A few days ago, I shared a list of the things that I did in Ubud during the week I spent there with promise of sharing my eating and sleeping experience next. Note: several of the excursions that I did, such as white water rafting or the Mt. Batur sunrise trek can also be done from other locations in Bali as the tour companies will pick you up from most major starting points, your pick up time will just be different. Onto eating! I like to use Swarm (part of Foursquare before they split it into two) when I'm traveling so I can remember where I ate, and sometimes get tips from others. I ended up eating at 15 different places (or that's how many I checked in at--that's not including breakfast because my room came with it, the lunch that was included in the cycling tour and the lunch we made at the cooking class) over the 8 days I was in Ubud. At times, I snapped pictures of my food when I remembered and other times, I was too hungry to wait. I'm breaking my post into two parts so it's less overwhelming. Hint: Part 2 includes one of my (newest) favorite restaurants in the WORLD.
Laughing Buddha Bar I had just gotten into town and wanted to eat somewhere that was close by. Laughing Buddha had live music (a band called Afro Moses) so it was the perfect spot for me to grab a seat at the bar, order some food and a drink, and be anti-social after my long trip to Bali without feeling like I was being too anti-social. My food was okay, but the vibe was cool. I walked by the next night and there was a latin band playing and people dancing, really cool. I would go back for the music and drinks, not necessarily the food.
Tropical View Cafe I wanted to go to Venezia Day Spa for some spa services, but they could only get me booked for an appointment that started in an hour, and I hadn't eaten yet. Cue Tropical View Cafe. It was across the street, had nice paddy field views and the service was fairly quick. I was surprised by how much food I got and it was decently tasty. I would return for the views and for drinks and fast service, but the food wasn't memorable in my opinion.
Nomad I sought Nomad out after someone commented on a Bali thread in a travel group I'm part of and since my dinner there, I've passed on the recommendation. I went for the tapas here, ordering 6 different Indonesian/Balinese dishes, and it was delicious, fresh and cheap! Nomad also has this cool vibe of explorers; the table next to us was a group of performers who had just attended the Bali Spirit Festival. I've never done this before, but I spotted a gal eating by herself at a prime table, so instead of sitting at the bar, I asked her if she minded sharing a table and ended up gaining some company over dinner. (Of course, if she didn't feel like talking, I would have kept to myself.) I'd go back to Nomad and would recommend it to others as a good (and affordable) meal.
Three Monkeys Cafe Three Monkeys was a hop, skip and jump from the first place I stayed at in Ubud. I could see the roof of my room from the back patio. The service was great, the food was good albeit smaller portions, and it was on the pricier side compared to where I had eaten already. I liked it because they had a good variety and everyone's food looked incredible. It was a solid meal and if I felt lazy and didn't want to go far, I'd go back there but wouldn't necessarily repeat a meal here otherwise.
Bamboo Bar & Restaurant With a hostel upstairs, Bamboo is more of a hostel bar than a restaurant. Some friends I had met were eating there so I met up with them for some pizza and live music. The band was really good, but loud, so don't come here if you want to have a conversation. But if you want to enjoy some tunes, cheap eats and cheap drinks, this is the place for you.
Pissari Bali Cafe Remember when I said I'd go back to Three Monkeys if I was feeling lazy and didn't want to walk far? Well, I was on my way there when I discovered Pissari was even closer to me, and it also had rice paddy views (and it was lower priced)! I had the chicken curry pasta here and it hit the spot. After a few days of Indonesian/Balinese food, I wanted something that was more fusion-y and they delivered. I had a dessert, I believe it was a Balinese cake of some sort, that left me unsatisfied but my meal was so good that I still left satisfied. Bonus: a group of college friends from Europe who were in town for a wedding invited me to join them, so I left with a good meal and some new friends!
Tropical After accidentally catching a dance show from the Ubud Starbucks, I wanted to grab some food before my shuttle picked me up. Tropical is right by the Ubud Market and seemed pretty busy, which is always a good sign if you want to get some good (and hygienic food). I ordered a set of Balinese satay and thought they did a good job of it. Service was quick, food was good and it was close to where I needed to be. I wouldn't go out of my way to eat here but if you're in a similar situation where you're getting hangry and don't want to wander, this is a good choice.
Sari Organik I earned this meal. The walk to Sari Organik from the Ubud Market takes about 30 minutes (ask people for directions if you get lost) and you're going up on an at-times-rocky-at-times-narrowish trail. But you're treated with beautiful views, a sense of calm and a delicious, organic meal. If you're too hungry to walk, there are people who are willing to give you a ride on the back of their bikes as well. I had high expectations for this meal and while it was pretty good, it didn't quite reach the hype. Based on the view though, I would tell people to go. Bring a book or your journal and it's the perfect backdrop for some writing. I've heard the sunset can be amazing from here as well, so try to time it so you can catch it, but also be sure to bring a flashlight (or use your phone's flashlight function) to illuminate your path for your walk down.
Cafe Pomegranate After Sari Organik, I stopped by the spa next door for a manicure/pedicure. While the mani/pedi itself was just ok, the views was really what I was after. By the time my treatments were done, there was only an hour left before sunset so I figured I would stop by a cafe, get some dessert and wait for it. Cafe Pomegranate was the perfect place to do so. With cushions so you're sitting on the floor, they offer an open view, give you a fan to help you cool down, brought out some amazing smelling natural mosquito repellant as it got dark and handed you a bell to ring for service, which I thought was a unique touch. The menu looked great though I stuck with dessert. I think I liked this place better than Sari Organik even, and its less of a walk as well! There was a group of Brits next to me who ordered starters and mains and from the sounds of it, it was tasty!
I'll have Part 2 to you shortly--I promise, it's worth the wait! If you have any suggestions on where to eat in Ubud, send them my way. I think I'll be heading back there before I leave Bali because I want to eat at my fave place again, and there are a few other food places I didn't get a chance to check out before I left.