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Ubud Gourmet

Ubud's Best Restaurants, Cafes, Bars and Recipes

Ubud has always been a much sought-after destination for Japanese travellers, and over the years many have set down roots here creating a lively Japanese expat community. Just one of the many benefits that this community brings to the area is an ample selection of excellent restaurants where you can feast on everything from sushi and sashimi to sukiyaki and sake. If you’re craving great cuisine from the Land of the Rising Sun, these are some of Ubud’s best Japanese restaurants.

Sashimi at Ryoshi

Sashimi at Ryoshi (photo courtesy of Rysohi)

Ryoshi

Since first setting up shop in Seminyak in 1993, Ryoshi has gone on to become the king of Japanese restaurants in Bali with locations in Ubud, Kuta, Seminyak and Sanur, as well as branches in Lombok and Surabaya. Their success is mostly due in part to their consistently good food made fresh to order with high quality ingredients, and their laid-back locales.

Their spacious Ubud branch can be found at the bottom of Hanoman Street just before Coco Supermarket, and it features a mix of low wooden tables with cushions on tatami mats, communal dining tables and wooden bales over tranquil ponds. There is also a cool air-conditioned, non-smoking space available.

The comprehensive menu here includes all the traditional Japanese dishes you know and love  like edamame, tempura and gyoza; sushi and sashimi made from ridiculously fresh fish; and heartier dishes like Udon noodles, sukiyaki hotpots, and rice bowls piled high with grilled meats and fish. Their bento boxes and sushi and sashimi sets are particularly good value.

Relatively new to Ryoshi Ubud is their special teppanyaki counter where you can watch the chefs grill up delectable feasts. The teppanyaki sets include your choice of seafood like king prawns or squid, or  Australian or Wagyu beef, and they include miso soup, sashimi, grilled vegetables, garlic rice and kinako ice cream. Definitely a good bet if you’re dining with a group.

Jalan Hanoman No. 68, Ubud
T: +62 0361 978 524
H: Daily 11am – midnight
www.ryoshibali.com

Yaki Gyoza Cafe Bintang

Yaki Gyoza at Cafe Bintang

Cafe Bintang

Not to be confused with Warung Bintang on Jalan Tirta Tawar (which offers mainly Indonesian fare), Cafe Bintang is a hidden Japanese gem tucked away on a side road off Jalan Suweta in the village of Bentuyung. The vibe here is unpretentious and laid-back, and the second floor dining room looks out over rice paddies and coconut trees. If you’re looking to escape the crowds in Ubud and enjoy inexpensive Japanese cuisine amid gentle breezes, this is your ideal spot.

The interiors here are open and airy with homey touches like bookshelves filled with Japanese titles and cozy platforms with low cushion seating. The staff are also friendly and sweet, which adds to the overall ambiance, and you’ll often find the manager chatting amiably with the customers, many of whom are devoted regulars.

You won’t find handrolls or hamachi nigiri at Cafe Bintang, but rather a simple menu of Japanese soups, salads, curries and noodle dishes. Start with a chilled Bintang, iced green tea or one of their famed Bali Sunset cocktails, and then whet your appetite with an array of appetisers like silky miso soup, fresh salads, or the best chicken or pork gyoza this side of Kyoto.

Main courses consist of rice and noodle dishes like the excellent pork tonkatsu curry (deep fried pork cutlet) in a rich curry sauce with a side of shredded cabbage and rice, or the light and crispy tempura with a side of healthy soba noodles in broth. There are also a few Indonesian dishes on offer for die-hard nasi goreng fans.

Jalan Suweta, Bentuyung, Ubud
T: +62 0361 479 2460
H: Daily 11am – 9pm

Lobster Roll at Toro Sushi

Lobster Roll at Toro Sushi (photo courtesy of Toro Sushi)

Toro Sushi

Sleek and modern, yet still warm and welcoming, Toro Sushi is located on lively Jalan Goutama in the old Bar Luna space. Step inside and the smiling staff will direct you to one of the wooden tables in the softly lit dining room either next to the open-sided front for some people watching, or deeper back for intimate conversations amid striking paintings of seaside scenes and framed Japanese calligraphy prints.

You can stick to the tried and true classics here like agedashi tofu, edamame, and tempura sets as apps, and spicy maki tuna rolls, don buri rice bowls and butterfish nigiri or sashimi for mains. However we highly recommend going for the more imaginative signature fusion rolls, of which there are a profusion to choose from.

Some of our favourites include the Toro Special with cream cheese, tuna, crab and cucumber, wrapped in rice and nori, panko fried and finished with eel sauce and spicy mayo. The Caliente Roll is a fiery creation made with jalepeno and marinated spicy crab, topped with red snapper, spicy mayo and Japanese chili pepper. Each roll is plated like a work of art, and they taste just as good as they look.

Be sure to check out Toro’s specials board, as they usually have an enticing mix of dishes you won’t usually find on the menu like the Lobster Roll with tempura lobster, asparagus, crab, spicy mayo and eel sauce, or the tuna carpaccio. They also have a great selection of sake, saketinis, and signature cocktails like refreshing watermelon mojitos that pack a punch.

Jalan Goutama No. 3, Ubud
T: +62 0361 971 832
H: Daily 11am – 10:30pm
www.facebook.com/ToroSushiCafe/

Udon Noodle Soup at Kagemusha

Udon Noodle Soup at Kagemusha (photo courtesy of Kagemusha)

Kagemusha

One of the best indicators of whether a Japanese restaurant in Bali is truly authentic is the number of Japanese people you see dining there on a regular basis. In this regard Kagemusha comes up spades. Step into their tranquil garden space on any given day or night, and chances are you’ll see a good number of tables filled with Japanese patrons digging into their homestyle Japanese dishes.

Not long ago Kagemusha moved into their current location on the Jalan Raya Nyuh Kuning just before the bridge, and they seem to be the perfect fit for the neighbourhood with their laid-back vibes and homey feel. Long wooden tables allow for leisurely hangouts with friends or loved one, and there is a private table standing alone for group gatherings or an intimate low table in a covered bale for more intimate meals.

If you’re looking for sushi, this is not your spot, but if it’s authentic Japanese country cooking you’re looking for, then Kagemusha is a good bet. Think Onigiri, rice balls wrapped in nori and filled with pickled plum and dried bonito flakes with soy, Teriyaki Don with sauteed chicken in teriyaki sauce served over rice, or Miso Katsu, a breaded deep fried pork cutlet topped with a tasty sweet miso sauce.

Kagemusha also does fabulous lunch sets every day between 11am and 3:30om when you can get your choice of dishes like the assorted seafood and vegetable tempura, chicken karage consisting of golden fried chicken crispy on the outside and tender inside, or deep fried calamari tossed in Balinese sambal for just IDR 55.000. The sets also come with miso soup, rice, and a daily changing vegetable dish.

Jalan Raya Nyuh Kuning, Ubud
T: +62 0361 973 134
H: Daily 11am – 11pm
www.kagemusha-bali.jimdo.com

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Ubud's Best Japanese Restaurants