I don’t eat anywhere near as much red meat as I did before moving to Bali, but when I get the hunger for a steak I’ve found plenty of restaurants that either can’t cook it correctly or the meat itself isn’t that good. Here’s my list of thoroughly tested restaurants where a great steak in Bali is guaranteed.
This isn’t actually that difficult a list to write. Over the years I’ve eaten in most of the well-known restaurants and a huge number of out-of-the-way joints that are less frequented by tourists. However, as we all know, the landscape has changed significantly post-covid, so now I look for turnover, quality and bang for buck.
The Meat Emporium
Located halfway between thriving Seminyak and Canggu, The Meat Emporium started life as a butcher shop that is so good it’s the only place I ever buy a steak to cook at home.
The owner comes from generations of butchers and clearly knows his stuff when importing and breaking down his own supply of beef and lamb sourced from Australia, and sustainably farmed local pork.
Post-covid they built an indoor/outdoor dining area with a massive grill where the chefs will cook whatever steak you choose from the butcher shop to your liking.
Choosing from the butcher shop is an entirely different experience from choosing your protein from a restaurant menu. A 350g wagyu flatiron cost IDR195k ++ on my last visit, which is incredibly good value, let alone having it seasoned to your own liking, charred to perfection and served.
The wagyu flatiron will change your life. Seriously, it’s hands down one the best steaks I’ve had in a decade.
You can also choose to cook it yourself, and while I am a legend in the kitchen (ask around) I’ve never had the urge to take over tong master duties when these guys know the grill and cook it to perfection every time.
It’s a no-frills grill house with a very limited choice of sides – a few salads from the cold cabinet and baked or mashed potatoes and fries and nothing more.
Beer and wine are limited to a very short list – Bintang of course, occasionally a craft brew and only a couple of wine labels to choose from.
The choice and volume of background music leave something to be desired, but this is a butcher shop with a restaurant attached – not the other way around – so don’t expect anything more than rough and ready service.
You can order gravy of various descriptions (but don’t, the steak doesn’t suit a heavy sauce) and what is really needed is a house-made Argentine chimichurri to really top off a great cut of beef.
I can also recommend other cuts like the rib-eye and strip sirloin, and the sausages will win awards if there is such a thing as awards for sausages.
But seriously, order the flatiron (medium rare of course) if there is any left, and thank me later.
The Meat Emporium
Address: Jl. Bumbak No.44, Kerobokan
Open: Mon – Sat 9am – 10pm, Sun 12 – 8 pm
Batubara Wood Fire
Number 2 on my list for quality of beef and range of cuts is Batubara in Ubud. Makes for a great rustic date night restaurant experience. You choose your cuts and they grill in the open kitchen before finishing and serving at the table side.
It’s an al-fresco vibe with an excellent choice of wines, romantic lighting and the perfect spot for dinner if you planned your Ubud Tour just right and want to end the day with an exceptional meal before heading back to the southern beaches and avoiding the horrendous traffic jams leaving Ubud late in the day.
Batabura Wood Fire
Address: Jl. Raya Pengosekan Ubud No.108, Ubud
Located in central Seminyak, just around the corner from East Street (Jl Kayu Aya) and opposite another of my all-time favourite restaurants, Mamasan.
They specialise in dry-aged beef with an enviably well-stocked dry-age cabinet (I want one). Boy’n’Cow is still on my top 3 list of go-to destination restaurants for special occasions for visiting guests and perfect for date night.
The upstairs bar on the mezzanine overlooking the restaurant floor serves killer cocktails, and as is typical in Bali staffed with expertly-trained bartenders serving delicious mixed drinks that while expensive by local standards, are great value compared to western countries.
While the steak section of the menu used to be relatively expensive, post-covid has seen a price hike. A 280g dry-aged ribeye will set you back IDR 620k ++ which isn’t cheap, but worth it for the quality and cut. The featured image of this post is exactly that.
And a hat-tip for the service, which has been consistently outstanding since they opened a few years ago.
The small but very well-thought-out menu is balanced and unlike most steak houses, the other dishes are beautifully prepared, cooked and presented, which means the non-steak diners are going to be more than satisfied. It’s one of the few places I highly recommend the sides (order the creamed spinach).
Address: Jl. Raya Kerobokan No.138, Seminyak
Open: Mon-Sun 12 – 10pm