The allure of the southernmost tip of Bali does not lie in views of tiered rice paddies or acres of lush green jungle like its neighbor to the north, Ubud. This is due to the fact that this part of the island is comprised primarily of limestone, rendering it quite dry. The region’s Ungasan and Pecatu areas are, however, blessed with dramatic limestone cliffs that drop down to sparkling turquoise seas. Many resorts have taken advantage of the million-dollar view by building restaurants perched at the edge of cliffs, boasting not only great menus but also unobstructed panoramas of the Indian Ocean. Here are four elegant hotel dining destinations — all open to non-guests — with unparalleled views and carefully crafted menus perfect for lunch or a romantic sunset dinner.
Il Ristorante at Bulgari Resort Bali is only open in the evenings and features an open-air Balinese bale structure surrounded by a reflection pond. Give yourself enough time before your reservation to sip cocktails at the bar while watching the sun slowly disappear into the horizon. The beautiful sky-meets-sea view is the perfect start to the elegant Italian degustation dinner that follows. Chef Maurizio Bombini has an eight-course menu (approximately $112 per person) that tantalizes taste buds with courses such as Wagyu beef rib-eye with porcini mushrooms, Parmigiano-Reggiano cream and Nero d’Avola reduction sauce, as well as buffalo mozzarella ravioli with eggplant, olives and aged ricotta. Take advantage of the wine pairing option (which brings the total to approximately $184 per person) to maximize the dim and romantic atmosphere.
Guests on their way down to Nammos Beach must first walk through di Mare at Karma Kandara Resort, and many will undoubtedly feel tempted to make a spontaneous meal detour due to the amazing vistas. The tables at di Mare face an absolutely spectacular view of the natural terrain and ocean beyond the infinity pool below. The restaurant is a wonderful choice for day dining, though it is open for dinner as well. The lunch menu features delicious seafood options, but a recent and exciting new addition is Energy Cuisine, a menu that has been designed to complement Karma’s signature spa treatments. The selections — such as Balinese sea salt roasted ahi tuna served with wild spinach, cherry tomato, shallot, balsamic and basil — are simple and light yet fulfilling.
The design at the Alila Villas Uluwatu is unfussy and sophisticated, a perfect complement to the view of the vast blue sea beyond. The menu at The Warung features Balinese dishes such as Lawar Ayam (green bean salad with chicken and Balinese spices) and Babi Guling (Bali’s famous roast suckling pig), as well as selections from the rest of the Indonesian archipelago like Soup Buntut (savory oxtail soup) and Karedok (raw vegetables in palm sugar dressing). This restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and features communal tables that allow diners to interact with other couples or groups. Since Indonesian food is traditionally meant for sharing, this is a truly wonderful idea, but couples seeking privacy need not worry because tables for two are also available throughout the restaurant.
Translated as “silver pearl” in Arabic, the exquisite Ju-Ma-Na restaurant at Banyan Tree Ungasan is only open for dinner and is absolutely gorgeous at sunset, with a jaw-dropping view from almost 230 feet above the Indian Ocean with waves crashing down below. The menu boasts fresh seafood prepared with French cooking techniques, yet also reflects inspiration from the simplicity of Japanese cuisine. Signature dishes include butter-poached rock lobster, black miso cod and seared river prawn, and Avruga caviar served with guacamole, gold leaves and miso dressing. The ambiance at Ju-Ma-Na is chic and modern, and the restaurant’s themed dinner nights — such as the “Spectacular Moonlight Dinner,” held during full moons — are a great opportunity to enjoy dining al fresco while swaying to the sweet sounds of a jazz band.
Photos Courtesy of Karma Kandara, Bulgari, Banyan Tree and Alila Villas Uluwatu