Bali may be best known for its beaches and beautiful coastlines, but the inland town of Ubud has become increasingly popular in recent years as a destination for travelers looking for a small town vibe and a refreshing change of pace from the bustling beach scene. If Ubud sounds familiar, it might be because of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book’s Eat, Pray, Love, where she recounts her journey of self-discovery while in Ubud. The vegan, plant-based food scene was our primary motivation for visiting Ubud. With numerous yoga studios and and array of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, we found ourselves wishing we had just a few more days (and meals!) to soak up Ubud before departing.
While it’s usually advised to not eat uncooked vegetables when traveling in Indonesia, many restaurants in Ubud will be sure to let you know that their produce is thoroughly washed with filtered water. So rest assured that you can go ahead and enjoy those raw, unpeeled fruits and vegetables. And with more than fifteen vegan, raw, vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants throughout the small, 30,000 person town of Ubud, you might find yourself happily overwhelmed with the numerous options.
Here are our top three picks if you’re looking for nutrient-rich, plant-based dining in Ubud:
Located down a narrow, easy-to-miss side street on the south side of town, The Garden Kafe at the Yoga Barn is a perfect spot for a causal lunch on a rustic shaded veranda. This yoga center, founded by an American and her Indonesia husband, attracts visitors from all over the world. Some stay a few days and others might stick around for a few months. The café welcomes yogis and non-yogis alike.
The café menu is predominantly vegan with a few dishes containing cheese. On Sundays, the cafe offers an all-you-can-eat brunch for $6.50 USD in addition to the standard à la carte options. Here are some of the delicious items we enjoyed at The Yoga Barn Kafe:
The macrobowl: blanched greens, sprouted seeds, pumpkin, cauliflower, broccoli, tempeh, red pepper, red rice and a lemon-tahini dressing
Veggie burger: Ground cashew, shiitake mushroom and mixed seed veggie burger wrap topped with avocado and red pepper. This burger was a delicious alternative to the standard veggie burger.
Tempeh rueben: teriyaki tempeh, sauerkraut, onion relish & salad on multigrain bread
Cacao-maca shake: raw cacao, maca, banana, coconut milk and soy milk
Vitamin C blast with a twist: carrot, papaya, pineapple, orange and basil juice
Sunday brunch buffet: an assortment of hot and cold salads
Tropical passion smoothie: vanilla-bean, cashew milk, passion fruit and pineapple
Raw vegan “chocolate chip cookie” bar with a berry purée
Mocha java raw vegan ice cream garnished with fresh mint
Here are the details for The Garden Kafe at the Yoga Barn
Address: Jalan Raya Pengosekan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia 80571
Phone: +62361 971 236
Hours: Daily from 7:30am – 7pm (last order 6:30pm)
Down to Earth has a small vegan grocery store on its first floor and a full service restaurant on its second floor. This was one of those restaurants that we wished we had discovered earlier during our time in Ubud because we probably would have returned at least a second, if not a third time! The menu is extensive and varied, ranging from quinoa-coconut pancakes made with homemade cashew milk to a tempeh “tuna” wrap with apple, ginger and a miso tahini dressing.
With an all-day breakfast menu, an extensive selection of cold-pressed juices and smoothies as well as a wide range of savory dishes from all over the world, you might find all of the options a bit overwhelming. Don’t hesitate to ask for a recommendation. The friendly staff will gladly lead you in the right direction. Also, there are many items clearly marked on the menu that can be made wheat or gluten-free.
The “veggie pouch” tasted just like a traditional Argentine empanada, though it was 100% plant-based. It was well-seasoned and perfectly moist.
The avocado zaatar toast topped with alfalfa sprouts, cherry tomatoes and olives was fantastic. The zaatar added the perfect amount of seasoning to balance out the tanginess from the olives and tomatoes and the mild flavor from the avocado and spouts.
The chickpea burger was quite messy to eat, but the beet, tofu herb spread, onions, carrots and avocado made for a worthwhile mess!
I couldn’t resist the beautiful display case of energy balls and raw desserts. After a rather filling meal, we took this energy ball “to go” and enjoyed it the next morning with some fresh watermelon juice at our hotel. This particular ball was chock-full of delicious, nutrient-rich ingredients: sunflower, pumpkin, peanut butter, puffed rice, raisins, raw cacao and cocoa butter.
Here are the details for Down to Earth:
Address: Jl Guatama Selatan | (Off Jl Hanuman), Bali, Indonesia
Phone: 0361 783 5545
Bali Buda, whose motto is “real food by real people,” is located near the center of town across the street from Radiantly Alive Yoga. It’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for a more traditional vegetarian and vegan Indonesian fare. While the menu is not entirely vegan, there are plenty of plant-based, vegan options to keep your taste buds satisfied. Portions are large, but like most casual café’s in Ubud, the food is reasonably priced.
The vegetarian nasi campur is a perfect option if you’re looking to sample small portions of a variety of plant-based Indonesia dishes. The grilled, grated coconut added a delicious richness to the tempeh curry, sprouts, and sambal.
If you’d rather go with a more standard Indonesian dish, try the tofu, cashew and chickpea curry.
Here are the details for Bali Buda:
Address: Jembawan #1 (across from the Ubud Post Office) Ubud, Mas, Gianyar 80571 Bali, Indonesia
Phone: 0361 976324
Ubud is one of those towns where you will likely find yourself with too little time and too many incredible plant-based options. A welcomed dilemma! Enjoy!