Fine-dining restaurants in Bali with molecular gastronomy cuisine
With expats from all over the world converging with Bali’s strong cultural traditions, it’s little wonder that the island has turned into a cultural melting pot. We’re not complaining though as this culture clash has given rise to one of the most vibrant food scenes in Indonesia, made obvious by the number of quality fine-dining restaurants in Bali.
For those wanting to make the most out of their culinary adventure, these 8 fine-dining restaurants in Bali serve molecular gastronomy cuisines that taste as heavenly as they look.
1. Kubu at Mandapa – riverside fine-dining inside a bamboo cocoon
Private bamboo cocoons for a romantic, intimate dinner with a view of the river
Image credit: @kubuatmandapa
Classy ambiance isn’t only found in fancy tablecloths and elegant interiors. Kubu at Mandapa for example, has something different in mind. The restaurant, part of the luxurious Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve instead takes visitors on a golf cart ride downhill for a riverside fine-dining experience by the Ayung River.
Raspberry Valrhona Ivoire Log with spiced pear port wine and stracciatella ice cream, part of the restaurant’s special Christmas menu
Image credit: @kubuatmandapa
Though you’ll dine in an rustic all-bamboo interior, the dishes served at Kubu mostly leans European. A la carte menus are available but of course, we recommend going for the full 8-course Degustation Menu (Rp. 1,250,000, ~USD84.20) for a more complete experience, with wine pairings available at an additional cost.
If you’re visiting around the holidays, ask around first if they have something special in store as Kubu regularly serves holiday-themed menus.
Romantic dinner for two at Kubu’s private cocoon
Image credit: @kubuatmandapa
One last tip for those wanting to have a romantic evening, make sure to book the private bamboo cocoons by the river as we don’t think you could find a more romantic table in all of Bali. The cocoon can accommodate groups of 5 so it’s suitable for celebrations with a couple of close friends as well.
2. Locavore – Indonesia’s representative in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant List
Everything Palm Tree with coconut dulce de leche gelato, palm sugar meringue and marinated palm fruit all sourced from palm trees
Image credit: @arif_b_s
Being the only Indonesian representative on Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants List at number 37, Locavore might just be the best dining establishment in all of Indonesia. We’re not one to go for superlatives but the restaurant certainly has the goods to back that claim.
Beef heart pastrami with wasabi emulsion and sawah leaves, known here as daun sirih bumi
Image credit: @restaurantlocavore
Locavore prides itself on not just the quality of their dishes but also on making sure that every ingredient is locally sourced. We also applaud their penchant for experimenting with unorthodox ingredients, such as the daun sirih bumi, which are wild plants found in backyards all over Indonesia.
As a result, Locavore frequently changes their menu based on what’s in season. As of writing, the Pancaroba Menu (Rp. 1,250,000, ~USD84.07) is currently being served, named after the period between wet and dry seasons in Indonesia.
Locavore’s open kitchen set-up
Image credit: @jetsetfork
If you’re looking to pick up some tricks or just interested in seeing how the magic happens, you’d be glad to know that Locavore uses an open kitchen concept. Customers, especially those sitting at the bar, can get a glimpse at how Locavore’s otherworldly dishes are cooked.
3. Room4Dessert – dessert tasting menu as seen on Netflix’s Chef’s Table
The Red with rosella cream, beetroot cake, dragon fruit, and strawberry
Image credit: @t.tony.t
Typically, tourists flock to Bali for the island’s pristine beaches and temples. Since 2018 however, foodies on their pilgrimage land in Bali for an entirely different reason – to have a taste of Room4Dessert’s decadently playful desserts.
Room4Dessert’s scenic garden
Image credit: @nanonaga
The restaurant, and its New York-born chef Will Goldfarb, was once featured in the streaming website Netflix’s documentary series Chef’s Table in 2018. Each dessert tasting begins with a tour of Goldfarb’s garden where the chef personally grows some of the ingredients you’ll be tasting later on.
Incidente Stradale with coconut water, coconut vinegar, white coffee, and jamu
Image credit: @iris.nihao
The 7-course Dessert Tasting Menu, which typically changes every 6 months, starts at Rp. 790,000 (~USD53.19) with wine pairings available at an additional charge. Notably, the restaurant tends to go easy on the sugar, using unorthodox ingredients such as Indonesia’s traditional jamu, or herbal medicine, to balance the flavor.
Do note that the tasting menu is accompanied by petits fours before and after the main desserts. While we do believe that there’s always room for dessert, we advise having a light dinner beforehand or skipping them entirely.
4. Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique – contemporary French cuisine with local ingredients
Watermelon carpaccio with rendang spices and parmesan emulsion
Image credit: @wstong1214
Surviving in the notoriously cutthroat restaurant industry is a tough ask. The fact that Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique, which first opened its doors in 2001, is still regarded as one of the finest establishments in Bali speaks for itself.
Headed by France-raised Chris Salans, Mozaic mixes French cuisine and cooking technique with locally sourced ingredients and a dash of molecular gastronomy. The restaurant’s trump card is the Signature Menu (Rp. 1,350,000, ~USD90.90) with 8 of the restaurant’s finest creations bookended by amuse-bouches and petit fours.
Garden dining area at Mozaic
Image credit: @mozaicrestaurantubud
Aside from the quality of the food, worthy of a Michelin Star or two in our book, Mozaic’s ambiance is also first-class. The outdoor garden area is especially popular for romantic dinners thanks to its intimate setting and subtle lighting.
Private dining with tables set in front of Mozaic’s workshop kitchen
Image credit: @onemoretripplease
For larger groups, the restaurant also offers a private dining option where tables are set inside Mozaic’s workshop kitchen with meals being prepared right in front of the diners.
5. Apéritif Restaurant & Bar – roaring twenties decor at the grounds of a luxurious hotel
Black-and-white decor of the main dining area
Image adapted from: @lelikartika
With a roaring twenties look straight out of The Great Gatsby, Apéritif Restaurant & Bar would have a hard time cooking up a feast to match that decor, or so we thought. Located at the ground of the luxurious Viceroy Hotel, the restaurant’s flavor is more than a match for its look.
Karedok with zucchini, kale, and cabbage with peanut sauce
Image credit: @fah.napats
The 8-course Degustation Menu (Rp. 1,450,000, ~USD97.63) boldly mixes world cuisine with local flavor. The standout is the Beef Wellington paired with rendang sauce and what might just be the most beautifully plated karedok, or Indonesian mixed raw vegetables with peanut dressing, we’ve ever seen.
The latter is even more amazing once you’ve learned that the restaurant’s chef, Belgium’s Nic Vanderbeeken, is colorblind.
Dessert course with yoghurt ganache, mango slice, coconut meringue, and basil snow
Image credit: @fah.napats
True to its name, the complementary pre-dinner apéritif and canapés are just as excellent. In fact, we’d go as far as to suggest going for another round of their handcrafted cocktails if you can handle your liquor.
6. Blanco par Mandif – modern Indonesian food in an intimate setting
Aged Smoked Duck with beetroot sauce, pineapple, and maize
Image credit: @swankywacky
For veterans of Bali’s food scene, the name Mandif Warokka brings a certain mystique. The chef’s famed Teatro Gastroteque, known for its theatrical presentation, is still closed due to COVID-19 but its younger sibling, Blanco par Mandif, is still serving his trademark gastronomical flair for dedicated foodies.
Lapis Legit, or layered cake, with mascarpone cream, strawberry gelée and vanilla sauce
Image credit: @kevinleonard98
The restaurant, which sits on the ground of the Blanco Museum in Ubud, serves elevated takes on Indonesian cuisine via the 7-course Degustation Menu (Rp. 1,500,000, ~USD101.02). You’re never going to see another lapis legit, traditional layered cake found in bakeries all over the country, served the way Warokka does it.
Hand-washing ceremony with kobokan, a bowl of typically scented water common in Indonesia
Image credit: @jinlovestoeat
The theatrics aren’t limited to the presentation alone as each tasting starts with a hand-washing ceremony. With very limited seating even without COVID-19 health protocols, Blanco is one experience you won’t want to miss whenever you’re in the area.
7. Mejekawi by KU DE TA – Indonesian fine dining with a panoramic ocean view
Sunset from the balcony seats at Mejekawi
Image credit: @mejekawi
If you find the typical fine-dining experience too stuffy, Mejekawi’s ambiance might be more to your liking. Located at the second floor of the famed KU DE TA beach club, the restaurant’s perfect if you want to catch some after-dinner parties or if you’re on the hunt for stunning sunset views with some people-watching on the side.
Reverse Seared Duck Breast with salt baked beetroot, duck leg croquette, duck skin crumble and bitter chocolate truffle
Image credit: @mejekawi
Make no mistake though as the restaurant’s 5-course Degustation Menu (Rp. 700,000, ~USD47.17) stands equally with other fancier establishments on this list. The cuisine leans toward fusion with an unmistakable Indonesian core with the sop buntut, or Indonesian oxtail soup, being the standout.
Views from the balcony seats at Mejekawi
Image credit: @the_seminyak_snob
As can be expected given KU DE TA’s reputation, the complimentary cocktails served between courses are quite exemplary. We highly recommend forgoing the wine pairing if you’re looking to tear up the dance floor later in the evening or to at least take a break in between.
8. Quila – multisensory fine-dining experience
Uluwatu Mushroom with chocolate ice cream, cookie crumble, and meringue mushroom top
Image credit: @ningratconcierge
An authentic gastronomical experience shouldn’t merely send your taste buds tingling, it should properly stimulate all of your five senses. In this regard, you can hardly do better than Quila’s multisensory fine-dining experience.
Nestled inside Alila Villas’ luxurious abode in Uluwatu, the restaurant’s 10-course Five Senses Menu (Rp. 1,700,000, ~USD114.18) is unparalleled in its eccentricity. Designed by Alila’s executive chef Marc Lorés Panadés, each dish in the menu falls under one of five categories called Feel, Hear, Smell, See, and Taste.
Rock Octopus with burrata cheese, sea grape, and angel hair
Image credit: @xlbcr
As each dish arrives, the server regales diners with the inspiration behind them, sometimes giving instructions on how to properly experience the dish in question. The details and ingredients of each dish are purposefully left unknown and the guessing game is part of the fun.
For the Rock Octopus dish for example, diners are instructed to wear a blindfold while holding a seashell next to your ear as part of the experience. As the mystery plays a big part on Quila’s multisensory experience, the rest is left to you to discover.
Molecular gastronomy fine-dining restaurants in Bali
For those with a more refined palate, food is more than just sustenance, they’re more of a spiritual experience. These fine-dining restaurants in Bali, even if they cost more than your typical food joints, definitely deliver on the latter.
For more recommendations on Bali, check out these stories:
- 8 Seminyak restaurants, cafes, and bars to visit
- 10 cheap luxury hotels in Bali
- 8 Bali spas with luxury massages