I can’t believe we only spent three nights in Ubud. Surrounded by an overabundance of stunning countryside peppered with a plethora of beautiful temples, Ubud offers the jaded traveler endless opportunities for nature treks and the ideal backdrop for reflection and contemplation. If health and wellness is your thing, there are more spa experiences, yoga retreats and cooking schools than you could poke a stick at. If you have a penchant for shopping, the array of arts, crafts, fashion and accessories available to buy is off the scales. But what really delighted Peter and I about Ubud were the amount of world class cafes and restaurants that would stand proudly amongst those in any capital city.
These were our Top 6 picks (listed alphabetically):
1. Bridges: Set on seven levels surrounded by lush foliage and overlooking the gently flowing Wos River, Bridges has one of the most romantic settings of any restaurant we’ve been to anywhere in the world. Their kitchen serves up a delicious and beautifully presented array of Indonesian and western dishes, which include gluten-free and diabetic options. Responsible for Bridges’ culinary reputation are Executive Chef Miles Belfield ( originally from Bahamas, raised in the UK, with many years experience in Michelin star and award-winning restaurants) and Head Chef Wayan Sukarta (born in Tampaksiring to a family of cooks where recipes were passed from one generation to the next). Under the general management of Claude Chouinard, co-founder of Bali’s ONEWORLD retreats, Bridges stylish decor, relaxed-buzz vibe and gracious service make for a memorable dining experience. If you book early enough, you can score a table overlooking the river. You may also want to check out Bridges’ weekly activities on their website. S ommelier Antoine hosts wine tasting Masterclasses in Bridges’ wine cellar every Friday. Jl. Raya Campuhan, Ubud. (+62) 361 970095
Casa Luna on "Jazz Sunday", Ubud, Bali.
2. Casa Luna: Located on the main road of Ubud and just down from the village market, Casa Luna is casual and relaxed. Set over two-levels and surrounded by a tropical setting, this breezy eatery offers a delicious and wholesome selection of Balinese and Mediterranean dishes. Renown for their baked goods and coffee, their lime tart has been named the best dessert in Bali. We dined at Casa Luna on a “Sunday Jazz” night, counting our lucky stars as we listened to Nita Aartsen, one of Indonesia’s most talented jazz pianists, perform. Saturday and Sunday brunch are great times to eat at Casa Luna too, with favourites such as Eggs Benedict, Blueberry Pancakes, French Toast (with warm bananas, palm sugar and cinnamon) and Hash Browns (with bacon, herbs and fried eggs and Smashed Avocado and Feta on toast) on offer. Jalan Raya Ubud, Kec. Gianyar, Bali. (+ 62) 361 977409
Lunch at Earth Market, Ubud, Bali. Vegetarian, vegan, no preservatives, non GMO, no artificial colouring, MSG free.
3. Earth Cafe & Market: Located in the very heart of Ubud, Earth Café is strictly, proudly, and deliciously Vegetarian, based on an understanding of nutritional and Macrobiotic principles. Their food is organic and non-GMO, cooked and prepared using traditional methods. Using pure Himalayan sea salt, spring water and stainless steel cookware in their food preparation, there isn’t a preservative, flavor enhancer or MSG in sight. Paradiso, the world's first Organic, Vegan, and Vegetarian cinema, is a branch of the Earth Cafe concept and is within the same complex as the cafe and market. Screenings include everything from the latest blockbusters, to thought-provoking documentaries and kid-friendly animations. Jl. Goutama Selatan, Ubud. (+62) 361 976546
Dinner at Indus, Ubud, Bali.
4. Indus: Indus sits elegantly under the Casa Luna umbrella, alongside the Honeymoon Guesthouses (five minutes from the heart of Ubud), Casa Luna, Bar Luna, The Honeymoon Bakery and the Casa Luna Cooking School. Brain child of owner, founder, and former Melbournian Janet De Neefe, Indu’s magical setting is the perfect backdrop for a unique culinary experience which showcases a selection of authentic and delicious Balinese and Indonesian dishes. A five minute drive from the centre of Ubud, Indus overlooks the Tjampuhan River and enjoys stunning views across the Tjampuhan ridge and surrounding hills. But there’s a lot more on offer at Indus than just dinner. On Monday & Friday Nights, Indus presents the renowned Latino band Buena Tierra. Fresh Fish Friday focuses on a fresh fish feast, celebrating the finest fish dishes from across the archipelago, from Aceh to Ambon, wok–fried, grilled, braised, curried or steamed in banana leaves. Between 5-7pm every night, Indus provides their guests and diners with Twilight Cocktails and complementary tapas while they soak in the breathtaking views from the balcony. Their comprehensive selection of wine available by the glass as well as bottle. Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Kec.Ubud, Kec. Gianyar, Bali. (+62) 361 977684
Metze Plate at Kafe, Ubud, Bali.
5. Kafe: Opened in 2005, Kafe sits halfway down Jalan Hanoman, just off Ubud’s main road. An energy centre for fresh wholesome food and a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, the relaxed vibe of Kafe, with its recycled-wood furniture and fittings, is not unlike being in the lounge room of your best friend’s home. Using Bali harvested chemical-free & organic produce whenever possible, Kafe’s kitchen produces a mouth-watering variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The beverages at Kafe also reflect the owners’ commitment to healthy living by offering a lovely selection of freshly squeezed juices and a refusal to sell soft drinks. The crowd at Kafe are as eclectic as its menu, with yogis filling the space after each yoga class at The Yoga Barn nearby to visiting musicians, speakers, dance teachers and assorted expats. Inside Kafe is a shop called Kafe Kares, which sells environmentally friendly products of which a percentage of profits goes to charitable projects throughout Indonesia. Parking on the narrow street is a hassle, but well worth the visit nevertheless. Jalan Hanoman No. 44B, Padangtegal, Ubud, Kec. Gianyar, Bali. (+62) 811-3249-747
Dinner at Mosaic, Ubud, Bali.
6. OUR PICK - Mozaic: Leaving the best for our last night in Bali, Mozaic was a total revelation and the restaurant that we would return to Bali for. From the sheer multitude of flavours and perfect execution of their degustation menu, to the spot-on wine paring, quality of service and exquisite tropical setting, our dining experience at Mozaic was nothing short of a symphony. Fitting us in at the last moment, we requested that the two desserts from the degustation menu be omitted due to Peter’s dietary requirements. Without a fuss, Chef de Cuisine Benoit Larochelle replaced them with two savoury plates. When we alerted Sommelier Jeff Moch to my adverse reaction to red wine, presto. He expertly paired my meals with an all-white wine selection, all of them exquisite. Over the years, Mozaic has enjoyed the highest accolades, and deservedly so. It is the only restaurant in Southeast Asia selected by Traditions & Qualité as one of Les Grandes Tables du Monde (Great Tables of the World) and to have it’s wine list awarded year after year by Wine Spectator. It is also the only Indonesian restaurant to be selected as one of the 100 World’s Best in the San Pellegrino Guide. Jl. Raya Sanggingan, Ubud, Kec. Gianyar, Bali. (+62) 361 975768
Have you had a great dining experience in Ubud? Drop us a line and tell us about it.