For a tiny island, Nusa Ceningan has a decent crop of eateries, and you could easily indulge at a deferent place every meal for a week if you so desired. Don’t expect top-notch gourmet, but chilled vibes and views are de rigueur.
Heading southwest from the yellow bridge, a string of friendly laid-back cafe-bars line the shore with views across the channel to Nusa Lembongan. Seabreeze Warung #, overlooking a tiny patch of white sand, was by far the most popular when we passed by and was already filled with folk sipping on cocktails and Bintangs who looked settled into a day of chilling by the sea (and it was barely 10:30 in the morning!) Beanbags and hammocks on the beach with coloured umbrellas, an Instagranmable swing over the sea and a shady deck offer a selection of chill options.
The simple menu includes Western and local cafe-style meals including smoothie bowls (50,000 rupiah) seafood (50,000–65,000 rupiah) and a host of local cocktails (65,000–90,000 rupiah), although we’re always wary of cheap drinks in Indonesia—stick to the beer. If Seabreeze is too crowded for your liking, nearby DT Nusa Beach Cafe and Last Stop Bar #offer similar ambience with friendly hosts.
Exuding tropical ambience, The Paon #sits back from the road just before Le Pirate but away from the beach, and would have to be one of the smartest looking restaurants on Nusa Ceningan—with crisp white tablecloths and rattan furniture in an open-style building surrounded by pretty leafy greenery (the dusty road lets it down a bit). Seafood predominantly features on the menu, and we liked the sound of their daily special—blackened mahi-mahi with organic vegetables and mango salsa (80,000 rupiah). If Western standards are more to your taste, there’s a pizza-pasta-burger selection too.
For a chilled beachfront setting, cross the road to Le Pirate Beach Club #, where for a minimum spend you’re able to enjoy a dip in the pool. This is a pretty spot for a sunset drink—Instagrammable and cute, but comparatively pricey for the island.
Next Level Cafe #is a little deceiving from the road as it looks like a basic warung, but climb the stairs to, yep, the next level, where this stylish little open-air cafe offers sweeping views, decent coffee and friendly service. Their menu circles the globe with prices around 40,000 to 85,000 rupiah for mains.
As you venture around the coast and are too busy sightseeing to stop for a leisurely meal, pop into Agus Warung # near Jenny’s Place for quick, tasty and cheap local-style nasi campur. Point and pick and pull up a bench at the large slab table to wolf it down (you might want to ask them to turn down the TV blasting soaps though).
If you haven’t snagged a room at the delightful Jenny’s Place #, go for a meal. The setting alone is worth a detour: Indonesian and Western cuisine served cliff side, dining at the long share table. Mains around 60,000 to 80,000 rupiah.
Don’t miss Mahana Point Warung and Bar #. This spot offers the best vantage point to eat some local grub, enjoy a cold beer and watch the surfers catching the waves as they roll in. If you care to join them, surfboards can be hired here too (80,000 rupiah per hour). For adrenaline junkies, if the tide and swell are in your favour it’s sometimes possible to jump off the cliff into the big blue here. Nearby Blue Lagoon cliff jumping point is officially closed due to several accidents, and we’re informed you are only permitted to jump here when conditions are favourable (although things change and it may be banned in the future). Remember there’s no medical assistance on Nusa Ceningan if you get into strife!
Dungki Bendego Resto # is run by local chef Kadek Astawa, who had 15 years experience in a five-star hotel before opening this little restaurant in Nusa Ceningan’s back waters. A little out of the way on the road heading to Secret Beach, Dungki Bendego Resto is a step up from a basic warung serving everything from burgers to bakso and ribs to rendang. The pleasant rustic open-bale garden setting and friendly attentive staff only add to the experience. Be careful on the road at night if travelling by scooter.
It can be a bit of a challenge to reach Ceningan Cliff Resto # along the most rutted, steepest road on the island, but the rewarding view over to Nusa Penida makes it worth it and the (somewhat pricey) cold beer is welcoming (large Bintang 50,000 rupiah, small 35,000 rupiah plus 10% tax). Plan your visit for daytime or a sundowner, as by nightfall it’s pretty pitch black and although the food is okay, it’s the location that’s the real draw. If you get stuck into the Bintangs and deem the ride back a bit iffy, they offer a couple of basic but comfortable rooms.
Agus Warung Ceningan Kauh (near Dafish); T: (0813) 3958 0129; Mo–Su: 09:00–20:00.
Ceningan Cliff Resto Jalan Raya Ceningan Kangin; T: (0821) 4443 0807; Mo–Su: 08:00–18:00.
Dungki Bendego Resto Jalan Secret Beach; T: (0878) 6048 3919; https://www.facebook.com/dungki.bendega.resto/ Mo–Su: 09:00–22:00.
Jenny’s Place Ceningan Kauh (Western point of the island); T: (0813) 3975 4364, (0812) 3627 7650, (0818) 559 084; http://www.jennysplacelembongan.com .
Last Stop Bar Jalan Ceningan Kauh; T: (0822) 3636 2816; https://www.facebook.com/LAST-STOP-Bar-cafe-ceningan-1963994603827600/ Mo–Su: 10:30–10:00.
Le Pirate Beach Club Jalan Raya Ceningan Kauh; T: (0361) 733 493; https://lepirate.com/nusa-ceningan/ Mo–Su: 07:30–23:00.
Mahana Point Warung & Bar Mahana Point ; .
Next Level Cafe Jalan Raya Ceningan Kauh; T: (0822) 3636 4574; https://www.facebook.com/nextlevelbali/ Mo–Su: 08:00–22:00.
Seabreeze Warung Jalan Ceningan Kauh; T: (0853) 3759 9986, (0812) 3850 7399; Restaurant Mo–Su: 07:00–22:00, Bar: 07:00–01:00; Happy hours: 17:00–19:00.
The Paon Jalan Ceningan Kauh; T: (0819) 1569 1236; https://www.facebook.com/thepaonlembongan/ Mo–Su: 08:00–23:00.
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.