I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I base my itinerary around all the food I want to eat. Meals first, activities second. Double points for combining the two! (Zipline Yum Cha™ … Anyone?!) So, when Matt and I visited Ubud recently, I wanted to kick things up a notch and uncover the very best food experiences on offer. I’ve visited Bali so many times and lost precious good food memories to hasty decisions and, truthfully, I don’t want you to suffer the same fate. So we put our waistbands to the test and ate our way through Ubud, sniffing out the very best places to eat and combining them here, for you. Write it down, print it out and prepare to eat it all!
Blanco par Mandif
Oh, my word! When I think about Blanco par Mandif my tummy starts doing little grumbly somersaults and I suddenly feel really, really hungry. The food here is, undoubtedly, some of the best Indonesian food I’ve had. It was all things fine-dining and delicious, without being pretentious in any way (which I love!)
The chefs here pay tribute to traditional Indonesian dishes from different regions, often adapting family recipes, to create indescribably tasty morsels. They are beautifully presented with humility and love, giving you the chance to sample exceptional dishes from all over Indonesia. We loved the 9-course degustation, a true food journey and unforgettable experience that treated us to things we would never have tried otherwise.
I loved the restaurant fit-out, tucked down a few staircases, opening up to an intimate dining area with very comfortable bar-style seating, set along an open kitchen. With plans to expand their seating options soon, I’ve no doubt Blanco par Mandif will soon be growing from hidden gem to foodie favourite very quickly. If you love good food as much as I (clearly) do, you cannot miss an unforgettable meal here. Find Blanco par Mandif here.
Thank you, Italy, for all the incredible food you’ve brought into my life and thank you, Uma Cucina, for bringing that food to Ubud (and my face!). Right from the moment we stepped inside the restaurant, I knew it was going to be a great meal. I loved the open-plan fit-out, with a gentle breeze blowing through and the feeling you could easily spend a lovely lazy lunch or dinner there.
The menu is stacked with mouth-watering options like braised beef ragu arancini balls, bruschetta, crab spaghettini, and pizzas. We really struggled to choose just a few dishes, everything sounded SO freaking good. They do offer a tasting menu, which allows you to try a range of dishes – definitely a great choice for carnivores.
Matt and I spent a few hours working our way through all the food we ordered and we loved every single bite. The food was incredibly fresh and bursting with flavour, it’s the type of food you go back for time and time again. I loved how fresh everything tasted and how it didn’t leave me with that gluggy feeling (know what I mean?). Uma Cucina also put on live music on Saturday nights from 7 pm to 10 pm, something I’m keen to check out next time we visit. If you love Italian food, make sure you stop in at Uma Cucina. Find Uma Cucina here.
Sakti Dining Room
When I think of Ubud I immediately start picturing dense green jungle, healthy, nourishing meals and the sound of running water. Sakti Dining Room captures all these things and so much more! This place offers an impressive backdrop for any meal, situated right along the sacred Ayung River. It’s a little outside of the main area of Ubud but well-worth the short journey to get there.
I loved sitting outside under the shade of leafy green trees, chatting across the table with Matt and our travel-blogging friend Katie, of The Travelling Light. We drank kombucha, laughed and listened to the sound of the river rushing past, sharing stories and unwinding in the muggy afternoon air. There’s just something about the location that makes you feel a world away, totally lost and unable to resist relaxing into it.
Did I mention the food yet? We got stuck into the five-course tasting menu and were treated to plates of nourishing food prepared with incredibly fresh, local ingredients and full of flavour. I love food that allows you to really savour its organic flavours, you know, like, when you’re eating a strawberry and you really, truly taste that strawberry. That’s the kind of experience you’ll find at Sakti Dining Room. One thing I haven’t mentioned is the food is entirely vegan! To be honest, I don’t really think of it as a vegan restaurant, just a restaurant that serves absolutely delicious meals that feel and taste good and just so happen to be plant-based. I’ll also say this… the dessert was one of the best I’ve had, vegan or otherwise. Find Sakti Dining Room here.
The Sayan House
I knew I was going to love The Sayan House as soon as we turned into the driveway. My hunch was confirmed as we walked through the restaurant and out to the dining area, adorned with festival lights and offering stunning views of the jungle. My first instinct, as always, was to order a frozen margarita and, you guys, it was delicious.
Now, the weird thing about The Sayan House is its cuisine of choice – a fusion of Japanese and South American. I’ve had some bad fusion experiences in my time and I gotta tell ya, this was not one of them. Who knew Japanese and South American food is a match made in tastebud heaven.
We arrived with plenty of time for sunset, thought it was a bit overcast I’m pretty sure this is one heck of a spot to get cosy with good food and great cocktails to catch those dreamy sunset views. We got stuck into three courses and loved each one! I got stuck into an absolutely delectable Teien Burger and Matt devoured his very tender, fall-off-the-bone, Yuki Ribs. The flavour combinations were totally unique and perfectly balanced, offering a moreish meal we cannot wait to experience again. If you’re visiting Ubud, be sure to put this spot on your list. Find The Sayan House here.
I had heard rumours about Gaya Gelato – whisperings of creamy, perfectly prepared artisan gelato made with natural ingredients. You guys, it was all true. Every delicious, decadent rumour was 100% true and now I cannot stop dreaming about Gaya Gelato and all the things I want to do with it (eat it, mostly).
There are two Gaya Gelato parlours in Ubud and it makes sense to eat at least one gelato from each store, each day. Am I right?! What makes this gelato particularly special is how scrumptious it is. The flavours are real flavours, kind of like, ‘these snozzberries taste like snozzberries.’ The gelato itself is all things creamy and sweet, but never sickly. It is moreish and so lusciously velvety you can’t help but enjoy every morsel.
I got stuck into a combination of chocolate and coffee, because at Gaya, your ‘one’ scoop allows the mixing of flavours. I’ve never really understood what artisanal really means, but I feel like Gaya Gelato really nails it, without the over-the-top hipster pomp (p.s I love hipsters, they make excellent soy lattes). The flavours are real, the gelato is delicious and, best of all, it’s damn well priced. I recommend eating as much as you can as often as possible. Find Gaya Gelato here. (psst… they also have stores across Bali, so stalk their website to find one and visit it ASAP)
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.