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?
The Best Canggu Restaurants
Where to find 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 Nori Bowl and for those who like something special for breakfast, I recommend the sticky Bircher Musli.
Let’s just admit that sometimes all you really need is a good pizza even in Bali. 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 quite the 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 pizza/sex.
Cue in La Baracca, a lovely little Italian joint where you sit on fleamarket chairs and if as 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 or a Limoncello on the house with the bill making this part of the evening so much better.
I have also dared to try their pasta (if anything I am even more snobby when it comes to pasta) and it is very good, hitting all the right marks if you are in the mood for some red wine and comfort food.
Bali has been waiting for a restaurant like Mason. A bit of big world feeling, this place is simply cool. Small portions with locally sourced ingredients, craft beer, and of course, a good cocktail menu await in a hip backyard setting.
Dishes are simple and more-ish – cauliflower with yogurt, pinenuts, and pomegranate seeds. Who would have known that cauliflower could be that delicious?! I also tried their ham and cheese toastie which was crunchy, gooey, and full of truffle flavors. Any place who can pull off a good toasted sandwich is a champion in my books!
Another highlight is their quail with burnt lime mayo and the fish croquettes. Service is friendly and fast and apparently, their Back Room bar serves one of the best Negronis on the island. All in all, one of the best Canggu restaurants and a welcome new addition!
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!
While Musubi is located at a somewhat awkward corner with lots of traffic, the inside is as zen as it gets. You will feel like you have stepped into a sake restaurant in Japan (or what I imagine a sake restaurant to look like).
They are probably best known for their sushi burgers which come with a wagyu patty, tofu or fish. Instead of a bun, you get crunchy soft rice which is held together by a sheet of nori. The whole thing is dosed on mayo and absolutely scrumptious. It looks small but don’t be fooled – this is a caloric bombshell!
They also offer various salads, my beloved bao buns, and various Asian dishes for fish lovers as well as vegetarians and vegans. And of course, they have a sake happy hour!
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.
Fishbone Local is one of the newest restaurants in Canggu and is from the same makers as Mason, also bringing a breath of fresh air to the area. The restaurant is all about sustainable fish and fair trade produce, something I absolutely love and support. The menu is divided by snacks, something else, market, sides, and desserts.
The market menu offers various fish dishes while the snacks, starter portions, offer various Asian inspired dishes. Something else comes with a few pasta options, poke bowls, fish tacos and is such, perfect for a lunch. And then, of course, there is dessert and I am still kicking myself for not ordering a deep-fried Snickers.
Cocktails are also rather nice here: simple classic done with local flavors.
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?!
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 book a room at The Slow here.. For lunch walk-ins are fine but for dinner, I would definitely recommend making a reservation.
I have been reading about dedicated avocado restaurants for a while but never found one in the vicinity until now. Mind you, avocados while all the rage are also facing quite a bit of criticism these days depending on where they come from.
At Avocado Factory in Canggu, they come from local Balinese producers so you can feast without feeling bad. All their dishes, sweet and savory, center around avo and it is always used as a star rather than a garnish. I was initially keen to try their deep-fried avo burger where the avo substitutes the bun but decided against it in the end. I opted for the Nasi Campur which avocado sate and avo crumble. Little did I know, the avo crumble was basically small bits of deep-fried avo and boy was I glad that I didn’t choose the burger. People, avocado should not ever be deep-fried. Or served hot. Ever.
Mind you, the rest was absolutely delicious and I was especially impressed with their tempe, something I am usually not a fan of. So if you are looking for a healthy food option in Canggu, check out Avocado Factory just stay away from the fried options.
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.
Secret Spot Canggu is the second of its kind and has just opened. I came across it on my way to Lifecrate which basically had a line around the block and I was too tired to wait. Unlike many other vegan cafes in Canggu, Secret Spot seems a bit more chilled and you can probably spend a few hours on your laptop without anyone minding.
I arrived with a slight hangover (ups) and started with a charcoal shot followed by a green juice thankfully without celery which helped me recuperate nicely.
It was one of those mornings when I would then usually go for something hearty preferably with lots of carbs and fat. The vegan version of what I had in mind was “tofu benny” something I had been wanting to try. Especially after some poached eggs at Mocca which were too soft for my liking (I get creeped out when eggs are too soft), I loved the deep-fried tofu I got instead. The vegan hollandaise was nice but disappointing when compared to a real hollandaise, however, the whole combination was delicious. And thanks to the fact that it was served on dark sourdough bread instead of a muffin and came with carrots and kale it felt like a healthy version of a very satisfying classic.
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