For the past 2 years during Covid, almost everything in Ubud closed and ground to a halt. But since mid-April 2022 Ubud, like Bali in general, opened for tourism again and while many of my favourite cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels and attractions closed for good, there are many opening back up again along with a bunch of new places that need to be on your must-do list when visiting Ubud.
Here’s a short but growing list of places that are definitlely open and inspired me to write during my recent visit in the last week of April.
Pica South American Kitchen
A tiny hole in the wall restaurant so small you will write past it without knowing, Pica dished up one of the best meals I’ve ever had in Bali. Peruvian by origin with stunning plate presentation the owner/chef has hist staff producing extraordinary flavours from the smallest kitchen imaginable.
And by Bali standards, he charges like a wounded bull — with entrees and small plates at IDR150k and mains or larger plates for around IDR250k — and is an absolute bargain. The servings are large, in my opinion, for the price but the flavours are an OMG moment.
It seats less than 16 people and is booked out (at the time of writing) for a week. It’s just up the road from Locavore, which used to be booked out months in advance before The Shitshow.
One of the top 10 meals I’ve ever had in Bali. Make a booking and plan your available days in Ubud around going here. You can thank me later.
Pro tip: get the goat’s cheese souffle and the octopus, or do what I did with my friends recently (5 people) and just order the entire menu. Consider this an expensive night out, especially by Bali standards, but hang the expense.
Around 10 meters up the road is Mingle, which for years has been a favourite drop-in for a cheap cold beer or glass of awful wine and a snack.
Address: Jl. Dewisita, Ubud
Located on the Northern square of Ubud, Simply Social is new, simple and well… social. I’ve had a couple of business meetings there, 2 dinners with friends and a late-night cocktail with a friend, and all were exceptional.
Simply Social is a cafe in essence, but works well as a restaurant after dark and is a solid choice for an early or late dinner.
The menu runs from burgers to grilled plates, salads and pizzas. On one occasion I had the slow-smoked beef rib and the waitress tried to talk me out of it because it was so fatty, which of course meant I had to have it. And for AUD$13 the 300 grams of the smoked fatty beef rib was perfectly fall-apart cooked and outstanding value for money.
They can be a bit hit and miss on the temperature of the wine, and the bartender tends to pop the tops of the Bintang so hard they go flat at the table, but I rate this place highly.
Pro tip: order the Caesar Salad – for $7 it’s outstanding for both taste and value. And the Whisky Sours are worth going back for.
Cons: It’s on the main northern tourist road next to the (now defunct) Bali Art Market, so it tends to attract families with kids.
Address: Ubud Main Road, Ubud
One of my all-time favourite casual lunch spots, Seeds Eatery serves up seriously delicious Thai fusion dishes. Outstanding presentation, excellent value for money and fresh vibrant flavours.
Address: Jl. Raya Pengosekan Ubud No.108, Ubud
Ubud Art Market is Closed!
Sad but true, the Ubud Art Market has been levelled. Literally razed to the ground after a massive fire in March 2022. The huge rabbit-warren complex was famous for its chaotic and noisy atmosphere where hawkers and hole-in-the-wall shops would sell a huge variety of textiles, souvenirs, artworks, spices… and a whole lot more.
Let’s hope the rebuild starts soon because the hawkers are now lining the street, increasing the already chaotic traffic jam that has also returned to Ubid along with tourism.
Seriously, the one-way road loop around Ubud is carnage.
Tygr Sushi, Ubud
Love the sushi at this small restaurant in Sayan on the outskirts of Ubud. relatively cheap – ngiri is 28k++ – it’s always fresh and the menu is quite extensive.
Address: Jl. Penestanan Kelod No.8, Sayan
Batubara Wood Fire
For the best steak in Ubud, Batubara is my go-to. You get to choose your own cut then the chef will sear it on the woodfire grill before being finished at your table to your liking. I’ve been coming here since it opened a few years ago and on my visit last week the quality was still as good as ever.
Aside from the steaks, which are excellent, the menu is classic South American and well worth trying. I have a penchant for the croquettes and the prawns.
I recommended the local wagyu flatiron if it’s available. It cost 360k++ for a 200gr steak and it was worth every penny.
It’s a romantic atmosphere so recommended for date night!
Batabura Wood Fire
Address: Jl. Raya Pengosekan Ubud No.108, Ubud
Lovacore To Go
The little sister cafe to the famous restaurant Locavore, located 50m away, the relaxed cafe puts out seriously good gourmet sandwiches, burgers and daily specials.
It’s also in the same small building as Local Parts, the retail butcher shop for the Locavore group, selling local cuts and gourmet deli goodies with a nose-to-tail philosophy.
What’s really cool is you can buy a steak or cut of meat from the butcher and the cafe will cook it to your liking. You can also order sides to accompany along with a limited list of cocktails inspired by their sister cocktail bar Night Rooster (which is still closed at the time of writing).
They used to serve up a killer meat-fest called Butcher’s Table on Saturdays, but that has now moved to the main restaurant down the road on Sundays. Definitely worth booking in for, it’s the best meat-focussed set menu meal I’ve ever had, and definitely great value for money.
Locavore To Go
Address: Jl. Dewisita No.10a, Ubud