Balinese cuisine is fantastic, but sometimes I just need something more familiar while I’m traveling. So, as I toured, every couple of days I said “sampai jumpa” (see you later) and then “ciao” and set out to find some of the best Italian food in Bali. I certainly wasn’t sorry that I had.
La Looch è delizioso
I didn’t even have to leave the beach to be transported by the Italian flavors of La Lucciola (“La Looch” to locals). The restaurant is located on Petitenget Beach in Seminyak. I had read that this was a highly-rated restaurant with excellent fine dining, serving both vegetarian and meaty options.
The view was so fantastic that I had to go back another night for the sunset. There’s only one word for it…spectacular. This time, however, I entered in the most charming way possible. La Looch is next door to the famed Petitenget Temple. The temple has a large parking lot and shares it with the restaurant. After touring the quaint sea temple and the shrines in the courtyard, I followed the wooden bridge over the creek to claim my table on the second floor. Serene and beautiful!
Hideaway in clear view
Further inland, tucked away with art galleries and guest houses, I discovered Zibiru Cucina Italiana while walking around one Friday evening. I was lured in by the drifting sounds of live jazz. I grabbed an amazing panini from Bottega, Ziburu’s marketplace, and made my reservations for the next night.
Zibiru’s quaint whitewashed storefront and lush courtyard make it a perfect little hideaway where everything smelt divine, from the fresh focaccia to the wealthy and rustic lamb ragu. The flavors believe in the Italian heritage of the chefs, and the care that they take with local ingredients. Choosing a dessert was almost impossible, but the Sorbetto al Limone was perfect on a warm evening.
In central Bali, I found Uma Cucina, located in the COMO hotel. The rustic décor, the emphasis on using local and organic ingredients, and the use of brick-fired ovens and charcoal grills make Uma Cucina something special. The other thing people rave about is the service. The staff at Uma Cucina go out of their way to meet the needs of their diners. I was called by name and treated as though I belonged there. It was almost like being back in my grandmother’s kitchen.
I spent the day enjoying Ubud’s tourist attractions, the Neka Art Museum, a river rafting tour, and some relaxing spa treatments before settling in for dinner. The informal and friendly atmosphere fit right into my mellow mood, and it also provided wifi, allowing me to catch up on some emails, and to upload some photos of the day’s adventures.
I had been told to try their pizza and was delighted with the crispy crust. I also tasted the black ink linguine and the tiger prawns – delicious, especially when followed by a light, refreshing granita. I wish I could return to try their brunch. Maybe next time.