Why Go to Denpasar?
An advantage of exploring Denpasar is because it is mostly frequented by locals, prices of food, drinks and even goods are often a fraction of the price of what you pay for similar things in Bali’s most popular tourist areas.
Is Denpasar worth the visit given the fact it is barely described in touristic guides?
Our answer is YES – not only are there great stores to visit for shopping (we especially love the Old Town for buying fabrics and gold) but there is quite the happening cafe and restaurant scene in Denpasar that we love to explore!
A number of local restaurants, hidden wonderful treasures you’ve never imagined before hide in this crowded and trafficked area: authentic and delicious food served each and every day, much cheaper prices than other prime destinations of Bali and the feeling of being in a bustling city.
All right, guys, what do you say we get started? Are you a little excited? Let us list for you our favourite places to eat and drink in Denpasar…
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We must admit this little gem first caught our eye on Instagram and we were drawn to it from it’s super cute decor. Weren’t we delighted to find out that not only is it a lovely venue, but serves amazing noodles that should just not be missed!
Serving real Bandung snacks, both sweet & salted Yemien noodles, chicken & mushroom noodles, Bundung Shake noodles, Batagor, Bandung Siomay, Avocado Ice and Tjampolay Syrup Ice. Our top choice – Mie Yamien Jamur Komplit – delicious chicken & mushroom noodles, accompanied by a soup with chicken bakso and dumplings, all for just 37,000 Rp ($2.50 USD).
Sit inside or with a street side view, this cute restaurant is located in a happening street within walking distance to a lot of the stores in the old town. It is the perfect spot to stop for a bite to eat and some cute Insta shots, while enjoying some time exploring Denpasar.
Welcome to Bali’s only 2D Cafe, which seems to come straight out of a comic book! Yes, folks, this means exactly what you think it does. It’s a two-dimensional space, which in pictures can certainly play tricks on the mind.
This is a two story café with a sun terrace equipped with parasols and tables for eating outside. Only the upper floor has a 2D design, which is created from a series of black lines on a white background. You can admire a beautiful library, a fireplace with a crackling fire, tables and chairs richly decorated with carved wood panelling… all in two dimensions! The effect is just as intriguing as it is attractive, but we can assure you that you can take a seat comfortably and you can enjoy good and cheap food too! Pizzas and many delicious pasta dishes, Indonesian classics and a fine selection of mocktails. We love Noir for the exquisite cakes and desserts, so it makes for a great morning or afternoon tea spot too!
If you want to get interested pictures in the 2D space it is best to wear colourful clothes, this place is perfect as a photo-shoot set. Remember too that Noir Cafe is the only café in the island of Bali with this unique design… all the more reason for you to try it!
So much green, the chirping of the crickets and the larks, a beautiful river view in a remote and quiet place… are we really in Denpasar? It’s almost as if we might have teleported to Ubud! This gorgeous café/restaurant is hidden from the main road, so it can be easy to miss but we assure you that once you’re inside, you’ll never want to leave.
It’s the perfect place to have a drink and a bite, relax or do a bit of work thanks to the free wireless internet access. You can even do a spot of shopping in their super cute boutique stocking clothing, jewellery and other interesting bits and pieces.
On to more important things though ~ the food!
Fried Lil’ Wontons (homemade deep fried mini wontons: a festival of flavours), Rosella Latte (iced latte with Rosella extract), Purple Garden (mocktail with lemongrass, ginger, mint, lime, butterfly pea and soda), Fried Rice with squid ink (the best we’ve ever had), Chicken Curry Katsu (a classic of Japanese cuisine)… not to mention the range of desserts!
The food is authentic, plentiful and so affordable – if you don’t want to make the trek to Ubud, but want those jungle vibes, Lusi & Pakan by the River will have you Eat, Pray & Loving this cute spot!
When visiting Bali in general, you need to know that Seniman is a famous coffee roastery in Bali that sells coffee, whole beans or ground coffee, all over the world. Real coffee makers for different coffee types: the Seniman Espresso (it’s a seasonal blend), the Flores Tengah, the Papua Wamen, the Sumatra Aceh Gayo, the Bali Karan (from Kintamani area)… a sip to taste the various territories of Indonesia!
A must try in Ubud, Seniman finally has opened its doors in Denpasar with some important aspects: the price is definitely lower here than in the central area of Bali. Also, if you are into “durian” (a popular fruit in Indonesia whose flesh is already creamy, but whipped cream, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract are added… the flavour becomes almost unbeatable), this is the best spot for you to enjoy this delicacy in a unique way!
Seniman invites you to sit over a good cup of coffee because of its wide range of products it will most certainly please every lover of good coffee while visiting Bali’s capital.
Italian, European, Asian, Middle Eastern, Indonesian…Limestones Bali Restaurant’s menu features a wide variety of cuisines!
Limestones Bali Restaurant has a lot to offer food wise and has a cute venue to enjoy also. This spot has a large and pleasant garden with the highest level of service, wide range of food and a lovely atmosphere, with so much space you can be mistaken for thinking you are no longer in Denpasar.
Limestones Bali Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, including specialties in regional and local cuisine, using fresh locally sourced produce. Often offering some live music, you can relax in good company listening to tunes while indulging in the vast and oh so affordable menu.
This beautiful place is a real hidden gem just waiting to be discovered by you! You can also rent the area for private functions such as weddings, parties and other important social events.
Delicious and cheap food and a gorgeous, spacious venue. Limestones Bali Restaurant is well worth visiting while exploring Denpasar.
Denpasar is always surprising us and Segara Bambu Restaurant is no exception. Just like the name suggests, this restaurant is actually made of bamboo. They have created several gazebos in the garden where you can enjoy a private meal, while being suspended over the water.
Amazing, isn’t it!
Segara Bambu Restaurant is an intimate and cozy place where you can experiment and taste traditional Balinese food with various fish and meat dishes and a great selection of desserts, including cakes for special occasions. Grilled fish, crabs, calamari rings, steaks and grilled chicken… for those who want to have a real feast, this restaurant is sure to deliver.
That being said, it is very “traditional” because the menu is only in Indonesian, however the staff are well trained and can answer most questions immediately and Google Translate is always helpful in these situations. It is a little more expensive than some of the other places listed, but the unique setting makes a little further indulgence worthwhile.
Denpasar is one of the capitals of street food, so we could not fail to include a famous warung in our list: Warung Mina Renon.
This restaurant is actually part of a big Bali chain, but still holds an individual feel, with wooden tables and chairs for dining in a rustic and informal atmosphere.
The local cuisine in this restaurant is rich and delightful and you should definitely try a seafood platter like the grilled gourami with sweet spicy soy sauce or the fried gourami in coconut milk and local spices. Each main dish, following the tradition of the Indonesian cuisine, is sided with steamed rice, Balinese salad and local spices called sambal.
Warung Mina Renon offers a wide variety of drinks, iced teas, juices, smoothies and coffees, as well as western options in the menu for those who do not like the local cuisine. A genuine delight which must be experienced at least once in Bali.
If you love Chinese food, Restoran Atoom Baru is the perfect place for you! It’s a family-run restaurant that opened its doors in the seventies and since then nothing has changed. The founder of the family’s intention to pass the local culinary traditions, passed on from generations to generations.
Their noodles and fried rice have that “wok hei” flavour that is reminiscent of the old Chinese cooking methods. In the menu there are some classics of the Indonesian cuisine that are able to cater to family lunches and dinners tickling the palate and putting together the tastes of both kids and adults.
Quick service, great food and cheap prices… if you’re looking for a historic restaurant in Denpasar where you can enjoy the authentic aromas of the Chinese cuisine, Restoran Atoom Baru can definitely be added up to your Denpasar bucket list!
Two Fat Monks is an elegant bistro that serves Chinese, Indonesian and Thai fusion cuisine. It is located next to the Mahana Boutique Hotel. The menu features spring rolls, dumplings, prawn Vietnamese spring rolls, pad thai, beef pho: a triumph of Asian cuisine, elegance, pleasure and a triumph of flavours. Fresh salads are also offered, as are a bevy of smoothies and coffee concoctions.
Since the property’s got a huge backyard you can relax and enjoy good food, drink and great company, it’s a perfect place to take the kids. Two Fat Monks has a very family friendly vibe, it even has a playground to be enjoyed by the younger guests. This spacious restaurant has become popular also for celebrating events, due to its large space, gorgeous decor and delicious and affordable menu.
The watchword in this place is S-A-T-A-Y!
Sate Plecing Mak Lukluk is a meat heaven that offers a wide variety of satay: Sate Babi Plecing (Indonesian pork satay with a spicy sauce), Sate Babi Manis Indonesian pork satay with the Indonesian sweet soy sauce), Soto Babi (Balinese Pork Soup), Soto Sapi (Balinese Beef Soup), Sate Sapi Plecing (Indonesian beef satay with a spicy sauce), Babi Goreng Sambal Matah and many other delicious meat dishes.
You can watch the skewers rotating simultaneously allowing the meat to roast evenly out the front of the restaurant, while being tempted by the delicious scent of satay. The great thing about this spot is that it’s always full of local people and you know what they say… where the locals eat, the food is really good and authentic!
And besides, you can enjoy this marvellous food at such a cheap price… ready for a good grill? Sate lovers, this is definitely one for you!
We have to be honest: this article was indeed a true discovery for us! Denpasar is not overhyped and known by the expat or tourist community, and that’s a real shame.
Our intent is to bring to light the vast potential of this area, which is usually considered as a zone of passage leading from the crowded streets of Canggu to the tranquil setting of Sanur.
And the question is: do we have it?
Forget the high-rent district, the most trendy restaurants, spend some time exploring Bali’s capital and let us know what you think!
Have we missed some hidden gems? We are always up for suggestions, if you know Denpasar well, be sure to let us know your favourite spots so we can try them too.
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After 15 years of visiting Bali as a tourist, Karlie moved her family to Bali 4 years ago. She loves helping others to enjoy Bali and founded Bali Buddies to encourage others to explore the island she now calls home.
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