Bali's Best Bites

Bali sunset on Seminyak beach Nora Kim
By Charis Atlas Heelan

Bali may be a remote Indonesian island, but its range of restaurants is worldly enough to impress even the most passionate foodie. Refuel and savor the experience at these five top spots.

Photo Caption: Bali sunset on Seminyak beach
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Biku Teahouse and Restaurant, Bali. Charis Atlas Heelan
What: If you are looking for an authentic Balinese dining experience, Biku is it. With exceptional Indonesian food and a traditional teak wood interior, Biku Teahouse is a combination of old-world Bali and contemporary style. Located in the new Seminyak (the area not yet overrun with shops and tourists), Biku's menu is simply sublime. The desserts are worth flying halfway around the world for, and the children will also be happy with the tailored kids' menu and toys that they can borrow. The small lounge area and in-house bookstore also makes it a great place to fire up your laptop or just sit back and read on a steamy afternoon.
Where: Jalan Raya Pittenget No. 888, Seminyak
Prices: A main course, like chicken satay served with rice and green beans is priced at 40,000 Rupiah (about $4.50). Freshly pressed and chilled watermelon juice is 15,000 (about $1.60)
More Info: www.bikubali.com

Photo Caption: Biku Teahouse and Restaurant, Bali
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Rice Teras Cafe, Bali. Charis Atlas Heelan
What: An hour away from the beach but only a few minutes' drive from the town of Ubud, you'll find hundreds of rice terraces adorning a steep hillside. Strategically located on the facing hill are three or four cafés and restaurants that are taking advantage of the views and the passing tourists. The tables located in mini pagodas at Rice Teras Café offer the best views and for a minute, you'll forget about the street vendors, the noise of the buses, and the chaos of the streets of Kuta and Legian. The food here is almost incidental as you'll be transfixed by the sheer beauty of the location, but standard Indonesian snacks, light meals, and drinks are on hand at reasonable prices. The freshly roasted peanuts are sensational -- and free.
Where: Ceking, Tegallalang (Ubud)
Prices: A traditional plate of Nasi Goreng (fried rice with egg) is priced at 30,000 Rupiah (about $3.20). Fresh squeezed juices (including guava, watermelon, tangerine) are each 12,000 Rupiah ($1.50)

Photo Caption: The view from Rice Teras Café, Bali
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Ku De Ta restaurant, Bali. Charis Atlas Heelan
What: Ten years after it first opened, Ku De Ta is still the place to see and be seen in Bali. At sunset, the funkiest place in town transforms into a cool nightclub with a DJ spinning '80s and '90s funk anthems as you sip your craftily concocted cocktails and watch the sun go down over the waves of the Indian Ocean. Kids are very welcome here; in fact, toddlers seem to enjoy it as much as their parents. Shake off the sand and walk across the courtyard to the elegant restaurant, where chef Phillip will knock your flip-flops off with a menu that covers freshly caught seafood, imported meats, and assorted pasta dishes. Save some room for desserts like the chilled vanilla rice pudding or Brûlée Four Ways.
Where: Jalan Oberoi (next door to the Oberoi Hotel), Seminyak
Prices: Main courses range from 270,000 to 360,000 Rupiah (about $30 to $40), including the Baby Lobster Risotto for 290,000 ($32), and the crème brûlée for 90,000 Rupiah ($10). Cocktails run at around $10 each.
More Info: www.kudeta.net

Photo Caption: Ku De Ta restaurant, Bali
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Metis restaurant. Courtesy Metis restaurant. Metis restaurant
What: Warisan used to be Bali's "it" place to meet and eat. The hot spot's former chef and owners have poured that same sense of style into their new foray, Metis. There's no air-conditioning, but a subtle breeze blows in over the surrounding rice fields. The tent-style décor isn't particularly Balinese and neither is the menu, but the crowd is certainly beautiful and the mainly Euro-Australian menu, including a specialized foie gras selection, is tempting. From snails to scallops and homemade pasta to soufflés, Metis will keep even the fussiest of eaters satisfied.
Where: Jalan Raya Pittenget No. 6, Kerobokan Kelod (Seminyak)
Prices: The trio of Jimbaran fish a la plancha is 175,000 Rupiah (about $20) and the passion fruit soufflé is 68,000 Rupiah ($7.50)
More Info:
www.metisbali.com

Photo Caption: Metis restaurant. Courtesy Metis restaurant.
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T.J.'s Mexican restaurant, Bali. Charis Atlas Heelan
What: Mexican food in Bali? Yes, it's true. One of Bali's best is actually a Mexican joint that has been around for more than 25 years. Thankfully, it's still as good, if not better than it was in the 1980s. You'll need to venture to the less desirable tourist area of Kuta and then walk down a tiny lane that's only wide enough for motorbikes to pass, but the food is well worth the trek. Enter a breezy hacienda set on a carp-filled pond and unwind on one of the daybeds while eating off a bamboo tray. The shredded beef tacos are nothing short of amazing, as are the tequila-infused cocktails. Corn chips are made right on the premises.
Where: Poppies Lane 1 No. 24, Kuta
Prices: Chicken, fish, or beef tacos served with refried beans and rice are 89,000 Rupiah (just under $10)
More Info: www.tjsbali.com

Photo Caption: T.J.'s Mexican restaurant, Bali
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