Restaurants and cafes are abundant throughout Denpasar but generally cater to local tastes and do not have the range of international cuisines found in places like Kuta or Ubud. This should not be viewed as a disadvantage as the city boasts some of the island’s finest Balinese eateries and cheapest food stalls. One place definitely not to miss is Kereneng Night Market which features dozens of open air cafes serving up a plethora of tasty local fare such as grilled seafood, Balinese duck and fiery hot curries.
The most stylish dining is to be found in the leafy district of Renon, located in the eastern suburbs close to Sanur. There are several large 100-plus seater restaurants specialising in seafood and saté, usually with a fair selection of Western travellers fare. Some also offer a few Italian, Mexican and Mediterranean dishes.
Here prices are high for Denpasar standards but still better value than many restaurants found in the main beach resorts. Really cheap eats come from the multitude of roadside food stalls that set up on virtually every major street after dark or for something a little more familiar there are numerous fast food outlets in the city including McDonalds, KFC, Dunkin’ Donuts and Pizza Hut.
There is a surprisingly high number of European style coffee shops and bakeries serving fresh breads, sandwiches, savoury snacks and calorific desserts. Here is our guide below to the very best dining to be found in Denpasar.
Recommended Denpasar restaurants
A long time favourite with travellers that is famed for its signature dish of seafood saté. It is only a tiny cafe but is always a vibrant hive of activity with a steady stream of take away customers, noisy teenagers and the occasional eccentric expat. Efficient service and spotlessly clean, this homely place is a great spot for a cheap lunch.
A flashy Chinese restaurant which doubles as one of the liveliest spots in the city after dark. Handily placed for the shopping and sights of central Denpasar, the menu is very broad, covering everything from Chinese, Thai and Indonesian fare and lots of cheap two or three course set meals. From 22:00 there is loud karaoke music.
Ayam Bakar Wong Solo
This is a trendy little Indonesian cafe deservedly popular for an imaginative menu of pan-Asian and Western dishes including grilled catfish and Thai fishcakes. There are plenty of chicken dishes and one or two basic vegetarian options, all in larger than average portions.
One of Denpasar’s few Japanese restaurants and widely considered to be the best. Decor is typically bright and modern and the menu covers Japeanese and Korean mixed platters of sushi and sashimi, tempura and sukiyaki. Frequented mainly by Denpasar’s more affluent families, it is expensive for the area but well worth the money.
Saté House Betawi
An authentic Javanese saté house that offers a simple menu at bargain basement prices. Choose from beef, chicken or goat cooked over charcoal and served in spicy peanut saté sauce. Decor is basic and a little tatty but all dishes are cooked fresh to order and service is efficient. An excellent budget option for a quick meal in between shopping. There is a good range of fruit juices and ice cold bottled beer.
Kereneng Night Market
An absolute must during any stay in Denpasar. After dark dozens of food stalls set up adjacent to Kereneng bemo station serving up a vast range of local fare.
Most stalls specialise in just one or two dishes such as bakso meatball soup, fried fish or very spicy Padang style curries. It is no frills dining at very low prices. Some stalls have questionable hygiene standards so stick to what seems most popular.
A classy Euro style cafe serving Bali’s finest coffee. There are at least a dozen varieties, specialist teas and a tempting selection of multi-coloured Indonesian cakes. There are plenty of healthy sandwiches to choose too. It has a prime location close to the Bali Museum and makes for a welcome pitstop in between sights. website: www.kopibali.com.