Bali is fast becoming a mecca for fine-dining lovers. World-famous chefs bring their innovative concepts here and old favourites keep upping the ante. Here are the best places to experience what Bali´s culinary culture has to offer:
Metis is one of Bali´s most famous and exclusive restaurants. The venue is all about luxury, consisting of a restaurant, bar and lounge, gallery, boutique, wine cellar and private dining room. The restaurant enjoys a terrace and veranda overlooking adjacent rice fields. The menu presents French-Mediterranean cuisine extending to inventive Japanese and Middle-Eastern plates passionately crafted by chef and founder Nicolas Tourneville. Their wine cellar has an exclusive collection of wines from around the world. Metis serves lunch, dinner, high tea and also hosts regular events such as Aperochic on Friday evenings.
Mozaic was the groundbreaker for Bali´s fine-dining scene and still remains one of the most popular restaurants on the island. Chef Chris Salans has an innovative approach to French cuisine incorporating local and exotic Balinese ingredients through a varying menu. You can enjoy dinner at the award-winning restaurant either in a lush and romantic garden setting or in a spacious and cosy pavilion. They serve for example 6-course tasting and discovery menus that change regularly according to the chef´s team’s inspirations and seasonal ingredients.
Sarong and Mama San are creations of chef-owner Will Meyrick who gained much experience trying out different street foods and exotic dishes in various Asian regions. Sarong´s menu has Indian, Sri Lankan, Thai and Indonesian flavours whereas Mama San´s concentrates more on dishes from China, Vietnam and Burma. Sarong also offers asian-inspired cocktails and Mama San has one of the most extensive wine lists in Bali. While Sarong is a sultry, rustic-meets-rich space with two dining pavilions, an outdoor lounge and an informal dining area adjacent to the bar, its less pricey little sister Mama San has a cool and elegant warehouse-style interior on two levels. Both places are almost always fully booked so be sure to make your reservation well in advance.
Merah Putih is a temple of innovative architecture and inspired Indonesian cuisine. Soaring translucent roof colums collect rainwater and UV filters purify and recycle it while the solar-filtered glass walls let the light in but keep the heat out. The positioning of the tables and plants throughout the space gives a sense of intimacy even when the restaurant is full. Executive chef Kieran Morland has separated the Indonesian-themed menu into two sections: You can choose from the traditional menu consisting of classic regional dishes or the modern menu of creative culinary concoctions made with ingredients from around the archipelago.
Sardine comprises of a gorgeous bamboo-beamed dining hall with platforms overlooking rice fields and of a chill-out lounge featuring leafy bamboo gardens and ponds. Executive chef Michael Shaheen´s menu changes daily, with the main ingredients being fresh catches from Jimbaran seafood market. The healthy and tasty seafood selection is combined with home-grown organic produce sourced from their own garden in the village of Bedugul. There are also meat and vegetarian dishes on the menu.
The Papuan-born chef Mandif Warokka has created this intimate 26-seat restaurant serving fine French and Asian-fusion cuisine. Together with another multi-award winning Indonesian celebrity chef Daniel Edward he promises a memorable dining experience with an open theater-style kitchen. They source the best produce available in the market, about 70% of which are local ingredients.
Locavore offers delectable and innovative French cuisine creations by Eelke Plasjmeijer and Ray Adriansyah, two former chefs of the five-star resort Alila Ubud. They serve an ingredient-driven tasting menu with wine pairings and five to seven course degustation treats made out of local produce. In the restaurant there are three seating sections: a lounge-like part at the far end, several recycled wooden tables in the middle and the most privileged spot right next to the open kitchen. The dishes are served directly by the chefs and everything is art on a plate. Bookings are essential as there are only 30 seats at the restaurant.
Sip wine bar and restaurant is one of the best-kept secrets of Bali´s fine dining. The atmosphere here is that of a French brasserie,and the space is small, romantic and intimate despite its streetside location. The creator, Christian Vanneque was an acclaimed sommelier and wine lover, so the wine list is extensive and exquisite. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner sets as well as “Bouillon Sip”: a range of affordable starters, mains and desserts,which you can mix and match to your own liking.
At The Warung you will have uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean on one side and a swimming pool on the other, while enjoying chef Stefan Zijta´s enthusiastically traditional Indonesian cuisine. You can either dine on shared plates around the nine-metre wooden table communal area, on a private table nestled indoors or alfresco above the ocean. The chef´s selection “Uluwatu”, consisting of 11 mini dishes, is definitely worth a try.
Sundara´s chic space has become a gorgeous addition to the beach with its blue infinity pool and tree-shaded daybeds. The restaurant consists of a bar, an open-air dining area and a lavish five-star dining room. They serve an international menu cooked in a semi-open kitchen helmed by executive chef Greg Bunt. You can choose for example from sushi, salads and pizzas for lunch and steak and seafood for dinner.
The award-winning Kayuputi offers a luxury dining experience with premium Asian-inspired haute cuisine. The restaurant has elegant and stylish interiors in dominant white, lined with traditional wayang puppet motifs and figurines. The centerpiece is a large open kitchen where you can witness the Balinese sous chef Agung Gede and his team prepare the dishes. Open for brunch, lunch and dinner, Kayputi features a’la carte and lavish six-course degustation menus. One thing to try out are the champagne brunches.
Jumana, which won the 2015 best restaurant award by Indonesian Tatler, has an amazing cliffside location with stunning views over the Indian Ocean. The décor is sophisticated with rattan chairs and floor-to-ceiling windows. Their cuisine is French with a Japanese twist and especially the simply delicious degustation menu with it’s international-standard dishes is a must-try.
I had the pleasure of getting suggestions for other great fine dining spots from fellow expats on Facebook. So here are some more options for cherishing your taste buds and filling up your belly:
The creation of executive chef Luigi Calcagno is a celebration of traditional Italian cuisine made out of high-quality ingredients: fresh fish from the market, organic vegetables from a local mountain farm, homemade bread and pasta and authentic Italian artisan produce. The rustic and comfortable decoration gives you a homey feeling, which is enhanced by the sweet live jazz tunes every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. At ZiBiru you can choose to dine either alfresco in the tropical garden, underneath the sky on the rooftop terrace or in the non-smoking interior.
Opened a mere 9 months ago, Republik 45 is the latest addition to the restaurants serving high-end Indonesian cuisine. As their name suggests, the restaurant serves dishes rich in both flavor and history, combining traditional selections with home-style and street food options. Step into the chic indoor lounge or sit down in the huge alfresco dining area and enjoy chef Ketut Udiana´s 7-course set menu or select some of the mouthwatering shared or individual dishes from the extensive a´la carte menu. If you want to enjoy their food, only on a smaller budget, just pop in for lunch or high tea. On Wednesdays the restaurant hosts Ladies Night with free cocktails and Fridays it´s time for a Bar party.
Jalan Raya Kerobokan No. 86A, Kerobokan
Opening Hours: 12 pm – 3 pm, 6 pm – 11.30 pm (lounge until 1 am)
The Australian family-owned restaurant is located on a ridge overlooking the magnificent Valley of the Kings a mere 5-minute drive from the centre of Ubud. The mix of contemporary and traditional Balinese architecture of the dining room set against a tropical foliage creates the perfect atmosphere for a romantic dinner. A fine dining restaurant with European and Asian influences, CasCades produces bold and unique dishes created by executive chef Nic Vanderbeeken and made from the finest produce around the globe, such as Australian wagyu beef, Canadian lobster and French foie gras.