Last weekend we went to Seminyak and I was a little disappointed. Lots of our Aussie friends had told us how great it was, but all we found was a bunch of Seminyak restaurants that were distinctly Australian-esque.
Dave and I started to think that there’s so much more to Bali than simply Seminyak. It seemed Aussies came there to dine and drink exactly like they did back home, just on half the price. Which is fine – that’s what many want on their holidays, right? A chance to relax and forget about the world. It’s just not our travel style.
If you want a Balinese cultural experience, Seminyak is not the place to find it. Even though I recently ragged on Ubud for having lost a lot of its charm thanks to tourism, it still has a whole lots more to offer cultural than Seminyak.
Australian businesspeople bombarding the market
It soon become evident just why there were flat whites on the menus of every place we visited, and why every restaurant seemed to specialize in brunch – many of the Seminyak restaurants and bars are owned by Aussies.
To quote one business owner, Australians open businesses in Bali to, “Make a shitload of money.” So you can see why Aussies love Seminyak – it reminds them of home. But we found it all a little boring. Why seek out places that are replicas of your home country when you go overseas?
Enjoying the hip places to dine out
Regardless of Seminyak being distinctly similar to Australia, we decided to embrace where we were and make the most of exploring the food and booze scene. We were only there for two days, but we made the most of it.
We couldn’t help feeling slightly out of place though – I certainly don’t have high heels in my backpack, and if Ubud is yoga pants attire, Seminyak is where you find the mini-skirt.
But anyway, in case you are considering a visit to Seminyak, we sought out some of the best places to dine for you.
6 hipster places to drink and dine in Seminyak
Down a little alleyway next to The W Retreat & Spa is Lyk Lig (they don’t have a website yet.) This little ice cream parlour stirs up a steamy storm when they mix your ice cream for you fresh on the spot.
I opted for cookies and cream and Dave had the rum and raisin – which had a splash of real rum in it! Awesome.
How to get there: Jln Petitenget 501, Shop 1 (next to Exotiq store)
When to go: Lyk Lig is open 10AM – 10PM everyday
Stepping into La Favela is like coming across a wooden palatial home in the middle of the Amazon jungle. Although the drinks are certainly not favela prices (think A$10 for a gin and tonic) the bar staff certainly know how to mix a cocktail – my Bloody Mary was to die for.
Every corner in this bar that you explore, you find another hidden object. From the fish tank inside the TV, to the bridge crossing the pool in the garden, this space is certainly hip.
We didn’t eat here, but the food looked tasty, if a little overpriced for Bali.
How to get there: Jl. Kayu Aya, close to The Bistrot
When to go: Open 7 days a week, from 5pm to 1am
It’s hard to believe you’re still in Bali when you walk into The Bistrot. With its distinct Parisian vibe, this is another space that’s hired a great interior designer.
We loved the secluded booths upstairs – it was the perfect spot to have a romantic dinner.
The food was delicious and I think my hairs stood on end when I ate the pulled pork burger. This is my body telling me it is in heaven, and it happens whenever I eat scrumptious food. Dave had the steak, which isn’t a meal you find every day in the vegan mecca of Ubud, and he enjoyed every bite of it (sorry hippies).
How to get there: Jl. Kayu Aya, No. 117
When to go: Open 7 days from 7:30am to 10:30pm
W Retreat & Spa
This is a seriously trendy place. We’ve already written about it here, and you can see the video of our brunch here, and despite its hipness making us feel a little out of place, we’d certainly return.
The brunch is quite good value at A$50 plus taxes, because you can eat your heart out and then skip all meals for the rest of the day. Trust me, you won’t feel like eating dinner.
We did think about where all the leftover food went though, and there was a lot of food that went uneaten. It sours the taste of the food in your mouth somewhat when you think about all the less-fortunate Balinese in Seminyak, while you gorge yourself on food like a king.
How to get there: Jl. Petitenget
When to go: Sunday brunch is on at the Starfish Bloo restaurant every Sunday from 3 – 12:30pm
Am I in Sydney here? The flat white certainly taste like I am. Sisterfields is possibly the most well-known place to go for brunch in Seminyak, and judging by the food, it’s easy to see why.
I ate the quail egg dish, and Dave demolished his chorizo potato stack with glee. The food here certainly hit the marks, and it’s typical of the brunch fare you’ll find in Australia.
The only problem with this place is that the way it was built makes the acoustics loud, and when we were there it seemed every young family had brought along their screaming babies. Not nice on a Sunday when you have a hangover.
How to get there: Jl. Kayu Cendana No.7
When to go: Open 7 days from 7am – 5pm
The Grocer and Grind
Personally, I prefer the Grocer and Grind to Sisterfields. The brunch is also delicious and they bake their own bread and serve it with delightful homemade jams and other spreads.
Half of the restaurant is air-conditioned and the other half is open-air, so you have a variety of comfortable options.
The eggs with fresh spinach and tomatoes I had was divine. And as an added bonus, you can get your freshly ground coffee in mug size. Certainly worth it when you’re coffee addicts like us.
Side note: The Grocer and Grind is a good area to work, especially in the early morning before it gets too busy. It has good wi-fi.
How to get there: Jalan Kayu Jati No.3X
When to go: Open7 days, 7am – 10pm
Like the Grocer and Grind, Watercress is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This place is also owned by an Australian and we were greeted warmly by him when we stopped in for afternoon tea.
I had their banana and walnut cake which tasted like it had been freshly baked. I feel this place is known for its cakes and coffees.
In fact, I’m starting to feel like lots of places in Seminyak are known for this. We certainly didn’t run out of places to dine in the two days we were there, and I think we could’ve eaten at a different place every day if we’d stayed for two months.
How to get there: Jl. Batubelig No. 21A
When to go: Open Monday to Saturday 7:30am – 4pm and 6pm – 10pm. Open Sunday 7:30am – 6pm
Cost: We spent A$17 on two cakes, a juice and a chai tea