Bali’s Best Buddha Bowls: A Foodies Account of the Islands Best (+Photos)

Bali is known for many things. Stunning beaches, a serene yoga scene, great surf, and a buzzing nightlife. Yet among these treasures, if there’s one highlight that stands out, it’s the food. You can think of the island as the hub of the health food rise, where smoothies, avo toast, and salad bowls reign supreme.

In fact, the health food scene has developed into something of a frenzy here, with simple salads turned Buddha bowls and smoothies turned smoothie bowls, adapted and exported across the globe. While a decent salad bowl isn’t hard to come by these days, you can expect each and every dish in Bali to be made with top-quality ingredients and sold for a surprisingly low price.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s not all healthy food here. You’ll also find some of the best pizzas and homemade smash burgers on the island, not to mention traditional Balinese dishes like Nasi and Mie Goreng. But as a big fan of a nutritious diet myself, Bali’s healthy food certainly steals the spotlight.

As healthy food takes the island by storm, new restaurants and cafes open by the minute. To make your search for the best Buddha bowl a bit easier, I’ve put together a few of my favorite bowls and restaurants in Bali.

What is a Buddha Bowl

Buddha Bowl

You might think a Buddha bowl is just a glorified salad, but these segmented salads actually originate from the Buddhist principle of balance. How, you ask? Well, there are stories of Buddha carrying a bowl from village to village, filling his bowl with small tastes of food that each villager would offer him. The result was a bowl of abundant, delicious, nutritious food, balancing flavors and food groups that resembled the overflowing stomach of the Buddha himself. Whether this is true or not, I can’t confirm. But it sure makes for a good story!

These bowls are usually vegetarian or even vegan. While the contents of each bowl are variable, they typically have a rice or grain base, topped with one type of protein (usually tofu or tempe in Bali), different vegetables, salad greens, fruit, seeds, and nuts, and finished with a dressing. These days, Buddha bowls are so variable you can get them hot or cold, and add chicken, halloumi, or feta toppings.

How does one judge a Buddha Bowl? Well, of course, the quality of the ingredients, taste, and overall presentation are the most important factors. But I’ve also considered the atmosphere of the restaurant and the price of the product in this list.

Nalu Bowls, Canggu, Seminyak, Uluwatu, Berawa


It all starts with Nalu Bowls. Seriously, the now international smoothie bowl cafe basically started the smoothie bowl revolution in Bali. They have a location in Canggu, Seminyak, Berawa, and even a cafe overlooking the crashing waves at Uluwatu. Nalu Bowls has been so successful that they have even expanded across the seas into Portugal.

Nalu Bowls began with a simple smoothie bowl offering and has expanded its menu to include coffees, breakfasts, burgers, and Buddha bowls.

A simple concept, their bowls are inspired by Hawaiian and surfing culture, featuring tropical fruit and vegetables topped off with crunchy granola and nut toppings. Each smoothie bowl is named after another famous surf break, from Pipeline in Hawaii (a classic tropical blend) to Bali’s very own Uluwatu (with dragon fruit, papaya, and coconut flakes) and even Jbay in South Africa (the delicious peanut butter and banana combo).

I’ve visited all four Nalu Bowl locations, but my favorites have to be the sea-view location in Uluwatu and the streetside cafe in Canggu. The Uluwatu location is right next to the famous Single Fin restaurant and bar, which turns into Bali’s biggest night out every Sunday evening.

A healthy bowl costs around 75k Rupiah, which is less than $5. They open from 7:30 am and close at 4 pm every day of the week.

Crate Cafe, Canggu

Crate Cafe

Nestled in the rice terraces of Canggu, just off the buzzing main street of Batu Bolong, Crate Cafe is a trendy spot famous for its breakfasts, overflowing chia bowls, and good vibes.

The cafe is basically located under a warehouse roof with open walls and plenty of covered seating. If you’re staying in central Canggu, Crate is just north of the main neighborhood center. I like to walk around Canggu since traffic can be heavy, and a walk from Echo Beach to Crate will take only around 25 minutes. Alternatively, you could travel by scooter and be there in less than ten minutes. They have ample parking for bikes around the corner of the restaurant.

Crate Cafe

Their menu is off-the-charts delicious. Painted on a concrete wall behind the counter, you can choose from smoothies, juices, and coffees, as well as smoothie bowls, Buddha bowls (or, as they call them, super bowls), and breakfasts.

Their super bowls are exceptional, with generous portions for only around $4 a shot. The ‘chik chik boom’ is my favorite, with chicken, halloumi, and a honey mustard dressing. For a vegan option, you can’t go wrong with the ‘raw deal.’ Crate’s motto is to keep things simple and consistent, and this is precisely what they do as they deliver one delicious meal after the next.

Crate Cafe opens at 6 am daily (yes, even on Sundays) and closes up at 5 pm. There’s a good reason they’re so busy from early morning to afternoon – Crate is the hub of the Canggus social scene, hosting events, showcasing local clothing brands, and even hosting a gallery exhibition each month.

Sea Circus

Sea Circus

I don’t visit Seminyak often, but when I do, Sea Circus is at the top of my list. Located in a busy part of the neighborhood around most of the best boutiques and shops on the island, this is the perfect spot to grab some lunch between purchases.

Sea Circus

The bulk of their menu is Mexican-inspired, but they also serve three smoothie bowl options as well as salad bowls. Bowls range in price from 75k to 110k Rupiah ($5 to $7) and are beautifully plated in hand-carved wooden bowls. The ‘Nourish Bowl’ is my personal favorite, with organic kale, baby spinach, chickpeas, beetroot, carrots, and other delicious toppings on a bed of red quinoa. It’s vegetarian and gluten-free but does come with an option to add chicken for a bit of extra protein.

Sea Circus

They also serve delicious cocktails and coffees and have an open Wi-Fi policy, which makes this an epic option for coworking or digital nomads. Breakfast is served from 7:30 am until midday, after which you’ll need to order from the lunch and dinner menu.

As if the delicious food wasn’t enough to have you sold, Sea Circus is decorated with quirky, bright colors, moody string lighting, and casual sharing-style seating. This makes it a great option for large groups and for solo travelers. From the pastel blue stool seating to the mix-matched clocks showing the time of day at different surf spots around the world to the banana-yellow coffee machine, this spot is a treat for the senses.

Shady Shack

Shady Shack

Tucked away beneath the lush greenery of Canggu, Shady Shack is one of my go-to spots for lunch and dinner in Canggu. It’s a casual restaurant with a commitment to vegetables, serving up inventive and delicious veggie dishes in a chic-rustic environment.

Sit under the shaded trees, inside the boho interior, or order food straight to your accommodation with their no-contact delivery service. Shady Shack is open from breakfast through to dinner, opening at 7:30 am and closing at 10:30 pm.

I’m often skeptical when a restaurant has such an extensive menu, but Shady Shack prepares each and every dish with the same love, care, and top-quality ingredients as the next. They serve smoothie bowls, all-day breaky, sharing snacks and platters, burgers, and wraps – but most importantly, they have an extensive Buddha bowl menu section.

The ‘nori bowl’ is their equivalent to a poke bowl but with a vegetarian twist. I’m a massive fan of the ‘halloumi bowl,’ with crispy fried halloumi, fresh salad ingredients, a creamy herb tahini dressing, and a blistered lime to top it off. The ‘protein bowl’ is packed with protein-rich foods, including lentils, spinach, nuts, and green beans.

As an additional note, they also make the juiciest vegetarian jackfruit burger I have ever tasted. I know this isn’t a Buddha bowl, but I felt it deserved a mention regardless!

The bowls cost between 80k and 85k Rupiah ($5 – $5.50), which is an absolute steal for such good quality ingredients and the peaceful restaurant atmosphere. Although it’s close to the heart of the neighborhood, it feels a world away from the tooting hooters, traffic, and busy nightclubs of central Canggu.

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