If I thought Chiang Mai was a haven for vegans (which I do), then Ubud is like plant-based nirvana. Your girl tried to hit every vegan restaurant in this Eat, Pray Love town, but a gal on a budget with a case of Bali belly can only do so much. I tried my best. Here are the places I dined in Ubud, Bali.
Lauren and I ate here every single day. Sometimes multiple times a day. It is THAT good. The menu is really extensive and there is something for everyone. Atman has multiple locations and the one we went to had non vegan offerings, so it’s good if you’re dining with an omnivore. Atman has a cozy interior- soft yellow light (so so so bad for pictures though) with traditional tables and then floor style seating with a little balcony section that juts over the street. The menu includes Balinese favorites and more Western fare. All is delicious. It’s a little pricer than you can probably get, but they do take cards (bless!). The servers are all so lovely and accommodating and the food is really beautiful. My only complaint is the soundtrack which was full of karmic, chanting songs that were sort of weirdly hypnotic. Maybe that’s why we ended up dining there six times in four days…
- Gado Gado (Balinese salad of steamed veggies, greens, and a chunky peanut sauce) is a hearty, satisfying salad with flavorful peanut sauce. You say you’re not going to finish the side dish/bowl filled with sauce, but you do.
- Jukut Urab (Balinese salad of chopped long beans, coconut, sprouts, chili and two little pyramids of steamed rice) is probably my favorite. SO GOOD. Tangy, a touch salty, and a bit sweet all at the same time.
- Bubur Injin (Balinese black rice pudding made with caramelized bananas, fresh coconut and coconut cream) is amazing. I had it for breakfast one day and I was bouncing off the walls. Hearty, too.
- Potato Roastie (flat, fried potato cake on lettuce topped with avocado) pretty self explanatory, but still delicious! Afterward, I sort of felt like I was swimming in oil, not walking on sunshine, though.
As for non-vegan food: Lauren had the potato and spinach soup and sung its praises. She also ordered the avo toast and when it came out we sat there in shock because it was basically the leaning tower of pisa, but with slices of fresh avocado. We also randomly started ordering wheatgrass shots there, and they were fresh and courteously delivered with a slice of orange. I tried the coconut and cacao ball, which was yummy, and the caramel slice which made me feel like I had a hangover. I think that raw desserts require a semi-specific sweet tooth, and if you’ve got it, Atman’s desserts are probably for you!
OK. This is the first place I ate in Bali and it made me swoon. If you go, eat upstairs as it has a calmer vibe than the rest of the cafe, which can get a little noisy and crowded. I ate on the upstairs balcony and it was beautiful. The staff is really really lovely at KAFE. They are so willing to recommend things that you’ll like, and I ended up with an amazing lunch. I ordered Meg’s Big Salad Bowl, raspberry leaf tea and this delicious carrot-pineapple cake. Holy moley. As a very visually inclined foodie, I was blown away by my meal. The salad was pretty much a work of art, and everything was delicious- the very delicate spiralized vegetables, the creamy avocado, the tiny bits of perfectly marinated tofu-tempeh crunch (just enough!) and the crunchy pumpkin seeds on top! It came with a tahini based dressing and two nice pieces of toasted bread (the quickest way to my heart). The cake was also delicious- just sweet enough and perfectly spiced. It came with a dollop of cashew cream and I had to restrain myself from licking the plate. If you come to Ubud, go to KAFE. Please. I am begging you.
I stepped into Clear Cafe one cloudy afternoon (ironically) and was immediately taken aback with how gorgeous it was. The entrance is circular and you step into an open, airy cafe with a spiral staircase leading to elevated seating and the most beautiful bathroom I’ve ever seen (gold. toilets.). I took a seat on the floor at a low table that was placed next to a koi pond and happily ordered a thai tea with cashew milk (delicious, a little textured from the thickness of the cashew, but still amazing) and a dragon bowl (tempeh, grilled veggies). I’m not going to lie, the menu was so large and expansive that it threw me off a bit. There were multiple food ‘themes,’ which always makes me question how authentic/good the food is, but my dragon bowl was quite delicious! The tempeh was well cooked (a difficult feat) and the veggies were roasted nicely. The staff was also extremely friendly and helpful. A little on the pricey side, but I'd pay for the atmosphere again!
I ran into Down to Earth just as the monsoon rains started and found myself in the lower level of the cafe, which is a shop dedicated to selling holistic health remedies. My stomach rumbled before I could buy out the store, and I ran up to the cafe and sat on the covered balcony, where I could listen to the rain but stay dry (though staying dry in Bali’s rainy season is a feat). My server was so sweet and helped me decide between the thousand dishes that I wanted to order. I ended up with a vegan chocolate milkshake (tasty, but too thin and icy for it to really be considered a dessert drink) and their "Almost Perfect Wrap," which I can attest was pretty close to perfection. It came stuffed with tofu, beans and avocado and was accompanied (on the side) by a delicious, sharp pesto, hot sauce, air-fried slabs of sweet potato and a little pile of crunchy coleslaw. I loved this place- really mellow soundtrack and plenty of space to spread out. Again, a tiny bit pricey, but it seems that the niche vegan places in Bali with ‘western’ food have a bit of a higher threshold.
This adorable cafe is located just outside of the monkey forest and the perfect place to seek shelter from the afternoon rain, which is precisely how we ended up there. We sat outside, facing the street, but under the thatched roof that was deflecting the monsoon. The staff seemed a little tense and eager for us to eat and leave, perhaps because it was high lunch time. I ordered the vegan peanut butter and banana smoothie bowl which came looking like a work of art with sliced bananas, strawberries and granola. It was delicious, but I would’ve preferred it to be a bit colder and creamier- maybe I'm just a smoothie snob. Lauren got a bowl of steaming, perfectly sliced fries, which were delicious. Prices are moderate, compared to our other meals, and the atmosphere was nice, since we sat outside.
After getting thoroughly lost in someone’s backyard on my way to this semi-hidden spot, I had high hopes for Alchemy after hearing about its famed breakfast bar. I walked into the all-white space, which is also a holistic product shop and was sort of left to fend for myself. I sat myself down and had to get a menu for myself and aggressively make eye contact with a server before I was helped. It wasn’t an enormous deal, but I found it a little bit odd that they were so inattentive, seeing that there were only a handful of us in the restaurant. I opted for the breakfast bar, ending up with a decanter of warm mango smoothie, mango fruit, watermelon, dragon fruit, blueberry fluff, and chia seeds. It was fine, but for the same (not inexpensive) price I could’ve gotten the mushroom quiche that my neighbor was in rapture over. If you decide to go to Alchemy, I would suggest skipping their breakfast bar and heading straight for the main menu, which seems to be the primary reason people go. Next time (if there is one) I’d opt for the savory offerings.