Ask anyone who has been to Bali on what’s their impression of the island and chances are, they are going to answer “the beach, the bule and plenty of parties”, while the rest is just a blurry piece of recollection. But if that’s the memory that one is going to bring back home with, then it’s a pity. There’s more to the island than just the beach and party. And it will be a shame not to add “food” on the roster of your memory.
Those who say Ubud is not a place for foodie simply do not know where to look. The restaurant scene in Ubud, for the past few years, has undergone a delicious revival. With an emphasis on sustainable living at its core, most of the restaurants in Ubud have managed to deliver inspiring eats on the table.
Warung Ibu Oka
First and foremost, no Ubud trip is complete without Warung Ibu Oka’s famous suckling pig. So popular that it has more than one outlet. Just like how first timer in Ubud would head to the popular Monkey Forest, Warung Ibu Oka has morphed into a “culinary spot” for tourists over the years. Even though the food itself has been the subject of mixed opinions.
The most frequented one is located close to Ubud Royal Palace. But if you’re in no mood to join the long queue, head to the next outlet, which will take around ten minutes walk down the narrow lane of Suweta Street. Luckily for those who aren’t familiar with suckling pig, just go for their “Complete Menu”, which also comes in crispy skin and sausage.
Locavore and Locavore To Go
Locavore is undoubtedly one of the restaurant darlings in Ubud currently. Located along Dewi Sita Street, Locavore doesn’t take any walk-in customers. As a laid-back fine dining establishment that serves modern European cuisine using local seasonal ingredients, Locavore only serves 7-course lunch and dinner. As such, it is advisable to place a reservation – preferably days before – to avoid disappointment.
However, if luck isn’t on your side and you miss the chance to try what Locavore has to offer, it’s sister restaurant, Locavore To Go, is merely a few easy steps away. The latter focuses on no frills, familiar menu like pulled pork sandwich and burger. No reservation is needed here. However, unlike its elder sibling, Locavore To Go only serves breakfast and lunch.
If one visits Ubud clouded with the image of Julia Roberts from Eat Pray Love against the backdrop of an idyllic paddy field, then Sari Organik is the restaurant that could help you attain that fantasy. However, be prepared to burn off some calories for this one. Lodged in the middle of paddy field, one is required to walk at least more than 15 minutes to get here.
Don’t brush this off your list yet for you’ll be rewarded with tranquil scenery of the farmland. The long winding track is made lighter with an amusing episode of clumsy ducks waddling by the mud before filing into a long single lane worthy of a few posts on Instagram and Snapchat.
This organic restaurant also boasts a sweeping view of the rice paddy dotted with farmers. When even the modest brown rice explodes with flavour, there’s no need to crack your brain as to what to eat here. Simply close your eyes and pick one.
It definitely takes a huge effort to step out of Bisma Eight. The hotel not only boasts lush tropical garden, Japanese-inspired suites and infinity pool overlooking the Monkey Forest; it also houses a restaurant worthy of its contemporary stature, Copper Kitchen & Bar.
Featuring an inspired, thought-through menu, Copper Kitchen & Bar offers modern dishes rooted in Asian traditions and ingredients sourced from their very own organic farm. There are plenty of options here to please everyone from Peking duck salad, pan-fried black pepper shrimp to slow-cooked beef penang.
But don’t hurry off after your meal. Order tropical cocktails and head off to their impressive rooftop bar to enjoy the nighttime in Ubud with a complimentary view of stars and gentle breeze.
Located at the edge of Sayan’s cliff, Sayan House is a good 10-minute drive from the centre of Ubud. This contemporary Asian restaurant is known for its intimate homey atmosphere. Don’t be surprised to bump into a celebrity when dining in this establishment.
A dinner with your special one can be enjoyed along with a sunset view or simply head over to dine by Chef’s Teppanyaki table for a more casual vibe.
Those who can’t start their day without coffee are highly recommended to visit Seniman Coffee Studio. This café remains bustling from day to night. Here, Indonesian coffee beans are well-represented under the hands of one of its owner, Rodney Click.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see Click in action behind the counter. Sometimes telling the customers not to worry about the trivial fruity or nutty notes one supposed to taste. He will simply assure you to “just take note of the wonderful aftertaste that lingers at the back of your mouth.”
Ubud often plays host to plenty of festivals. If you’re lucky or has done your homework researching some of the events, you’ll get to experience some of the most fascinating ones. One of the examples is Ubud Food Festival (UFF). But unlike most festivals in Jakarta where all of the notable names are gathered and squeezed under one claustrophobic space, UFF is comfortably held in various dining spots, all spread out in Ubud. One of them is Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, also held at Copper Kitchen & Bar in Bisma Eight.
Event such as this enables patrons to have an intimate taste of the food and also, a closer experience with the mastermind behind some of the best eats in Ubud. It will also be a good chance for one to make some new acquaintances.
So it pays to do a little homework and log into Google to see what are the upcoming events in Ubud. You might want to plan your trip around the event venue so as to get the best out of your holiday.
Warung Ibu Oka 2
t: +62 361 976345
Jl. Dewisita No. 10
t: +62 361 977733
Locavore To Go
t: +62 361 977733
Jl. Raya Tjampuhan
t: +62 361 972087
Copper Kitchen & Bar
Jl. Bisma No. 53
t: +62 361 4792 888
Jl. Raya Sayan No. 70
t: +62 822 4737 0344
Seminan Coffee Studio
Jl. Sriwedari No. 5
t: +62 361 972085