Where to eat and drink: Jimbaran

Jimbaran: Where to eat and drink

A barbecued seafood feed with your toes in the sand and a backdrop of the reddening sky is the chief reason the majority of people venture to Jimbaran, and it forms a highlight of Bali for many.

More on Jimbaran

Even if you don’t like seafood, the atmosphere is reason enough to go, and most eateries offer backups such as barbecued chicken or rice and noodle dishes and plenty of roving corn sellers make tasty snacking. Aside from the beachside fare, Jimbaran offers several other eating options. For a first time visitor (or even folk who have ventured here many times), the array of beachside warungs and restaurants can be daunting. Hundreds upon hundred of tables are set up on the sand to cater for the masses of visitors wanting their fill of fresh seafood, normally caught the previous night by the fleet of fishing boats that call Jimbaran home.

Will be totally jammed by sunset. : Sally Arnold.
Will be totally jammed by sunset. Photo: Sally Arnold

Essentially six separate areas are clustered along the beach, each spot with a particular vibe, but even within each group not all the restaurants are well-patronised. The beach eateries range in quality from the quite upmarket restaurants, fancy and pricey, through to the basic, more down to earth and cheaper options. Most are simple open-sided affairs directly on the beach with tanks or coolers full of fish roadside or in the parking area.

Wherever you choose, don’t leave it up to your taxi drivers to recommend a spot, as they are often paid commissions by restaurants, instead pick which area you think may appeal (have a read of our listing below), and simply wander along and decide for yourself either by numbers of other diners or freshness of the seafood. While most places will deliver food throughout the day, they tend not to really get going till around 17:00, though iced cool drinks are available earlier. Arrive before sunset to nab a front row view, though keep an eye on the tide and waves!

The sunsets can be solid. : Stuart McDonald.
The sunsets can be solid. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Just about all the restaurants barbecue the goods on an open grill over coconut husks. When the restaurants all first get going, the coconut husks let off an incredible amount of smoke, so if you’re sitting towards the centre of the beach and there is an offshore breeze, expect a lot of smoke. If nothing else, it can be good for sunset pics!

Most restaurants offer fixed prices for seafood platters usually starting at around 125,000 rupiah per person (and up up up) which includes accompaniments such as rice, vegetables, sauces and sambal, and sometimes beer or wine or you can choose your seafood by weight. Always confirm prices before they start cooking. The barbecued fish is generally smothered in a slightly spicy “Jimbaran sauce” so if you’re not into any spice at all mention that when ordering. It’s not just barbecue—you can order fried squid and some places will steam fish if you prefer, but generally a seafood dinner here is all about the barbecue.

A typical spread at Cafe Made Bagus. : Stuart McDonald.
A typical spread at Cafe Made Bagus. Photo: Stuart McDonald

At the very northern end of the bay just south of the airport are a handful of newer buildings, a mix of bricks and mortar and smart bamboo shacks with a bit of a beachclub vibe. Several have beanbags on the beach rather than the more formal tables and chairs, while others seem to be built to cater to the growing inbound Chinese tourist market in Bali.

Next to the fish market, a couple of warungs grill up fish purchased from the stall holders. These places are the cheapest along the strip, but the majority lack any of the appeal of the beachside restaurants further down the beach as they simply serve barbecued seafood and most don’t provide tables and chairs on the beach. An exception is Made Ripuk, whose stall is right on the sand where he offers a couple of shaded fishing boats converted into tables with some plastic chairs—not quiet as romantic as other places, but it does the job. Alternatively you can always just sit on the sand, but this isn’t the cleanest or most pleasant section of the beach. Prices for cooking services are 20,000 rupiah per kilo, with a minimum spend of one kilo which includes sambal. A portion of rice will set you back 5,000 rupiah and veggies 10,000 rupiah. But in general, eat in this area if you just want a quick meal and really don’t care about the ambience.

A cook–up at the fish market. : Sally Arnold.
A cook–up at the fish market. Photo: Sally Arnold

Just south of the market starts a massive string of more expensive brick buildings that are more upmarket than any of the other sections along Jimbaran beach. These restaurants generally charge a little more for their seafood, but accompany this extra expense with toilets that are sometimes clean and a wide selection of beverages to wash your dinner down with. This section is where taxi drivers will generally drop you (they probably offer the highest commissions).

Further south again at the point where the beach road turns inland just north of the Keraton Jimbaran hotel begins a slightly more ramshackle bunch of buildings which house the cheapest beachfront cafes. You’ll often find more locals eating here than at the other eateries because of price, but the facilities are somewhat more basic (save going to the toilet until you return to your hotel). Still, it’s possible to find a shack that serves up cheap seafood right on the beach in an environment that is clean enough—we’ve enjoyed a decent feed at Roma Cafe here.

The corn can be almost as good as the seafood. : Sally Arnold.
The corn can be almost as good as the seafood. Photo: Sally Arnold

Continuing south, before you reach the Intercon, the next cluster of warungs are the least attractive. They are neither well-constructed like the most northerly beachside restaurants nor colourful like the middle beachside shacks. This is the place to come for cheaper seafood when you don’t want to risk one of the cheapest shacks just up the beach, but the vibe is decidedly subdued.

At the far southern end of the beach, between the Intercontinental and Four Seasons hotels is the final cluster of seafood restaurants and we’d say this is the best area of the lot. Restaurants are mostly clean and the beachside seating ticks the boxes for romance and comfort, with prices that generally won’t break the bank. We like the aptly named Made Bagus Cafe, and have eaten numerous good meals here.

Watch the waves with that front row... : Sally Arnold.
Watch the waves with that front row... Photo: Sally Arnold

In general, whichever you choose you a will enjoy if not an excellent meal, a decidedly decent one, simply due to the stiff competition, but do take the time to shop around and check the fish is fresh, and, as already mentioned, be sure to confirm the prices before anything goes onto the grill!

You can arrive to this area by metered taxi (or one of the public transport options), but the local transport mafia holds a monopoly in the area and insists that you use them to leave. Negotiate a price or hire your own driver and ask them to wait while you eat. If you are staying in other areas of Bali and have a late flight, this make a terrific night out as a final farewell. We suggest hiring a driver who can pick you up at your accommodation, drive you to the Jimbaran warungs and wait while guarding your bags, then transporting you to the airport for your flight.

A delicious creation at Cuca. : Stuart McDonald.
A delicious creation at Cuca. Photo: Stuart McDonald

We could eat barbecued seafood for every meal, but you may prefer a bit of variety and if you’re looking for something a bit special, Cuca fits the bill. Serving what they call tapas plates, these are simply dishes designed to be eaten family-style. We’ve eaten here several times and have always been delighted by the unusual dishes and memorable combinations on offer. Start a meal at Cuca at the outdoor bar where the professional staff whip up truly notable cocktails. The menu doesn’t make the drinks sound particularly fabulous, but we came for one and had, hiccup, several. The iced rose, for instance, is described as: hibiscus ice, brandy, wild honey, lemongrass (90,000 rupiah). The Bali Mary is merely tomato water, vodka, Balinese chilli and citrus (95,000 rupiah). In reality, both drinks are intensely flavoured, special creations that deserve to be lingered over. As does the food!

Sit at the food bar and chat with the chefs as they cook, or take a seat at the tables, gently separated by hanging fabric. To kick off there’s a fluffy ball of, well, flavour—pop it in your mouth and it dissolves to nothing but an intense ayam betutu essence. Gimmicky, perhaps, but also quite amazing. We love the ceviche, sliced raw fish with chilli lime dressing and watermelon ice (90,000 rupiah), and the honey-baked pumpkin salad (80,000 rupiah), a mix of granola, plus wing beans and tarragon. The marinated pulled pork with onions, soft boiled egg and crispy potato is also delicious (80,000 rupiah). Desserts are worth leaving room for too. If you’re travelling on a tight budget but looking for a one-off splurge, Cuca is worth considering.

Back to basics at Warung Bu Andre. : Sally Arnold.
Back to basics at Warung Bu Andre. Photo: Sally Arnold

At decidedly the other end of the scale, if you are shopping at Jenggela, or the kids are painting a pot, two downmarket cheap and cheerful warungs nearby mean you can enjoy a tasty meal and afford to buy that beautify ceramic piece. Almost next door, Warung Bu Andre serves “Masakan Khas Bali”—Balinese cuisine in a very basic point and pick warung. Order the nasi campur if you have no idea, and a tasty selection with rice will be served. Be warned it’s a bit spicy!

Across the road you’ll find a fast food style warung with tables on the footpath, Waroeng GoGo, which dishes up soto ayam Surabuya style (15,000 rupiah). This simple coconut based chicken soup just hits the spot—add rice if you like, or just a squeeze of lime and a spoonful of sambal to taste.

Enjoy the outlook at Baruna Sky Lounge. : Sally Arnold.
Enjoy the outlook at Baruna Sky Lounge. Photo: Sally Arnold

If you’re in the mood for Thai (with kid-friendly options), continue 200 metres south along Jalan Uluwatu II to the bright orange Kat’s Kitchen. Thai mains are around 50,000 rupiah—with some basic Western fare for fussy kids served in this clean and colourful restaurant. This is a good stop for a coffee too.

The Bukit plays host to a number of beach clubs and bars with stunning views, including the rather fabulous Rock Bar at Ayana Resort (see our Bukit section for details), but if you don’t want to travel far and would like a pretty spot for a drink, head to the bar on the rooftop of Jimbaran Bay Beach Resort, Baruna Sky Lounge, kicking off from 17:00, just in time for sunset. The dress code is “stylish chic”, which probably just means leave the Bintang singlet in your bag.

Map of eating options for Jimbaran

Map of eating options for Jimbaran
Map of eating options for Jimbaran


Baruna Sky Lounge @ Jimbaran Bay Beach Resort 888 Jalan Pantai Kedonganan, Jimbaran; T: (0361) 705 999; http://www.jimbaranbaybeach.com/restaurant/baruna-sky-lounge-restaurant-bar/ Mo–Su: 17:00–23:00.
Cuca Jalan Yoga Perkanthi, Jimbaran; T: (0361) 708 066; https://www.cucaflavor.com Mo–Su: 12:00–24:00.
Kat’s Kitchen 2 Jalan Uluwatu II, Jimbaran; T: (0361) 704 279; Mo–Su: 08:00–22:00.
Made Bagus Cafe Jalan Bukit Permai, Muaya Beach, Jimbaran; T: (0361) 701 858, (0813) 5334 3451, (0812) 392 8257; Mo–Su: 10:00–22:00.
Made Ripuk By the Fish Market.; Mo–Su: 07:00–20:00.
Roma Cafe Jalan Pemelisan Agung, Jimbaran; Mo–Su: 10:00–23:00.
Waroeng GoGo 2B Jalan Uluwatu II, Jimbaran; T: (0858) 0044 6060; https://waroenggogobali.wordpress.com Mo–Su: 11:00–22:00.
Warung Bu Andre 84 Jalan Uluwatu II, Jimbaran; T: (0813) 3862 7764, (0812) 3993 6702; Mo–Su: 08:00–18:00.

Baruna Sky Lounge @ Jimbaran Bay Beach Resort
888 Jalan Pantai Kedonganan, Jimbaran; Jimbaran, Bali
T: (0361) 705 999; Under 10,000 rupiah
Jalan Yoga Perkanthi, Jimbaran; Jimbaran, Bali
T: (0361) 708 066; International 50,000 - 250,000 rupiah
Kat’s Kitchen
2 Jalan Uluwatu II, Jimbaran; Jimbaran, Bali
T: (0361) 704 279; Under 10,000 rupiah
Made Bagus Cafe
Jalan Bukit Permai, Muaya Beach, Jimbaran; Jimbaran, Bali
T: (0361) 701 858, (0813) 5334 3451, (0812) 392 8257; 50,000 - 250,000 rupiah
Made Ripuk
By the Fish Market.; Jimbaran, Bali
Under 10,000 rupiah
Roma Cafe
Jalan Pemelisan Agung, Jimbaran; Jimbaran, Bali
Under 10,000 rupiah
Waroeng GoGo
2B Jalan Uluwatu II, Jimbaran; Jimbaran, Bali
T: (0858) 0044 6060; Under 10,000 rupiah
Warung Bu Andre
84 Jalan Uluwatu II, Jimbaran; Jimbaran, Bali
T: (0813) 3862 7764, (0812) 3993 6702; Under 10,000 rupiah

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Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.