In Food + Drink

The Best Of Bali’s Burgeoning Food Scene

The Island of Gods' food scene has seriously heated up.

Combine chefs exposed to wide-ranging cuisines together with their knack for creative presentation; toss in access to the freshest of ingredients; serve the whole thing in beautifully-designed spaces; and you’ve got the dining scene of Bali.

In the past 10 years, the Island of God’s food scene has seriously heated up. From the populated streets of Seminyak to the rice paddy-fringed ones in up-and-coming suburb Canggu, we’ve scoured South Bali to round up the must-try places for your next visit.

For a fun night out… Motel Mexicola

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting Mexico and tasting its food, you’d agree the Aussie version of it pales in comparison. But the good news is you don’t need to travel all the way back to get your fix. Motel Mexicola in Seminyak has it, and it comes out in an incredibly fun environment too.

Without fail, every night, the waiters get the crowd dancing up on stage to a playlist that sees no Spanish language song off-limits from Shakira to the Macarena. Dining here is a Bali must-do and with tourists quickly catching on to that, it’s wise to book ahead for a table. And if you don’t have time for a meal, at least drop by for a walk-through – the décor is a serious feast for the eyes.

For an experience… Orbit

Former members-only club Luna2 recently opened its doors to guests, and already, its restaurant Orbit is pulling repeat customers in. With its unique futuristic setting and Australian chef Alanna Agnew steering the space-themed ship, it’s easy to see why.

Menu highlights include tinned crab – and they mean that literally, it comes in a decorative, aluminium tin – and truffle oil-dusted gnocchi served with salty Parmesan crisps and mushrooms picked from near Mount Agung. If you happen to have room for dessert, order the chocolate tart. Though, it’s so rich, you may only be able to manage a few bites.

For a classy affair… Da Maria

From Aussie restaurateur Maurice Terzini, the man behind Sydney’s Icebergs Dining & Bar and The Dolphin, and fellow expat and hospitality entrepreneur Adrian Reed, Da Maria is exactly what you’d expect from the duo. It’s sleek; serves gourmet-level fare; and attracts a well-dressed crowd.

Despite its expansive warehouse-style space, the Italian courtyard-feel they aimed to create is very much apparent. There’s a garden fountain at the back; the intricate chairs are custom-made; and the colour palette is a chic yellow, blue and white. Tasting the melt-in-your-mouth burrata with edamame beans and zucchini slices and the house-made strozzapreti with king prawns, cherry tomatoes, and chilli will further transport you to Europe.

For good pizza… Luigi’s Hot Pizza

A spin-off of Da Maria, but on a much simpler, no-frills scale, Luigi’s Hot Pizza in new hotspot Canggu – dubbed the ‘Bondi’ of Bali – is as hip as its surrounding area. Its seating is at white-painted picnic tables; its 10-metre pizzas come with a side of cheering and dish-banging; and its shipping container-style walls are covered in street art graffiti.

Like their names suggest, the salads and pizzas are authentic Italian. The capricciosa with mushrooms, artichokes, olives and fior di latte is a must-order for vegos while the spicy salami, chillies, onion, and potato one will warm your tongue enough to have you reaching for a drink. Luckily, they’ve got plenty of options for those too – from Italian wines to fruity cocktails with birras in between.

For calm and nourishment… NOOK Umalas

A canopied, open-air venue set amongst swaying green rice fields and serving some of the most aesthetically-pleasing meals you’ll find on the island, NOOK in Seminyak is lovely, with a welcoming breeze, ever-smiling servers, and nourishing food.

While the menu’s a cross between Indonesian, Asian and Western-style cuisine – think deep-friend spring rolls and Nasi Goreng alongside burgers and pastas – of note are its colourful smoothie bowls. Topped with all the good stuff like roasted coconut flakes, chia seeds, and sliced fruit, they’ll leave your insides feeling whole again.

For good coffee… Revolver Espresso

Said to have revolutionised Bali’s caffeine scene in the five years it’s been around, these days, Revolver Espresso doesn’t just offer coffee – the grungy restaurant’s got plenty else too. In fact, its food menu is more comprehensive than most others you’ll find, ranging from bar snacks like miso eggplant and salmon poke bowls to tempe burgers and waffle fries.

Just off one of Seminyak’s busy roads, you’ll find its wooden entranceway in a discrete alley. Once inside, there’s a lot to take in. Its connected rooms are dimly lit, tightly-packed and although its furnishings may seem to be mismatched, it’s not hard to tell everything’s been deliberately picked to give off a distinct chilled vibe.

Published 10 January, 2018