The last 1,5 month I’ve lived in Sanur on Bali, Indonesia. Sanur is not the most exciting or ‘hip’ place on Bali compared to partying Kuta/Legian, hip and swanky Seminyak, spiritual and cultural Ubud or surfers paradise the Bukit peninsula. It’s even called ‘Snore’ by some people!
However I really like it as it quite laid-back without too much of the tourist craziness of Kuta or Seminyak. Sanur has a nice mix of locals, tourists and more long term ‘expats’. There is also a nice long beach protected from the waves, so a great place to go for a swim or just hang out on the beach.
Sanur is located on the east side of Denpasar. It has decent beach with a pedestrian boulevard with many restaurants and bars. Parallel inland you can find the main tourist road (Jln. Danau Tamblingan) with even more restaurants and bars. Further inland there is Jalan Bypass the main highway running through Sanur which roughly separates the tourist section from more day-to-day Sanur.
The diversity of people living in Sanur is also visible in the range of places to eat. You will find everything from local food stalls to fancy restaurants.
Living here long term I tend to eat more in the budget places. But that certainly isn’t a punishment as often the local little restaurants (‘warungs’) offer nicer food than the more upmarket tourist places!
And of course, if you’re used to Western price levels almost all food in Bali will seem ‘budget’. If I’m talking about budget here that means having lunch or dinner for less than 30.000 IDR (2 Euro) as opposed to an ‘expensive’ one at 60.000 IDR (4 Euro)…
You will find most of the more budget and local place on the inland side of the Jalan Bypass.
With the large local expat community, going out for a drinks is more like going to your local bar in your hometown. You see a lot of familiar faces (most likely your dive instructor from that morning!) catching up with each other and the local bar staff. Sanur is not the place if you are big on partying in a big club or high-end bar to sunrise.
So let me run you through I few of my favorites where I tended to end up….
Lili Mama Warung
A small place in a sort of a ‘glass box’ in front of the luxury homestay of the same owner. Friendly staff, and a nice selection of food with a lot of Western options. I came here often for breakfast, and to do some work on my laptop on the big table in front. Many regular Western customers so good to get into the local ‘expat’ scene.
Excellent food in a cosy setting for an excellent price. The owner Nanda is a sweetheart. Although it is a simple place on a busy road, with use of clean colours and plants it offers a very nice terrace to sit down. There is a selection of both Indonesian and Western food. Recommended are the many great rice dishes! Customers are a mix of locals and long term Western visitors. Living close by this was my ‘go to’ place for many a lunch and dinner.
This is actually a more expensive place aimed more at tourists. However I’ve added it as it is a fabulous place for breakfast (and more). I treated myself once and fully enjoyed it! The quality of the food is very good and the location is amazing. You can have a table right in the sand on the beach, and enjoy your meal while the waves tickle your toes. Worth to splurge out on once….
A super small really local place. Owned by the sweetest couple with an adorable kid playing around. The place doesn’t look like much, it’s a hole in the wall with 3 small tables. But the food is fantastic, all freshly made at ridiculous low prices. I only ate Indonesian food (awesome!) but they also have a selection of standard Western fare (burger, sandwich). Recommended are the great home made fresh fruit juices.
Where: Jl. Danau Tondanau (across from Lili Mama Warung)
Great for: cheap and excellent lunch and dinner, fresh fruit juices.
Price range: 10.000 – 20.000 IDR
Wifi: You might get the one from Lili Mama Warung.
Open: seems like always…
Considered by many the best Italian restaurant in Sanur. Tried to go there when I had a craving for pizza but was surprised by a 45 minute waiting time for a table… “You mean I have to wait for food… in Bali?” So bailed to Trattoria a few doors down but still curious to try once…
Also well known for the best ice cream in Sanur! But if you come at wrong time be ready to stand in line for it. Worth the wait in my opinion. And when you order ice cream, keep the system flowing and follow the proces! First pay at the cashier and get your receipt, and then go and get your ice cream.
Website: Homepage, Facebook, Tripadvisor.
Where: Jl. Danau Tamblingan 228
Great for: Great Italian food (so they say…), fantastic Italian ice cream
Price range: Well the ice cream is 25.000 IDR…
Open: 11.00 – 23.00
Martabak & Terang Bulan Taman Sari
Some of my favourite Indonesian dishes are Martabak and Terang Bulan. Martabak is a sort of a big spring roll filled with meat, vegetables, mushrooms and other savoury filling. It’s a spectacle to see how they make them. A small ball of dough is flicked around till it becomes a huge pancake. The pancake it thrown in a big frying pan, the filling is added and the pancake is folded closed till it become a big package. Yummy!
Terang Bulan is the sweet cousin of the Martabak. Two smaller pancakes are made, and stacked together with your preferred sweet filling in between. My favourite is banana and chocolade, but there are many varieties available.
Martabak and Terang Bulan are usually sold together at the same food stalls. You will find them all over along the roads, but I tend to take a detour to Taman Sari as that is the best one I’ve tried!
Where: Jl. Danau Buyan
Great for: Great Martabak and Terang Bulan, worth the detour.
Price range: 15.000 – 30.000 IDR
A Swedish cafe on the main tourist drag in Sanur. Best for Western style food, and has a nice selection of cakes and other sweet goodies. I’ve only been here for breakfast and coffee with cake. The highlight of the place is the nice terrace overlooking the main street. Great to sit on a Sunday morning, having a coffee and reading the supplied newspaper while watching the world walk by.
Website: Homepage, Facebook, Tripadvisor.
Where: Jl. Danau Tamblingan
Great for: Breakfast, coffee and cake. Sunday morning people watching.
Price range: 30.000 – 100.000 IDR
Open: 06.00 – 22.00
Night (Sindhu) Market
The best place if you want to be introduced to all kinds of Indonesian food without exploring all the back allies and side streets. Cheap too! It is a little square with a variety of little local food stalls. A lot of tourists come here, and as you all sit close together on communal tables it is a good opportunity to meet new people. It is a bit touristy, although there are also always a lot of locals digging in.
Try the fried banana fritters ‘pisang goreng’… soo good!
There is are also a few shops selling all kind of tourist trinkets which I avoid.
A must visit for a meal or drink as it is an unique ambiance! Man Shed is located in what basically is an old garage filled with classic cars and motorbikes, and all sorts of automotive decoration such as gas station signs etc. Check out the old scooters transformed into little tables!
Due to the massive size it can feel a bit empty but there is usual a pretty good vibe going on. There are pool tables in the back to challenge your friends in a little bet who going to pick up the bill…
There is a selection of tasty Western and Indonesian food, but you will come here more for the setting than the food.
Warung Dapoer Oma
A little place that finely balances the line between being a traditional cheap warung but clean and modern too to appeal to the Western tourist.
Recommendation is to take the classic Nasi Campur here. That is rice with a selection of little side dishes. You can keep it small and on a budget, but with all the nice food displayed behind the counter you tend too take ‘just that one more’ side dish extra so watch out! Popular with both locals and visitors.
Where: Jl. Danau Buyan No.34
Great for: Nasi Campur
Price range: 15.000 – 50.000 IDR depending on your level of control!
Open: 09.00 – 19.30
This open air place has great wraps, burgers and other sandwiches on offer. But the ace on its sleeve is the Thursday night special. Free draft beer between the moment you order and the moment your food is served! Yes, FREE BEER! So take a table close to the keg and get working on those pints.
But the great food totally makes it worth a visit any night! I particularly liked the Cubana, and the pulled pork sandwich.
What would life be without coffee? Not much that is… No worries then in Sanur because probably the best coffee shop of Bali is here! Simply Brew offers all sorts of amazing coffee specialties created by their experienced baristas. The owners truly love and care about coffee and it shows. If you are a coffee aficionado you can probably spend hours talking with them and their knowledgable staff. Simply Brew roasts their own coffee so always fresh.
Also great for working as upstairs they have big tables and power outlets set between all sorts of coffee machinery. You will find many ‘expats’ and better-off locals sitting behind their MacBooks working on another intense work project.
The location on Jalan Bypass might not be the most scenic, but the awesome coffee will make it worth your visit! Don’t forget to ask for the loyalty card, your 11th coffee is free!
My favourite place to unwind after a day working (i.e. sitting behind the laptop!) in Sanur. This is a little public beach and at the end of the day it is such a nice place to be. The beach is not much, but you will surrounded by locals and families unwinding after a day of work. Bintangs will be opened, kites are flying , dogs and kids are running around and there is laughter and happy faces around. If you scan the horizon you’ll see holy Gunung Agung mountain overlooking everything and the steep cliffs of Nusa Penida island jutting out from sea.
Tips, get a beer from the lovely lady Yulia, one of the last little stores on your right in the street leading to the beach. You can recognise the store by the big ice cream freezer in front. She sells beers for supermarket prices which is almost half what the shacks on the beach charge. You can get spring rolls and freshly grilled saté (meat skewers) from beach vendors to accompany your ice-cold Bintang.
The alley to the beach starts from the main tourist road (Jl. Danau Tamblingan) at the crossing near Jimmy’s Bar.
Where: Jl. Pantai Sindu
Great for: Late afternoon beers and snacks, mingling with locals
Price range: large Bintang 30.000 IDR, spring rolls 10.000 IDR
A classic Sanur bar popular with both tourists and ‘expats’. Not the most sophisticated place around, but good bands, a dance floor and usually a busy crowd make this one of the most liveliest places for a night on the town in Sanur.
Well know with the local expat community for Fridays ‘Freeflow’ event. An hour of free beer from 18.00 to 19.00. Yes, FREE BEER! But there is a catch.. The participants for Freeflow are in a separate marked area. If any of the participants uses their phone or uses the bathroom, the free beer ends for everybody! So a great bonding experience.
Apparently you can also eat at Casablanca but I don’t know anybody who ever did that…
Website: Homepage, Facebook, Tripadvisor.
Where: Jl. Danau Tamblingan 120
Great for: Free beer at Freeflow, best party bar in Sanur, live music.
Price range: small Bintang 33.000 IDR
Open: 10.00 – 01.00
Quite a low-key bar that is everybody’s ‘local’. It is the bar for the local diving community. You’ll find most staff of the dive shops in Sanur dropping by on a Friday or Saturday night to catch up on the latest gossip, have a beer and unwind. So head out here if you want to buy your guide or instructor a cold Bintang as thanks for all their hard work!
Linga Longa has a pretty good house band playing rock covers.
Menno has had the travel bug ever since spending his childhood in the tropics. In 2013 he left his office career and is now diving and sailing the world.
He enjoys sharing the beautiful underwater world and exploring remote islands. He gets his kicks when he can help fellow travelers have an amazing life-changing experience.