If you're staying in the Nusa Dua luxury resort area and need a break from 5-star hotel food, head up the coast to the nearby fishing village of Tanjung Benoa. Although it could be accused of being touristy, with lovely but almost cliché rustic-cultural surrounds (and certainly not offering local warung prices), for nearly two decades Bumbu Bali has been a favorite for those wishing to sample authentic Balinese fare. It's especially popular with Bali first-timers, who may be nervous about trying street food, and with those after real-deal Balinese cuisine, in its spicy, un-tweaked form. In fact, Bumbu Bali prides itself on dishes more commonly found in Balinese homes or prepared for traditional Hindu ceremonies; ironic, then, that its founder-director is an expat, the renowned chef and food writer Heinz von Holzen.

Two restaurants set about 500 yards apart both follow the same Balinese home-compound format, with tropical courtyard gardens and traditional open kitchens. Dining takes place in a series of open-air thatched dining pavilions, named after Balinese flowers, an arrangement particularly suited to groups. Emphasis is on elaborate presentations and typically Balinese family-style sharing of several dishes. The à la carte menu features divine slow-roasted whole chickens and ducks in banana leaves, fresh grilled seafood, and sates; set menus work out better in value, with signature rijsttafel offering a heap of tasty small dishes. Amiable staff and thrice-weekly cultural dance performances seal the feel-good Balinese ambiance. Bumbu Bali's famed Balinese cooking school is also on-site, opposite the on-request Balinese Night Market Restaurant, which is aimed at larger groups.