Canggu is a wonderful mix of bustling and laid-back, and its definitely on the map as one of the hottest spots in Bali. This is especially evident in the rise of great places to eat and drink, so here I highlight a bunch of the best spots, whether you are after a dragon fruit brekky bowl, a French pastry for your sweet tooth or a deliciously zesty gado gado.
February is rainy (low) season in Bali, but you wouldn’t know it as you approach Crate, which is heaving every morning of the week! Lucky enough to nab the street-side spot in front of a colourful mural, we settled in for some of the best bowls (with the best names) in town. My delicious ‘bowlorama’ with frozen banana, dragon fruit (a MUST for brekkies in Bali – this bright pink fruit is in abundance!), granola, watermelon and shredded coconut confirmed that the Crate hype is justified. I coupled my breakfast bowl with a ‘Go Fruit Y’Self’ juice of strawberry, pineapple and banana. Skymie enjoyed his ‘Eggxlent’ cooked breakfast of fried eggs, fresh salsa + parmesan on toast and a fresh coconut. Crate do good coffee as well. Plan to start at least one of your Canggu mornings here.
The Shady Shack
Like a leafy ode to casual island dining, The Shady Shack has a lovely wrap-around verandah dotted with cushioned nooks that will have you relaxing into your beachside holiday in no time. Whether your brekky preference is bowls, beans, eggs or haloumi, you will find what your heart desires. The coffee here may be the best in Canggu! But whatever you do, try one of the boss smoothies. I had the Kale Storm of kale, banana, spinach, spirulina, coconut oil, coconut milk and bee pollen and for around AUD$4.80 it’s certainly cheaper than a green smoothie back home!
Our first morning in Canggu was spent over a lazy breakfast here, and it was hard to not just come back every morning. We were lucky enough to be sleeping at The Slow Island Stay, so it was an easy meander downstairs to the chic restaurant of hanging green plants, minimalist wooden furniture and cool photography prints. I ordered the ‘Sunshine Granola’ with vanilla yoghurt, island fruits, coconut water and cocoa. I was surprised to be pouring coconut water over my breakfast, but it worked so well against the yoghurt and a delicious praline-like creamy slab of something-or-other that I wanted to eat all day long! Skymie was over-the-moon with his hotcake brekky with pumpkin, buckwheat, cashew nut cream, butter milk and burnt orange. These delights (and the good coffee) were served on and in stylish ceramic tableware. I also tried one of the juices bottled by the Slow, with apple, bitter gourd, cucumber, lime and mint, which gave a zesty kick to the morning.
Evenings at the Slow are cosy, tasty affairs. Start with one of the supreme cocktails. I tried the ‘Jack-o-lada’ of Jack fruit rum, coconut arak (the local spirit of choice in Indonesia, made from the fermented sap of coconut flowers), and exotic syrup, garnished with a semi-dried pineapple and glass straw – a conscious effort to reduce waste, which is one of the commendable attributes of The Slow. Skymie had a ‘Colombian 79’ of tobacco rum, banana syrup, bitter lime and long pepper, which he was pretty chuffed about.
We ordered a spread of tapas food. Co-owner George Gorrow (who I interviewed for my Bondi Beach Radio show – coming soon) was there on the night and recommended the mahi-mahi dip, which came with radish and crackers and was smokey and delicious, and the cos heart salad – super yum! I’m always a sucker for corn on the cob as well, so the fact this one had Japanese shicimi spice was a no-brainer in the order stakes from me. But I think the stand-out dish for me was the labneh with little carrots, dukkah spice and puffed grains for its combo of crunch and creamy. Add to all this great food (by Australian chef Shannon Moran) a tea-lit ambience and stellar soundtrack and you’d be mad not to dine at The Slow. You should stay here, too – but more on that in another post coming soon!
Lacalita Bar & Cocina
The Mexican fare in this bright, central restaurant did come recommended to us, but alas we were short on time so opted for an afternoon drink here instead, and found it’s a perfect location from which to watch the bustle and chill of Canggu life. While peering out at thong-clad beauties zipping along Batu Balong on scooters with surfboards strapped to the sides, we enjoyed margaritas. My ‘Manzanita with cold-pressed sour green apple was as refreshing as the menu promised. Skymie couldn’t help but get the signature one with jalapeno-infused tequila, lime and starfruit. Despite trying to go along with the hashtag alongside it #manup, he found it really did blow his mouth up. We munched on tortilla chips and salsa.
Right down by Batu Bolong Beach, this institution is worth a drop in for some beach-side drinks, live music and plenty of good people watching. The popular painted blue murals make for some great insta opportunities as well!
The Lawn Beach Lounge
This is the new buzz spot for sunsets, but given this was rainy season and the early evenings were more likely a wash out, we opted to head here for a casual seaside lunch, and were pleasantly surprised at just how good the food was! The vegan gado gado with zucchini noodles, beans, cabbage and chili peanut sauce was zesty and spicy in all the right ways. And how can you go wrong with truffled mac and cheese balls with red pepper aioli? Maybe you can, but this place surely didn’t. They were as divine as they sound. We also happily crunched away on the mixed green salad.
The laid-back chic of the interiors – wood and rattan, comfy cushions, and strung lights make this a great place to grab a Bintang and while away a few hours. Unfortunately the actual lawn was closed post-rain while we were there, but was opening up again as we left (we were eager to get down to the beach as the sun had come out again). Go for the sunset drinks if its around, but stay for the amazing food.
Since our recent trip to Sweden, we are all about the concept of Fika (Scandi version of afternoon tea and cake), so just seeing this place brought on a rush of the good feels. And then when Skymie saw they had vegan meatballs, there was no doubt we were going to dine here. I had a creamy chicken dish that came with a crispy salad, which was simple and really tasty as nordic fare often is. We also enjoyed a glass of red wine and the hygge-style ambience. We definitely didn’t feel like we were in Bali, despite the friendly local staff and the buzz of the Canggu street outside.
Nothing like Italian dining al fresco style – in Indonesia (!?). We were lured to Bottega Italiana by the cute exterior (and the fact Skymie loves Italian food anytime, anywhere)! This comprehensive menu makes choosing hard, but judging from our food, it’s probably all delicious! We chose simple lunchtime fare of a vegetarian panini and spaghetti, but they also offer house cured and smoked meats, local and imported cheeses and a full breakfast menu as well. We loved it here!
I know what you’re thinking – Italian and Scandinavian restaurants, Mexican bars, hipster cafes – is this really Bali? While there are plenty of warungs serving traditional dishes, and Indonesian tastes are on lots of the menus, Canggu obviously caters to travellers who are drawn to a mix of international cuisines. I have one more for the mix – the french bakery and cafe Monsieur Spoon! Run by two Parisian cousins, this place has your sweet tooth sorted with pastries and breads galore. We opted for the lemon meringue and salted caramel tarts, perfect for an afternoon pit stop.
Keep an eye out for my upcoming Bali Special #2 on Wanderlust on Bondi Beach Radio! And if you have any fave spots to eat or drink in Canggu I may have missed, let us know in the comments below!