One of the joys of travel is food. And finding great restaurants is always a delight. That’s why I want to share with you the best Sanur restaurants in Bali, that we have found during our passed family holidays to Bali.
Bali is a South East Asian island full of contrasts. Each Balinese location has a different vibe and offers different amenities, accommodations and restaurants. We’ve visited Bali on several occasions, staying in different locales. We’ve learned it doesn’t really matter which village you base yourself in, as you can get to most Bali attractions from most of the villages.
But it is the village of Sanur that is my favourite. I love it’s relaxed Bali of yesteryear feel. Yet there are still plenty of choices for places to stay. There’s high-end boutique hotels, family-friendly all-inclusive resorts, villas for rent and the self-catering apartment style Sanur Paradise Plaza Suites. This is where we base ourselves to discover a variety of great restaurants in Sanur.
In the Article on Sanur Food Options You Will Learn About:
- The village of Sanur and its location
- Where to find the best Sanur restaurants
- The not so good places to eat in Sanur
- Tips for eating out in Sanur, Bali
- Continue planning your Bali holiday
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About Sanur Beach in Bali, Indonesia
Sanur is located on the east coast of the Indonesian island of Bali. It was hugely popular in the 1960-70’s before tourists turned their attention to areas located on the west and far southern coasts of Bali.
The village of Sanur is 16 km from the Bali International Airport easily accessible via a turnoff from the major highway Jl. By Pass Nagurah Rai. Sitting on miles of white sandy palm tree lined beaches overlooking the Bali Sea to Penida Island and Lombok. Sanur has such a relaxed bohemian vibe.
Many of the Sanur restaurants can be found on the shaded boardwalk along the beachfront or the main street of Sanur (Jalan Danau Tamblingan), which is situated halfway between the beach and the main highway.
Best Restaurants in Sanur
These are restaurants and bars galore in Sanur, but these are my top picks on where to eat in Sanur. You’ll find a range of eateries offering local Balinese fare, pub food, delicious Italian cuisine and fine dining or up-market options.
The Fire Station
Ask anyone for a Sanur restaurant recommendation and the Fire Station will be top of their list. The highlight is their succulent tender Slow Cooked BBQ Ribs, the meat just falls off the bone and melts in your mouth.
There’s even a ribs option on the kid’s menu. But for our son, it is the kids Fish and Chips. He loves the crispy beer batter encasing the moist white fish and the chips 😉
The Fire Station has a good-sized menu with popular pub meals all around the 100k IDR and the drinks are reasonably priced as well. We enjoy a glass of crisp white wine from Chili for 75k IDR.
Top Trip Tip: Ask for extra ice with your drinks – in Bali, they are very rarely cold enough and we find the ice in Sanur was always safe to drink
Massimo Italian Restaurant
Our next favourite is the Italian restaurant of Massimo’s. If you haven’t booked be prepared to wait for a table – and plenty of people do as this Sanur food is worth the wait.
As far as I am concerned this is the best Italian restaurant in Sanur. After ordering drinks we receive a plate of fried cheese balls and breadsticks – yum is all I can say.
When ordering our meals here we like to stick with the traditional Italian dishes of Pizza Margarita, Fettuccine Bolognese, Spaghetti Carbonara or Pappardelle with prawns.
One of the benefits of eating at this Sanur restaurant with kids is that the kids can watch a chef preparing pasta. Wonderful to see that the pasta is fresh and homemade. We just know our pasta choices are going to be beautiful – we are not disappointed.
You can then round off your meal with one of their homemade gelatos. We join the queue and choose from 20+ flavours at the Gelato Bar on the sidewalk for 20k IDR/small bucket. Lovely to enjoy as you slowly stroll back to your accommodation.
Three Monkeys Sanur
Another good Sanur restaurant is the Three Monkeys. The food is beautiful – if anything a little more upmarket than the rest of the Sanur restaurants we try. The food is well presented and my Prawn Saganaki delicious.
The only thing is it is very popular. So you have to be organised and book – something I’m not so good at on holiday.
Top Trip Tip: When planning to eat at popular restaurants always make a booking
Cafe Batu Jimbar
If like me you are hopeless at pre-booking a restaurant then the Cafe Batu Jimbar could be the answer. It is a large restaurant located on the main street diagonally opposite the shopping hub of Hardy’s supermarket and department store. The food is exceptional, but you will pay for it. It is our most expensive night out costing us 1M IDR. But then again we probably did overindulge.
It is so lovely walking into a Sanur restaurant with the twinkling lights, clean gleaming hardwood tables and attentive service.
We can’t resist getting carried away. We order crisp spinach samosas, followed by Satay Ayum, Nasi Campur and Thai red curry, all washed down with a few glasses of Australian white wine.
And whilst we relax over the last of our wine the staff allow Lewis to pop up to the couches to go to sleep
Top Trip Tip: Planning a night with young kids? Always take a pram for them to nod off to sleep and easily be taken back to your hotel
Just up the road are a selection of local Balinese restaurants including Costa Rica. We enjoy some tasty satay cooked on the fire grill on the sidewalk, whilst having a Balinese Hattens white wine and listening to a 2 piece band.
A really enjoyable night and a cheap eat in Sanur.
On the beach, there are a whole heap more restaurants. One of our absolute favourites is Bennos. We discovered it the previous year and even my Dad found it on his holiday to Bali. This local eatery is located right on the beach. The tables are on the deck over the sand. A rooftop has been added perfect for those nights when it rains.
There is a good range of dishes. During the day you will find toasted sandwiches and salads along with the Balinese fare that is also offered in the evenings.
There are several dishes that become our favourites: Fish and Chips (Lewis), Chicken Satay (one of the better ones that we have during this Bali family vacation), and Buttered Garlic Prawns served with a choice of rice or chips and vegetables or salad. The dishes are huge and at a great price, the prawn dish was under 100K IDR.
Top Trip Tip: Make sure you spray insect repellent before heading out. The mosquitos and sandflies can eat you alive.
Late in our stay, we discover a whole heap more Sanur beach restaurants on the southern tip. During the day this boardwalk strip has a relaxed carefree vibe, almost as if you are strolling along a Greek Island waterfront. The only downside there is a slight waft of diesel fuel coming from speedboats taking people out on joy rides.
We don’t give up on this area though. At night the speedboats have gone and there is a light breeze wafting in from the Bali Sea. We opt for the Cafe Bamboo restaurant which has a cement floor out over the sand and pretty lights twinkling in the trees.
The Indonesian food we order is nice, the staff are friendly and attentive, plus it is a well-priced night out. Possibly one of our cheapest nights out.
The Not-So-Favourite Restaurants in Sanur
Sadly not all Sanur restaurants are good. These are the few that we stumbled upon and wouldn’t go back to.
Next door to Costa Rica is the popular restaurant the Wicked Parrot. During a previous holiday to Bali, we tried to eat out here, however, the service was so poor we couldn’t get an order taken.
However others have told us it is good with live music and the restaurant is always busy, so perhaps we just got a bad night.
Top Trip Tip: Just because someone else recommends a restaurant – that doesn’t mean it will be great for you
Sanur Night Markets
Another place we didn’t actually try is the Sanur Night Markets. There are a number of stalls located inside this small nightly market. The food is cheap, however, we are warned, be careful where you choose to eat. So we just avoid the whole thing. Personally, I feel a cheap eat is not worth getting sick over.
Market Stall Top Trip Tip: Ensure the food is cooked fresh in front of you.
The reason I mentioned earlier on about eating on the southern beaches at night only is that we eat at La Playa upon a recommendation by a passerby. However soon after ordering we wish we hadn’t, the petrol fumes coming off the water from the speedboats are not pleasant. No wonder there aren’t many seated in this restaurant. Fortunately our “freshen up” drinks (I have lemon and Lewis orange) are refreshingly tangy after our bike ride.
Food-wise it is a bit average. My Satay and my partner Steve’s Nasi Goreng are both a bit lacking in flavour, the highlight I think is Lewis’ toasted cheese sandwich.
Top Trip Tip: If there are only a few people eating at a restaurant – it could mean the food or location is not good
Top Trip Tips: Eating Out in Sanur
The town of Sanur stretches roughly 5km long and the distance between the beach and the highway is only about 1.5km. During the day it is easy to see your way. Either along the main road, beachfront boardwalk and through the maze of small laneways. If the walking becomes too much you can:
- Hire a bike on the beach to cycle along the shaded boardwalk. It’s a great way to see the far reaches of Sanur beach.
- Hire a driver. If you are staying at a hotel or resort there will be drivers waiting at the lobby. They will charge the same as a taxi if you are heading to somewhere within Sanur. You can also book one to take you on a day trip to explore more of Bali.
- Catch a taxi. It should cost about 50 IDR. It seems to be the standard price to get anywhere in Sanur.
- Catch a bima (a beat-up blue van with a wooden bench and door that doesn’t close). It should cost 30 IDR, but you may find some cheeky drivers trying to charge the same as a taxi.
It is very easy to catch a taxi or bima. They are always trying to tout for business and will toot at you as you are walking along the street. If not just stand on the sidewalk and wave at the next taxi driving past. Don’t worry there is no shortage of taxis or bimas. On rare occasions, you may have to wait a couple of minutes.
Health and Safety
Remember Bali is a hot tropical destination. During the day always wear a hat and carry a water bottle.
At night you need to be wary of walking through the small laneways. They are badly lit and full of potholes. Take a torch or pay a little for a ride back to your accommodation.
Before you head out at night I would highly recommend spraying yourself with insect repellent – the mossies can be bad.
Drinking tap water in Bali is not healthy. Always order bottled water for drinking (even use it for brushing your teeth). Over recent years it has become safe to order ice in drinks as the Balinese now make the ice from drinking water.
If you do end up eating something that gives you a touch of Bali belly then there are several pharmacies along the main street of Sanur.
When exchanging money always use a reputable exchange booth. Whilst you may see a better exchange rate advertised at a small shop with an exchange booth, they can often trick you by a quick slide of the hand and shortchange you with the amount that should be given.
Approximate exchange rates at March 2018:
- 10k IDR = $0.94AUD
- 10k IDR = $0.73USD
All in all, Sanur is a wonderful beachside location to base yourself during a holiday to Bali. Keep your wits about you as you get about and enjoy all that this village has to offer – especially the food.
Continue Planning for Your Bali Trip
- Explore the real Bali on a cycling tour
- Find things to do in Legian
- Plan a day trip to Ubud
- Learn what you need to know for a day at Waterbom Bali
- Eat at the best Sanur restaurants
- Pack for your Bali holiday with this checklist
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