Ubud, Bali’s centre of organic eating, yoga, rice paddies, artisans and culture. You’ll find all this, as well as some legendary Balinese warungs that have made it big and now can’t keep the hoardes of hungry diners away. Here are our Must Eats for Ubud:
Must Eat Number 1
Ribs at Naughty Nuris
If the mention of BBQ ribs gets you salivating then you need to get yourself to Naughty Nuri’s. Established by an American who fell in love with Bali and Nuri, his Balinese wife, this institution has been drawing in the crowds with its smoky, tender ribs and zingy martinis since 1995. A small grill out the front of the warung does the work, letting off flumes of flavoured smoke into the air as ribs, chicken, steak and sausages sizzle.
We eat two serves of BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken and potato crisps (literally made to order, mandolin-ed, deep-fried potato) and wash it all down with draught Bintang. The squeeze of lime is just enough to cut through the sticky, sweet glaze and rich meat which is so tender that the knife and fork provided are redundant. We visit a second time and order just ribs and beer. This is as good as it gets.
Good to know:
Draught Bintang 30,000IDR (approx $3AUD/$2.50USD)
Spare ribs 100,000IDR (approx $10AUD/$8.50USD)
BBQ chicken 35,000IDR (approx $3.50/$3USD)
Crisps 25,000IDR (approx $2.50/$2USD)
Jl. Raya Sanggingan
(note that Naughty Nuri’s also has a restaurant in Kerobokan)
Open 7 days, 11:00am to 11:00pm
The Ubud branch takes credit cards but adds a small surcharge to do so. The Kerobokan branch apparently requires a minimum spend of approximately $80AUD before you can pay by credit card.
Must Eat Number 2
Babi Guling at Ibu Oka
Ibu Oka makes it on the list simply because it is, like Naughty Nuri’s an institution. Shooting to fame on the tourist trail after Anthony Bourdain visited it on his show No Reservations in 2007, Ibu Oka is loved by foreigners and locals alike. It’s not the best babi guling we eat in Bali but Ibu Oka deserves to be ticked off regardless given its cult like status. We visit Ibu Oka 3 as it’s on the way to our next destination, it’s large, indoors and quite touristy. If I could do it again, I’d visit the original warung where you can sit on the floor at communal tables and the atmosphere is a bit more local.
We both order the babi guling spesial, a bowl of pork soup to share and Bintangs. The spesial arrives as a mound of rice accompanied by slices of pork, crackling, gorengan (fried meat), sosis (in this case a blood sausage) and vegetables with a herbaceous gravy drizzled over the lot. The spesial is nice but we agree that it tastes like a “mass produced” babi guling, perhaps a dumb downed version of what it used to be. The gorengan is hard to chew, the crackling isn’t crunchy and the gravy which we had hoped would be laden with spice, isn’t. There are hits though- the blood sausage is packed with flavour and texture and the slices of pork are tender. The pork soup however is a disappointment as it’s overly salty and tastes like stock cubes- give this a miss.
Pak Malen in Seminyak produces a better babi guling in our opinion, but if you’re in Ubud and you need to tick babi guling off the list, then Ibu Oka is the place to do it.
Good to know:
Bintang (long neck) 35,000IDR (approx $3.50/$3USD)
Babi Guling Spesial 45,000IDR (approx $4.50AUD/$3.80USD)
Pork soup 10,000IDR (approx $1AUD/$0.80USD)
There are three locations:
Jl. Tegal (the original), Jl. Raya Teges and Jl. Suweta
Must Eat Number 3
Indonesian classics at Miro’s
If you want to escape the crowds then head to Miro’s Garden Restaurant, set amongst lush open gardens. Tables are interspersed throughout the gardens, some in bales, others out in the open. We’re here on the recommendation of a friend who claims Miro’s nasi campur is unmissable. TBS downs a Bintang, whilst I sip on an icy cool lemon granita- the perfect antidote to the heat.
The nasi campur is a sight to behold- small tastes of chicken curry, tempeh, beef rendang, vegetables, egg and tofu nestle in vessels crafted from banana leaf. Sate, peanuts, prawn crackers, fritters and a cone of rice complete the spread. It’s fun to eat and all of it is tasty.
The mie goreng comes into its own once some fresh chilli is added. The noodles retain some chew, the bits of chicken are tender and it’s a generous portion.
Miro’s is a haven for weary sightseers. Sit back, down an icy cold beer, refuel with some delicious Indonesian classics and enjoy the calm.
Good to know:
Bintang (longneck) 35,000IDR (approx $3.50AUD/$3USD)
Lemon granita 25,000IDR (approx $2.50/$2USD)
Nasi Campur 70,000IDR (approx $7AUD/$6USD) or 60,000IDR for the vegetarian option
Mie goreng 60,000IDR (approx $6AUD/$5USD)
Telephone: +62 (0) 361 973314
Must Eat Number 4
Tasting menu at Locavore
If you’re willing to whip out the gold card during your time in Ubud then the place to do it is at Locavore. Serving tasting menus of modern cuisine using local produce, the kitchen here is producing some seriously good food. The dining room offers a welcome respite from the searing heat outside with its cool colour palette and sleek wooden tables. The service is thoughtful and attentive and the food- it’s worth the bill at the end of it.
Some of the dishes we sample include a Bedugul rabbit and mustard leaf sausage with rabbit jus, Arak and ginger glazed baby carrots, crispy carrot leaves and carrot leaf oil and a mind-blowing parrot fish à la meunière served with octopus, chorizo, bread and butter courgette, red bell pepper sauce, crispy oregano leaves and squash flowers. The dishes are inspiring as well as delicious. And don’t leave without giving their cocktail menu a thorough sample.
Good to know:
Cocktails 98,000IDR (approx $9.80AUD/$8USD)
Mineral water (large) 45,000IDR (approx $4.50AUD/$4USD)
5 course tasting menu 475,000IDR (approx $47AUD/$35USD)
7 course tasting menu 575,000IDR (approx $57AUD/$45USD)
Jl. Dewi Sita
Telephone: +62 (0) 361 977733
Reservations a must! 10% tax and 8.5% service charge also apply.
To read our full blog post on Locavore click here
Must Eat Number 5
Nasi campur at Nasi Ayam Kedewatan, Ibu Mangku
If you’re keen to dig into a really hearty, well balanced plate of food then Nasi Ayam Kedewatan, Ibu Mangku’s nasi campur will sort you out. This place isn’t too far from Naughty Nuri’s and is a bit of an institution for its chicken rice. For around $2.50AUD you receive a plate piled with rice, tender, shredded chicken, sambal, that ubiquitous but delicious bean and coconut salad, a minced chicken skewer, earthy roasted peanuts and some crunchy chicken skin. It’s filling but delicate, each element on the plate lending itself to the dish as a whole be it through texture, spice or just plain tastiness.
Good to know:
Bintang (small) 20,000IDR (approx $2.00AUD/$1.50USD)
Teh botol 5,000IDR (approx $0.50AUD/$0.30USD
Nasi Campur 25,000IDR (approx $2.50AUD/$2USD)
Nasi Ayam Kedewatan, Ibu Mangku
Jl. Raya Kedewatan
Telephone: +62 (0) 361 974795
Note: If you are eating in local joints, you’d be hard pressed to spend more than $10AUD/$8USD for two people if you’re not drinking. If you’re on the beers then a Bintang long-neck will set you back about $3.50AUD/$3USD. If you’re eating at restaurants geared towards the foreign crowd then expect to pay 10% tax and roughly 7.5% service on top of your bill.
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