The first thing that catches your eye in Ubud is how many visitors prefer touristy places over local, authentic experiences. It comes to everything, restaurants, and cafes are not an exception. Maybe I don’t understand something but why would someone travel to a new country not trying to taste a new cuisine? There are so many wonderful local places to eat in Ubud, but a lot of guests still choose crowded, touristy, westernized restaurants. Why?
During all our travels we always go to local cafes and eateries. No doubt, once in a while, especially when we spend months in Asia, we indulge in western food here and there. But overall we choose local homemade meals.
Bali, particularly Ubud, has many wonderful local places (they are called Warungs) where you can get a taste of real Balinese food, see how locals live and experience something different.
Allow me to introduce you to what an authentic Balinese restaurant is and share the list of some of the best places to eat in Ubud away from tourists. I should probably clarify that they are the best for me. If you have been to any other Warungs you loved, please, share in the comments. And I highly recommend you include in your Bali itinerary at least one visit to Warung. That’s going to be a totally new and interesting experience!
First of all, let’s explain what Warung is
Warung anywhere in Indonesia (we also saw a few in Malaysia) is a type of small family-owned shop, restaurant, or cafe. Usually, it is set in a front room in a family’s home or in the courtyard. And, for the most part, women run the place.
Sometimes Warungs are made from wood, bamboo, bricks, and concrete. They are simple and modest in their style.
When you hear about Warung keep in mind it’s not your Westernized place. Typically local Indonesian food dishes and groceries are sold there. Lately, however, on the island of Bali and Lombok, some owners add the term Warung to the name of their business to indicate their Indonesian nature. But in reality, most of the offered dishes are of western origin, just to attract and keep the tourists.
A Warung that offers cooked meals generally sells fried noodles (mie goreng), fried rice (nasi goreng), cassava, tempeh, fried tofu (tahu goreng), sweet potato, traditional Indonesian pancake, cooked vegetables, and more.
Most of Warung places I write about are located outside of the city center. To get to them you need to walk, ride a bike or grab a taxi. On the one hand, it may seem like a lot of work, but you will have a very unique experience visiting one (or perhaps all) of these eateries.
Warung d’Carik is located on one of the roads which leads to Ubud downtown, surrounded by rice fields, guest houses, and kailyards. It is simple but extremely quiet and has delectable dishes. You do need to get here by vehicle or bike unless you are staying in the area and can walk on foot.
The owners, who are the cooks, are kind-hearted people, keep their place very clean and taken care of.
They are mainly open during the second half of the day, so if you come in the evening expect a stunning sunset.
At the top of the Campuhan Ridge, among picturesque landscape, well-known Karsa spa and galleries is a pretty little Warung place, called Raditya Cafe. There, you can fill up your energy tank with a scrumptious breakfast, lunch, snack, or glass of freshly made smoothie.
We loved this place for its tranquility, quietness, authenticity, and views. Raditya Cafe is much quieter and cheaper than a nearby overrated spa cafe.
The food was good, but we were coming here mainly for the view and the vibe.
This Warung place is not really a Kokolato, but across from it on the other side. It is not on google, but I am leaving approximate coordinates below.
A tiny wooden shop is located on the same street as Raditya Cafe, mentioned above, among rice paddies and villas. It is next to the guest houses, resorts, and Karsa spa.
The menu offers only drinks, fried noodles and rice, but the cook is an adorable sweet lady, who puts so much love into her every dish.
Come for coffee, juices, and to unplug, there is no wifi at this cafe. During our first three weeks in Bali, we were eating here on many occasions and always loved it.
Warung Tepi Sari
Warung Tepi Sari is the type of restaurant where you love coming back to.
The location is outside of Ubud, but the ride is worth your time. We saw some people getting to this place by bikes (not motorbikes, but regular bikes) just to chill, work and enjoy the view. Yes, there is wi-fi and the signal is good enough for completing your laptop work.
There is an organic farm in the area, yoga studio, and a school that offers cooking classes.
When it comes to the menu, Warung Tepi Sari offers not only Indonesian food items, but also pizzas and sandwiches, and they are surprisingly very good. Smoothie was one of the best I tried in Ubud. And in the end, I even got a gift – a bamboo straw!
This place is special and unique in its nature and I really wanted to include it on my list, although it is not a Warung.
Bamboo Spirit is a healing center (even though it’s in a private home) that offers daily morning yoga, meditation, self-development, and music-related events. And only once per week, on Sunday, from 12 to 3 pm owners offer a buffet with a raw and cooked vegan version of typical Balinese food. The buffet is by donation and based on principles of Balinese philosophy.
Conveniently located in Penestanan, at the first door on your right at the top of Campuhan steps, it may become one of your favorite places in Ubud. Bamboo Spirit is a great place to meet other people.
You don’t need a vehicle to get here. This home’s perfect location will suit everyone.
Excellent food, very reasonable prices, and great family is the reason why I recommend coming and dining at Wayan’s Warung. It doesn’t have any astonishing views, is located on the busier street, and looks very simple. But it is close enough to Ubud center, has wifi and you can easily walk here.
The taste of food and a good welcome are the reasons to pay a visit here.
Padi Kuning Warnung Makan
Padi Kuning Warnung is the only place on the list which is not in Ubud. Nonetheless, we wanted to write about it because it is a true gem on the outskirts of Gianyar village. If you are on the way to Tegenungan waterfall, Kanto Lampo waterfall, or Tibumana falls this is a perfect spot to get a meal.
The owners are very friendly people whose food is delicious and served in a backyard with the view of the rice paddies. The prices are higher than in some other Warungs, but the vibe and food are very enjoyable.
This cafe is open all day long, so you can visit for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
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