I have just returned from another stay in Ubud which to me is a great place in Bali to get work done. Overall good wifi and comfy accommodation as well as some great restaurants in Ubud for all occasions and budgets make it one of my preferred Bali destinations.
Honestly, I was not a big fan of Indonesian food in general when I first came here, 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.
Ubud restaurants I love:
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 their Mie Goreng.
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.
The spaces works well for a nice boozy lunch but dinner is especially special here if the weather holds and super romantic.
Liap Liap & Folk Ubud
– Jalan Monkey Forest
The newest family member of the Bisma Eight clan is Liap Liap in front of their pool restaurant Folk. Here you will find anything grilled and some great options that go far beyond your regular Satays.
The portions are huge and made for sharing. You must try the quail. I am usually not a fan of eating meat from the bone especially not when they are that tiny but man, that quail was good. In addition, ask for extra pickles. I may or may not have told the chef that I liked his pickle which promptly made me blush and put my foot in my mouth but his pickleS are really that good.
If you are keen for a swim head to the backyard where Folk is located. The menu is similar but you have pool access to go with it. As I caught an early rainy season in Ubud, I didn't go for a swim but the place looks amazing for a pool party.
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.
Milk & Madu
I was super excited to find a branch of my favorite Canggu restaurants, Milk & Madu, now in Ubud. And their interior here is extra special - someone needs to call Wes Anderson.
They still have my favorite dish - the lamb and falafel salad and some really decent pizza. As you may know, I am a pizza snob but their pizza is not bad at all.
Another great thing about Milk & Madu in Ubud? It doesn't get too crowded (yet) - since it is a little tucked away they seem to have few walk-ins, you need to want to come here, which serves me just fine.
Mexican Restaurants Ubud
I am a sucker for Mexican food - fish tacos, guacamole, you name it. Luckily there are some great options for Mexican restaurants in Ubud.
La Pacha Mama - Jalan Penestanan
One of my favorite Ubud Airbnbs is just across the street of La Pacha Mama which is a great option for vegan, vegetarian and fish lovers of Mexican food - they have a menu for everyone. The prices are on the high end but the portions are quite big and the food is delicious. If you ever wanted to try jackfruit tacos this is the place to do it!
El Mexicano - Jalan Monkey Forest
Since living for years with a Mexican I am quite picky when it comes to the Mexican food I eat so when I first went to famous Taco Casa Bali I was underwhelmed. Luckily I came across El Mexicano which first lured me in with their cool yet colorful interior. They make some great innovative margaritas to go with the funky interior and the food was not half bad. I think that my very own guacamole cannot be topped but theirs was rather nice as were my fish tacos.
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!
Nusantara - Jalan Dewi Sita
I have yet to make it to the famous Locavore in Ubud, one of the best if not the best restaurant in Bali. As they only serve a set 6-course meal I didn't feel like going there on my own - I think for such a dinner you will want company to enjoy it with. So I was incredibly delighted to learn that they have opened a new venue just down the road called Nusantara. They offer a unique take on Indonesian classics in a beautiful, modern setting.
Their menu offers a variety of smaller dish so you can order a few and share. Thankfully the waitress offered me a solo diner special that offers some of their favorites (according to any food intolerances you may have) on one plate so you can try a bit of everything. While I am usually not a huge fan of Indonesian cuisine this made me realize I might have been missing out on the good stuff as it featured some of the best squid, fish satay and beef brisket I have ever had. And whatever you order - do get some of their garlic chili sambal which you can order separately and could technically eat on its own - it is that good.
Another thing I really appreciated is their selection of great virgin cocktails and fancy iceteas. Being a teetotaler is the thing to be at Nusantara in Bali.
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.
I realized that there are a few restaurants in Ubud which might not warrant a special trip or a special occasion but are a great choice for something yummy on a weeknight and if you are craving some creature comforts when staying in Bali for longer.
Rouge - Jalan Bisma
To be honest I was very skeptical when I first went to Rouge because well, it is very red. The interior isn't my favorite but everything else is. The sushi is decent, the agadashi tofu great and they serve even the inexpensive local wine in proper nice wine glasses - you can tell the owner is French!
The staff is incredibly friendly and when I came the second time I was greeted like a long lost friend. Rough is the perfect place if you are looking for nice sushi restaurant in Ubud.
Umah Pizza - Jalan Bisma
Umah is quite unassuming from the outside and I only tried it because my friend told me that they make a decent pizza and were located right across my Airbnb. I was pleasantly surprised because the pizza is not only inexpensive but rather good as is the pasta. You will also find local wine at great places here and the place is huge - don't be deterred if it looks crowded from the outside, they will find a space for you. All in all, a great pizza restaurant in Ubud and for a cheap and cheerful meal!
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.
Daily Baguette - Jalan Raya Ubud
Daily Baguette is a small cafe and bakery and is great for expats or those missing some European delights. Cheeses, cured meats and of course, good bread is on offer. In addition, they have a lovely little pastry and patisserie section and make amazing lemon meringue pie in various sizes - the smallest one only costs 10k and is perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up!
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.
In a previous edition of this post, I kind of slammed famous Alchemy. My first visit there left me really underwhelmed and confused by the hype it gets. But when I was craving something healthy on my recent visit I thought it was fair to give it another try since I lived within walking distance. I am glad I did because once I inquired which of their dishes are served hot and which are not I got a better understanding of their raw menu. The vegan sushi was quite nice and hit all the right 'sushi spots' in terms of flavor and their salad bar where you can create your own salad was great. I am still not a big fan of the 'scene' that hangs out here and probably wouldn't travel far to have a meal at Alchemy but if you are in the vicinity and crave something healthy, definitely give it healthy, definitely give it try.
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!
Have you been to Ubud and have any favorite places to share?