As a plant-eater, it can be challenging trying to find a restaurant or cafe that offers more than just a few menu items that are also incredibly tasty. Except when you’re in Ubud.
When visiting Ubud for the first time back in 2007, one of the highlights for me then was the food. I was a vegetarian at that stage (now vegan), and remember being very impressed with the number of delicious and creative options available to me at that time. So on my visit to Ubud this time around – eight years later, it was one of the biggest things I was looking forward to! Here are my top picks for healthy, vegan eating in Ubud.
Starting off with my absolute favourite dining experience in Ubud, the menu at the Fivelements Retreat Sakti Dining Room was a whole foods, plant-based “dieter’s” dream. Seated by the river, I started with a cold-pressed green juice, some raw vegan shitake mushroom dumplings as a starter, followed by their Balinese Sampler as my main before finishing off with a sesame and black rice sorbet for dessert. Upon first glance and taste, as cheesy as it sounds – I immediately felt the love and passion that went into the food’s preparation. Attention to detail is a trait that I truly admire (and think there isn’t enough of), and Fivelements did not lack any of it.
I visited Bali Buda for a dinner time meal where I ordered vegan enchiladas and a kombucha tea. I’m going to be honest and say that I wasn’t 100% satisfied with what I ordered, and would have loved to try some of the other items on the menu! It’s probably my own fault for ordering something Mexican inspired after having some of the best vegan Tex Mex in Austin, Texas earlier on in the year, but you never know until you try it!
I did love the menu at Bali Buda – it’s in the form of a newspaper and in addition to the menu, it included news articles on sustainability topics in the local area.
Although not a cafe that focuses solely on plant-based foods, Cafe Vespa was conveniently located around the corner from our villa, so a visit for that morning coffee was a must!
There weren’t a huge number of vegan options already on the menu, but the staff were very happy to make adjustments to my order when I had asked. I ate at Cafe Vespa on two occasions: for breakfast I enjoyed sauteed mushrooms and spinach with avocado on toast – minus any butter, and for dinner I ordered a Japanese set which included sushi (vegetable nori rolls) and miso soup.
If there’s anywhere that would be happy to make adjustments to your order, it would be Ubud!
Clear Cafe Ubud:
In it’s temporary location on Jalan Campuhan whilst the new and exciting Clear Cafe Ubud is being rebuilt (they devastatingly went through a fire in late 2014), Clear Cafe is a vibrant and colourful space where you can literally kick off your shoes (just leave them at the door), enjoy some good food whilst listening to some relaxing tunes.
I unfortunately couldn’t have anything besides a fruit platter just because I was already so full (this was my second breakfast!), but the fruit served was undoubtedly the freshest and tastiest I had in Bali. If there’s a next time I visit Bali, I’ll definitely be heading back to Clear to try out some other menu items!
As Kafe is conveniently located near the popular Sacred Monkey Forest, I made it my must-visit for a bite to eat after walking through the Monkey Forest. It was the perfect spot to stop and refuel however, ended up being an early dinner because there were just too many things on the menu I wanted to try!
I had a cold-pressed carrot and ginger juice (which could have done with a bit more ice) and a tofu pattie sandwich. After eyeing off the dessert menu and seeing a selection of vegan gelato available, I just had to have some. The perfect refreshment on a hot Bali day!
Upon entering Sari Organik, you’ll see a staircase that leads upstairs to the restaurant. Downstairs of the building is a little store which sells fresh produce, snacks and other cooking items so if you do get sick of eating out, you can pick up some things and to make yourself a meal at your villa (if cooking facilities are available).
At the restaurant, I ordered a delicious falafel sandwich and a glass of kombucha. The kombucha was a little strong for my liking, but the sandwich was absolutely unreal, hitting the spot during my obsession with anything falafel at that time!
Got any other healthy restaurant or cafe suggestions in Ubud? Feel free to add them to the comments below, and I’ll have to add them to my must-eat list for the next visit I make to Bali!