In March 2017 my two best friends and I went for 2 weeks to Bali, visiting 4 different places. We started in Ubud, which is one of my favourite places in the world. Known for it’s delicious food, chilled atmosphere, beautiful surroundings and yoga it’s the best place to start your holiday in Bali to unwind. Below are some of my favourite places to eat, some I had been to before when I came 18 months previously, and some were brand new to me, and to Ubud.
Note – prices in RP (circa 16k for £1) also, this post looks disjointed on mobile so better to read on desktop if possible
Before we get to the best bit (food) I just wanted to give a bit of advice to those travelling to the dreamy Ubud. If you’re just arriving on a travelling trip in Ubud and looking for somewhere to stay I recommend getting your taxi to Jalan Hanoman. There are lots of guest houses and home stays around. We stayed in Kunang Kunang which is roughly 600k (£12 between 3) per night and has nice spacious rooms which can fit up to 3 and a really stunning small pool with sun loungers around it. Previously I stayed in Dana Sari, very similar rooms but no pool so slightly cheaper. If you can afford it, I recommend getting a pool in Ubud as it is inland so there isn’t the sea to cool off in when you need to. If you’re splashing out there are some stunning hotels (Alaya) and Villas (Atman Villas).
The following are a combination of Cafe’s and Restaurants. Most Cafe’s are restaurants, most restaurants act as cafe’s so pretty much anywhere you go you can eat from dawn till dusk.
Atman Kafe – this definitely became our go tobreakfast, partly because it was so near our accommodation and was open early, and partly because the food and service were both so good. Atman has 2 stores on Jalan Hanoman, where we were staying. Both have the same menu and great staff. We fell in love with the ease of eating there as we always knew we’d get what we
want. It’s so easy to add and remove things from your order and the long list of ‘extras’ meant you could pretty much build any meal you could ever dream of. I tried a few different things there including raw porridge, acai smoothie bowl, avocado on toast, raw carrot cake ball and a caramel slice. All completely vegan, fresh and tasty (although the raw porridge wasn’t quite for me but is apparently their best seller).
Soma – on my previous trip to Bali this became my favourite restaurant in the world, of which it is still one of, however the other places have really upped their game, as well as there being a lot of new places to visit. Soma makes healthy food taste incredible better than anywhere I’ve visited. A 50k (£3.50) salad tastes so good you forget you’re even eating salad and the variety is huge. The menu hasn’t changed since i last visited 18 months ago, but why would it! It’s perfect as it is. I recommend choosing a few small plates to share and then your mains, and then probably a second visit to try the other thing you couldn’t choose between last time. The service isn’t as good as in other places, I think they know they’re good, but if you want to eat something delicious, guilt free, Soma is well worth a visit.
Seeds of Life – a small cafe with a yoga studio, this sits about 10 metres along from Soma and serves the most delicious breakfast in Ubud (in my opinion). We all had the raw pancakes which are so delicious you can’t believe you aren’t gaining weight just looking at them. I also ordered the ‘rawnola’ which is a raw granola because I’d been wanting it since landing in Bali, however 2 breakfasts was a bit much. I wouldn’t recommend the smoothies here, I have tried about 3 and haven’t enjoyed any, so maybe stick to the juices or have a coconut!
Herb Library – very new to Bali, sat on Jembawan above a beautiful hotel called Alaya. It’s absolutely stunning, like walking into a a piece of heaven. The ingredients are all fresh and stored at the counter, so when they need a carrot, or some ginger for a recipe the waiters actually come and get it from there which is lovely to watch. This was our favourite place of the trip, we visited twice. The food was some of the best I’ve ever tasted, the atmosphere and views were stunning and the staff so friendly and smiley. If you’ve just arrived and want somewhere to feed you well, help you unwind and get some great instal, head to Herb Library.
Clear Cafe – we spent our last night in Ubud at Clear Cafe, again, new since my last visit. It doesn’t look like that much from the street (Jalan Hanoman) but inside it is gorgeous. A large wood circular, hobbit like door, separates the restaurant from the road and inside it has the perfect balance of jungle and modern decor with a variety of beautiful murals. The menu is the most varied of the bunch, with Indonesian, raw vegan, western, indian and many more options. It’s the perfect ‘something for everyone’ place and actually very well priced as it feels quite fancy. We had a vegan chocolate ‘mylk’ shake which tasted like nesquick (in a good way!) and shared a hummus plate, really yummy. I then had a raw ‘made’ pizza which was much tastier than it looks in the photo (like a piece of toast with burger sauce lol) with some sweet potato fries (couldn’t resist). Service is good, not as good at Herb Library but still pretty good and a great place to tick everyones boxes (although very limited booze!)
Bali Buda – Bali Buda is situated just off the main Raya Ubud about 100 metres up from the Herb Library. It serves tasty, healthy food however nothing really stands out about it compared to the other restaurants. The staff are bordering on rude and the restaurant isn’t that special. The menu is held on a newspaper which is cool but apart from that, nothing makes you go wow compared to the others (if it was in England however I’d live there, but the standard for healthy food and experience is just too high out here). If you need to miss one off, I’d make it this one. I enjoyed the vegan Mediterranean plate and the raw chocolate pie was incredible, however not worth going out of your way for.
Toca Casa – because sometimes you need a margarita and a plate of fajitas. Quite a way out of the main town, past Yoga Barn, near the fancy resorts, sits this fairly traditional Mexican restaurant. Only cooled by fans, it can be slightly uncomfortable and fairly pricey, I’d say it’s only worth going if you’re really in the mood for Mexican. It doesn’t have the ‘Bali’ feel that the other restaurants have, it could be by the side of the road anywhere. We enjoyed our meal (and margaritas) however it’s definitely a one visit wonder. Would sit lower down in my recommendations unless you’re gagging for mexican, which we all often are.
Keban – a cute Artisan restaurant, sat along from Kafe on Jalan Hanoman. Keban has the widest selection of drinks we found, with a fairly impressive wine list and very tasty almost posh ‘pub food’. Definitely a Mum and Dad kind of place, really pretty decor and the wine is really good. Definitely one of the fancier options as it’s pricer then the others, but if you feel you need a slight taste of a west London restaurant this is a good place to go. The staff also really know their wines which is seriously rare for Bali, so if you’re a wino, not overly bothered by raw food etc then give Keban a visit!
Kafe – opposite our accommodation on Jalan Hanonam we just popped in here for a dessert, I had a raw orange cacao tart which was delicious, around the standard 50k price. Service, surroundings and menu not as special as other places but if you’re out of options or can’t be bothered to visit my other recommendations then grab some food here.
Other things to do besides eat (I haven’t done all of the below so can’t comment on all):
- Yoga/ Meditation etc – I recommend Yoga Barn
- Monkey Sanctuary – only 50k to get in and the monkeys are really cute
- Volcano climbing
We spent 4 days in Ubud, however I think to try every restaurant and every activity you want to, you could easily spend 10 days to 2 weeks here. The resorts are stunning and there’s so much to do and experience in the town I think it is the perfect place for the traveller or the fancy family holiday. It isn’t by the sea, so if this is of vital importance, cross it off your list of places to stay long term, however if you’re in Bali and you don’t visit for some delicious food and some yoga then you’re a fool!