Lilla Pantai is the fabulous new beach front restaurant owned by the same family who run the popular Lilla Warung in Jalan Bumi. It opened quietly about four weeks ago and is now in full swing, with all decor completed, staff fully trained and glitches ironed out. The son of the owners, a Swedish- Balinese couple who own the successful Lilla Warung, trained as an architect in Sweden and returned to supervise the renovation of the new seafront property. Bali called him home. He has done an excellent job, incorporating many traditional Balinese features such as palm tree woven walls ( over concrete I imagine), curved thatching at the entrance, old Balinese black and white photos, lamps and a happy Ganesha at the entrance. The rest is sleek and modern: the interplay between old and new works remarkably well. The internal space is tiered: everyone has a sea view, with hardwood decks at the lower level and softly lit beach front tables on the sand.
During these early weeks, this hospitable young man and his father have been present to iron out teething problems. One night, the restaurant’s large gas bottle ran out at around 8.30 PM as they were in full service swing of the second sitting for the evening. Desperate calls were made, solutions were found. This is professional place with high standards, years of restaurant experience, and an eagerness to get things right.
The service is efficient and friendly. They remember you and greet you warmly, not so hard since I have visited six times. The kitchen is open planned, with modern sleek stainless steel appliances providing a full view of the chefs at work. Food presentation is impressive. Modern Suar and Jati wood boards and irregular shaped bowls are used for breads and salads. Tables are adorned with oil candles and terrarium plants.
Now let’s consider the food, since we are here to eat. Serves are generous and the food is an absolute bargain. Many dishes are priced between 25 IDR nd 59 IDR ( AU $2.50 – $5.90) . There is a great range of appetizers which are mostly Western in style. A bowl of calamari fritti, some garlic bread and a guacamole to share with one other is an excellent evening treat. The mains are a mixture of traditional and authentic Balinese with a few pasta dishes added. A bottle of Two Islands Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio which, at 215,000IDR ( $21.00), is a local bargain. Large Bintang beers are the usual $3.00.
I have been slowly working my way through the menu here and have enjoyed every dish. Pasta with prawn and chilli, seafood curry, Gado- Gado (the best in Sanur), calamari fritti with garlic aioli- excellent, garlic bread, nasi campur ( served at lunchtime) and more. All sensational, cheap, authentic and generous. My photos do not do justice to the food here: as, most of the time I have found the need to eat before even considering the camera! If you are in Sanur or Denpasar, go now! This place is the best restaurant along the beach strip.
Jl. Duyung (Sanur Beach Street Walk), Sanur, Bali
Turn left at the end of Jalan Kesuma Sari, pass the Fairmont Sanur Hotel, then pass four shops and you’re there! Or enter from the end of Jalan Duyong and turn right: easy to find, just look for the sign.
Open for lunch and dinner. Nasi campur is included at lunchtime from 11AM to 3 PM as well as the regular alla carte menu.
I’m heading back there right now!