10 must visit restaurants in Bali

Mr. C and Janiqueel learn that the suite of Rama Restaurants on Kuta, Bali offers an amazing variety of tastes and venues.

Every restaurant needs to have a point of view.

Danny Meyer

You’ve come to Bali to enjoy the beach, the sunsets, the salt spray, and a taste of the tropics. It was that last – ‘Taste of the Tropics’ – that grabbed my attention not long after I had checked in to a superb beach side hotel, sorted out the needs of Mr. C, slipped on our cover-ups, slopped on 50+ sunscreen, slapped on straw hats, grabbed his hand and headed for the sand and surf. Then it hit – I was hungry and – I could tell by the plaintive sighs issuing from his tiny lips – so was the Official Child. We would need lunch in an hour or two. What to do? Would we find quality restaurants yearning to serve us with verve and variety on Kuta, a far-flung tropical beach? No. We were out of luck. Nowhere to eat! Drat!

Just kidding.

In fact, we were spoiled for choice. RAMA RESTAURANTS Bali Group. Ten of them. Yes, ten of them, all located conveniently near us; each unique, and each well-stocked with food and libation. Yes, we would survive six days of Bali bliss in culinary style. All of the Rama outlets feature extensive menus. I got into the habit of studying each in my palatial beach side suite before visiting. Just a Janiqueel hint.

The restaurants? In alphabetical order, here they are:

AL DENTE – It means “to the tooth” and it means pasta cooked just right – firm yet neither hard nor soft. The chefs at Al Dente know what it means and they know how to cook it and combine it with ingredients in very palate-pleasing ways. They stress the ‘homemade’ in all their dishes with freshness a byword. The ambiance reflects the roots-vibe of the restaurant – hanging pots and pans, open kitchen, vine-laden exterior above an Italian flag, some dishes served in sizzling frying pans… With a menu to set Italian food lovers aglow, here’s one frying pan dish not to be missed – Vongole Al Vino – sautéd clams in white wine and chili flakes. DELIZIOSA!

AL DENTEComplex Kuta Sidewalk, Jl. Kartika Plaza, Kuta – Bali

BLUEFIN – “Bluefin is about chic Japanese fusion restaurant.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. There’s an iconic sushi bar with iconic sushi chefs wielding super-sharp knives and slicing succulent fresh fish. Entertaining as they cook, charismatic chefs hold court at teppanyaki. Mr. C loved it! Rest assured, I kept him away from the knives and the sake. I stayed away from the knives. I’ve been to plenty of Japanese fusion restaurants in Japan and elsewhere, but I’ve seldom encountered many menus as extensive as the one at Bluefin. Scallop Butter Soyu –  sautéd scallops with butter soyu sauce.

BLUEFINComplex Kuta Sidewalk, Jl. Kartika Plaza, Kuta – Bali

BUBU – A short taxi ride took us to Nusa Dua beach, which I had been hoping to visit, and which is the home of BUBU, a Chinese and seafood restaurant. The giant crab hanging above the doorway is a good hint that seafood can be found inside. Oh My Goodness can it be found! Atmospheric, to say the least, the bamboo huts were our choice for dinner. We met our dinner as it swam fresh and ready in the large aquarium. Not in the seafood mood? Then have traditional Chinese also on Bubu’s menu. The lad and I were in a seafood mood but – this was our third day on Bali – were also feeling a bit homesick. The answer? Singapore Chili Lobster. So good – lah!

BUBU Jl. Teropong, Banjar Peminge Nusa Dua Bali

FlapjacksWith two restaurants right on the Kuta strip. Appealing to the fast-food junkie in all of us, Flapjacks is based on beachside fun. Gayly (Janiqueel still uses that word in its traditional sense) decorated in bright art deco patterns and shapes, it has the feel of an American diner – booths, open kitchen, casual tables, modish wallpaper – but the menu offers something else. Knowing we would finish with a cappuccino and a gelato (which to choose???), we opted for a savory – this was brunch, after all. Egg Benedict Pancake –  poached egg topped with Hollandaise sauce, rucola, beef ham and parsley sauce. Lips smacked!

FLAPJAKS Pantai Kuta Jl. Pantai Kuta, Kuta-Bali
Flapjaks  Kuta Sidewalk Complex Kuta Sidewalk, Jl. Kartika Plaza, Kuta-Bali

H & B Cafe – A visit took us back to Nusa Dua. BTW – getting around Kuta and environs is dead easy. ‘Honey and Bread’, in case you, like us, were wondering what the H & B stood for. I would call it a bakery café with plenty of sweet pastries and fresh loaves of bread to choose from as well as savory mains. We were in a sweet mood (pun fully intended), however, and accompanied a filtered espresso with a healthy sweet, Red Dragon HB Breakfast Bowl – blended dragon fruit, banana, mango, and almonds. We feel good! We knew that we would!

H & B Cafe Jl. Bypass I Gusti Ngurah Rai, Bualu Nusa Dua

Seafood HouseGuess the specialty of this restaurant. Seafood? Yes! Got it on one try, smart reader! With soft blond wood throughout and help staff liveried in bright red uniforms, Seafood House exudes a vibe of vibrant relaxation. “Ocean Fresh” is the motto of this newest addition to the Rama Restaurant team. Binging flavors and combinations from China and South East Asia, the Malaysian chef offers a huge variety, of savory and spicy lobsters, clams, prawns, squids, and  Alaskan Crab. Choose your cooking preference. For starters, we choose the Salt and Pepper Eggplant delicately deep-fried – tempura-like. Decidedly delicious.

SEAFOOD HOUSE Complex Kuta Sidewalk, Jl. Kartika Plaza, Kuta – Bali

StadiumGiant TV screens, Whooping fans. Rugby; football (soccer and American-style), cricket, baseball (something else from the USA). We’re talking full-on sports bar. Here people cheer and shout as dreams are made and hearts are broken. Here the winners signal for another round and some casual eats as the losers drown their sorrows and eat to forget. Yes, what we have here is a SPORTS BAR. An uncompromising one. Like the games, it features and celebrates, this bar/restaurant is A LOT OF FUN! Belly up to the bar, have a game of pool or join friends at one of the many tables and you’re off. Except for the game of pool, Mr. C and I did all of those and enjoyed a Tex-Mex burger and an ice-cold Bintang in the process. We won!

STADIUM Complex Kuta Sidewalk, Jl. Kartika Plaza, Kuta – Bali

Take Billed as “Bali’s first authentic Japanese Restaurant, opened in 1999.” From the sushi bar to the low tables with a sunken floor for feet, Take is a little slice of Japan on Kuta. We (well, Janiqueel, that is) sipped a Sapporo before tucking into the Combination Sashimi B – salmon, tuna, white marlin, prawn, and snapper. Oishi, desu ne? Nothing is very far from anything else on Kuta. Take is a short drive away from the beach on Jalan Paith Jelantic Legian. 

TAKEJl. Patih Jelantik Legian, Kuta

Wanaku and Wanaku Dimsum Seated amid lushly tropical surroundings, serenaded by the sound water tumbling over a waterfall, Wanaku, and its new partner, Wanaku Dimsum are part of the IndoAsian dining experience. Wanaku offers authentic menus accompanied at times by dance performances and other events promoting the cultural heritage of Bale in particular and Indonesia in general. Discover “…the laid back lifestyle of Bali, and the richness of the IndoAsian Cuisine.”  We had the Wanaku experience on our last night in Bale. What a great way to end our sojourn! We felt like we had had a taste of the real Balinese cuisine. Next time back, I will make this one of my first stops. When I do, it’s Woku Ikan – Sulawesi style fish with five spices for me.

WANAKU DIM SUM, PORRIDGE & NOODLE Side Walk Jimbaran, Jl Raya Uluwatu 138A, 1st Floor , Unit F3-4
WANAKU BALI RESTAURANT Jl. Kediri No.45A, Tuban, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, 80361 Bali- Indonesia

And make no mistake WE WILL BE BACK!

Writing and Research help from JKJ

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