you’re here for the atmosphere and relaxed vibe.
- Alley Cats: Whilst there are some great spots to eat, Seminyak definitely kills it on the restaurant front HOWEVER you cannot go past Alley Cats in Kuta for a big night out. It’s sweaty. It’s dirty. Your lucky if your toilet has a door but it’s also one of the best nights out in Bali. Usually chock full of Aussies (I’m telling you, if there is a place you’re going to bump into your year 6 boyfriend, it’s here) Alley Cats is basically a pub with a bunch of picnic tables. It’s BYO card games and ‘Double Double’s are the only thing ordered (double vodka Rebulls- you have been warned!) If you manage to walk out of this place sober you’re a wizard.
- Eikon: After Alley Cats shuts at 12, everyone tends to head to Eikon just up the road. They have similar (dangerously alluring) drink specials (at the time we were there is was 4 Smirnoff Red’s for the price of 3- yes, I was drinking like a 16 year old) and a really fucking fun courtyard out the back complete with a stage, graffiti palm tree murals, Tiki back-bar and plenty of space for dance circles. After a few Smirnoff’s, Lisa thought she was on the set of Step Up 4 and confidently went head to head with a local in a krump-off to some of our favourite 90’s and early 00’s hits. By far one of our best nights out.
- Sky Garden: Sky Garden is another popular bar but has a bit more of a ‘wanky’ vibe. It’s about a thousand levels tall and they charge an entry fee, which feels really foreign in chilled-out Bali. That being said if you want a party and you want it full of hot, young things (or you’re just too drunk to care about paying cover charge)- check it out.
- Bounty Bar: Set in a huge pirate ship, The Bounty is one of those places you swear you’re not going to end up at but eventually do and have the best night ever. We got there super early (as in, no body was there) so made use of the fluro dancing cages on stage sans judgment as we sucked on our 2 for 1 pink frozen cocktails of some description. Gets super crazy later into the night.
- Old Man’s: if you’re from Sydney, Old Man’s is the Bucket List of Bali. (In fact, I heard it may be owned by the same guys). Really chilled vibe, good cheap food, cold beer and stacks of room outside to soak up the humid air with a group of mates. Hipsters welcome.
- Deus: There’s a few of these bad boys around but the one in Canggu looks our onto rice paddies (beautiful) and has live music sessions on Sunday afternoons when all the cool kids and expats rock up in their Birkies and smoke clove cigarettes. Super cheap burgers too (dinner for the four of us was $45 AU).
- Betelnut: a local favourite and for good reason. Arguably the best food in Canggu, most villas have take-away menus and can bring the Betelnut goodness right to your pool if you can’t be bothered getting there yourself. Worth noting it’s cash only- we found out the hard way.
- Crate: Right next door to Betelnut is another (cash only) goodie. Compared to the Mamasan’s of Seminyak, this café is as simple as they come. (Seriously, its just a concrete slab with some more concrete slabs as tables and black Sharpie wall decorations) The food however is delicious as is the eye candy of clientele.
- Finn’s Beach Club: If you’re after a Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘The Beach’ kind of experience, look no further. We’d heard Sundays were big here but our plans meant we popped in for dinner on a Thursday. Grab a (stupidly fun) cable cart ride down the cliffs of Uluwatu and you find yourself at Finn’s Beach Club. We got here just after sunset and it was truly breath taking, you feel like you’re on the edge of the world. After a delicious dinner (try the Finns burger or go traditional and get the Nasi Goreng) we strolled over, wines in hand to the beach bonfire where we stayed drinking, laughing and star gazing until the tide threatened to take us out to sea. One of my favourite places by far. (Worth noting there is entrance fee however a percentage of that goes towards your food and drinks.)
- Di Mare: This is Karma Resort’s restaurant over looking their signature pool and Uluwatu’s cliffs. If Finn’s gives you the best ‘on the ground’ experience, Di Mare has the ‘birds eye view’ covered. Their desserts and Espresso Martini’s are famous.
- Karma Beach Club: Free if you’re staying at Karma Resort, a little cover charge if you’re not, the Karma Beach Club is yet another rollercoaster-like cable cart down the Uluwatu cliffs. Featuring huge round day beds, crystal clear warm water and even a beach-front day spa, it’s definitely worth checking out. Jake, Lisa and myself spent a good half a day down here exploring and had a lot of fun. (At low tide you can apparently walk around the rocks to Finn’s Beach Club if you’re keen for a double whammy of beach club goodness.)
- Single Fin: not to be confused with “Finn’s Beach Club”, Single Fin is a café amongst the cliffs with a view you’ve probably seen on your Insty feed a million times (it’s just THAT good.) Grab a pizza and a Bintang and catch some rays as you watch the waves roll in below.
Hope you can roll home to your Bali villa happy now. You’re welcome.