We're going to Bali for a week in December. It will be my first trip there, and my partner's first trip abroad. We'll be in Ubud the first half and then moving on to Kuta/Seminyak.
I've seen lots of options for Ubud, but not much for the East side other than a few cafe types. Lookin for good local food. Looking for at least one nice meal for my birthday.
Some random thoughts. While I'm sure Kuta might have some nice restaurants, it's full of partying tourists and flooded with businesses catering to that. Seminyak (around Jalan Petitenget) is your best bet - it's heaven in comparison. If you can, pick up a Luxe Guide to Bali as it has great tips all round (http://www.luxecityguides.com/?m=guid...), I see they have mobile app guides now too.
Sarong (sarongbali.com) is really good food and nice environment, although menu isn't just Balinese - it has other south-east and southern Asian offerings. Last visit I tried walk-in a few times and failed, so maybe book a couple of days ahead.
Metis (metisbali.com) is quite an elegant place (great for birthday) and the food lovely though European (I'd rather fab Euro than Balinese food poorly adapted for Western palate).
The Living Room (thelivingroom-bali.com) I went to many years ago and really enjoyed the food, the wine and the relaxing ambiance. Was before I knew much about Balinese food so can't recall if it was fushion-ish or authentic. Worth a try though.
La Lucciola is an old faithful, open air facing the beach. It's a brunch favourite and does have some local dishes and some inspired dishes. Very casual.
Had dinner at the restaurant at The Oberoi hotel about a year ago. They'd gone to much effort to create an authentic Balinese experience in their gardens (music and all) - very much a candle-lit dinner location. Problem is, it's a 5-star hotel re-creation of authentic Balinese (which is a third-world country) and as beautiful as it was, I couldn't help wonder what the locals would think of it all. For me it's the difference in excitement you get from seeing a dolphin at Seaworld verses one frolicing of its own according in the wild. Still good to see a dolphin either way but ... well ... you know what I mean.
Potatohead is a fabulous beach club, free daybeds lining the pool (as long as you order some food/drinks). Great cocktail menu but food isn't anything to write home about. Great place to hang out though, especially when you need a break from the dirty streets. Ku De Ta nearby is also nice, better on the food (modern Australian/Asian, I think) but Potatohead is its newer/hipper cousin.
Will you have children with you? If so, Cubby House Kid's Club at Semara Resort is great, safe, secure place to leave them with a team of capable nannies in a fun environment (games, crafts, movies, etc). My 3yo loved it. It'll allow you to escape to restaurants unencumbered.