The authentic Balinese flavors of Bali Asli are definitely worth the half-hour drive from the beachside town of Candidasa to Gelumpang village in Karangasem. In keeping with Balinese tradition, most of the ingredients used in the restaurant’s dishes are grown in the adjoining garden or are locally purchased, and the food is cooked on either a wood fire or in mud brick stoves. On clear days, the restaurant boasts breathtaking views of Mount Agung, Bali’s most sacred mountain.
Insider Tip: For a change of perspective, join one of Bali Asli’s cooking classes. Some of these classes involve fishing, farming or picking your own produce at the local market.
The upmarket Mama San hits the mark with an eclectic menu of dishes inspired by Asian street food. From Vietnamese Pho and Thai fishcakes, to Sichuan beef ribs and Bagan chicken curry, Mama San’s cuisine is rich in contrasts. The restaurant also doesn’t disappoint when it comes to ambience. The intimate downstairs dining room with oversized caramel-hued chesterfield couches and vintage decor evoking 1920s Shanghai is perfect for semi-formal dining, while the chic upstairs lounge area offers a more relaxed after-dinner setting.
Insider Tip: Check out the collection of retro photographs that decorate the downstairs area.
A sister restaurant of the award-winning Mozaic in Ubud, Mozaic Beach Club has firmly cemented itself as a place to see and be seen for those in the know. Kick back at one of the poolside gazebos and spend the day feasting on tasty tapas, before migrating to the restaurant’s uber elegant deck area for a more formal dining experience. Mozaic’s creative menu specialises in modern French cuisine with a Balinese twist.
Insider Tip: For a dessert with a difference, try the lemon basil gelato or the local jackfruit sorbet.
Accessible only via a narrow path that winds through Ubud’s rice paddies, visiting Sari Organik guarantees a 20-minute workout. The rustic wooden cafe serves vegetarian Balinese, Indonesian and Middle Eastern dishes made from ingredients picked daily from the adjacent organic garden, or purchased from local farmers who adhere to chemical-free gardening. The menu is seasonal to make the most of the available produce.
Insider Tip: Check out Sari Organik’s garden to see where your meal originated.
The Sea Circus blends fun and colour with quality cuisine and some of the best coffee on the island. With decor inspired by the humble beach shack, this quirky cafe adds a breath of fresh air to Seminyak’s posh dining scene. From spicy prawn tacos and eggplant wrapped polenta, to beetroot and orange salad, the cafe’s menu is as varied as it is imaginative. Better still, the Sea Circus serves locally-grown Kintamani coffee so you know that your buck – or rupiah to be more exact – stays on the island.
Insider Tip: Don’t leave without trying the churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce.