I love Canguu.
Canguu is a region in Bali, west of the more popular beaches of Kuta, Legion and Seminyak. Canguu is a very laid back area of rice fields, farms, coast line and beaches. It is famous for its surf breaks of Canguu, Batu Balong and Echo Beach (far away in time… sorry couldn’t resist).
The coast consistently caters for all sorts of surfers: long board riders, short board riders, kite surfers, beginners and big wave junkies and draws people from around the world. It’s not a “shopping mall” crowd, it is a down to earth “I-dig-surf-and-life” kinda crowd.
Aside from chasing the perfect wave along Canguu, you can also find eclectic organic, hipster restaurants, funky music venues, a healthy art scene and a plethora of yoga and health venues. Hence why I love the region so much: i t has everything I need.
These are my top three restaurants and cafes in Canguu
Breakfast at the Shady Shack
For breakfast (either before or after your morning surf), is the Shady Shack.
It’s sister cafe, Betelnut is really well known and on the other side of the paddy field, but Shady isn’t far behind it in popularity and the times that I go there it is packed.
Both cafes offer local and organic produce, turned into inspired creations. The vegetarian options are amazing and really well priced.
I meet Gypsy the owner briefly and we discuss the diverse menu, her use of medicinal plants and even bee pollen in her shakes. Being an avid subscriber to Hippocrate’s advice of “let food be your medicine” I am an instant fan of the Shady Shack.
The menu is extensive and caters for vegans to meat eaters but it is predominantly a plant based food fest.
The creations are beyond my imagination and I love the way each meal is it’s own art display and visual orgasmic delight. Nourishing one’s soul and body is so important with food and Gypsy and Shady Shack have nailed it, 10/10.
Today I have the Haloumi Bowl at Shady Shack and it is sensational: rocket, zucchini spaghetti, roasted capsicum, pickled beetroot, quinoa, chick peas, and a couple of devine sauces. A tasteorgasm!
At Betelnut my favorite would be their big salad bowl with 4 different salads. But the last two days I have had the fish burger, with chippies and salad. Also yummy.
Lunch at Old Man’s
If you haven’t already, go for a late morning surf at Batu Bolong then head to Old Man’s for lunch.
Old Man’s is the communal meeting place for locals and travellers and I don’t think a day goes past when I am not there .
You can literally come out from a surf, rinse off the Indian Ocean in a shower at the back of the pub and order a chilled bintang while still dripping wet.
Sean the owner is a great guy, known by many and very hospitable. It’s laid back atmosphere is accepting and there’s usually a band playing most nights of the week.
Batu Balong Beach is at the end of the street and is an awesome place to watch life slip by or roll by, with the many hypnotic waves. Grab a coconut and make yourself at home. No one is in a rush around here.
I usually have the snapper and chips but the menu, for a pub, is very accommodating even offering vegetarian options.
Every day has a happy hour, but my advice would be to head there for lunch and or an early dinner. Which brings me to my favourite dinner dine in place Lacalitas.
Dinner at Lacalita
Chef and Aussie ex-pat owner, Will, opened up Lacalitas after his Seminyak sensation, Lacalaca was rated a winner by trip advisor. Both restaurants boast mexican flavours but both have their own individual flare and style.
La Taqueria Tostaditas and the Ahi Poke are delicious for starters and the soft crab is my favourite for mains. The menu is worth drooling over and whatever you do don’t rush .
The BEST thing on the menu (in my humble opinion) is the chilli margarita. I am not sure if I am going back any more for the food, the chilli margaritas or the fantastic atmosphere and decor.
The walls have lots of interesting items to check out, wonderful photos and memorabilia. It all comes together to be one of my favourite restaurants, quite possibly in the world.
The smiling friendly staff really do make you feel at home and Putu, who I have got to know reasonably well, will remember your name so by your second visit you will feel like Lacalita is home.
Will and Lacalita it’s a big 10/10.
Congratulations for producing a world class restaurant with the best trimmings in the humble, laid back region of Canguu.