A food lover's guide to Seminyak, Bali
Seminyak is the veritable beating heart of Bali. North of Kuta and Legian, it's the hub that never quite sleeps; where tourists flock to at any time of the year and where you can find expats kicking back during their ongoing sabbaticals.
Apart from its vivacious nightlife repertoire and luxury resorts, (you can't find this number of clubs in Nusa Dua, that's for sure), one can definitely find a thriving food scene bursting under the seams. In fact, in our humble opinion, it's the sole reason why you should spend a few days in Seminyak. Bagging a heavy influence from the influx of tourists, the main grub in Seminyak is ever-changing — thriving on a plethora of different cuisines. Award-winning restaurants stand strong while new innovative establishments pop up with each year. Despite Seminyak's humble size, the interior work in its food ventures are always worth a shout-out, or brag post on Instagram. Creativity spills through its design and infrastructure, while sumptuous plates and excellent service constantly blow diners away
We've gone, conquered, and are bringing you the prime spots you need to visit whenever you're in the area.
If a hip millennial could be sized up with a place, Sea Circus would definitely be it. Under the clever guise of a container, stepping into the café instantly takes you from the busy roads of Seminyak to an alternate universe of a cool cabin bustling with good vibes. Here, diners can dig into moreish breakfast plates, hearty acai bowls, Mexican tapas, and an array of colourful cocktails — to match the multi-coloured furnishings in this joint.
The latest brainchild of the effervescent 'El Willy' Fun F&B Group, Chachara takes on the form of a chic Mediterranean hideout — repping 1970s Palm Springs against a beautiful European outdoor courtyard. We recommend heading there for dinner, as by night, the whole place lights up with neon signs as well as dim fairy lights. Sexy yet laid-back. The tapas plates here are undoubtedly Chachara's strongsuit — fresh seafood expertly improvised in creative dishes. The perfect example? Their airbags; a hot, crisp pastry that's stuffed with a deftly seasoned mix of tuna and avocado.
The foolproof spot where you can tuck into modern Australian cuisine. Looking every bit like a trendy Melbourne café, Sisterfields has every aspect of an Aussie haven down pat, from the luscious foilage wall to the immaculate spread. Have your fill of fresh salad bowls here, or indulge in a crispy skin salmon drizzled with lemon and served with pea smash, baby radish and potatoes. The coffee here also lives up to expectations of a decent Aussie cuppa — helmed by Expat Coffee Roasters, which also exists as standalone stores in Seminyak, in case you ever need a quick caffeine buzz.
The vision of Motel Mexicola is almost psychedelic. It's a temple of its own; ingeniously lavished with colourful geometric tiles all around, from the wall archs down to the floors. No prizes for guessing that Mexican grub is their forté — must-haves include Tostada De Cangrejo (a toasty tortilla enveloped with swimmer crab in lime mayo and avo), Arroz Con Leche (rice pudding infused with cinnamon and topped with ice-cream) and Carnitas de Pato (braised duck in green chilli, white onion and coriander).
Housed in a stylish warehouse-like space, Mamasan is where the cool cats like to lounge at. Listing a smart dress code after 5pm as well as no-kids policy, operations here are managed to a certain set of expectations. Priding themselves on serving the best of Southeast Asian cuisine, the alluring space is adorned with oriental wall art, rendering a certain familiarity of old-world charm. Believe us, their inventive Asian fare never ceases to amaze diners, who constantly return for seconds. Simply have a go at their snapper dumplings and you'll get our drift.
We've saved the best for last. Named after the colours of the Indonesian flag, Merah Putih is undoubtedly the pride and joy of Bali's dining scene. While you might expect it to be a stickler for tradition, Merah Putih breaks away from typical Indonesian dishes, and instead hits home with elevated creations of traditional flavours. While everything on the menu is worth savouring, our favourites had to be their charred Jimbaran fish with clams and sambal, Balinese inspired 'lawar bebek' (pumpkin salad topped with slices of crispy fried duck) and their nasi uduk — a special rice relished with coconut, lemongrass and ginger.
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