Luxurious windy seafood dinner
If you're a seafood fan, the Jimbaran seafood eateries should be on your must-try list during your visit to Bali. The bay is not only one of Bali's best spots for spectacular sunsets, but it's also a popular spot for grilled seafood. The white-sand beach, known locally as Pantai Muaya, is lined with more than a dozen seafood cafés.
Each Jimbaran seafood cafe, which is mostly open from the afternoon till late, serves freshly cooked fish at candlelit tables on the seaside. The horizon includes faint lights from Ngurah Rai Airport and traditional fishing boat lanterns at sea as the sun sets.
As you approach the Jimbaran seafood cafes from the beach, you'll observe similar sets — wooden tables with parasols down to the tide's edge, and some with lovely palm leaf decorations. If you walk in from the main entrance, you'll notice grills and live seafood displays under each cafe's signboards, which display different stock and 'catches of the day.'
We noted subtle differences in the homemade sambal (traditional chilli sauce) in their form and spiciness from multiple dinners we had at several cafés here. Menega and Intan Sari are very reliable in terms of stock and flavor (and usually draw the largest crowds), while others provide torches and elegant table settings as extras. These venues have a lot of competition, which equals good service. Staff and waiters are courteous, and the most speak basic English.
As a little plate of salted nuts and/or kerupuk (shrimp crackers) is served as an accompaniment to your beer or drink of choice, sink into a chair. These eateries are known as the birthplace of ikan bakar Jimbaran, or 'grilled snapper à la Jimbaran,' and serve red snapper, crab, calamari, prawns, and lobster, as well as other seafood. Steamed rice and typical side dishes of spicy plecing kangkung (stir-fried water spinach) are available, as well as fresh fruit platters for dessert. Use your fingers as part of the experience — a bowl with water and lime slices (to 'rinse' your fingers) is included. Look for two types of sambal: the well-known crimson paste and a hotter variety known as sambal matah (fresh chopped chilli, shallots and lemongrass). If you can stomach the heat, try both, or simply request a milder version ahead of time. For diversity, several Jimbaran seafood cafes have French fries, fried rice, and chop suey on their menus, as well as barracuda, grouper, mahi-mahi, and kingfish in their seafood selections.
What is the best way to get to the Jimbaran seafood cafes?
South of the InterContinental Bali Resort, at Jimbaran Corner, you'll find Jalan Bukit Permai, commonly known as Jalan Four Seasons. Pantai Muaya is a 1 kilometer stretch of beach between two 5-star hotels that stretches along the sea. It's difficult to miss the enormous parking lot with an arching signboard and billowing smoke from the burning coconut husks. The Jimbaran seafood cafés are well-known among locals. If you stay at one of these hotels, you can take a leisurely stroll along the beach and choose an open table.
Although most of the time it is 'first-come, first-served,' reservations are required during the holiday seasons when it is generally packed. In the area, a local taxi cooperative has a monopoly. You can take public transportation in, but there are no other options when you depart. Prepare for your trip by negotiating your destination and rates ahead of time.
Open : Daily