Along the Ubud Eating Trail

Uncategorized | Written By, NOW! BALI | August 29th, 2013

Ubud has so many great eating places that it can be bewildering for a visitor. Here is a guide to some of my personal favourites. simply not to be missed Maya Resort and Spa – the award-winning Maya Hotel on the Pejeng road has all kinds of things going for it, and not least is the food. Within the perfectly groomed grounds, lies the restaurant complex which serves up excellent food. The breakfast buffet is worth a visit in itself and each week they have special evening buffets at affordable prices. During high season, the Thursday night Seafood Buffet offers fabulous fresh seafood at prices you would pay for an ordinary meal elsewhere. Fresh oysters in their shells, and prawns from the Southern Seas, all kinds of fish, Calamari, and the pièce de résistance – a boned salmon baked encroute! Fantastique! Accompanying the fish and seafood are salads, pastas and a big selection of freshly made sushi and of course spectacular desserts if you can squeeze them in. Don’t miss it if you are in the area!

TEXT & photos by ayu sekar

Ubud has so many great eating places that it can be bewildering for a visitor. Here is a guide to some of my personal favourites. 

simply not to be missed

Maya Resort and Spa – the award-winning Maya Hotel on the Pejeng road has all kinds of things going for it, and not least is the food. Within the perfectly groomed grounds, lies the restaurant complex which serves up excellent food. The breakfast buffet is worth a visit in itself and each week they have special evening buffets at affordable prices.

During high season, the Thursday night Seafood Buffet offers fabulous fresh seafood at prices you would pay for an ordinary meal elsewhere. Fresh oysters in their shells, and prawns from the Southern Seas, all kinds of fish, Calamari, and the pièce de résistance – a boned salmon baked encroute! Fantastique! Accompanying the fish and seafood are salads, pastas and a big selection of freshly made sushi and of course spectacular desserts if you can squeeze them in. Don’t miss it if you are in the area!

Ayung Resort – high up above the Ayung River, the new The Ayung Resort is in a class of its own. It aims to please, especially when it comes to food which is in a class of its own. From breakfast to the soft lights of a romantic dinner, the food is always superb. 

Head Chef, Made Lugra, creates tantalising dishes, with inspirations from Balinese, Indonesian, Chinese and European cuisine. Desserts are equally memorable, so be sure to leave space. Gourmet Indonesian is only the beginning. Try the authentic Italian or any of the creatively arranged food that comes from their first class kitchens.

Viceroy – Like a classic painting, dining at the Viceroy never grows old. Looking out over the Petanu River Valley, the surroundings soothe as beautiful food is brought to the table. Perfect wines and great cuisine make it a meal to remember. Everything is quality.

Mozaic is one big Bali success story – a fine dining paradise in a garden setting and the only internationally acknowledged fine dining venue in Bali, (accepted as a member of Les Grandes Tables du Monde in 2004). The restaurant is always reliably fabulous and a “must visit” on the lists of anyone interested in fine food.

With its red décor, the cocktail lounge makes an elegant start to the evening. Guests can choose their menu while sipping champagne and sampling amuse bouche to whet the appetite… 

French-American Chef, Chris Salans, has created amazing degustation menus that marry French cuisine with Indonesian overtones. The use of Indonesian herbs and spices like turmeric, galangal, cardamon, ginger, and lemongrass can subtly change tastes without being overpoweringly “foreign”. Much of the food is sourced locally but certain ingredients like Australian oysters, Wagyu beef, or Cep mushrooms from France, Javanese crayfish and lamb are imported. It all depends on the quality of the produce. It is excellence all the way.

Maya Resort and Spa

Jl. Gunung Sari, Peliatan 

T: +62-361 977 888

Ayung Resort Ubud

Desa Melinggih Kelod, 

Banjar Begawan 

T. +62 361 9001 333

Viceroy

Jl. Lanyahan, Br Nagi, Ubud 

T. +62-361 971 777 

Mozaic – closed Mondays

Jl. Raya Sanggingan, Ubud

T: +62-361 0975 768 

www.mozaic-bali.com

 

a great night out

Kafe – Halfway down Jl Hanoman is the café that started the whole yoga trend of modern Ubud. Styled after a California eatery, this little hub draws the yoga crowd and seekers from near and far. The food is fresh and healthy without being overbearing. Juices, salads, great cakes and innovative breakfasts make it a busy place all day. People go to eat, connect, watch the crowd and just enjoy the ambiance.

Kebun  – Just near Kafe in Jl Hanoman. Kebun’s architecture is the first thing that stands out. Think an artist’s vision of a Tuscan winery. Pale beige stone washed walls, open sides, vines, stone walls and flagged stone floors. Eclectic furniture and some new old style bistro chairs look just great. Waiters stand by with long blue and white striped aprons. The other half is the open kitchen, Bistro section with air conditioning and more cuteness.

A great wine list compels attention and the menu is designed to please with lots of old favourites. Blackboards list the daily specials – one day it could be Spanish-style garlic prawns, another day, calamari fritti with home-made Aioli, or perhaps a Mediterranean grilled Haloumi salad or a Linguini Arrabiata.

Other really interesting things are on the anything but standard menu. Try the authentic tasting gratineed French onion soup and the yet to be tried aromatic lamb shank Tagine-style. The irresistible Macaroni Cheese is given a new twist with Gruyere and Parmesan cheese and a green side salad – comfort food to die for. Lots of other salads can also be found on the menu as well as other surprises so that you are spoiled for choice.

The wine list is eclectic and surprisingly good and just to visit for a late afternoon glass of wine or two is already fabulous.

Petani – The new Alaya Resort Ubud in Pengosekan has a pleasant restaurant that invites street traffic just as much as hotel guests. With a Balinese chef who used to work for the royal family, the standards are high. You can sample Balinese food as well as an eclectic international menu.

Rondji was named after the beautiful Balinese wife of Antonio Blanco, (the eccentric painter known as the Dali of Bali). Rondji is a pleaser. In fact some visitors I met recently went there three days in a row, they enjoyed it so much. Seated under the canopy of huge old trees, with views over the Campuhan Valley – it is a divine place to spend time morning or evening.  With a chef who trained at Metis, the food is excellent, and innovative without being overwhelmingly so.

Try their belly of pork Dijonaise, with poached apples and orange compote sauce or that old time favourite, beef Wellington, or the duck, or a Wagyu steak, great pastas, and salads and innovative starters. And don’t forget to finish with the extraordinary Caramel ice cream! It’s the best.

Naughty Nuri’s Warung – after the sad demise of Brian, Nuri’s man on the spot, the mood and the crowd has changed a little. But Nuri’s is still the best place in town for ribs and a killer Martini, Mojito, or an ice cold Bintang. Some of the old regulars have dropped out but the atmosphere still reeks of good times and casual dining. Those who don’t care for ribs will find other, healthier options on the menu.

Nuri’s is in Sanggingan opposite Museum Neka – just look for the clouds of pork scented smoke from the barbeque. 

Trattoria finally arrived in Ubud! After years of crowd pleasing in the south, they have opened up in Ubud. This restaurant chain serves up the best authentic Italian on the island. Run by Italians, who know their stuff, the food is great! Try their family-sized pizza, their pastas, salads, you can’t go wrong! Try not to notice the huge blue sign, which is a bit out of keeping with their quality and the slightly austere setting. Take a large group, open up some of their excellent wine, and just enjoy the food.

Il Giardino – Located at the Hans Snel Bungalows off Jl Raya Ubud, opposite Arys Warung, Il Giardino has a quiet garden setting where you can enjoy an excellent meal. We tried lots of things. The thin and crusty pizza comes with a variety of great toppings and the bruschetta menu makes you want to try them all.  The Foccacine al Fromaggio – pillows of pastry stuffed with goat’s cheese and a tangy chutney – formidable! The baked ricotta, tomato and pesto bruschetta was memorable and the polenta chips did the trick. Later, the grass fed lamb lamb rack with rosemary, garlic, lemon and lime, baked in the pizza oven, and the chicken with mustard, sage, lemon and white wine won a few more hearts.

Kafe

Jl. Hanoman

T. +62-361 7803 802

Kebun

Jl. Hanoman

T. +62-361 780 3801

Petani at Alaya Resort 

Jl Raya Pengosekan

T. +62-361 972 200

Rondji

by the Campuhan Bridge

T. +62-361 975 502

Naughty Nuris

Jalan Batubelig, 41

T. +62-361 847 6722

Trattoria

Jalan Raya Sanggingan

T. +62-361 977 544 / 449

Il Giardino

Jalan Kajeng

T. +62-361 974 271

ethnic

Indian Delites – Also in Pengosekan (is this Ubud’s new food capital one wonders!)  Indian Delites offers authentic Indian fare at regular prices. Setting is comfortably Indian and the food is fine. Their mutton curry is worth going for, their Naan is fresh, chutneys delicious and they even have Masala Dosai although a little pricier than in Singapore’s streets. Dahl, Raita, Palak Paneer, vegetarian options, everything you want in Indian food. Try the Kulfi – that inimitable Indian ice cream. I believe Gulab Jamun is also on the menu!

Kagemusha – Hidden away in a back lot of Pengkosekan, overlooking the dwindling padi fields, Kagemusha is difficult for even regulars to find. But with a little work, it can be managed. Here is the place for home cooking Japanese style. Specials are added each day along with the regular items.

Don’t expect sashimi, tempura and all the other tourist fare, this is authentic home-style fare. It is always popular in a relaxed, low key sort of style. Beers and Sake are available and you can bring your own wine.

Taco Casa – Created by a Balinese man with vision, Taco Casa turns out fresh, clean Tex Mex. Cold beers, fabulous minty green drinks and of course, Margaritas, by the glass or jug, make your meal go with a swing. Casual and relaxed, you can sit on a bench on the floor, or at a table while you hunker into the corn chips and salsa, awaiting your nachos, exemplary Tacos, Burritos, Quesadilas and more. Salads are crispy fresh and everything is perfect, made with a minimum of fuss.

balinese special foods 

Ibu Mangku – When we want a hit of Balinese food, the choices are not that many, but two stand out. Hidden up in Jl Raya Kedewatan, along with a small string of similar eateries, Ibu Mangku churns out platefuls of the best Bali Chicken rice in town. This is not like Hainanese chicken rice, but chicken cooked in a variety of ways, with tiny bits of each added to your plate – fried, stewed, a la Ayam Betutu, crispy skin, and fried and shredded with herbs, added to your pile of rice, and a big helping of vegetables and sambal on the side. Cold beers, herbal drinks and juices are available.

Ibu Oka – The Other best Bali food is of course Ibu Oka, just north of the Ubud Palace. Each day huge roasted pigs can be seen carried on the head of one of the kitchen staff down Jl Suweta, hordes of hungry eaters waiting patiently for their turn at a table. Succulent roasted pig with crispy crackling is on the must do list of many a Jakarta visitor, Japanese and Singaporean, not to mention westerners. Cold beers or fresh orange juice make a great accompaniment. For the best crispy duck in and out of town, the race is on. Two cannot be beat.

Arma Café – Sited on a bend in the road in Pengosekan, the magnificent ARMA Museum has its own inimitable Bali stylish café and one of the best Crispy Ducks. The organic ducks are brought straight from the rice fields and boiled with herbs to a delightful softness, before being fried to a succulent crispiness.  ARMA Café serves their duck with three sambals, a little glass of Bali Brem (special), and a pile of vegetables. If you get the special, it also comes with soup and a fruit dessert. Sit back on the cushions like a rajah, or dine at a table, and enjoy the breezy atmosphere while dining on the duck. Afterwards (or before), take a walk through the delightful grounds of ARMA and return to the Bali of yore. Take in a gallery or two and enjoy the fine collections of Balinese art. A nice day out.

Tepi Sawah – Just out of Ubud, near the Mas turnoff, Tepi Sawah also does great duck. Intimate little bales face fields of green padi in a tropical garden setting. While this place gets very busy, you can still enjoy intimacy if you choose your own bale. The duck is cooked in a similar manner, comes with three sambals and another menu if you prefer. Tepi Sawah also has a magnificent collection of art and each experience is different. Perhaps it is better to try both! 

Indian Delites 

Jl. Raya Pengosekan

T. +62 -361 7444 222

Kagemusha

Jl. Raya Pengosekan

T. +62-361 973 134

Casa Taco

Jl. Raya Pengosekan

T. +62-361 2123 818

Ibu Mangku

Jl. Raya Kedewatan

T. +62 -361 974 795

Ibu Oka

Jl. Suweta, 

opposite Ubud Palace

Arma Café

Jl. Raya Pengosekan

T. +62-361 976 141

Tepi Sawah

Jl. Raya Goa Gajah

T. +62-361 975 656

 

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