By Luiz Sanchez.
Canggu is expensive, weird, and often more about being seen in hip places than actually enjoying decent food. Tell me you actually enjoy Kombucha and we may not be friends. Happy paying a fortune for a smashed avocado because it sounds fancy? Then I have a bottle of RAW water blessed by a mangku to sell ya.
All jests aside, Canggu is a place with a wide array of options to choose from when it comes to food and drinks. While much of it can be ludicrously hip, fuelled by overpriced coffee and good vibes, every place has a story. This article is dedicated to those of us who aren’t looking to chase the latest culinary fad, or fancy Instagram locale. This is a list of my personal haunts, places I eat at or enjoy working from.
Low traffic for digital nomads :
AT59 – TLTR ( Too Lazy To read); good coffee, decent food, excellent prices, no loud music, friendly staff, pretty décor, mostly empty.
After Taste 59 hasn’t been around for long. It is an expansion of their café in Kerobokan, and opened up five months back. This place is perfect for working from as the café is almost always empty, although this is not an indictment of their food or beverages. Their modestly-sized menu offers a nice variety of foods, from vegan options to full on dinner items, and their décor falls somewhere between rustic and alternative. Their price range is also very reasonable, with most food items on the menu costing less than IDR 50K and all drinks falling under the 40k mark.
Coffee here is also decent, as are their smoothies and juices. Staff are very friendly and quick to remember return customers. Their internet sometimes is out of commission but more often than not works perfectly fine. Given how empty it is here it is very possible to spend hours working and consuming beverage without busting the bank. This is in all likelihood my favorite place to work from.
The Daun – TLTR; good coffee, decent prices, a few peak hours, cute décor, friendly staff.
The Daun is ideally nestled near the heart of Canggu, and as such is an ideal place for people in the area to base themselves in. Food here is nothing to write home about, but what really shines here is the coffee. the baristas have clearly had training and have a passion for the craft, as they consistently make tasty and beautiful coffees with clearly defined Rosetta art.
Internet here is also very stable and fast. The place is also mostly empty outside of peak hours and is ideally suited to work from.
A good cappuccino sets you back IDR 25k with no extra costs, and staff are super friendly.
Places to relax away from the madding crowds:
Warung Temu’ku – TLTR; great view, drinks OK, friendly staff, quiet, empty, no wifi (good or bad?) No convenient powerplugs.
Temu’ku feels like a place that should in many ways be much better than it is. It is situated in the middle of the rice fields and boasts one of the prettiest views in Canggu. The food is somewhat lacking, and their beverages are fine, but the draw here is the ambiance. With virtually no easily accessible power plugs for customers, and no wifi either, this place is an excellent venue for people wanting to kick back, have a few coffees or juices, and read a book.
Come here during the rice harvest period and the view is incredible. The rice fields stretch on forever and when they are heavy with rice there is the added visual spectacle of dozens of birds in any given direction descending on the fields as the farmers try to scare them away.
Places to eat in:
Hanamaru – TLDR; Affordable Japanese food, friendly staff, handy location, cute place, gets busy.
Affordable Japanese food feels like an oxymoron. People are often skeptical of sushi if it doesn’t break their bank, but Hanamaru is proof that good Japanese food doesn’t have to be very expensive. With a wide selection of sushi ranging from IDR 30k to 110k and decent bento boxes, Hanamaru is worth checking out.
This little restaurant is also ideally situated near the heart of Canggu. The venue is pretty small however but I have yet to find it so packed that I couldn’t be seated. The owners are also frequently there and very welcoming, so swing on by and say hi.
Warung Makan Rama – TLTR; proper ayam betutu, ludicrously tasty, insultingly cheap, very small, closes by 5 pm or earlier if food runs out.
It is criminal how damn cheap and tasty the ayam betutu served at Warung Makan Rama really is. This place is a very typical Indonesian warung, and if you are put off by the location then you are doing yourself an injustice. This place is open until 5 p.m., although they often run out of food before then.
Ayam betutu is the only thing on the menu and comes in three sizes, the largest setting you back IDR 12k. Seriously this place puts most restaurants to shame when it comes to how damn damn damn damn tasty this chicken is.
If you are vegetarian that’s fine too, a portion of rice and just the vegetables will cost you less than 10k and loses none of what makes this meal one of the best flavours in all of the ‘Gu.
Lawar Kuwir Men Koko – TLTR; great ricefield view, large selection of Indonesian food, signature dish is amazing (lawar and sate lilit), very reasonabe prices, quiet outside of peak hours, open till 8 pm.
Words cannot stress how tasty sate lilit and lawar are. This place’s signature dish is their nasi campur, which comes with a duck sate lilit, lawar and an amazing sambal matah. The food can be a bit spicy for some people, but if you are into that you will have no problems devouring their sambal.
One plate sets you back IDR 25k, but if you are like me and want more of their sate, go ahead and order an extra portion of sate for an additional 20k.
This place is often packed with locals and is a popular haunt for repeat customers. If you are lucky to net a table near the back of the place you will also be treated to a stunning close-up view of rice fields when in season.
Men Koko also has a wide variety of other options on their menu but honestly, ordering anything else feels like ordering western food in an Asian restaurant; probably tasty but you aren’t getting the full experience here.
Warteg 24 hour – TLTR; open 24 hours a day, consistent quality food, reasonably priced nasi campur.
If you go out in Canggu at all then you have probably feasted here at some point after a long bender or have decried the lack of options available to you at one in the morning. As the name implies Warteg is open 24/7. The food here has a high turnover rate and is also consistent in flavour. I wouldn’t call this place the best nasi campur I have ever had, but the consistency, variety, reasonable pricing and quality of food definitely make it the one warung I visit most often when looking for something to eat.
Of note is their perkedel, or potato patties, and the sweet tempeh. They also boast a wide selection of seafood including fish, squid, and fried prawns. A meal here will set you back IDR 40k if you really load up your plate with lots of meat, otherwise you are looking at 25-35k a meal.
Babi Guling Men Lari – TLTR; very popular, good food, decent prices, beautiful area.
Babi guling is one of the quintessential meals that any visitor to Bali should endeavor to try. There is only one thing on the menu here and it is displayed prominently by the entrance; roast suckling pig. The vegetables on offer are also cooked using pork products (lawar typically can be cooked in the blood of the animal on offer, and it is not uncommon for babi guling to be prepared this way).
This place opened up in August, but already attracts a healthy number of foreigners and locals alike. A meal here sets you back 40k more or less, and if there are any individual parts you enjoyed of the meal you can always order an extra portion of it. Beyond that this place boasts a very nice view of the rice terraces in Canggu and is a great place to come for lunch or dinner.
Pro-tip; a new pig is carved up and served every day when they open and once again at 6 p.m., so for the best experience try to get there as the new pig is rolled out.