I did not stay in Ubud for very long and only realized that it definitely hadn’t been long enough when it was too late. Ubud is quite wonderful and despite being very touristy I immediately liked its vibe and its restaurant scene.
Honestly, I was not a big fan of Indonesian food in general, but Ubud may as well have been on a different planet – the food options were amazing and I was sad not to get to eat everywhere I wanted. Or to eat certain dishes again and again. Yes, I’m looking at you, Gado Gado!
With that said, this is by no means a comprehensive guide to the restaurants in Ubud, but just a little overview of the places that I found and loved and some I cannot wait to come back for.*
*Which I did just last week, a year later. I stayed at my same favorite Airbnb for 9 nights and thought it was the perfect chance to expand my culinary horizon. Alas, I am a creature of habit so even in the name of research I don’t have a ton to add. However, I added some notes about places I revisited and a new found favorite.
Ubud restaurants I loved:
Warung Mendez – Jalan Penestanan
My first meal in Ubud became my favorite. Gado Gado at Warung Mendez. A warung is basically a small, usually family-run cafe and you can find them all over Bali. But not all warungs are created equal.
Warung Mendez is on Jalan Penestanan, an untouristy street, a 20-minute walk from Jalan Hanuman, one of the main areas in Ubud. I stayed at an incredible Airbnb there and Warung Mendez was literally the first place I saw leaving the house in search of food.
OMG. Sorry, but really – OMG. Their Gado Gado comes raw as a salad with a piece of fried tofu slathered in peanut sauce and a poached egg on top. I ate the same dish for the next 3 days in a row. How I managed not to eat it for lunch AND dinner I do not know.
After staying so close for more than a week I became a firm regular there. Their dishes are all really good, my other favorite being the Thai prawn curry.
NEW NEW NEW
Element – Jalan Penestanan
Jalan Penestanan is a bit out of the way if you are like me and don’t drive a scooter so I scouted more options in the area. Eventually, I found Element and while it is a bit touristy I ate there a few times and really enjoyed it. They make a decent pasta if you are craving something home, a good tuna burger and they also have 2 for 1 wine!
Even more importantly, there staff is incredibly friendly and they have a dessert called ‘apple crumble bread pudding’ which unfortunately I only discovered on my last night. I still wish I would have ordered two in hindsight.
Copper Kitchen & Bar at Bisma Eight – Jalan Bisma
I usually don’t care for hotel food, I really don’t. Even if the hotel overall is great the food tends to be mediocre and overpriced. But then again, I knew Bisma Eight was a little different from the get go. That notion got confirmed when I found chicken liver parfait on waffles on the menu. Waffles for dinner!!
In addition to a simple modern menu with Indonesian and international touches, the decor is beautiful: you are either sitting on the terrace surrounded by billowing curtains or inside which resembles a greenhouse. Windows everywhere which means you not only get a nice breezy but can also see the stars above you.
For those lucky enough to stay there, the breakfast is something different altogether. I will tell you more in a complete review soon, but let’s just say it, once again, involved waffles.
I went back for a boozy Saturday lunch this time and to be honest I was disappointed. The pizza was tiny and thin and had something I never thought I would complain about: too much pizza. The waiters were incredibly hover-y and didn’t take any critique about the food well.
Fork Ubud – Jalan Monkey Forest
Fork is part of the Bisma Eight family and a fun little joint. The service is friendly, albeit a bit slow even though I was the only guest. However, if you are in it for a good burger and a glass of chilled rose this is your place!
They also opened a backyard and pool area. I did poke my head in and if you are keen for a pool party this looks like the place to be. Price for pool access is IND 50k.
Kafe – Jalan Hanoman No. 44B
Kafe was recommended by Sheila from Lo & Sons to me, who met me here to hand deliver my beautiful camera bag. While it may seem like one of those typical hippie-dippie yogi places to eat, usually a bit too hip and yogi for my liking, I immediately liked it.
They have a great selection of healthy dishes with a side of fried tofu, fresh juices and meat for the carnivores. And while the internet wasn’t amazing it is a fun place to work from with just the right mix of entertainment and a quiet air.
Locavore to Go – Jalan Dewisita No. 1
Everybody who knows anything about food and restaurants in Indonesia will mention this place: Locavore. Local, modern cuisine and a tasting menu apparently worth splurging on. I didn’t manage to get a table in time, so I had to make do with their downscaled deli version – Locavore to Go.
After feasting on a prawn hotdog with edible flowers I knew I had to come back. On my second visit, I ate their waffles with duck eggs, bacon and hollandaise. And yes, I almost died. But I would have definitely gone to heaven because this dish is worth not eating anything for the rest of the day.
Judging by the decor you may think yourself in Brooklyn, not on a crumbling road on Bali. If you are keen to take some of their beautiful crockeries home, head next door to Kevala Home where their china comes from.
I ate here twice again and it is still just as good. The prawn sausage is a must and you may want to order two just because you can and it will make you happier than just having one!
Hujan Locale – Jalan Sri Wedari No. 5
In lieu of a table at Locavore, I made it to Hujan Locale – a beautiful restaurant with modern colonial touches and a menu to match. Old classics from all around Indonesia are modernized here and served with some killer cocktails.
I am really bad when it comes to ordering food especially if I really like a menu – this one is extensive and everything sounds drool-worthy so it took me about half an hour and a whole basket of their yummy bread/cracker selection. Taking my time paid off – the fish carpaccio and prawn curry were some of the best dishes I ate during my three months stint.
The only downside is that you will have to pay prices to match their international, cosmopolitan counterparts.
Kayumanis Cooking & Market tour
I am usually not a fan of cooking classes. I never think I learn much and while I appreciate if someone pre-chops my veggies, just stirring and cooking feels a bit like building IKEA furniture. There is an instant gratification but I still feel a bit unaccomplished afterward. Let’s face it – it ain’t real furniture! That’s how I usually feel with cooking classes.
However, when my friend Nikki from Pin the Map Project invited me to come along for a cooking class and a market visit with the executive chef from the Kayumanis Ubud Private Villa & Spa I knew I was in for a treat.
We started our morning with Made who took us to a local market. Chicken heads, mountains of bananas, dried fish and lots of flowers for the little offerings you will see all over Bali. I loved it!
Made showed us the different staples of Balinese cooking and finally bought a typical breakfast wrapped in banana leaves for us.
Back at Kayumanis, we got to eat our local breakfast in style and then we were off to their honeymoon villa where our cooking class was taking place. On the menu were chicken soup, satay lilit, beef curry, and sweet green dumplings.
In all fairness, chef Made did most of the chopping and cooking whereas Nikki and I sliced the honorary onion, stirred and otherwise used our cameras as excuses to stay away from the oven. However, for someone more enthusiastic in the kitchen, this is a fantastic cooking experience. While technically not a restaurant, of course, you get to eat everything you/Made makes – definitely not to be missed – with or without the suite to go with.
Ubud restaurants I need to come back for:
Room 4 Dessert – Jalan Sanggingan
I am more a savory than a sweet person so I don’t eat to have dessert. But the idea of an entire meal consisting just of desserts was tempting. Mind you Room 4 Dessert sounded like a place to share and linger, not ideal when traveling on your own. However, that one is top on my list for my next visit.
Pica South American Kitchen – Jalan Dewisita
My time in Ubud wasn’t long enough for me to even try all the Indonesian dishes there are, so South American wasn’t high on my list. But if I were to come back and stay longer this is a place I’d go. You can’t beat a good ceviche with a Pisco Sour, can you?
Cafe Pomegranate – Jalan Subak Sok Wayah
Nikki kept on raving about Cafe Pomegranate, but for some reason, I never made it there. She not only loved the food but deemed it a perfect ‘office’ setting for any writer – rice paddy view included.
Tukies Coconut – Jalan Raya Ubud No. 14
How I passed by this shop a couple of times without going in, I do not know. Because I love anything coconut and Tukies Coconut is basically just that. So do me a favor if you are in Ubud, go there and order a coconut feast in my name!
And the one Ubud Restaurant I won’t go to again…sorry! If you have heard about Ubud or been there you are now going to ask me about Alchemy, the famed raw vegan restaurant, aren’t you? While I will admit that even I could’ve turned vegan during my time in Bali, the raw food trend is not something I can get on board with. Have a salad, but don’t give me raw veggies and call it pasta! Mind you, I gave it its fair try and must say that I was pretty disappointed. Everything just tasted a bit bland and well, cold. I think if you want to eat healthily and/or vegan there are plenty of better and less expensive options in Ubud.
Have you been to Ubud and have any favorite places to share?