You seriously have not lived until you have tucked into a freshly made plate of delicious Nasi Goreng or tried some mouth-watering Babi Guling!
We thought it would be a great (and delicious) adventure to hunt down all the restaurants and warungs serving the best local food.
What’s the best part? You might find yourself sharing a communal bench with the locals at the warungs, or indulging in a delectably local dinner accompanied with a performance at a restaurant.
Regardless, you’re bound to have an enjoyable experience at any of these 18 places!
Psst! For those not fluent in Bahasa Indonesian, here are a few keywords when looking at menus:
1. Feast like a king – Gabah Restaurant & Bar (Kuta)
We mean it literally. If you can’t be king, well, you can at least eat like one.Now that you’ve tried almost all there is to try about Bali’s local fare, there’s one last experience to be had – the Balinese royal feast.
While Gabah also serves up other yummy Indonesian dishes with in both modern and traditional styles, what you’ll really want to try is their Royal Kingdom menu. It features the best of traditional specialties from around the island of Bali!
Photos via mabenn, reca_dsn, patty_angella, garutma
You’ll get to feast on 22 signature dishes that the royal family eats on the first day of harvest season, including traditional Balinese soup, grilled chicken and fish satay.
And it’s not just eating – you’ll also be having the full experience of being a king/queen for a day.
Video by joy.michaela
Put on your Batik headdress, which will immediately elevate your sense of self-importance, and sit back as your dinner is served to you on an intricate platter – along with some traditional live music and dances to whet your appetite.
Photo via annabelralph
There’s nowhere else you can get a more wholesome cultural and food experience than at RIMBA’s Kampoeng Bali.
Living up to its namesake, the restaurant aims to replicate life in an authentic Balinese village.
Photos via christinecnb
Arrive at 6pm and Kampoeng Bali will take you into the heart of Bali itself through a fascinating sunset ritual procession, traditional markets (yes, you get to shop) and open, untouched scenery.
After watching the fascinating ritual, dinner is served at 7pm (you need to be there by 6pm)! You’ll get to sample through a sumptuous Balinese buffet that has everything from barbequed prawns to the famous Babi Guling. You can even witness how these dishes are made through the live cooking stations available!
Photos via hiroko_k_i, harrynugroho6, gladys_sw
If you think that the fun’s bound to be over by this point, that’s where you’re wrong. A Kecak dance performance will also be put up while you’re having your dinner, so you won’t have to worry about chewing so much that you get bored. (This also happens to be one of our favourite parts of dining at Kampoeng Bali!)
Photos via photofoliomy, ekaneraca, jfmjb
Finish off this magical dinner experience with everyone’s favourite homemade ice cream and sorbet, while accompanied with atmospheric traditional Rindik music!
Photo via mejomelleikot
Hmm… are we having dinner at a restaurant, or have we been transported into another world entirely? You’ll have to find out!
Photo via ann.angkasa
PS: Fun fact, this dining location is so picturesque, Taiwan actor Nicky Wu and Chinese actress Liu Shi Shi got married right here!
3. Dine above water at a secret prawn haven – Bale Udang (Kuta & Ubud)
If you think that eating is all about the food, you’ll be proven wrong at Bale Udang.
Turns out, a good view can do wonders too. This restaurant has two outlets in Kuta and Ubud, and both feature stunning wooden bales surrounded by water.
Photo via may86028
Sitting in them will almost make you feel as if you’re dining above water! The Kuta branch also provides you with the choice of air-conditioned indoor seating, but haven’t you had enough of that?
Better yet, you’ll get to enjoy a peaceful atmosphere and scenic views along with great food. Bale Udang’s signature menu is all about prawns – you’ll be surprised at just how many ways prawn can be cooked if you make a trip here.
Photo via lcswilliam
From savoury sweet honey grilled prawns to everyone’s favourite salted egg prawns, you’re bound to find The Prawn for you.
And while you’re cultivating a love affair with shrimp, don’t forget to try out other popular dishes – varying from carp to chicken and duck dishes, as well as their fresh and delectable vegetables. And if you’re interested, Bale Udang also offers up some good old local Balinese tastes with their Balinese style menus!
We reckon you could spend half a day stuffing your face at both branches of Bale Udang, but eating isn’t the only name of the game here.
Photo via brianggita, winda_bali
Bale Udang Kuta also features Bali’s largest kiddy playground where your little ones can run free, and at Ubud, various outbound and team-building activities are available for you to have a delicious and fun day!
Photo via lovingleeyours
4. The quest for the perfect Babi Guling – Selingsing Cepaka
Anyone who has been to Bali will know that Babi Guling is THE local dish that you have to sample. A whole pig is spiced and spit roasted for hours over a coal fire – this is pork at its best!
Babi Guling used to be reserved for ceremonies and special occasions, but nowadays most restaurants and warungs serve it too (although it often sells out by early afternoon).
Our quest for the best babi guling took us all over Bali, some was good, some was great but eventually we found the BEST!
Photo via Ninakwilliams
This little warung is actually located in someone’s house, down an alley in Buduk. There are no signs to direct you, but the tempting smell of roasting pork will guide you in the right direction. It’s also only open from 2am to 9am in the morning.
Photo via linisgod
Everything about the Babi Guling here is perfect. The skin is so crispy, the pork so tender, and servings are more than generous.
Photo via deliciousbali
Photo via: Ninakwilliams, Ryan
We recommend that everyone try Babi Guling at least once. If it sounds like just the thing to tickle your taste buds, then you should absolutely get up early for this splendid ‘secret’ meal – you wont regret it!
Photo via riyuriguesthouse
5. Taste of Balinese home: Dapur Bunda
Update: Dapur Bunda is now permanently closed.
This unassuming hidden gem is tucked away in a small quiet alley just off the bustling central Jalan Raya Ubud, near Ubud Palace.
Don’t be turned off by its gloomy exterior. It may appear dusty and unappealing nestled in an empty street dotted with construction and gloomier cafes, but if you go upstairs, you’ll find yourself in a cosy vintage dining room.
The owner has put in effort to make the place tidy and clean, and you can even look out into the streets when you dine.
The menu is simple – all traditional home-cooked Indonesian fare (with no MSG!), and you get to select the type of rice and sides you want – a mix and match Nasi Campur. And they are all affordable. You can have rice with four sides for less than IDR 40,000 (around USD $2.84) – which a steal for a meal in central Ubud.
A little tip from us – the Ratatouille and tempe sides are delicious.
Try the mango juice – it’s one of the best we’ve ever tasted (and trust us, we have tried many!), so thick and sweet and you can clearly tell it’s freshly squeezed from ripe mangoes (and completely undiluted with no sugar).
And of course, what’s a meal without a sweet ending?
We love the carrot cake. When it’s warm and freshly baked, you can taste the grated carrots with the warm crumbs and melt-in-your-mouth cream icing. It doesn’t look perfect like the pretty cakes you get in fancy cafes, but everything here is heartfelt comfort food – the kind your Balinese friend’s Mom would serve you in their home.
Write up and pictures for Dapur Bunda contributed by Candice Neo – MehTheSheep/TripCanvas Editor
6. Almost like dining at home: Sunda Kelapa Restaurant Bali
If you want to find a really local warung hidden near the residential areas in Kuta – this one is a must-try.
The MehTheSheep team has eaten there twice when we were there, actually, because the food is that good and very affordable!
We tasted the Gurame Goreng Kering (fried fish), which was crispy, fresh, and almost melt-in-your-mouth. What’s best is that the entire fish costs only IDR 50,000.
And of course, you can never go wrong with Nasi Goreng – at this restaurant, it’s homely and delicious.
It also serves Nasi Tumpeng, a Javanese cuisine, which is usually made during festive seasons or celebrations. Sunda Kelapa can also accept advance reservations of Nasi Tumpeng.
7. The Ultimate Fish Dish – Warung Mak Beng (Sanur)
If you love seafood then this is the one for you.
If not, the sole dish of Sup Kepala Ikan (fish head soup) might send you running.
Warung Mak Beng has been serving its famous Sup Kepala Ikan since it opened in 1941. If practice makes perfect then we can confirm that this fish soup is perfection!
Photo via Dolphing C
The hearty soup is served with a piece of juicy ikan goreng (fried fish) and rice. Located just meters from the beach, you won’t find fish fresher than this.
Photo via: Foursqaure by Cheddi
Eat your catch of the day outside and watch the world go by, or take a table inside and look at the quirky photos of all the past patrons that adorn the walls.
It’s fresh, fishy and fantastic. And even if you don’t like seafood, this place might just change your mind!
8. Loving the Lalapan – Warung Nikmat (Kuta)
It isn’t flashy and it isn’t fine dining, but this warung serves a great Ayam Nasi Lalapan.
Nasi Lalapan is essentially a sambal based sauce surrounded by tofu, vegetables and your choice of meat. Often served with a side dish of rice and a bowl of soup, it’s practically a three-course meal all in one.
Sambal recipes are closely guarded secrets and every warung believes that theirs is the best. When it comes to Warung Nikmat, you’ll have to judge for yourselves. Is their sambal truly outstanding? Let us know what you think!
This vibrant little warung is always busy, mainly packed with locals but tourists are equally welcome.
The food is displayed at the counter, just pick what you want and the cashier gives you a ticket with the total cost of your meal. No need to fuss with paying per item.
It doesn’t get more authentic than a bustling warung packed full with locals. It’s cheap, tasty and it’s halal, what more do you want?
Photos via: TravelLight1972
9. Pig out on pig – Hog Wild in Bali (Kuta)
If, by any chance, you’ve fallen in love with pork after trying Babi Guling, then you should try the pork at the aptly named Hog Wild in Bali.
This pig pen is perfect for all the gluttons out there. Sink your teeth into their signature pork ribs, and don’t let it end there – Hog Wild has a variety of meat dishes that are just as good as pork. So, dig into the beef skewer, ribs and Bebek Goreng as well!
Although we wouldn’t blame you if you’d rather eat a million pork ribs, after seeing almost everyone rave about it.
Actually… you can also eat a WHOLE pig. We’re not kidding, the Babi Guling here comes as a whole pig with head intact.
If you love pigs so much that you’d rather not eat them, you can always choose to bring an inanimate piggy friend home at Wild Oleh Oleh, the restaurant’s very own souvenir shop.
Pigs of all shapes and sizes can be found here – there’s even a Minion pig and other superhero pigs!
Photos via chibialfa, jonnymoolow
Just don’t spend sow (hur hur) much money that you don’t have enough to get home.
10. Enjoy great local food to a great local view – Warung Classic (Munduk)
Hidden away in the village of Munduk is a popular establishment selling great local food.
All types of local delicacies can be found here, including spicy crispy chicken, Nasi Campur, chicken satay and traditional spring rolls.
While visitors have praised the warung for cooking up some really yummy food, many also love the amazing mountain and sea view that the warung offers (we do too, and we’ve only seen pictures).
Photo via panetik
If you’re interested in how to make authentic Indonesian dishes, Warung Classic is no stingy friend – they also provide cooking classes to spread their skills to curious tourists!
Photo via Clara Matthew
11. A Sweet Eat – Kafe Batan Waru (Kuta)
With so many incredible savoury dishes in Bali, it’s easy to forget the amazing desserts that are on offer… Not anymore.
Photo via: Emi
Introducing Burbur Injin (black rice pudding). This sweet treat is popular as dessert, as a snack or even for breakfast in Bali.
Coconut milk and palm sugar are added to thick black rice and the dish is often finished with sliced bananas. (Some even mix little pieces of jackfruit in to give it that extra oomph!)
Photo via: Foodspotting
Kafe Batan Waru is a fresh and modern restaurant serving a mixture of authentic Indonesian and International cuisine. The whole dessert menu comprises traditional dishes, but you just can’t beat a bowl of Burbur Injin.
Photo via: Woollysmum, Lottie, Tribunnews
Locals, tourists and expats all get together at Kafe Batan Waru for its Chilli Crab Tuesdays. Kafe Batan Waru has definitely learned the art of blending traditional and modern cuisine for great results.
12. A Padang Palace – Rumah Makan Minang Sumbar Hidup (Ubud)
Originating in West Sumatra, Nasi Padang is a dish of rice accompanied with various choices of other, pre-cooked dishes. Think of it as little banquet on a plate!
Photo via: Zaraab
Like most padang warungs, Sumbar Hidup offers a ‘pesan’ ordering system. Just look at the rows of dishes by the counter, and pick what you want.
Photo via: Zaraab
The Rendang (spicy meat dish) here is a good addition to your Nasi Padang. And definitely don’t forget the sambals here. Depending on your preference, find the one with the level of spice that matches up to your tastebuds!
Photo via: MatthewM
Sumbar Hidup is a great example of a little warung. It’s busy, it’s clean and it serves fresh and authentic food.
The majority of customers are also locals, which is a good sign if you want real local food.
Do not be put off by the simplicity of this place though. If you want good food then this might just be well worth a visit.
13. Finger licking good – Rumah Makan Ayam Bakar Wong Solo (Kuta)
The whole world has a weakness for fried chicken and Indonesia is no different with its love for Ayam Penyet.
Ayam Penyet originates from East Java and literally translates to ‘smashed fried chicken’. The chicken is tenderised before being fried until the skin becomes golden and crispy.
Photo via: HazrinaH, Paulyn k
Wong Solo is known in Indonesia for its Ayam Penyet. The name ‘Solo’ being the short version of Surakarta, a city in Central Java where this restaurant chain originated.
The Ayam Penyet is served with spicy sambal, sliced cucumbers and fried tofu – it’s a pretty interesting way to eat fried chicken!
Photo via: infazzaR
This restaurant also boasts a unique concept, with authentic Javanese food in funky, modern surroundings. Like any 21st century little warung, you are guaranteed to leave with a full stomach and a big smile.
14. Really Nice Rice – Warung Wardani (Denpasar)
Nasi Campur (mixed rice) is the national dish of Indonesia. Every warung serves it and everyone who has been to Bali has tried it.
Photo via: Pangerani
What’s not to like about rice with meat, vegetables, eggs, peanuts, and sometimes those lovely little fried shrimp?
Photo via: Achiekalim, Foodgasmaddiction, Ery Setiawan
For a good Nasi Campur, Warung Wardani is one of the places to try!
The closest we can get to finding out the secret recipe for this Nasi Campur is that the flavour is in the ‘special sauce’.
Warung Wardani has been open for over 20 years and the locals, and tourists, just keep coming back for the Nasi Campur.
Whilst the food remains authentic, the restaurant has been updated and now features air conditioning.
Photo via: Foursquare by CharlesJ
After a busy morning in Denpasar you will be grateful for the cool air as you tuck into your simple, but delightful lunch.
It will probably still be around even after another 20 years, but you definitely shouldn’t wait that long to try the Nasi Campur!
15. Satisfaction on a stick – Gourmet Sate House (Kuta)
The name says it all – it’s sate (pronounced the same as the English spelling ‘satay’) and it is definitely gourmet!
Indonesia is world famous for it’s Sate. Think marinated meat skewered on bamboo or lemongrass sticks and cooked over a charcoal fire. Just a quick dip in the accompanying sambal based sauce and you are ready to go.
Gourmet Sate House prides itself on its traditional charcoal grill and that means Sate and BBQ dishes here that we prefer to call upmarket street food!
Photo via: flqltkdgk
With 12 different Sates on the menu it’s pretty hard to pick a favourite but we personally like the Sate Lilit (seafood) and Sate Ayam (chicken). And at the fantastically economical price, why not try more?
This restaurant has a modern, quirky setting that compliments the traditional Sate. It’s the best of both worlds.
Photo via: juuu90
Gourmet Sate House is 100% halal, serves no MSG and strives to make all sauces and desserts in house. It’s definitely a winner in our books!
16. The Best of Betutu – Warung Padang Kecag (Candidasa)
Equally as famous (and delicious) as Babi Guling, Bebek Betutu is often eaten as the non-pork equivalent.
Bebek Betutu is slow roasted whole duck marinated in spices and wrapped in banana leaves. The result is a crispy skin with juicy, tender meat. If bebek (duck) isn’t for you, then try Ayam (chicken) Betutu.
Warung Padang Kecag offers a relaxing open air dining experience surrounded by lush vegetation. Their must-try Bebek Betutu is slow cooked for 8 hours, and is more than enough for two people.
Photo via: Marzena
Do note that the Bebek Betutu is cooked to order, so make sure you let them know the day, before to avoid having a long wait!
(And if you’re craving dessert after your duck feast, then you have to try the Chocolate Samosas with Ice Cream!)
This humble warung is fast getting a reputation for its food, so check it out before everyone finds out about it.
17. Naughty but nice – Poppies (Kuta)
Nasi Goreng is pretty much the naughty fried version of nasi campur – and we love it!
Who can resist a plate of spiced, lightly fried rice with other goodies such as egg, chicken and prawns?
Nasi Goreng can be served in a tin from a roadside warung or at prestigious dinner parties. It’s a dish for every occasion, and you cannot leave Bali without trying it.
Photo via: sue
Photo via: poppies-restaurant
Hidden away from the bustle of the busy streets, Poppies has been quietly cooking up great Nasi Goreng for over 30 years.
Eating Nasi Goreng in the quiet oasis of Poppies’ water garden restaurant only makes it taste even better. Something we didn’t think was quite possible.
Photo via: adrianogavorini
To top off the experience, order one of their Pina Coladas. Take a sip of the refreshing cocktail from the intricate carved coconut glass and lay back in relaxation!
Photo via: poppies-restaurant
18. Rocking the Rijsttafel – Bumbu Bali 2 (Tanjung Benoa)
You are right – Rijsttafel doesn’t sound like an Indonesian word, in fact it’s Dutch! Literally translated as ‘rice table’, Rijsttafel dates back to the Dutch colonial period in Bali.
The cooked rice is accompanied by a banquet of little dishes including vegetables, meats and pickles. It’s perfect for sharing and for those who want to try a little bit of everything.
Bumbu Bali 2 has a traditional wooden interior and a beautiful exterior, but most importantly they make a solid Rijsttafel.
A clam soup starter is followed by a selection of meat, seafood and vegetable dishes (and rice of course!). You will love the selection of desserts to finish off.
Thanks to their success over the years, Bumbu Bali 2 remains dedicated to serving only authentic Indonesian cuisine and sources all its ingredients from traditional local markets.
The best thing about it? Bumbu Bali has a cookery school so you may learn to make some of these lovely local dishes to cook and enjoy when you get home.