Fine dining in Bali: nine divine restaurants in Seminyak, Ubud and beyond

With a sobriquet as grand as ‘Island of the Gods’, it should come as no surprise that Bali’s fine dining scene is one that’s certainly fit for a deity. While the humble warungs stand as bastions of traditional Balinese cuisine, the island’s fine dining establishments are also worthy of attention. You’ll find a vibrant mix of cuisines here, many of which incorporate Indonesian flavours into international dishes. If you’re flummoxed by the options and can’t figure out where to start, here are nine of Bali’s best fine dining restaurants to book a table at.

Seared salmon. Image courtesy of Sake no Hana

For sashimi by the sea: Sake no Hana

Perched on the edge of Uluwatu’s cliffs, with uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, Sake no Hana easily impresses with its phenomenal location. Originally founded in London’s upscale Mayfair neighbourhood, the Balinese outpost is the restaurant’s first foray overseas. When you’re done taking in the view, peruse its menu of quintessential Japanese dishes. Comfort classics like chicken karaage, miso grilled salmon and cold soba make appearances alongside sushi, sashimi and charcoal grilled dishes. The restaurant also offers an extensive cocktail menu.

Terong balado. Image courtesy of Merah Putih

For iconic Indonesian: Merah Putih

With a name that translates to the red and white of Indonesia’s flag, it’s only natural that Merah Putih’s menu is a proud celebration of the nation’s culinary heritage and a fantastic first step into Indonesian cuisine. Expect beloved dishes like terong balado (eggplants in a spicy sauce), bubur cumi (squid porridge) and other comfort classics in artfully plated portions. The dining space itself is also worthy of a mention, with its high ceilings and glass walls that are designed to sustain its indoor garden.

Image courtesy of Mejekawi

For a relaxed take on fine dining: Mejekawi

If you’ve not packed for a formal fine dining experience, loosen your ties and let your hair down in Mejekawi’s intimate dining space on the coast of Seminyak, just adjacent to the iconic Ku De Ta. Chef Stephen Moore, who’s earned his culinary chops in multi-award-winning and Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe and Australia, has curated an eclectic menu that features flavours from across the globe. On the menu you’ll find dishes like chicken tsukune, carotene gnocchi and slow-roasted lamb alongside elevated takes on comfort dishes like sop buntut (oxtail soup).

Image courtesy of Mauri

For impeccable Italian: Mauri

Helmed by Chef Maurizio Bombini, MAURI is a dinner-only affair that showcases the chef’s native Pugliese cuisine. You’ll choose from an a la carte or a seasonal tasting menu that highlights ingredients from the restaurant’s own hydroponic rooftop garden and seasonal produce from local farmers. The restaurant’s dining space accommodates up to 40 patrons, with an additional five seats at the chef’s counter for intimate private tastings. There’s also a bar and lounge with an open balcony on the mezzanine level, that serves canapés and cocktails.

Fish ceviche. Image courtesy of Apéritif

For classic fine dining with a twist: Apéritif

Set amidst Ubud’s lush landscape of verdant valleys and hills is Apéritif, a charming Colonial-style restaurant that extols the virtues of unrushed dining. As its name might suggest, you’re encouraged to begin the evening at the restaurant’s bar with a selection of apéritifs and canapés, followed by a dégustation menu that incorporates lesser-known Balinese ingredients with modern European culinary techniques and flavours. You’ll also have a broad range of international wines to choose from, hand-picked by Apéritif’s sommelier.

Image courtesy of Teatro Gastroteque

For intimate dinners: Teatro Gastroteque

With its softly lit interiors and plush seating, Teatro Gastroteque sets the mood for an intimate fine dining experience unlike any other. It’s in this almost-theatrical setting you’ll discover a sophisticated menu of French fare with an Asian twist. Its dishes are imagined by Head Chefs Mandif and Imel, taking full advantage of locally sourced organic produce. Its dégustation menu, featuring favourites like the octopus carpaccio and Wagyu beef, comes highly recommended.

Image courtesy of Kubu

For riverside romance: Kubu

It’s truly location, location, location at Kubu, which absolutely nails it with its tranquil riverside setting. To the soundtrack of a gently babbling brook, you’ll discover a symphony of Mediterranean-European flavours prepared with locally sourced ingredients. The best way to experience the breadth of Kubu’s cuisine is through its six- and eight-course dégustation menus, where you can look forward to impeccably plated dishes like its Boston lobster ravioli with a fennel and chardonnay sauce. You’re also guaranteed utmost privacy seated in its cocoon-like bamboo huts.

Image courtesy of Bikini

For fine dining with friends: Bikini

Banish the thought of white cloths and black ties – at Bikini, fine dining is a significantly more laid-back experience that loses the pomp and keeps the spotlight on progressive dishes served in a vibrant atmosphere. It goes further against the grain with its focus on sharing plates, making Bikini an excellent choice for group dining. Menu highlights include the classic Balinese chicken satay, a striking black and white eggplant curry and the babi guling empanada – moreish morsels of roasted suckling pig packed into a crisp charcoal-infused pastry.

Babi, smoked tempeh and black garlic. Image courtesy of Quila

For the experiential diner: Quila

Innovative, provocative plates await at Quila at Alila Villas Uluwatu. The restaurant is the culinary playground of Executive Chef Marc Lorés Panadés and offers a daily-changing menu that features dishes based on the five senses – each perfectly portioned so you can experience a variety of the chef’s creations. While undoubtedly contemporary, the food here features Balinese inflections, apparent in mains like the pork with smoked tempeh and desserts like the daun kelor tiramisu.

Words by Dinesh Ajith

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