Bali offers a simmering pot of flavours and fun, all set amongst incredibly exotic surroundings. Headed to the Island of the Gods? We've rounded up the the hottest hangouts to experience the island’s famous food and social scene...
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The latest gem in super-chilled Canggu has already garnered legendary status. Arrive mid-afternoon to grab a coveted spot on the lawn, or dive into the beachside pool while you watch the surfers, followed by one of the most spectacular sunsets. Leave enough time to sample their Mediterranean-inspired share plates, washed down with the Lawn’s signature cocktails!
Mrs Sippy is the Bali venture by the same peeps behind the it-crowd hotspot of the same name in Sydney – and boy, did it make a huge splash when it opened in late 2017. The stylish pool club is a modern oasis in the heart of trendy Seminyak, with that oh-so-Bali subtle sexiness that makes for long and languid days swimming and dancing late into the night. Think daybeds, cabanas, gardens and shady palm trees, fresh food, delicious drinks and a calendar full of parties and international DJ acts.
A delightful little nook for a relaxed, intimate meal, KILN is open for lunch and dinner – but it’s the latter option that really shows off its charm. Curl up in one of the lounge corners or at a table in the dimly-lit courtyard and tuck into modern Middle Eastern-inspired dishes that are small in size (tapas-style) but big in taste. KILN also does a cracking Sunday roast, spectacularly topped off with an array of unique Bloody Mary concoctions.
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A relaxed place that mixes great food with good times, you can find this hip hangout down Jalan Kayujati. The menu is a modern take on Mexican street food, chased down with a generous round of tequila (hot tip: try the extra hot jalapenos margaritas) in the surrounds of melted candles, crucifixes, cacti and Cantina-style decor.
Another hotspot in Seminyak headed up by Aki Kotzamichalis (founding partner of the iconic Ku De Ta) and with Geoff Lindsay (of Melbourne’s Dandelion) behind the menu. There’s as much to love about the gorgeous ambience as there is about the delicious food – both are served up with a colourful, delectable twist! Think modern Vietnamese dishes and Asian-inspired cocktails. Start with drinks at the long bar, before a relaxed feast to remember.
BLANCO Par Mandif
Nestled on a hilltop within the Blanco Renaissance Museum complex, the BLANCO par Mandif dining experience is injecting some serious class into Ubud’s gastronomic scene, with Chef Mandif taking a nature-to-table and modern degustation-style approach to traditional Indonesian cuisine. The restaurant is intimate and has stunning views overlooking the Tjampuhan River, so the setting (and hospitality) is as lush as the food on offer.
You know it as soon as you enter (if the vintage wooden gypsy caravans aren’t enough of a hint!) that La Laguna is the kind of place made for vagabonds and bohemian souls. This Spanish-styled, gypsy-inspired Canggu establishment is both unique and utterly charming – there’s nowhere else quite like it on Bali. La Laguna offers alfresco lounging and nooks to relax, drink (the cocktails are delicious) and dine (small plates or larger meals), all scattered over gardens that lead down to a lagoon and, eventually, to the shoreline of Berawa Beach. It’s lovingly designed by the same family behind the quirky and cool Seminyak hotspot La Favela, so you know you’re in for a treat.
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Located within Potato Head Beach Club, Kaum boasts a remarkable menu that takes you on an exotic culinary expedition through the cooking methods, ingredients and authentic flavours of Indonesia’s tribal communities. Dine at the long communal table in the traditional family-style manner of Indonesia’s tribes. It’s a memorable meal, with the beach club on your doorstep for afterward. A winning combination!
This stylishly-outfitted modern Italian restaurant is pure style, with the kind of coolness that feels more Amalfi Coast than tropical Seminyak. Da Maria is the place to come for superb Italian food and top-notch wine, or perhaps a relaxed aperitif or lovely Sunday brunch. Those wanting some party with their pizza should check out the Late Night Pizza Disco from 10pm nightly, where dinner morphs into dancing.
Kayumanis Resto Jimbaran
Kayumanis Jimbaran Private Estate & Spa’s impressive restaurant, Kayumanis Resto, has affirmed its place on the island as a fabulous dining destination for foodies looking to savour authentic Indonesian cuisine in a luxe environment. Kayumanis Resto offers up a full-flavoured menu driven by timeless recipes and locally-sourced ingredients, serving distinctive dishes that honour different regions from around the archipelago. Housed within a replica of a traditional Javanese joglo (a distinctive style of timber home), the restaurant space is utterly beautiful, capturing the rustic elegance of a bygone era.
Sure, you can get food at Old Man’s – simple and tasty fare. But this place is all about the beer garden. Set right on the shoreline of surfer’s hotspot Batu Balong, just near Echo Beach in Canggu, Old Man’s is the go-to watering hole for tourists, locals and expats alike. It’s the perfect perch to take in the sunset, salty hair and sun-kissed skin and a cocktail in hand, or to chill out after a surf (you can walk in from the beach and shower off the sand a stone’s throw from the bar area). Old Man’s also puts on regular live music, with a year-round calendar of acts that keep the good times rolling.
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With its soaring ceiling and modern exotic decor, Merah Putih has an ambience that is as spectacular as the creative Indonesian dishes on offer. The menu has two distinct personalities – the traditional section is all about simple, unpretentious regional classics, while the baru (or modern menu) takes it up a culinary notch. Plates are designed to be served in the middle of the table, encouraging diners to sample a little of everything, in the same the way that Indonesian families usually eat. Plus, there’s that Instagram-worthy interior!
The Sayan House
Sitting in a lush garden beside the beautiful Ayung River in the Sayan region, just outside the centre of Ubud, lies The Sayan House. A fusion of Japanese and Latin cuisine is served at this casually-chic restaurant, and the view out over the Sayan Gorge is simply breathtaking (some pre-dinner sunset drinks are definitely recommended!). A meal here feels more like an intimate gourmet gathering in the garden of a local home than a typical restaurant experience.
Led by classically trained chefs Ray and Eelke, this refreshing little restaurant in Ubud dishes up modern European-influenced cuisine using sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients. Book your table well ahead of your holiday/honeymoon, as tables can be filled weeks in advance. Or, for something more casual, head to the little sister of the main restaurant, To Go, and adjoining deli located just down the road. Locavore takes the trifecta with its 40-seater bar, Night Rooster, for charcuterie and nibbles followed with cocktails made of exotic infusions.
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