By Araminta Waworuntu.
From pastries to foie gras, finding great French restaurants in Bali is tres simple. French expats have brought with them a mix of joie de vivre and universal flair with food, wine, and exceptional pastries. Three Sixty Guides has donned berets and our handy phrase book to dive into the world of French cuisine in Bali; from lunch, to formal dinners, moonlight suppers and morning after breakfasts.
When pairing French cuisine with wine it’s impossible not to talk about Sip, the all-time classic brasserie-like restaurant that has won the hearts of island Francophiles since 2008. A beautiful and charming terrace where you’re spoiled with classic dishes, where nostalgic French notes ring clear. Whether you start with salmon a la royale or escargot a la Parisianne, pair it with a selection from their incredible wine cellar. Sip’s founder Christian, was France’s youngest head sommelier in the 70’s and his collection of wines from the old and new world live in Sip’s wine cellar. Christian has passed the baton to his brother but the tradition of great wines and classic French bistro favourites continue. Duck a l’orange and mile-high souffles live on. A new team is now in the kitchen but the traditions continue and SIP is one of Bali’s favourites when the urge to go French can’t be denied. For reservations click here.
What is France famous for if not its taste in interiors and love of architecture? You won’t find anywhere in Bali that represents their eclectic style better than Bistrot in Oberoi Road. A combination of Café de France and industrial loft style, the entrance leads into a beautiful room with crystal chandeliers overhead and every corner made interesting with vintage, creating a melange of vintage design. Whether for lunch or dinner, this is a dining room that transports you to another place and time with chic vintage accents. Feast on classic dishes like slipper lobster or tartare de beouf, enjoy signature cocktails from the upstairs bar or keep it simple with a divine onion soup and a glass of French red wine. Don’t forget dessert, they have some heavenly dishes on the menu like their famous meringue-based Iles de flotant. For reservations click here.
Situated in the middle of the pretty residential area of Umulas, O Lala is our French community’s favourite hang-out. With a modern tropical feel, O lala has created a warm yet casual venue where wining and dining morphs into after-hour funky disco parties. It has a very je ne sais quoi vibe and a real neighbourhood feel. It’s easy to spend all night here dining on foie gras, feasting on slow braises or fresh fish a la meuniere, drinking wine and practicing French with the many Parisians before relocating to the lively bar for after dinner drinks . The guys from O lala haven’t stopped with one venue and have continued the journey down the road in Batu Belig with the new PANAME! Another Paris-meets-Bali concept where the party overlooks the rice fields. Should we say OOh lala? For reservations click here.
Little introduction is required for this prestigious establishment. Owned by the French guys behind some delicious Bali dining businesses including the Gourmet Café and Bali Catering Company, this beautiful venue is your go-to for fine dining. Some of the classic dishes have been on the menu since they started at Warisan Café decades ago. The pan-fried foie gras with raspberry vinaigrette is a much loved dish that locals return for again and again. They continue to evolve the menu and add ever more interesting dishes, always with a nod to the French classics such as La Caille – roasted quail stuffed with duck and le jarret d’agneau – a lamb shank with saffron pilaf. The wine room becomes a private dining room, the terrace opens up to jazz classics, parties and cocktails and still we return for the food, the polished service, the wine list and their fabulous lunch specials. Take a trip down to their lounge and enjoy a shisha while exploring their cocktail menu and if you’re lucky, find yourself at one of their regular soul/jazz nights and be mesmerised by some of the country’s best entertainers. Métis isn’t only for special occasions but it is special. For reservations click here.
Heading up the hill to Ubud, Kebun Bistro is an enchanting destination for French delicacies. Set up as a rustic garden bistro in the centre of Ubud, this restaurant and cafe will remind you of being in a quaint arrondissement of Paris. Enjoy classic French food, from escargot to onion soup and hard–to-believe but oh so amazing, is their famous take on mac and cheese. They also have a beautiful indoor salon where you’ll comfortably drink your white wine in an air-conditioned room when Bali’s thermometer rises. For reservations click here.
Bringing French influence to Japanese dining, Parisian co-owners have partnered with Japanese Chef Shige to create a restaurant that combines the elegant subtlety of Japanese cuisine with a whisper of French influence. There are so many options that appeal that choosing can be a challenge, fortunately the team is excellent at recommending which dishes should not be missed. From foie gras rolls, a meltingly tender salmon confit, jewel-like bento boxes, to a delicious dessert fusion in the seductively creamy matcha crème brulee. Dining at Indigo Canggu is an adventure for curious foodies, as two of the world’s most elevated culinary cultures combine in an elegant restaurant experience that invites superlatives. Indigo Canggu also brings mingles refreshing, and often exotic, flavours with their cocktail menus, offering perfect pairings for dining with a difference. Little wonder that many have Indigo Canggu on speed dial, it’s beautiful. For reservations click here.
Are you French and missing home? We think Warung Goûthé is the ultimate remedy for those who yearn for the familiar tastes of France. Situated in a warm and atmospheric space with an open kitchen and breezy self-service, their authentic menu is made with love and a lot of French charm. Combining the warung aesthetic with French flavours is a recipe for success, and it’s not only affordable but also generous. Standouts on their menu include their home-style selection of house made breads, quiches and crepes, along with their Special of The Day, which is always amazing. Perched on the verandahs overlooking the rice fields, sipping coffee and sharing stories, it’s easy to imagine yourself as a Frenchman on an exotic holiday, travel after all being the most sophisticated of experiences.
This French adventure would not be complete without Bali’s most loved boulangerie. Built with a commitment to baking with heart, the owners want their customers to feel the warmth of their culture while consuming croissants fresh from the oven, milky coffees and some of the island’s most incredible patisserie. The Opera cake, chocolate mouse and salted caramel tart are perfectly executed. Located in Umalas, Petitenget and Canggu, in the smartest corners of the island, Monsieur Spoon continues to grow, taking their very French café/bakeries to new locations. If a trip to France is not on your agenda, take a seat at one of Monsieur Spoon’s cafes, enjoy the delicate displays, feast on their famous pain au chocolat and et voilà, this is almost as good.
LA VELA BALI
When it comes to enjoying delicious French food created by a genuine French chef, you start to get serious. Forget all that with La Vela, the brand new Berawa cafe is about as laid back as it gets, it even has sun lounges and canopied day beds laid out across the sand. Under the guidance of Chef Marius Guichard, expect high quality Mediterranean-inspired dishes that mix the tropical Bali vibes with the freshness that is modern French cooking. He is trained in the classics yet the menu here is light and casual, with sunny seafood dishes and a great steak frites taking pride of place. Visit the pretty La Vela and enjoy a meal that is filled with sunshine, solid technique and good times. The cocktail menu definitely requires some exploration as well, it is a highlight. For reservations click here.
When Chef Patrick Chaucherau cooks, diners swoon. If you’re a lover of classic French bistro dishes, you have come to the right place. Chef’s Bistro, in Jl Petitenget, is a light-filled salon that serves up fixed price lunches (great value), romantic dinners and afternoon grazing menus. From slow braises to souffles, sauces that seduce, the menu travels from light-as-air to rich and delicious. A lovely wine list ticks all the boxes and the staff glide through the restaurant refilling glasses, replacing cutlery while anticipating every request. As the man who put SIP on the map, Chef Patrick’s new home is lighter and brighter yet still delivers amazing French food at great prices.