Foodies will find some of the world’s most dynamic dining destinations in Bali. From French gastronomy and modern Australian fare to Asian fusion and traditional Balinese delicacies, the island offers a simmering pot of flavours and foodie experiences for the ultimate romantic dining.
La Lucciola is a pioneer in Bali fine dining and still, I think, one of the best restaurants on the island – some of my favourite meals in Bali have been here. With a fab menu of modern Mediterranean style fare, an open-air, thatched-roof pavilion that harnesses the cooling ocean breeze and one of the prettiest views out over Seminyak beach, it’s the perfect place for a peaceful breakfast, lazy lunch or candlelit dinner.
Petitenget is known as the Paris end of town and is home to another of my faves, Sarong. Every time I make the trip back to Bali, one of the first things I do is make a booking at the celebrated restaurant founded by chef Will Meyrick. It’s pure class – eat in the outdoor lounge for a more relaxed, leisurely dinner, or take a seat in the sumptuous interior for a feast you will remember! It can be booked out days in advance, so preplan to avoid disappointment.
Merah Putih, with its soaring ceiling and modern exotic decor, boasts an ambience that is as spectacular as the creative Indonesian dishes on offer. I love how they serve the plates in the middle of the table, encouraging diners to sample a little of everything, the way that Indonesian families eat.
I always head to Motel Mexicola down Jalan Kayujati (just a minute's walk from La Lucciola) for a fun night out. The Australian-led hangout serves up a modern take on Mexican street food, all washed down with a generous round of tequila (jalapeño margaritas anyone?!). It’s the kind of place you can imagine rocking it in 1960s Acapulco.
MÉTIS, Kerobokan: Chef Nicolas ‘Doudou’ Tourneville, formerly of Kafe Warisan, brings his legendary culinary artistry to the French Mediterranean cuisine here.
Mejekawi, Seminyak: An exceptional ‘tasting kitchen and laboratory’ at the iconic Ku De Ta, with five and 12-course tasting menus and wine pairing options.
La Favela, Seminyak: A hidden oasis tucked in between all the designer boutiques on the main strip, with one of the coolest interiors in Bali.
Sari Organik, Ubud: One of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon in Ubud! Take a leisurely 20-minute walk through the rice fields to find this organic restaurant floating in the midst of the paddies (it’s also known as Warung Bodag Maliah). Look for a sign at the turn off along Subak Sok Wayah, or ask a local for directions.
Bridges, Ubud: Casual fine dining overlooking the river valley. The wine list is superb, the food divine and the setting just magical.
Indus, Ubud: With breathtaking views of the Tjampuhan River, this restaurant run by Australian author and foodie Janet de Neefe is perfect for romance!
Mozaic, Ubud: Franco-American chef Chris Salans offers a true gustatory adventure, with tasting menus that change daily.
Cuca Flavor, Jimbaran: Owned by Chef Kevin Cherkas who has previously worked at Michelin three-star Arzak Restaurant in San Sebastian, this place is all about delicious tapas and cocktails!
That “endless summer” vibe makes for a very happy hour indeed in Bali, and the island’s cocktail culture is the stuff of legends. From beachside clubs to rooftop bars, there’s no shortage of fabulous places to chill out and enjoy a few drinks, washed down with an incredible sunset!
The most stunning of all is, without a doubt, the famous Rock Bar at AYANA Resort and Spa in Jimbaran. Perched on a limestone cliff with the crashing waves competing with the ambient beats from world-class DJs or live bands, the sunset here with a martini is nothing short of heaven on earth for this cocktail queen. But be sure to get in early afternoon to avoid the cues at the inclinator (guests of AYANA get to skip the queue!).
For something a whole lot more chilled out, join the surfers at Single Finns in Uluwatu to knock back a few Bintangs – the Sunday sessions here are a lot of fun! Or pull up a bean bag under the colourful umbrellas of La Plancha on the sands of Mesari Beach at Seminyak’s southern end or any one of the rustic beach bars along Kuta and watch the world go by as the sky turns shades of orange and crimson. For me, this is what Bali is all about – relaxed moments of simplicity.
WooBar at W Hotel, Seminyak: An afternoon here is the pinnacle of glam life in Bali.
Ku De Ta, Seminyak: The original and still, arguably, the best beach club, with the best music and atmosphere. Get in early to grab one of the in-demand lounges or nab a cushion on the lawn, and settle in for some serious people watching.
Hu’u, Seminyak: Cocktails in the garden under the twinkling fairy lights in the trees – the perfect way to start your evening.
Double-Six Rooftop, Seminyak: One of Bali’s most stylish rooftop bars, boasting stunning views over Double Six Beach.
Sundara, Jimbaran: Serene and chic hotspot serving handcrafted cocktails just steps away from scenic Jimbaran Beach at Four Seasons Resort Bali.