Ahhhh Bali: The quick, cheap and sometimes nasty holiday destination we love. Yes, you can do all the shopping for cheap DVDs and fake Louis Vuitton bags, but in recent times Bali has almost become like another, very sophisticated modern city… A second home, if you will?!
So if you’re looking to avoid the Bintang singlets and bogans and delve a little deeper, here is our jam packed list of everything you need to do before you get your sunburnt ass on-board your flight out of Denpasar.
Merah Putih is one of the most amazing spaces in Bali, and their translucent roof columns create a magical experience when it’s raining. The food is even more stunning than the décor. The menu is half traditional Indonesian cuisine, and half modern, imaginative dishes. Our hot tip – order the whole chargrilled fish, batik clams and shallot sambal.
At Siagon Street you’ll find light, tasty and inspiring Vietnamese dishes that will rock your socks off. Take a bunch of mates and try everything you can!
This unassuming taco joint not only serves delicious Mexican food, but you’ll have to physically stop yourself from downing eight of their frozen coriander margaritas in one go - or at least we had to!
The beautiful traditional Balinese structure here overlooks the rice paddies - and will definitely steal your heart. Head to Sardine for moreish, authentic seafood dishes paired with organic vegetables grown in their kitchen garden.
You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped into the Tuscan countryside when you sit down for dinner at this stunning Italian restaurant. Epic cocktails and beach views will have you coming back for more.
Mamasan is a Bali institution, and for good reason. The retro-vintage restaurant serves up some of the tastiest Asian cuisine we’ve ever had, and the space is air conditioned—a big bonus for Bali! Menu-wise you can’t go past the beef rendang, crispy whole fish and the twice-cooked pork ribs. Drool!
Open from midday to midnight for lunch, tapas and dinner, Barbacoa are all about serving delicious barbecue, wood fired, chargrilled or smoked Latin Fare. Pull up a pew overlooking the rice paddies and chow down on tortillas, grilled seafood and anything from the Bocaditos menu.
Stepping into Sisterfields feels exactly (and we mean EXACTLY) like stepping in to a trendy new café in Melbourne. A menu specked with Superfood smoothies, acai bowls, lobster sliders, polenta chips, and a myriad of other oh so trendy Melbourne-esque menu items, there’s a reason Sisterfields has a line out the door erry day. A definite must try for breakfast or lunch for any café-loving Australian.
Heading to Bodyworks for a much needed pamper session? Sea Circus is the perfect place to wine and dine when your relaxation levels don’t want to be taken down a peg. Another Melbourne-café inspired Bali gem, Sea Circus has a slightly Mexican-inspired menu and will appease any foodie’s hunger. Oh, and make sure you try the frozen cocktails too…
Grocer and Grind
When you’re sick of eating nasi goreng and just want a taste of home, Grocer and Grind will give you just that. Yummy pizzas, corn fritters and fresh salads will settle that tummy and keep you coming back for more.
Tucked away from the craziness of Seminyak, the super fresh and clean Betelnut Cafe in Canggu is where to head when you’re feeling a little pudgy. The salad bowls are a must-try and you have to finish off your meal with a guilt-free treat.
Having the best coffee in the entire world back in Australia is all well and good…until you have to travel, and everything pales in comparison, ammirite?! Never fear, Listers, head to Revolver and you’ll instantly feel right back at home! Revolver is unequivocally serving up the absolute best coffee in Seminyak, and has a vibe that is just ever so cool. The breakfast and lunch menu are perfectly crafted, and could teach a few institutions a thing or two about flavour!
Cafe Zucchini, Seminyak
Have a few too many cocktails last night? The friendly crew at Cafe Zucchini will sort you out with their array of healthy food and refreshing juices. A fave spot for the health nuts (and boasting an interior that would not look out of place in Byron Bay), the salads and corn fritters are the standouts and the coffee is spot on.
Since throwing open its doors in 2012, Petitenget has become one of the best Seminyak restaurants based on its farm to fork philosophy which ensures everything on the menu is exceptionally fresh and tasty. Open from 7am till 11pm every day, the coffee is exceptional and the food being dished out is up there with the best.
Perfectly located smack-bang in the hustle and bustle of Seminyak, it’s hard to miss The Junction, with its white washed wooden exterior and interior full of glass jars containing spices, sand, stones and ornaments. Open for lunch and dinner, go for the killer thai beef salad and stay for the epic people watching.
All of the #Dranks
Mozaic Beach Club
Looking for somewhere to watch the sunset and sip ah-mazing cocktails? Moziac Beach Club is your go to. Tucked away on a quiet beach in Kerobokan, this is a must-do venue for sunset. Hot tip – check out their signature Bloody Mary – an Indonesian twist on the traditional.
Frozen margaritas and tequila shots poured straight from the bottle. Motel Mexicola is our pick for a fun/naughty night on the town. The relaxed Mexican food is pretty great too!
This bar is off the beaten track - Deus in Canggu features tacos, motorbikes and one of the best Sunday sessions in Bali. Stop by Echo Beach on your way for some legit seafood and cocktails, far better than Jimbaran Bay.
Single Fin, a rickety beach club is the go-to Sunday session for all the beautiful people in Uluwatu. P.S they do smashing Acai bowls to help your head the morning after.
Ku De Ta
One of Bali’s most iconic beachside venues, head to Ku De Ta for a taste of a Mediterranean day club - seaside beats, legit cocktails and gourmet cuisine.
Cocktail jugs, day beds and beach views. Potato Head is the perfect spot to chill out by the pool with a view that will make you giddy. Hot tip, get here early in the day, or you’ll be sitting on the grass with all of the other losers!
Cocoon Beach Club
It’s like the Hamptons came to Bali and left behind a whole bunch of wicker furniture and cool blue decor at Cocoon Beach Club. This relaxing spot overlooks the ocean and serves up modern European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern nosh—all delicious and as high quality as the surrounds.
For that real Bali experience head to La Plancha, grab a colourful beanbag on the sandy shore of the Indian Ocean, and watch the tide change as you sip fruity cocktails. Serving up Spanish goodies from brekky through to dinner, we would advise heading to La Plancha in the late afternoon so you can watch the sun go down.
Rockbar is another top spot to watch sunset, Grab the cable car from Ayana Resort to the bar, where you are then treated to one of the most incredible sunsets of your life. Insider tip: Head here before 4:30pm and get a head start on the tourists.
Where to stay and play
The W Hotel
Walking in to The W Hotel foyer is so much like walking into a scene out of The Hunger Games, you half expect to see Jennifer Lawrence bursting out of the walls with bow and arrows blazing, shouting something or another about bringing down The Capitol.
The W Hotel offers one of the world’s most unique settings for a meal, and is ordinarily available only to guests. However on Sundays, lucky for us (obvy we can’t afford to stay here!), they offer an Expat brunch for $50pp. The absolute epitome of gluttony - you will likely never see a bigger, more beautiful buffet in all of your life. Must be experienced to be believed.
Double 6 Hotel
Boasting one of Bali’s most famous rooftop for sunset drinks, Double 6 is about as chic as it comes. Offering up 360 views of Legian beach, like many spots in Bali dining options are vast and delicious – from traditional Balinese and grilled meats and seafood, to outstanding Italian fare.
On the main Seminyak drag, Upasha offers up a haven from the hustle and bustle of the hectic Balinese city streets. Extremely reasonably priced, Upasha has a rooftop pool, bar and restaurant area that make you feel like you’re floating up in the heavens. If you’re a guest at the hotel, the buffet breakfast is next to none – try the banana pancakes people!
Anti-gravity yoga at the Four Seasons, Ubud
If you’re looking for a relaxation experience you’ll never forget, sign up to an anti-gravity yoga class at the Four Seasons in Ubud. Not only is entering the place like stepping foot into Jurassic Park, but hanging upside down while looking out to the jungle in your own private yoga class is pretty unforgettable.
Massages as good as home for half the price. Splash out (in Bali terms) and treat yourself to a heavenly massage at Body Works. You can’t leave Bali without experiencing this.
Image credit: Potato Head Facebook page (2), Sea Circus' Facebook Page, Merah Putih, Four Seasons Bali Facebook page, Sisterfields, Saigon Street