Last year I stayed a couple of months in Canggu, Bali to write my book. It was a spur of the moment decision as I had met an old friend there who is one of the best yoga teachers I know and I was keen to rekindle our friendship and the relationship with my mat. Only then did I discover the amazing Canggu restaurants and what they have to offer and as we know I like to judge a place by its food so I decided to settle down for a bit.
In hindsight, I should have trusted my gut and done some more extensive Canggu accommodation research as my landlady turned out to be ... peculiar. That and the fact, that Canggu while a true surfer's paradise is a less than ideal location for divers. It is also so hip that it hurts. If you don't surf, ride a scooter (with your board firmly attached to the side and no helmet as to not mess up your surf hair), ask for freshly made almond milk with your coffee, and have sunkissed blonde locks you will stick out. Since we have established I can't surf to save my life and had to give up after one scooter lesson (thanks to a crushed ego after two ten-year-olds overtook me), I had to milk the I do yoga and am a cool writer chick card for all that it was worth it.
But all and all, I did like the place. Bali restaurants are amazing and Canggu was no exception, easily living up to Ubud when it comes to food.
So... where to eat?
My favorite Canggu Restaurants:
The Shady Shack is not only one of the best restaurants in Canggu but also one of the best restaurants in Bali for me. I love the fact that it is incredibly healthy, a lot of its food options are vegan but it is still fun and super yummy.
In fact, I got my friend some of their vegan raspberry cheesecake here as a welcome and while skeptical at first she was immediately convinced that their vegan stuff rocks.
My favorite dish before the cheesecake? The Miso Bowl and for those who like something special for breakfast, I recommend the Onsen eggs or sticky Bircher Musli.
Let's just all admit that sometimes all one craves is a good pizza. With proper cheese. Blue cheese, burrata - whatever floats your boat. Mind you, cheese is not an easy to find staple in a lot of Asian countries and neither is a great pizza. This holds especially true for me because I am also a pizza snob. The other day I had to return my room service pizza in a very fancy hotel and when the waiter asked what was wrong with it all I could mutter was an exhausted "everything".
So no, pleasing me with pizza ain't easy. Pizza is like sex. I rather have none than bad one.
Cue in La Baracca a lovely little Italian joint where you sit on fleamarket chairs and if you are a solo traveler overlook the rice paddies on a little bar counter. The pizza albeit on the pricier side is rather awesome and comes with proper cheese! They also bring you a tiny chocolate mousse on the house with the bill that makes that part of the evening so much better.
If there is one thing they could improve it is their wine selection. They have one reasonably priced house wine that is always out. Always. I'd rather they take it off the menu.
(They also have a branch in Seminyak which doesn't have rice paddy views but is still very lovely.)
Echo Beach BBQ
Head right down to Echo Beach and you will find a few non-descript restaurants overlooking the ocean. However, unassuming they are a great option for some freshly grilled seafood at a great price. My favorite was Dian Cafe - tuna, fries, and salad all washed down with some cold white wine and a bill that doesn't make you cry. And needless to say, the sunset is looker here!
Crate could only be hipper if they had a bouncer. As it is, the uncomfortable denim seats do the trick of weeding through the flocks of people, determining if you are Canggu enough to hang out here. I was enough for a coffee and a quick breakfast but not to linger and bring out my laptop.
However, the coffee is excellent and I liked their somewhat different breakfast choices: corn rosti with salmon or poached egg, eggs on spinach, peas, and pesto? Definitely worth to brave those seats for a bit.
Gypsy and I were a slow-burning love affair. We started with a casual breakfast and gradually moved up to dinner. I think their carbonara made me do it. Then I returned for octopus and tuna tataki and realized it is the perfect spot to show off to international visitors. It is local, charming and hip and you eat with gecko families, clinging to Balinese umbrellas.
And yes, they do chill their red wine, something I very much appreciate. Because really people, when your room temperature is above 28 degrees you do not want your red at room temperature!
On the note of wine. If you need a decent bottle head to Bottle Avenue around the corner. A great little shop for craft beer and some local wines. There are a few companies which important Australian grapes and produce wine locally. My favorite it the Cape Discovery rose - a lovely wine that would hold up at home as well.
Milk & Madu
Milk & Madu was a bit of the way for someone like me without a scooter. However, it was always worth the trip especially for brunch or my favorite lunch - their greek lamb salad with the best falafel ever. Honestly, I would still order it now just without the lamb (I have not been eating meat for the past two month!) and hope for more falafel. Who knew that a bit of dough made out of chickpeas could be such a revelation?!
To be honest, I cannot remember the food at Cloud 9, it wasn't very memorable. However, the place is pure Instagram heaven. Rice paddies, a huge Cloud 9 sign making it the perfect spot for happy couples, and a beautifully restored VW Bully. They have beanbags, a cat and of course, a picturesque little shrine in the rice paddy.
Go there for a drink and do not forget your camera!
Just be careful getting here, the road is a little ... bumpy.
The Slow is the latest cool kid on the block and one of the coolest hotels I have seen in a while. I cannot wait to go back and stay there because the rooms are so Mad Men and beautiful. For my next flat, I will definitely take some design inspiration from here.
And of course, they have an eatery to match and it has brought much excitement to the Canggu restaurant scene. I especially loved their juices and elixirs and the way they are served. Next time I need to come for a proper cocktail hour. They also have a lovely albeit small selection of fresh dishes that are great for sharing (unless your friend orders the softshell crab taco and you get scared) - so order a lot!
You can easily living up to Ubud. For lunch walk-ins are fine but for dinner, I would definitely recommend making a reservation.
Samadi & Samadi Too
Samadi & Samadi Too are two beautiful yoga studios in town and next to amazing classes, both heated and non-heated, they also offer retreats, accommodation, and some great healthy food. Here you will get your fix of fresh coconut or smoothies, different salads you can put together yourself, and of course, good coffee.
Samadi also has a weekly market where you can buy treats and local produce. And as an added bonus - Samadi Too has an awesome pool for laps - perfect to cool off in the hot Cangu weather.
Betelnut Cafe offers some of the best rice paddy views and great Bali food. You can either sit at a long communal table and eat al fresco under the shady roof or grab one of the few spots inside if you insist on aircon.
While their version of gado gado was a little too healthy and raw-food-trendy for me, I love their fishburger and the fact that they offer a lot of gluten-free bread options. And of course, vitamin shots to get over a jetlag or a hangover.
Where to find my favorite Canggu restaurants:
Have you been to Canggu? What are your favorite things and places to eat there?