Bali Cafe: Exotic Eats in Downtown Miami

Walking around downtown Miami is like taking a culinary trip around the world. You can try dishes from Cuba, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, India, Japan, the Philippines and more.

I’ve been longing for a return visit to Bali since I went there for my honeymoon and I found it at Bali Café. For such a small restaurant, it creates full-flavored, delicious food. The friendly service and sounds of traditional music will transport you to the enchanting island half a world away.

Indonesian food is an intoxicating mix of spices and sauces. Chili, cardamom, turmeric and coconut milk combine for complex and aromatic dishes.

If you like curry, you’ll want to try Opor Ayam, chicken stewed in yellow spices and coconut milk. The chicken is so tender it falls right off the bone and the sauce is so flavorful you’ll wish you had more.

Fans of fish will have a tough time deciding between Ikan Pesmol (fish stewed in a variety of aromatic Indonesian spices) and Ikan Goreng Balado (pan fried grouper in a mild chili sauce).

There are several beef dishes, from Rendang Sapi (beef slowly cooked in coconut milk and mild spices), to Soto Betawi (beef soup seasoned with ginger, sweet soy sauce and lemon). Can’t decide between beef or chicken? Several dishes offer both.

One dish not to miss if you like noodles is the delicious and filling Bihun Ayam Jakarta. Chicken, mushrooms, spinach and quail eggs are piled high on a bed of rice noodles served with beef broth.

Some of the main plates come with a choice of miso soup or salad. Go for the salad – the house orange sesame dressing is tasty and refreshing.

Like many Asian restaurants in Miami, Bali Café also serves a variety of sushi and rolls.

If you’re feeling adventurous (and you have room for dessert), try the unique durian fruit served with vanilla ice cream.

Bali Café is located at 109 NE 2nd Avenue (between NE 1st and 2nd Streets) in downtown Miami. It is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, and lunch on Saturday and Sunday (though may soon expand weekend hours to include dinner). Only cash is accepted.