As the accommodation choices on Nusa Lembongan move in an increasing upward direction, so too do food options. Local warungs and surfer style burger-pasta-nasi joints still abound and it’s not all top-notch gourmet, but a handful of offerings are undoubtedly aspirational—your morning latte and smashed avo on artisanal toast are not out of reach.
The largest variety of restaurants are found around the Jungut Batu area. They offer everything from a quick nasi campur to a leisurely feast with your toes in the sand. Almost every seafront hotel or guesthouse doubles as a cafe of varying quality, but all make a fine spot for a sundowner to watch the colours change and fade over distant Gunung Agung.
As Nusa Lembongan is an island, you would expect affordable seafood to feature on menus, however in some warungs the cost is significantly higher than in Bali itself. The explanation given to us was that other fishermen used nets and here it was mostly spearfishing, resulting in smaller yields and higher prices. If you are budget conscious, it pays to shop around. Sometimes “market price” varies according to your nationality and level of spoken Indonesian, not the size nor quality of the fish. Unfortunately much of the seafood we tried was way overcooked for our liking, with only a couple of exceptions—so unless you prefer overdone, request rare (they can always cook it more if indeed it turns up on your plate rare).
For the best local seafood on the beach, head to Nyoman’s Warung # on the north side of Jungut Batu along Mangrove Beach. We enjoyed the fragrant ikan pepes, fish steamed in banana leaves with local spices that included lots of turmeric, garlic and chilli and great smokey flavour (50,000 rupiah). We would even stretch to saying it’s the tastiest version of this dish we’ve tried in Indonesia. Nyoman’s offers a host of other seafood and non-seafood dishes including buffets for a minimum of four punters starting at 60,000 rupiah per person for a vegetarian buffet, or starting at 70,000 per person for seafood, all with an intriguing magic sauce.
Maria’s Boemboe Bali Warung # is more of a standard burger-pasta-nasi warung in a simple setting, but they promise no MSG and house-made bread. Maria’s has a popular following with locals and tourists alike particularly in the evenings. Prices are 30,000 to 40,000 rupiah for mains.
Hidden away in one of Jungut Batu’s backstreets at the southern end of the main town area is Warung Bu Oka (WBO) # . This local-style point-and-pick nasi campur joint may not see many tourists, but for the best selection you’ll have to be early as the locals are in the know about the good food here. One local warung where you will find a queue of expats and tourists rubbing shoulders with the locals is the spotlessly clean Warung Bu Edi # (also spelled Edy), offering authentic local flavours and low prices.
If you’re touring the island on a pushbike or motorbike (or even on foot) and are after a quick bite, Warung Froggy’s # nasi campur offers a break between the mangroves and the bridge to Nusa Ceningan.
For a leafy cafe-style setting and tasty good-value “tourist” food, Green Garden Warung # is a winner. The seafood platter (50,000 rupiah) may not be the largest portion-wise, but the quality and freshness are notable. Expat regulars swear everything is good here, and vegans are well catered for, too.
Moving up the scale a little price-wise, but still cheap and cheerful (mains 50,000 to 70,000 rupiah), Pondok Baruna Warung # (part of the World Diving empire) serves Indonesian food packed with flavour and is deservedly popular. You’ll find them on the main street.
For the price of dinner and a drink, Jungut Batu Theatre Restaurant # throws in a free movie nightly on the big screen around 19:30. Casual beanbag seating, standard tourist menu (mains 40,000–75,000 rupiah) and local wine by the glass (55,000–80,000 rupiah).
Take your shoes off as you enter the hippy-organic-Ubud-style cafe, Bali Eco Deli #. The healthy menu is limited to mostly salads, soups and all-day breakfasts (40,000–60,000 rupiah), but offers a decent coffee (cafe latte 28,000++ rupiah) and refreshing fresh fruity ice-blocks (from 25,000 rupiah). Kudos to this little place where eco really means it; you can refill your water bottles (for a small fee), they sell stainless steel refillable bottles and they have implemented local recycling programmes on the island as well as other eco-friendly and community-minded activities. It’s so popular you’ll probably have to share a table.
If you prefer your healthy food with a sea view, Ginger and Jamu # on the beach offer an innovative menu with vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options (mains 55,000–70,000 rupiah). It’s an ideal spot for a pre- or post-yoga snack, as they host a yoga studio upstairs. We were a little disappointed that their “healthy policies” don’t extend to no smoking, as we are not fans of inhaling secondhand smoke while trying to eat.
One of Jungut Batu’s smartest casual spots is Lemongrass Bar and Restaurant #, which dishes up fancy cafe food with an Italian bent (including pizza) in a relaxing and stylish setting. Mains are 40,000–120,000 rupiah. It is very pretty at night here when lanterns light up the frangipani trees and live music entertains. Bookings recommended.
A romantic poolside setting in the delightful leafy garden of their boutique hotel, Tigerlillys # offer breakfast, snacks and a smallish but delicious lunch and dinner menu. Don’t be fooled by the “mini morsels”—we ordered the sama-sama samosas as a starter, but the three large samosas could have done as a main (chicken 60,000++ rupiah, vegetarian 55,000++ rupiah). The san choy bau was fresh and tasty, but we were surprised to receive a comparably hefty charge for a couple of extra lettuce leaves—ask the price first!
Another of Jungut Batu’s boutique hotels that offers fancypants (and somewhat pricey) fare is Indiana Kenanga # choose from their beachfront French-fusion restaurant or poolside creperie. Beachside dinner offerings tempt with dishes that include la noix de Saint Jacques—scallops with Italian parsley coulis, house-made gnocchi with clam sauce and crispy parmesan (250,000++ rupiah) or Javanese pigeon breast cooked on the bone with corn caramelised crepes and cinnamon carrots (260,000++ rupiah). Lunchtime fare is more simple and less pricey. Choices include very few vegetarian options, but who said you can’t eat tempting French desserts for a main?
If it’s Spanish rather than French you desire, head over to Planet Nomadas # near Mangrove Beach for authentic tasty tapas and sangria, a change from nasi and Bintang (tapas 45,000–115,000 rupiah).
Heading away from Jungut Batu’s main drag, The Deck #, part of the high-end Batu Karang Resort on the Jungut Batu headland, enjoys a terrific outlook. This cafe/bar comes with upmarket prices, but the view is priceless. Happy hour (and a half) runs 17:00–18:30 daily.
Although their name is Tropical Juice #, this tiny hipster-style cafe has the best coffee we tried in Nusa Lembongan. Of course they do juices, but burgers are their speciality. Friendly staff mentioned they plan to open a “night market” next door, similar to Old Man’s in Canggu.
A growing number of beach clubs, mostly catering to daytrippers, are scattered along Jungut Batu and Mangrove Beach, the fanciest at Mahagiri Beach Club #. Avoid the lunchtime crowds and kick back with a sundowner while listening to occasional live music. For a 200,000 rupiah per person minimum spend you can enjoy the pool and facilities.
If you’d rather just have a quite drink on the comfort of your own guesthouse balcony or terrace, The Wine Shop # doesn’t mince words with its name, and sells a small range of local and imported wines and spirits.
Bali Eco Deli Jalan Raya Jungut Batu; http://www.baliecodeli.net Mo–Su: 07:00–21:00.
Ginger and Jamu Jungut Batu Beach (next to Mainski); T: (0813) 5334 8230; https://www.facebook.com/gingerandjamu/ Mo–Su: 07:00–20:00.
Green Garden Warung Gang Football Field, Jungut Batu; T: (0813) 3741 9282; https://www.facebook.com/greengardenwarung/ Mo–Su: 08:00–22:00.
Indiana Kenanga Jungut Batu Beach 56; T: (0366) 5596 371; http://www.indiana-kenanga-villas.com Mo–Su: 07:00–10:00, 12:00–16:00 & 18:00–21:30 Creperie Mo–Su: 11:00–18:00.
Jungut Batu Theatre Restaurant Jalan Raya Jungut Batu; T: (0812) 361 9493; http://jungutbatutheatrerestaurant.baliklik.com/ Mo–Su: 07:00–22:00.
Lemongrass Bar and Resturant Jalan Raya Jungut Batu; T: (0812) 3808 999; https://www.facebook.com/lemongrassbarandrestaurant/ Mo–Su: 08:00–22:00 (last order 21:30) .
Mahagiri Beach Club Mangrove Beach, Jungut Batu; T: (0815) 5870 9888; http://www.mahagiriresortnusalembongan.com/ Beach club Mo–Su: 08:00–20:00 Restaurant Mo–Su: 07:00–21:30 .
Maria’s Boemboe Bali Warung Jungut Batu (near Big Fish Divers); .
Nyoman’s Warung Jalan Mangrove, Jungut Batu (before Pura Sakenan); T: (0878) 6192 3765, (0822) 3629 3577, (0878) 6192 3745; Mo–Su: 10:00–22:00.
Planet Nomadas Jalan Jungut Batu Dusun Kaja II; T: (0822) 3728 6446, (0821) 4507 4722; http://www.planetnomadas.com Mo–Su: 07:00–15:00 & 17:30–21:00.
Pondok Baruna Warung Jalan Raya Jungut Batu; T: (0812) 394 0992; http://www.pondokbaruna.com Mo–Su: 08:00–22:00.
The Deck Jungut Batu Headland; T: (0366) 559 6377, (0855) 3904 830, (0855) 3904 831; http://thedecklembongan.com Mo–Su: 07:00–21:00.
The Wine Shop near Organic Lembongan Spa, Jungut Batu; .
Tigerlillys Bar and Restaurant Jalan Raya Jungut Batu; T: (0877) 6174 1486, (0812) 4664 034; https://www.tigerlillyslembongan.com Mo–Su: 07:30–21:30.
Tropical Juice Jalan Raya Jungut Batu; Mo–Su: 08:00–21:00.
Warung Bu Edi Jalan Raya Jungut Batu; T: (0812) 3995 0078; Mo–Su: 07:00–21:00.
Warung Bu Oka (WBO) South Jungut Batu, east off Jalan Raya Jungut Batu; .
Warung Froggy Between mangroves and Yellow bridge; T: (0813) 3857 4739; .
Dotted around the rest of Nusa Lembongan, eateries tend to be in proportion in numbers to the accommodation options, with most of the mid- to higher-end places offering a free pick-up and drop-off service.
L-Good Bar and Grill # sits on Mushroom Bay’s main drag, but the pretty ope- air setting with room for kids to run about makes up for the lack of sea view. Live music, free water refills and a pick-up-drop-off service are all part of the deal. Happy hour runs 15:00–18:00.
If a sea view is a dealmaker, Hai Bar and Grill # at Hai Tide Beach Resort occupies a stylish round thatched beachside open-air pavilion. Avoid the daytripping crowds by arriving after 15:00 (lunch is served until 16:00). The menu offers something for everyone, including the kids. Resort prices, but decent food. Free movies under the stars screen three nights of the week. Call for a complimentary pickup.
You’re probably on Dream Beach more for the beach than the food, but rest assured you won’t go hungry if you plan on spending the day here.
Dream Beach Bungalow’s busy Cafe Pandan # is the original eatery on this lovely stretch of sand. Standard Indonesian fare at higher than standard prices plus pizza and pasta are on offer. You can use the pool and the showers for a fee too. Happy hour runs 16:00–18:00.
Head around the bay a little to D’Byas Beach Club # for similar grub and a slightly less frenetic pace, and pull up a beanbag on the sand.
Off the beach, but still in the area, Papa Tarros Thai Food # was newly opened when we visited in mid-2017. This friendly warung is more Indonesian fusion in flavour than strictly Thai, but they sure whip up a tasty green curry (40,000 rupiah).
Sandy Bay Beach Club # is our top pick for a romantic seaside meal on Nusa Lembongan, even if you dine alone or bring the kids. Watch the crashing waves as you sip on a cocktail or chow down on a barbecue feast (70,000–150,000 rupiah) or choose from the a la carte menu. Generous servings, attentive service along with the beautiful setting and free pick-up-drop-offs make this place a winner. The strong current and rocky shore here mean you can’t swim in the sea, but you can enjoy a dip in their oceanfront pool—towels are provided. As they say, come for breakfast and stay for dinner.
If you prefer your sea vista with a bit of elevation, climb the tower at Sunset Villa # just around the headland from Sandy Bay Beach Club—a stunning view to enjoy with an icy sundowner.
Continuing along the track north from Sunset Villas, back from the beach, Warung Oishii # by Sari Merta serve tasty Japanese and local food. The sushi is probably not that authentic, but it’s fresh and delicious. Free pick-up-drop-off service, too.
If you’re craving babi or bebek (pork or duck), perched on the hill in the centre of the island, Nick’s Place # is the go-to spot for ribs and crispy duck. A full rack of ribs (450g) will set you back 235,000 rupiah or 135,000 rupiah for half a rack (225g) including sides. Crispy duck goes for 128,000 rupiah. Call for a ride to this out-of-the-way spot.
Cafe Pandan: Dream Beach At Dream Beach Bungalow, Dream Beach; T: (0811) 396 221, (0813) 3873 7344; http://dreambeachlembongan.com/bar_cafe.php Mo–Su: 07:00–21:00.
D’Byas Beach Club Dream Beach; T: (0812) 1955 6352; Mo–Su: 09:00–21:00.
Hai Bar and Grill Mushroom Bay; T: (0366) 5596 415, (0813) 3899 5448; https://haitidebeachresort.com/hai-bar-and-grill/ Mo–Su: 07:00–22:00.
L-Good Bar and Grill Mushroom Bay; T: (0822) 3629 0555, (0877) 6132 3999, (0813) 3785 4130; http://www.lgoodlembongan.com Mo–Su: 08:00–22:00.
Nick’s Place Jalan Raya Lembongan-Jungutbatu; T: (0852) 3834 7999; https://www.facebook.com/nicksplace.lembongan/ Mo–Su: 10:00–23:00.
Papa Tarros Thai Food Jalan Dream Beach; T: (0813) 3868 7695; Mo–Su: 10:00–22:00.
Sandy Bay Beach Club Sunset Beach; T: (0813) 3757 0624, (0828) 9700 5656, (0878) 6227 4780; http://sandybaylembongan.com/ Mo–Su: 08:00–22:00.
Sunset Villa Jalan Sandy Bay Beach; T: (0812) 3819 023; http://www.sunsetvillaslembongan.com Mo–Su: 08:00–22:00.
Warung Oishii by Sari Merta Jalan Sunset; T: (0813) 5335 3862; https://www.facebook.com/Oishii-Bar-Grill-Lembongan-by-Sari-Merta-371203276363919/ Mo–Su: 10:00–22:00.
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.