Canggu: The Changing Face of Bali’s Dining Scene

Travelers will find no shortage of fascinating luxury travel options on Bali – from the Instagram opportunities to the nature and the cocktails. There was a time when the term ‘Bali belly’ defined this island’s dining scene. Fast forward to today and you’ll find it hard to eat your nasi goreng without doing so in the midst of upmarket restaurant construction. While Seminyak is firmly on every gourmet-lover’s radar, it’s rapidly changing Canggu that’s now in the spotlight.

Tugu’s Ji restaurant.

The Canggu food revolution has certainly embraced fine dining. For a cultural experience among a collection of romantic Indonesian artifacts, dine at the lavish Tugu Bali. One of the first hotels to bring luxury to Canggu; culinary journeys include gourmet picnics on the sand, complete with an 18th-century antique bed illuminated by oil lanterns.

The menu at Tugu’s Ji Restaurant is the brainchild of a sushi master and the former private chef to David and Victoria Beckham. Chef Nyoman Antara trained in classical Japanese discipline and Chef Colin Buchan spent years in Gordon Ramsay restaurants and as an executive chef in global, Michelin-starred establishments.

In a reconstructed Kang Xi period temple, choose to dine on Smokey Salmon Zaru Soba, at Ji Bale Sutra. Ji Terrace by the SEA offers 180-degree ocean views, with sensuous, red-themed decor and ancient arts including Balinese Barong heads and Tibetan Mahakala masks. Fine wines, a saké bar, and signature cocktails, like the Smoking’ Coco Sexo, complete the gastronomic adventure.

Dish at COMO Uma.

For a modern luxe vibe, the newest star on Canggu’s dining scene is COMO Uma. Executive chef, Dwayne Cheer, previously headed the kitchen at Soori Bali. He serves up everything from wood-fired pizzas to whole snapper on the backdrop of Echo Beach. At the COMO Beach Club, diners recline by the pool on swing chairs to the sounds of acoustic musicians and the crashing surf.

Cafe Culture

The Slow founders Cisco Tschurtschenthaler and George Gorrow.

Breakfast is high on the priority list for Canggu’s healthy regulars, which is reflected in a flourishing cafe culture. Topping the list of favorites is The Slow, where food, art, boutique accommodation, and culture collide. The style is sophisticated, tropical and industrial, with stirring artworks, floor-to-ceiling windows and polished cement floors. Chef Shannon Moran serves bold dishes, like Octopus Bolognese.

An open-air, traditional Joglo frames buttermilk pancakes with chantilly cream at Milk and Madu, one of a string of cafes by the Good Food Brotherhood. Coffee addictions are taken seriously here, with their own beans made with 100 percent Arabica from Columbia, Guatemala, and Ethiopia, and creamy milk from expat Australian cows.

Healthy Bites

Matcha Cafe dishes.

Clean eating is big business in Canggu, so you’re never far from a superfood smoothie. Matcha Cafe ensures you get your fix of the powdered Japanese green tea it’s named for. Other menu treats include dragon fruit chia puddings, kale omelets and macrobiotic rainbow bowls, in a space that’s as clean, green and fresh as the food.

Vegetarian, raw, vegan and ayurvedic gourmet tempts taste buds at Samadi Kitchen Lab. While you’re there, take a yoga class and indulge in Balinese massage at the spa. Then, feast on a Super Moringa bowl, with fresh moringa leaves, kale, spinach, banana, avocado, coconut flakes, goji berries and bee pollen.


Plates from Samada Kitchen Lab.

Part vegan cafe, part artisan bicycle shop, Peloton Supershop serves Instagram-worthy plates full of plant-based goodness. Quirky names like ‘Avo Good Day’ and ‘Pedal Powered Pancakes’ add an element of fun to the venue, which heavily promotes the benefits of a health-conscious lifestyle.

Beach Clubs

La Laguna beach club.

The beach club scene in Canggu is becoming increasingly glamorous, where dining, drinking and live music are almost secondary to lush surrounds. Overlooking the Berawa surf break, Finns Beach Club has long attracted discerning travelers from across the globe.

Now, its VIP club offers an exclusive hotel-style experience, with poolside daybeds, free flow Balian water, complimentary refreshments and spacious change rooms to effortlessly dress from day to night. For a more casual, yet classy vibe, sink into a beanbag at The Lawn, with views of Batu Bolong Beach. An international grazing menu includes mini lobster brioche and cumin chicken nachos.

Meticulously designed by Gonzalo and Sandra Assiego, Spanish-inspired La Laguna enchants with vintage gypsy caravans, private garden seating, lanterns and boho-chic decor. The sprawling venue serves exquisite tapas and regularly hosts family-friendly events, with themed markets, live music and movies beneath Bali’s twinkling night skies.