I'll be in Ubud, Bali for a few days in March. I'll be arriving on 3/18 and leaving on 3/22. Unfortunately as 3/19 is Nyepi, the Balinese New Year, we will be confined to our hotel quarters, thus limiting our chow opportunities.
We definitely have to do Ibu Oka (that Balinese pig place everybody raves about) for lunch one day. And Mozaic also seems like something not to be missed. We'll probably also drop by Dirty Duck for their fried duck. Where would be the best place to do a rijsttafel in the Ubud area. I know that Nusa Dua has one, but am not really keen traveling in that area.
As we're also big on street food, does Ubud have a lot of street food stalls available?
First of all, Ubud definitely has some of the best eating in all of Indonesia and Ibu Oka is rightfully raved about. Don't be surprised if you have several lunches there.
Indus is a favorite, right across from Mozaic. Very good food with an amazing view. I don't know abut a rijsttafel, but since they seem to only appear on menus at tourist menus in Bali, then I wouldn't doubt it. You're just as well off ordering a nice variety of food to share.
Mozaic itself didn't dissapoint, although I felt had when I paid a "special price" for their "special Christmas menu". I don't know what the regular price is these days, but on Christmas it was 600.000 IDR plus drinks, tax, and tip. That said, the venison with some sort of port-wine/local fruit reduction was simply outstanding.
Street food isn't much of a thing for visitors in Ubud, since the town is overloaded with restaurants. You'll be able to find them in the market I think. Some of the Indonesian staples are done better at these types of places -- like fried rice (sometimes) and sate. But, others are worth steering clear of, including the ubiquitous "meatballs" (bakso). I'm a huge fan of streetfood in Southeast Asia, but I've lived in Indonesia for 6 months so far and I really don't think these are the best places to eat in this country, certainly not in a town with as many good restaurants as Ubud.
One local thing to be sure to try is sate lilit. A fish sate, heavy on the lemongrass. Delicious.
Thanks for the reply. I'm definitely looking forward to Mozaic. While I try to eat local foods, I've heard so many wonderful things about Mozaic. The chef there used to work at French Laundry and is supposed to be a genius combining his cooking techniques with the local ingredients. I'm not sure how much you paid for the Christmas menu, but it's supposed to be around $50 USD per person.
I'm also looking forward to the sate lilit. Sounds heavenly!
Just wanted to give a quick report on what we ate in Ubud.
First of all, Ibu Oka is fabulous! The pork is so succulent, spicy, zesty. Make sure you get the "special" where they give you better cuts of pork and skin. I ordered the regular. The meat was divine, but the skin was so leathery that I couldn't bite into it. DH ordered the special, which was a much larger portion than the regular. But the skin was so crisp and perfect. There's no point of eating suckling pig unless you have the skin.
Mozaic was also wonderful. It was about $45 USD for a 7-course tasting menu. The portions were terrific. I didn't feel too full after the meal. It seems that Ubud's portions are tremendous! Mozaic definitely ranks on par with some of the top restaurants in New York. The only thing I wasn't too wild about was the warm chocolate durian souffle cake. I don't like durian to begin with, and having it heated intensified the onion-like aroma.
The surprise for me was the restaurant at the Maya Ubud. I usually am not a fan of hotel food, but Maya Ubud was definitely up there. We ordered some Indoneisan specialities -- nasi goreng, spicy noodles with seafood in a coconut curry sauce, mie goreng. Everything was so well prepared, fresh and full of flavor. Another time DH ordered lamb chops which were very tender. The one thing they're not very good with are desserts. The view is also beautiful if you're there during the day. We sat out on the terrace which overlooks the jungle.
We also hit Cafe Lotus, which I thought was just "okay." I ordered the dirty duck which I didn't like very much. It was served at room temperature. The meat was dried out, and the skin as flabby. It was also way too salty. DH ordered a pork dish, which was a lot more palatable than the duck. Our driver ordered the nasi goreng. He told us that he's found the nasi goreng at Cafe Lotus to be the best he's had so far.
Because of my bad duck experience at Lotus, I passed on Dirty Duck. We had dinner at Indus which we enjoyed. Too bad it was so dark as we couldn't enjoy the view. The food was very good. For appetizers, we ordered samosas which were piping hot, with crisp skin and juicy curried vegetables inside. It was similar to an Indian samosa, but still very different. I would definitely order it again. I actually forgot our mains, but I do remember that they were very well executed. The one thing about Indus I did not enjoy was the bug problem. Bugs were everywhere -- in our food, in our drinks, on our table. We didn't have that problem at Mozaic and at Maya. I believe they probably spray for bugs regularly.
We did mostly tourist restaurants (with the exception of Ibu Oka). This is probably the first time in my travels where I did not have local food. Our driver warned of dining in local establishments. He said that the Balinese cook all their food in the AM, letting it sit out there throughout the day. However, the pork at Ibu Oka was served warm.
There is an excellent nasi Padang resto (not upscale) in Ubud, on one of the main streets off of Jalan Raya. I wish I could remember the name, but the sign outside has a photogrpah of a kid's face on it. You can't miss it.
We're also big on streetfood ... had an excellent bowl of chicken soto in the bowels of the Ubud market.