“Bali is the liver of the universe” says Johnny Sugiharto from Soma Café. He was referring to the liver’s amazing ability to cleanse and regenerate itself and the body. My weeks in Ubud certainly felt like one long detox retreat. I don’t think there is a place in the world with as many restaurants offering raw dishes within walking distance of each other. Smoothies, green juices, zucchini pasta (meaning raw pasta made of zucchini), raw sushis, wraps, salads and… the cakes of course.
It was not just the food. It was the people. Those creating the menus, selling and buying the produce, preparing the food, serving it and those eating it with me. Here are the fair, green and healthy places I found in Ubud, let us know if you discover more! Unless otherwise mentioned, all of them also offer non-vegetarian dishes. Some will refill your water bottle for a little less than the supermarket price of new bottles. Juice Ja sells re-usable ones with fun designs. Plastic trash is massive on Bali, every little effort makes a difference.
I also drew a little map so you will find your way around town easier. And please give Johnny my love if you go there!
Cafés and Restaurants:
- Alchemy (raw cakes, snacks, health store): Seriously the best desserts and chocolates in Ubud. Slightly out of the way up a steepish hill on Jalan Penestanan, so take a scooter or be prepared for a 40-minute walk from the center. But don’t let that stop you, the mint swirl cheesecake and the maca truffles are from another world. They just opened their little café before I left with a great salad bar. It’s the raw foodie’s hangout par excellence. WiFi. http://alchemybali.com
Bali Buddha is just opposite the post office on Jalan Jembawan, has generous portions (garden salad and organic fruit bowl with sprouted almonds highly recommended), a family-friendly vibe and an amazing choice of nut milks (think cappuccino with walnut milk). It is just above their own health store with fresh organic and wholesome bakery, natural cosmetics and delivery service. No WiFi (which is a nice change). Water refill in the store.
- CLEAR Café on Hanoman is Ubud’s foodie’s hot spot. Lovely attentive staff, a long and lovely menu and an extra 2-page raw menu with breakfast, drinks, dinners… and cakes (the raw chocolate cake is a MUST for anyone staying in Ubud, whether raw, vegan or meat-eater). Come for the food, the crowd or the architecture, but don’t miss it. Maybe the best WiFi.
- Dayu’s Warung, 28, Sugriwa street. Dayu’s journey took her from diabetes to healthy cooking to a raw food certification and finally led her to open her own Warung. She now serves delicious curries (mango-chickpea!), Balinese gado gado and fresh organic salads and gives cooking classes. Sit at the large table inside to get talking or outside for people watching.
- Down To Earth (vegetarian/macrobiotic) is the new kid in town. Sister operation from Earth Café in Seminyak, Down To Earth offers a very long menu, all vegetarian, with macrobiotic dishes (the half portion planet platter with extra steamed greens with tahine sauce was an evening favorite of mine), middle Eastern falafel and salads, sandwiches and delicious soups (mushroom soup). Some raw dishes (chocolate mousse and blueberry pie), and a big health store with organic fruit & veg and cosmetics on the ground floor. WiFi.
- Juice Ja was my first stop. The warm wooden furniture, the location on Dewi Sita street, the wheatgrass shot with a slice of orange and the creamiest peanut sauce ever makes it a place I always went back to. Try their fine nasi campur or satisfying tempeh sate (smothered in the above mentioned peanut sauce) or simply a fresh juice. They also have a little health food corner where they sell organic/raw nuts, fresh nut butters, seeds, grains, teas, chocolate and more. They also sell beautiful refillable bottles. WiFi. Refills.
- Kafé has the rather commercial and clean Starbucks cappuccino and muffin feeling but serves organic and fresh salads (Meg’s big bowl), smoothies, macrobiotic bowls and… the best raw cheesecakes in town. Try Raw Chai Mousse or Blackcurrant Pie, to die for. Centrally located on Hanoman halfway between main road and the affiliated Yogabarn, it is a big favorite. WiFi (except at lunch and dinner times). Water refill.
- Kafés sister Little K inside Yogabarn just off Hanoman serves almost the same menu and looks over a beautiful garden. Closed on Mondays.
- Sari Organik: a lovely walk through Ubud’s rice fields takes you out to Sari Organik: good drinks and Balinese dishes. Slightly expensive and the salads are on the small side but the location makes up for it. Water refills. http://www.sari-organik.com
- Soma Café (vegetarian): What would Ubud be without Soma! Whether you want to start the day with their (coconut) creamy tropical live porridge or fill up with an Antioxidant Blast berry & cacao smoothie or get the latest live music, permaculture, or raw food tips from Johnny, Soma’s the place. Soma is more than a café, it is a community, a meeting point, a place to make friends and celebrate. The girls are very kind and helpful, the menu has vegetarian & non-raw options but also has Ubud’s best raw/live pasta with cashew cheese. WiFi. Water refills.
- Taksu Spa Restaurant (vegetarian): Enjoy the stunning view over the little river valley that the Taksu Spa is built in and have a healthy breakfast or lunch after your yoga class or spa treatment. I had the raw lasagna and macadamia apple pie, both delicious. Charming team and wonderfully peaceful. WiFi. Close at 6pm.
- Ubud Sari (raw vegan), at the end of Jalan Kajeng on the left, open from 8am to 9pm. Part of Ubud Sari health resort, peaceful and quiet Vibrance Café serves raw mains, snacks, juices and desserts in midst of lush greenery, fountains and lounge music. The sushi rolls and tropical ice cream blend made a perfect lunch. Cosy and calm reading or writing spot.
- Vegan Warung is on main road Jalan Raya Cokorda, just after Jalan Jembawan (Bali Buddha) going East on the left just after the big green Money Changer sign. You can’t miss it, look out for the big “Bali Vegan Warung” sign. Eko has travelled long and far but has come back to Bali to offer simple vegan food to tourists and locals alike. For 2€ you will get organic brown rice with the curries and proteins of the day with sides and dessert if you need more, and you get to share travel stories and spiritual journeys with her, a lovely experience!
- Warung Sopa (vegetarian) offers a choose-your-own-nasi-campur with changing curries and veggies every day, fresh soups and a zesty vegan key lime pie. On Jalan Sugriwa you feel more of Ubud’s real life with children playing on the street and no pestering taxi drivers, and they have WiFi.http://www.sopa.vg/bali_en.php
- Yellow Flower Café: only accessible on foot or by motorbike, it is a 10 minute walk from Alchemy or 2 minutes away from Intuitive Yoga Flow, up the long steps to Penestanan. The little organic café is hidden away from all the city noise and traffic and offers wholesome dishes.
- I went to Radha and Prem‘s morning Ashtanga Mysore classes but many go to the very popular
- new Radiantly Alive studio or
- Yoga Barn
- Nirwa Homestay – very kind Balinese family, large rooms, peacefully located with view over rice fields but still in walking distance to the center. I stayed there for almost two months!