Eat well and often
Seminyak is a dining hot spot – arguably only about 1 square kilometer from the coast, famous of its Eat Street, it is also loosely used to refer up to the 3 square kilometers surrounding it as much of the action has spilled into Kerobokan and Petitenget (dubbed Eat Street 2.0). Seminyak is lively and fairly walkable, in contrast to its hipster sibling in Canggu, Seminyak has managed to maintain a more upscale experience with high-end restaurants, great cafes, and world-class beach clubs.
Here are some of the restaurants I frequent, places I get my cocktail fix, and ones I would most definitely recommend. These are by no means an exhaustive list, if you find a new favorite do share them with me = )
Upscale Expect $35+ / person
Modern Indonesian and Cocktails
Modern Indonesian in a beautiful space, a restaurant I visit every time I’m in Bali. The food is designed for communal dining, order a few things amongst yourselves, gravy based dishes often have stronger flavors and it’s best enjoyed over some rice. Merah Putih is perfect for date nights and celebrations. The bar carries one of Bali’s finer cocktail scenes too. @merahputihbali
RECOMMENDATION: Try all three types of rice.
Photo by Merah Putih
Modern Asian and Cocktails
Polished upmarket Asian street food in exotic Balinese interiors, having spent most of my life in Southeast Asia, the food here hits the mark, the lounge upstairs whips up a pretty decent cocktail, the only downside is smoking is permitted indoors. @mamasanbali
RECOMMENDATION: Laksa Batawi
Asian-Western Fusion and Cocktails
The modern minimalist architecture is an experience itself, the food is equally beautiful and will certainly make an impression. The menu is paired with a well-constructed cocktail selection and wow factors of the dishes are fairly consistent, the flavors are intense and the food can be heavy. Kilo Kitchen Bali is one of my favorite restaurants but much of the menu has remained unchanged over the years, with which makes going back a little harder @kilokitchenbali
RECOMMENDATION: Squid Ink Rice
Photos by Kilo Kitchen Bali
Upmarket steakhouse with industrial-chic interiors, housed in a barn-like structure, Boy’N’Cow specializes in Australian grain-fed Black Angus, and also serves as a meat market if you are looking to impress with your own barbeque at the villa. While I wouldn’t compare this with steakhouses you frequent at home, it is a good alternative in Bali for you sometimes just need that piece of meat. @boyncow
RECOMMENDATION: 900gm USDA bone-in ribeye
Worthy mentions: (ones I have not been)
Petitenget: La Lucciola and Sardine
Casual Expect $7+ / person
One of the heavyweights in Bali, they have been around for a while and supplies coffee to many restaurants in the area. The bistro located in a small alley and is easy to miss, the food is good and coffee is on point, the bistro is cozy and often busy so be prepared to wait during rush hours. @revolverespresso
RECOMMENDATION: Bodega Bowl
A pretty relaxed cafe, they’re open every day from breakfast and transforms into a bar with live bands at night. There have been some misses in service but its overall experience is still good. Located in Petitenget, a good place to stop by for a quick caffeine fix and cool down from the sun. @pisoncoffee
Burgers joint with a healthy side of swag – thick patties, cold Bintangs, and fresh fries. It’s busy, it’s good and they’re flip burgers until 4 am. Stop by for a fix or have it delivered, it won’t disappoint. @bossman
RECOMMENDATION: Burgers are too personal, you’ll know what to get.
Photos by BO$$MAN Bali
Easily one of the better Italian restaurants I have had outside of Italy. La Baracca serves up a respectable handmade pasta and a wide selection of hearty pizzas that will give glitzy restaurants in Jakarta and neighboring Singapore a run for their money, however, the desserts and wine selection is a miss, and it is cash-only. @labaraccabali
RECOMMENDATION: Pizza and pasta of your choice, gluten-free and vegan options available.
A homegrown barbeque restaurant from Ubud, now an iconic franchise in the region known for its plump, juicy rack of ribs. Naughty Nuri’s stands shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the greatest American and Australian steakhouses. Truth be said, their oversea franchises struggled and many of them are now closed, but Naughty Nuri’s in Seminyak/Kerobokan and Ubud are turning over tables at breakneck speeds. It’s a popular spot for regional tourists who are familiar with the franchise, and sometimes international celebrities. @naughtnurisseminyak
RECOMMENDATION: Always go for the full rack.
I have never seen a more successful Gelato franchise in Asia by footfall, while purists would argue that it is just ice cream, Gusto Gelato is an Indonesian brand, a casual no-frills smile maker with generous servings and a huge selection of about 70 flavors. Locals and tourists are here by the busload, there are about 4 employees dedicated to just managing traffic coming into the gelateria. @gustobali
RECOMMENDATION: The serving is generous, don’t get too greedy for it would not survive the Balinese sun.
Ingka Bar and Restaurant
Brunch & Restaurant
Ingka is one of the more consistent performers in town, opened in 2015 the restaurant and bar is part of the group that also operates other well-known brands like Nook and Milu in Umalas and Canggu respectively. The restaurant offers an international and local menu, from smoothie bowls and eggs benny to local favorites like Tipat Tjantok and Gado-Gado, the atmosphere is casual and the service is on point, the afternoons are popular among digital nomads looking to get some work done. @ingkabali
RECOMMENDATION: Tipat Tjantok, Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad
Street Expect $1-5 / person
Babi Guling Pak Malen
One of the handful of legendary Babi Gulings (Roasted Suckling Pig) in Bali, the restaurant is hot and the food is spicy. Babi Guling is not usually an instant hit, but once you understand it, it is worth heat on both ends.
There are many Nasi Padang restaurants in Seminyak and across Bali, it’s the local go-to, staple meal for every day. You get to choose from a display of 15-20 pre-cook dishes, served over rice and some chili. Pondok Duo is a chain, while not necessarily the “best” per se but they are more visually approachable for first-timers, it is common to see flies around these restaurants for the dishes are prepared in advance.
Warung Bu Ani Banyuwangi
My go-to lunch spot, like to Pondok Duo, dishes are prepared in advance and Balinese hygiene standards differ from what many foreigners expect but the food is by no means soiled, in fact, the food is amazing, they make the best corn fritters and gravied artichoke. The eatery is packed during lunch, and food runs out by the early afternoon, now the secret is out.
As the name suggests, this highly rated restaurant serves up tasty international vegan food and Indonesian staples like sates and nasi goreng, while this cozy gem is right in the heart of Seminyak, the restaurant is in a side alley and can be a little hard to find.
Late Night Street Food
This is an affordable ($0.35) pre-packed carb bomb that feeds the city, comes in various toppings but it is generally cooked rice topped with spiced noodles, crushed nuts and sambal, wrapped in banana leaf into the shape of a cone, sold on street corners and behind motorbikes. When you get tired of glitzy beach clubs and smashed avocado, you won’t believe how good this is. Oh and get a side of crackers to go too.
Play all night
The beach clubs in Bali are blessed with jaw-dropping sunsets and plenty of drrinks to go around. The key differences between them often comes down to genre of music and the type of crowd.”
The original Balinese beach club – this trendsetter opened its doors 20 years ago and still one of the best in the world. It has gone through several renovations since and remains an industry leader. The music is sunset chill, the setting is upscale and the pizzas are surprisingly good. (I would skip the rest of the food menu however) @kudetabali
The current go-to in Seminyak/Petitenget, housed in their flagship creative village, Potato Head Beach Club is a seasoned player in the industry, and the beach club is known for its towering feature of old and worn teakwood window shutters. Potato Head is always packed, the music style varies depending on the DJ, the restaurant is also a popular choice for families and groups. @potatoheadbali
Motel Mexicola is a colorful and quirky Mexican bar with regular house parties and live Latin music. Expect to dance all night, share tables and devour a taco or two. @motelmexicola
Known for their colorful bean bags and umbrellas by the beach, La Plancha is a Spanish inspired restaurant bar where you get to enjoy your Bintang and tapas under that famous Balinese sunset with sand between your toes. Downside is their service can be slow and have been criticized in the past. @laplanchabali
Finn’s Beach Club is in Canggu, but it is a worthy mention and a strong contender for sunset drinks and after-parties, the crowd here is generally under 25 and is an immensely popular beach bar. Vibes will flow so bring your bikini and all your friends @finnsbeachclub