Bali in your belly: our ultimate Bali food guide

written by Philippa Whishaw September 20, 2022

Travellers come to Bali for all sorts of reasons. They come to surf. They come to tan and party and downward dog. They come to sit in silence for a week and drink compressed papaya.

And last but not least, they come to eat.

Bali’s been a tourist hotspot for decades, but its foodie offerings stretch a lot further than pina coladas and club sandwiches by the pool. The island’s super trendy food scene is on par with some of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. From cheap holes in the wall to the most fancy pants of establishments, you’ll find something to suit every taste, budget and chilli threshold. Have you stumbled into edible paradise? You better Balieve it.

So fresh and so clean


A cafe in Canggu. Image by Emily Kratzmann, Flickr

Bali is all about The Cleanse. There are more detox retreats and yoga studios than you can poke a Tibetan prayer stick at. People go raw tree nuts for health food here, especially in Ubud. There are plenty of restaurants serving yummo vegetarian, raw and vegan grub, such as Soma Café or the Garden Café at the Yoga Barn.

Explore the real Bali on an Intrepid trip around the island >

Poke Poke in Canngu brings a little Hawaii to the island with its raw tuna bowls, while The Little Green Café in Kerobakan serves up ace salads. Plus, Bali is drenched in an endless ocean of fresh juice and smoothies, so you’ll never go thirsty. Before you know it, you’ll be brushing your teeth with coconut water, stocking up on activated charcoal at Bali Buda health store and just generally hanging out in your active wear. #healthyliving

All around the world…in Bali

acai bowl

Image by blah blah blah, Flickr

From Argentinian barbeque to American burgers, Bali’s restaurants will take you around the world faster than Daft Punk. Splash out on Indian at Sarong, snack on dim sum at Mama Sun or grab a slice at the Italian Corner. For muy delicioso Mexicana, head to the authentic Taco Local in Seminyak or to Taco Beach Grill in Kerobakan for some BaliMex fusion (um, yes please). For strong margaritas, party vibes and awesomely kitschy décor, make a bee-line for Motel Mexicola (be prepared to get up and boogie with the waiters). And whatever you do, do not leave Bali until you try the coconut crab and mahi mahi ceviche from Saigon Street in Seminyak. It’s to die for.

Eat local

It’s easy to spend weeks in Bali without eating any Indonesian food, and frankly my dears, it’s a crying shame. Seek out the local warungs (small family-run cafes) and ye shall find spicy West Sumatran food, sweet Javanese dishes and all the coconutty, tumericky, sambaly Balinese grub you could ever want. Line up with the locals at Warung Mak Beng in Sanur for a $3 bowl of nasi ikan (fish and rice). Warung Liku in Denpasar serves up stellar Betutu – chicken or duck smoked in banana leaf.

If you’re really hungry, try the delicious local specialty of babi guling, or whole suckling pig. The most famous spot to feast on poor old Babe is Ibu Oka’s in Ubud.

Café couture

If your idea of a holiday is catching up on the financial news over a double ristretto piccolo (you hipster, you), Bali’s cafes have got you covered. How to find the best ones? Follow the expats. These creatures can be identified by their deep honey tans, self-possessed coolness and MacBook Pros. Grab a magazine and head to Sisterfields, a little slice of Melbourne, Australia, right in the heart of Seminyak. Close by, Earth Café does great vego food, as does Café Organic.

Up the road in Canggu, join the surfer dudes at cruisy Crate Café as they tuck into their morning Matcha smoothies. If you’ve had a few too many beers the night before, the halloumi sandwich should fix you right up. The nearby Deus Ex Machina is another popular hang out, as is the zen Clear Café in Ubud.

Sit down, drink

As the sun sets, it’s time to let your hair down. For many, this means hitting the ubiquitous Bintang, the malty, hoppy local beer that you’ll find just about everywhere. A bottle will generally set you back a few bucks.

If you like your drinks to look like tropical birds and taste like paradise, Bali’s cocktail offerings won’t disappoint. Keep in mind that alcohol is heavily taxed in Indonesia, so you may end up paying more than you’d think. For location and overall wow, it’s hard to go past Potato Head in Seminyak. Set beachside and decked out with a pool, lounges and housey beats, the vibe is a bit scenestery, but it’s definitely worth a visit at sunset (try the Mamangrinha cocktail if you dig fresh mango). Grab a frozen mojito at Mingle Café Bar in Ubud, an espresso martini at Old Man’s in Canggu or a tequila shot on the dance floor at La Favela back in Seminyak. Eat, sleep, rave, repeat, party people.


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