10 best restaurants in Seminyak: Gourmet Chick in Bali

Chicken satay at Nook

Bali is a restaurant paradise.  It’s a truly international destination and the variety and quality of restaurants on this beautiful island reflects this. You can eat every sort of cuisine from French to Mexican and of course Balinese. You can eat cheaply in Bali if you stick to local places but eating at the top international restaurants is not a bargain holiday strategy.  Meals are just over half the price you would pay in Australia but premium pricing on wine (cocktails are cheaper!) means the bill can quickly add up.  Seminyak is the restaurant and bar hub and we tended to head there to eat out even when staying in Jimbaran Bay or Uluwatu as it’s only half an hour’s cab ride at night. Here are my favourite restaurants from my time there.

Chicken satay at Nook
Chicken satay at Nook

1. Mama San
Mama San is the newest offering from serial Balinese restauranteur Will Meyrick.  The big two level warehouse space is inspired by China in Colonial times.  Vintage photographs line the walls while along the back wall a huge mural of a Chinese girl (perhaps Mama San herself?) looks down on diners.   The restaurant has a fun and noisy buzz to it and the food is big on flavour and spice. Stand outs included the snapper dumplings (68) and crispy fish (180). You can get free flowing natural or sparkling water which helped assuage some of my guilt about all the bottled water I consumed in Bali.  On a hot night Mama San is the restaurant to go to as it’s fully enclosed with air conditioning as compared to lots of the Balinese restaurants which are in open air pavilions. 

Essentials
Details: Mama San, Jl. Raya Kerobokan No. 135 Benoa Kuta Selatan Badung Bali 
Damage: Pricey
9/19

Inside Mama San
Inside Mama San

2. Nook
Just outside Seminyak in Umalas, Nook has the most picture perfect setting right in the middle of the paddy fields. Eating here you can almost imagine what Seminyak was like a few years ago. The menu features simple Indonesian favourites like chicken satay (47) doused in a creamy sauce and spicy beef redang.  Because it’s a bit out of the way you really feel like you have discovered a local’s secret. It’s worth having lunch or at least getting here early before it gets dark so you can make the most of the spectacular view.

Essentials
Details: Nook, Jalan Umalas 1, Gang Nook No. 1, Kuta Utara, Bali  (Ph +62 361 8475625)
Damage: Reasonable
8/10

The view from Nook
The view from Nook

 

3. Motel Mexicola
Motel Mexicola is more Mexican than any restaurant in Mexico itself. When the Balinese go with a theme they really nail it. Walk in past the shrine to the Virgin Mary to the open air restaurant with its patterned tiled walls and bars with pull down metal grills. The food lives up to the crazy fit out: there are tequila cocktails and crunchy fish tacos (30) doused in chilli mayo. We went here twice once for lunch and another time at night where the place really pumps. Staff were running around pouring bottles of tequila down people’s throats and leading a conga line along the dance floor. A little crazy? Yes. Lots of fun? Absolutely.

Essentials
Details: Motel Mexicola, Jl. Kayujati No. 9 X, Petitenget, Bali (Ph +62 361 736688)
Damage: Reasonable
8/10

Motel Mexicola
Motel Mexicola

 

4. Barbacoa
It feels a little wrong to rate firstly an Argentinian steak house so highly on a visit of must visit Seminyak restaurants but it would be a travesty not to. Dark and moody Barbacoa is a place where people go to worship at the altar of meat and Argentinian barbecue. There are parillas with whole pigs strung up and the smell of beef sizzling on the grill permeates the restaurant. Chicken winglets (65) were finger licking good while the Australian aged beef rib eye was a quality piece of meat perfectly cooked to medium rare – pink on the inside with a crust of smoky char surrounding it.

Essentials
Details: Barbacoa, Jalan Petitenget No.15, Kuta Utara, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 
Damage: Pricey
8/10

 

Pigs at the ready at Barbacoa
Pigs at the ready at Barbacoa

5. Bambu

If you want to impress someone take them to Bambu. You have to pick your way across stepping stones set in a swimming pool to get to your seat in the open air pavilion. It’s contemporary, dramatic and very tempting to go for a dip on a hot night. But that isn’t really the idea here where the mood is more fine dining than raucous pool party.  The food is modern Indonesian and the super fresh and tangy tuna ceviche (88) is a must order.  Another highlight was the slow cooked betutu duck (145) which is smeared in spices and cooked until it falls off the bone along with one of the more unusual dishes, on the menu crisp, green fiddle head ferns (40).  

Essentials
Details: Bambu, Jl. Petitenget no. 198, Seminyak, Bali (Ph +62 361 8469797)
Damage: Pricey.
7/10

Bambu
Bambu

6. Sarong

Sarong offers sophisticated Asian fusion food in an elegant setting.  Housed in an partially open air restaurant the place is dripping with huge displays of orchids, wall to ceiling mirrors and plush fabrics.  Sarong is Will Meyrick’s original Balinese restaurant and is reminiscent of Longrain in Australia and Jimmy Lik’s (where Meyrick used to work).  The cocktails here are fantastic (try the watermelon mojito) and the food works really well for sharing.  Try the  double cooked pork belly which manages to be both juicy and crunchy at the same time.  

Essentials
Details: Sarong, Jl. Petitenget No. 19 X, Kerobokan, Kuta, Bali (Ph +62 361 4737809)
Damage: Pricey
7/10

 

The view from Potato Head
The view from Potato Head

 

7. Potato Head
I admit Potato Head is a beach club not a restaurant but the food offering is pretty good and is only going to get better with the announcement MoVida will be heading up the restaurant soon. Start queuing early (half an hour before opening) if you want a day bed then spread out your towel and relax pool side with a Kookaburra (130) in hand. Yes I did manage to get a little addicted to this drink at Potato Head: it’s an unlikely but delicious combination of lemon grass gin, lime juice and a creamy passion fruit and vanilla foam. I went hard on the cocktails and light on the food sticking to summer rolls stuffed with tiger prawns (140) and a salad of roasted cauliflower (50). Potato Head certainly has its fair share of posers but it really is quite a pleasant way to spend a day.

Essentials
Details: Potato Head,  Jl. Petitenget No.51B, Seminyak, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali (+62 361 4737979)
Damage: Pricey
6/10

Summer rolls at Potato Head
Summer rolls at Potato Head

8. Old Man’s
This beachside pub is just out of Seminyak (you’ll need to catch a cab) in Canggu. Murals by Melbourne’s own Lucas Grogan adorn the walls and it’s got a laid back vibe. Hit the bar for happy hour and then you can snack on simple pub fare like fish and chips alongside quesadillas and pasta. As with most pubs I think sticking with the basic stuff is the way to go here.  Old Man’s fish and chips featured golden, crispy chips and slightly heavy battered fish.  You can hire surf boards outside if you want to add in some beach time as well.

Essentials
Details: Old Man’s, Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong, Kuta Utara, Bali
Damage: Reasonable
6/10

Fish and chips at Old Mans
Fish and chips at Old Mans

9. Warung Dandelion
This tiny family run restaurant is most memorable for its beautiful setting overlooking the paddy fields on the road to Canggu. The building itself appears to be made from bits of recycled timber cobbled together giving a rustic feel and if you sit outside Warung Dandelion’s resident white bunny rabbits will hop around your feet. Service is heartfelt and friendly and Dandelion serves up simple Indonesian food like spring rolls (22) and nasi goreng (45).  If you find yourself in the area this is worth a visit but Warung Dandelion isn’t the sort of place you should cross town for.

Essentials
Details: Warung Dandelion, Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong No.8, Kuta Utara, Badung, Bali 
Damage: Reasonable
6/10

Chocolate pudding at Metis
Chocolate pudding at Metis

 

10. Metis 
Formal French food is on offer at Metis along with polished service and a serious wine list. Highlights included the buttery escargot (85) and silky seafood linguine (189) . The amazing pistachio and chocolate soufflé (85) is a must order. However the restaurant is expanding and the paddy field it once overlooked has now been co-opted to create more dining space.   Given the incredibly steep pricing here this means there are other restaurants in Seminyak which provide a better alternative.

Essentials
Details: Metis, Jl. Petitenget No. 6, Kerobokan Kelod, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali (Ph +62 361 4737888)
Damage: Pricey
5/10

 

 

5 comments

  1. OMG, drools on the summer rolls + chocolate pudding! These two alone, plus the natural wonder that Bali is, make it a perfect destination!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

    1. Such a great destination for the food obsessed!

  2. Ridiculously helpful, thank you C! Nook is just down the rd, will try for lunch tomorrow. Hope all’s well there xx

  3. Narasiman Ramachandran

    Excellent article! We are linking too this particularly great post on our site. Keep up the great writing.
    Best Restaurant in Bali

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