Authentic, healthy, tasty and with a good kick, Indonesian food generally and Balinese more specifically, is cheap and delicious.
I've curated this list for quality and taste in more of a cafe-style surrounds. For street food, check out my other post at the end of this article. There are also some upscale Indonesian places which I haven't included here, but can be found in my Upmarket Ubud article.
Here is a list of some of the best local food in Warungs (cafes) in Ubud. Don't see your favourite? Drop me a note and let me know.
My favourite little warung serving amazing and authentic Balinese food. Mamas is a bit of an institution but she still doesn’t raise her prices. Probably one of the top 5 Nasi Campur in Ubud. I love her crunchy, sweet tempe that comes with Nasi Campur al la mama, and I'm also fond of the babi kecap (pork with soy sauce).
Warung Biah Biah
Conveniently and centrally located on Jl. goutama, Biah Biah has cheap and cheerful but tasty Indonesian dishes. Perfect washed down with a Bintang during a shopping evening.
Yellow Flower Cafe
A super cute spot in Penestanan just off the steps. Add this in with a walking tour of Penestanan village. Cheap and yummy Balinese dishes - try the refreshing sparkling fruit juices to wash down the food.
Another spot in very central Jl. Goutama, Puspa’s serves authentic Balinese cuisine at super low prices. Everything is delicious here but the yellow curry is particularly good.
To get to compound from Jl. Goutama, you need to enter through a little guesthouse and keep walking until you get to the cafe. There's not much to this place, but the food a great and super cheap. It's tucked away in the busiest part of Ubud but is quiet and peaceful. The menu is mostly Balinese and Indonesian but you can get a couple of western items. Their packets are particularly good value.
These little places on Jl Goutama are always surprising. It's the best shopping street in Ubud and can be touristy. But Nessa is authentic and super cheap. Try the gado-gado with a coconut for just R50,000
This gorgeous warung is in the middle of the rice fields not far from Ubud central. It’s impossible to get to by car, but a Gojek scooter will take you or you can do the very pretty walk. The warung is amazing for the view alone but the food is decent and the menu caters for all tastes.
Oka’s warung took off after a mention by Alain Bourdain. It’s now a proper warung in a lovely courtyard. The food is cheap and decent but it’s not actually the best Babi Guling in Ubud, despite its reputation. However it’s walking distance from Ubud central, just up from the Palace and still pretty good.
For a superior (plus authentic and super cheap) Babi Guling try out Bu Ari in Peliatan. It’s no frills with plastic chairs and not much else on the menu but the Babi is succulent and delicious and comes with the amazing pig bone soup.
Babi Guling Side note: The place most desired by Balinese is Pande Egi in Gianyar, about 40 minutes from Ubud. It's worth a trip. You can read about it here.
Now I’m not a huge fan of the crispy duck that is a favourite of the Balinese. But if you are going to try it, this is the place to come. It’s very pretty, super convenient and the dishes are authentic and not even a little expensive for a place that looks like a tourist trap. You might also want to try Bebek Goreng (fried duck) at Warung Joni which is out of town a little, on the way to Goa Gajah. For a slightly more upmarket version try Petani Restaurant.
I may not like the fried duck but Bebek Betutu - steamed, smoked or baked duck - is amazing. Often you’ll need to book 24 hours in advanced as the smoking process takes a day. Benute Cafe does a quicker version but it’s still tender and moist and tasty. There is also a lovely outdoors area.
A very pretty cafe, Warung Teges on Jl. Cok Rai has been serving Balinese food in Peliatan for more than 40 years. It's not in the centre, so you will need transport but I recommend this high quality and very authentic place. Their Nasi Campur is particularly good, and doesn't get much cheaper at R25,000.
For a slightly fancier version of Bebek Betutu, along with a large range of good quality Indonesian dishes, Tebesari is a gorgeous spot on the way into Ubud in Lod Tunduh. There is also a branch in Tegallalang. This is more touristy and definitely pricier than the others on this list (R143,000 for a large meal of Bebek Betutu and accompaniments) but you'll love the fun gazbos and rice field view. You may need to book on the weekends.
E 2 C
Smart, new and comfortable cafe with great coffee serving high quality Indonesian favourites. It’s slightly out of the way but a great place for reading or working.
I was recommended Hana's Warung when I went looking for Nasi Campur options. It is a little out of the way on Jl. Raya Teges but the large range of great Balinese food is worth it. Its super cheap, the service is good and everything is delicious. They have a really nice upstairs area; the outlook is of the main road but it's fun to watch ordinary people go about their business.