Located near the centre of the island away from the drunken mania of Kuta’s beaches, Ubud is the cultural centre of Bali famous for its art galleries and arts & crafts scene. I recently visited this friendly tropical island with my girlfriend and we selflessly visited as many restaurants as possible for the readers of Sabotage Times.
There are literally hundreds of restaurants in Ubud – from the blokes hunkered down doing roadside satay and “warungs” (roadside shacks) to high-end Western-Indo fusion restaurants. Here are our favourites.
Up the hill heading north, Indus is just a fifteen minute walk out of central Ubud and is worth visiting for the spectacular views alone. Set on the gorge high above the Tjampuhan River, Indus has a fantastic traditional menu. Make sure you reserve one of the terrace tables to make the most of your visit.
What we had: The amazing lamb shank and the ridiculously tasty chicken, prawn, coconut and lime soup.
Situated above the bridge over the Tjampuhan River, Rondji won us over with its décor and the best beef mei goreng (fried noodles) in all of Ubud. We were told that the chef here often changes the menu and I’m looking forward to going again the next time I’m in Ubud. Rondji boasts an excellent wine list and they’ll do you a bloody good vodka martini. You might want to sharpen your appetite beforehand with a visit to the Don Antonio Blanco museum which is right next door.
What we had: Beef mei goreng, twice cooked duck, ox-tail rendang style
Nuri’s is a traditional Indonesian warung just outside of central Ubud and you’ll notice the queue of people and the aroma of their famous ribs drifting down the hill before you clap eyes on it. Rough and ready (“warung-meets-Irish pub”- NY Times), Nuri’s was founded and the mid-nineties by an ex-pat New Yorker and his Indonesian wife, which explains the monstrous burgers and Martinis that this busy little place is also famous for. You’ll probably have to queue for a seat in the rickety shack, but its well worth it.
What we had: Ribs, ribs ribs.
Just up from Monkey Forest Road down a side street on the other side of the big market, this is the closest thing Ubud has to a hipster café. If you’re looking for something quick and easy, Bar Luna with its small menu should do the trick. While you’re waiting for your food there’s a pile of back issues of Yak – Bali’s style bible – to go through. Cheap and uncomplicated, Bar Luna is popular with back packers and the coffee here is the best you’ll get anywhere on the island.
What we had: Stringy pancakes with chicken curry.
If you’re after a European style fine dining experience, Bridges (located, not surprisingly, right on the bridge) is the place to head for. The menu here is weighted more to Euro end of Euro-Indonesian cooking and there’s also a MASSIVE choice of wines. Personally, if I’m abroad, I like to try local food in a traditional setting, but if you want to play it safe then this would be the place to go. (Just try and ignore the shocking artwork on the walls that they have for sale).
What we had: Thyme crusted lamb loin, Balinese spiced duck leg.