Gili Air, located off Bali and Lombok is a slice of paradise. Unreal clear water, dream-like snorkeling, stunning sunsets and laid back vibes make Gili Air one of my favourite places. And then there’s the food.
The food in Indonesia is delicious, and the food on Gili Air is as perfect as the idyllic surroundings.
I’ve put together some of the nicest food I ate on Gili Air, that I remembered to take a photo of! Below, you will find a list of places to eat in Gili Air, based on places I have tried.
Breakfast on Gili Air
We stayed at Mawar Bungalows (and I highly recommend it!). Each morning, we had our breakfast on our porch. It was so nice to not even have to leave our hut and to enjoy a fresh breakfast while admiring the lush green view.
While Sean managed to try the eggs and toast, I could never say no to the banana pancake! Made fresh by the lovely mother who ran the bungalows, these thick pancakes contained a full banana – sliced in half – cooked into the batter. Ah-ma-zing!!
And then there was the coffee…Have you ever tried Lombok coffee? It’s so, so good. Thick and grainy (which doesn’t really sound that nice!), it’s so delicious. I was in heaven each morning on that balcony! I love how when you reach the end of a cup of Lombok coffee, you can see the coffee grains sitting at the bottom. Mmm, mmmm!!
Nasi & Mie Goreng
Nasi goreng is my favourite Indonesian dish. A fried rice dish with vegetables, shrimp, kecap manis, garlic and chilies, and it’s such a tasty meal. Often served with a handful of prawn crackers and a perfect fried egg on top, it has it all!
I fell in love with it on my first trip to Jakarta, and was so excited to return to Indonesia to try it again. On Gili Air, there is no shortage of nasi goreng about. My favourite was from Chillout Bar.
The picture above is of mie goreng, which is the same as nasi, only with noodles.
Your first Indonesian lesson:
Nasi = rice
Mie = noodles
Goreng = fried
Seafood on Gili Air
It’s no surprise that the seafood on the Gili Islands is top notch. We had the nicest red snapper ever at Zipp one night. Then there was the rainbow fish. We had been snorkeling on GIli Air and had spotted the multi-coloured fish. Although a bit strange, we ordered it the next night. It was really good, and there as something kind of cool, and also kind of weird, about eating a fish we knew was so local and so fresh.
I don’t have any photos of the fish, as we were mostly eating in very dimly lit places so any attempts came out blurry and weird. But trust me when I saw, the seafood on the Gili’s is great!
Barbecues on Gili Air
Speaking of seafood, on Gili Air there are lots of seafood buffets. For 60,000 IDR, you get your choice of fish, or meat, which comes served with a baked potato, salad and vegetables. I chose traditional Indonesian spiced fish in banana leaf. My favourite was definitely Scallywags. It had a great selelction and a romantic setting.
Pictured above is the seafood buffet at Scallywags.
Gili Air Juices & Shakes
One of the best things about travelling around Asia is the amount of fresh juice everywhere. There’s not much better than sipping an ice cold juice or shake in the heat. I couldn’t get enough of watermelon and pineapple juices on Gili Air.
I know I’ve already mentioned Lombok coffee, but hey, I’m going to bring it up again! Some places do a nice iced coffee in Gili Air. The one above is from Le Cirque, which is a very snazzy looking spot overlooking the sea. It looks too fancy for a backpacker, but eating there gives you all of the feeling of fanciness, without the cost of staying there! They do a nice nasi, and great iced coffee.
Western/ Backpacker Food
If you are craving some backpacker food, rest assured, you will find it in Gili Air. There are really nice pizzas, some good burgers and even Mexican food to be found on the isle.
One night, I spotted nachos on a menu in Raja. I had already had nasi for lunch, so I decided to give in to my weakness for Mexican and go for some nachos. They were a little…unusual, but not too bad.
Where to Eat on Gili Air
While there is no shortage of great places to eat on Gili Air, here are some of my favourite spots to eat and drink around the island. I didn’t use addresses as the island is so small that you will find them easily. Most featured are located on the south east of the island and are very close to each other.
This was the first place we went in Gili Air. We took advantage of the two for one cocktails (50,000 IDR)) and sat back to enjoy our first Gili Air sunset.
They win my Best Nasi on Gili Air prize too! And believe me, there is a lot of competition. Nasi and mie goreng cost 25,000 IDR, or $1.80.
Le Cirque has cool cabana to chill out on. The place is part of a hotel, and has snazzy decor. They do a great iced coffee and a range of food from nasi’s to sandwiches.
Although Scallywags is more expensive than some of my other favourites, the setting is just so pretty. It’s all white furniture and candles. When we were there, there was a wedding celebration taking place on the beach in front, and it was such a beautiful scene. We had the fish barbecue pictured earlier in the post.
Pictured in the first photo, this place has such a comfortable vibe. It’s so pretty and so nice to sit there and relax after a hard day’s snorkeling. We had nasi goreng there, of course, and it was very good.
Nice beach barbecue and big menu. I had a pizza there once that was nice. It cost 45,000.
One of the locals we were friendly with brought us here. It is the best place to enjoy an awesome view. The all wooden building has two levels. We climbed a ladder to one side of the upper level and lay back on theh bamboo with a drink and those delicious peanuts to enjoy the sunset from a height. it felt like being in a tree house. Loved it. We didn’t eat there, but the menu looked good and was a little cheaper than other places we had been to.
Delicious Gado Gado and great view of the sea. Iced coffee wasn’t great, but you can’t win ’em all!
Other bars and restaurants on GIli Air
If you stroll around the island, you will find so many beautiful spots to chill out. Like the place pictured above, which I can’t remember the name of. We stopped here for a drink while cycling around the island. It’s amazing how beautiful the bars and restaurants around Gil can be. You can sit in paradise and enjoy fresh food and cool drinks for backpacker friendly prices. What more could you want, really?
Have you ever been to the Gili Islands? Let me know your recommendations in the comments below!
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