They say location is everything—just ask business owners selling overpriced tourist trinkets in Times Square. But sometimes you can flip that idea on its head and make people feel like they’ve stumbled into a secret paradise. That’s what Chachara is running with, and we’re lapping it up.

Walking down the increasingly popping Batu Belig just north of Seminyak, you might be hard pressed to find Chachara during the day. Stroll past Strawberry Fields, and turn down an unassuming gang—you’ll even pass a warung tucked into the same alleyway. But at the end of the walkway, there’s no mistaking it: you’ve arrived.

The restaurant was dreamed up by the El Willy group, who’ve sprouted boutique-feeling spots in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Chachara is their first dip into Bali’s food scene, and we’re happy they’re here. The first thing you notice are the colors. Set back in a bursting green rice field, Chachara’s got a blazing monkey face overlooking the tables, and a bright orange VW van across the floor that’s been conveniently converted into a coffee bar.

Seek out Chachara at night, and the gang is lit up by their ‘80s-inspired logo in glowing neon. The whole place somehow walks the fine line between sexy bistro and laid-back chill spot—and the vibe certainly shifts as the early evening jazz transforms into deeper-grooving beats (thank Chachara’s French general manager Polo for those).

But ambiance aside, let’s not forget the most important question. Yes, good lord yes, the food is good.

Italian-born chef Alberto Panciera whips up Mediterranean-inspired plates that are as vibrant as the restaurant itself. We went all in, tasting… well, as much as we could before they rolled us out.

Chachara’s menu is heavy on fresh seafood, but expect everything lit up with creative fusions of flavors. Our favorites were the airbags—yep, airbags. Picture a hot, stuffed, crisp pastry that goes down in one bite, and literally bursts in your mouth. Most people seem to love the Salmon TNT, brushed with honey and truffles, but we were entranced with Esplosione di Tonno, with delicious tuna and avocado.

Even the more traditional plates nail it: the Ravioli di Granchio, filled with lush crab, herbs, tomato confit and saffron butter, go down like a dream.

You could move on to more substantial specialties, like some inspired paellas, meats, pizzas and rice dishes (the menu boasts a “very sexy pumpkin and truffle risotto”) but honestly it was hard to move on from the small plates and seafood menu. Throw in some well-mixed cocktails and a pretty Instagram-worthy dessert menu, and you’ve got an impressively sexy first date (or a big family get-together—ask about their closed-in room).

Chachara is bound to be either the best place you wandered into, or a new destination on your way out for a big night. Either way, it’s absolutely worth a try—and we’ve got to know: are you Team Tuna or Team Salmon?

Go check it out: Chachara
Go find it: Jl. Batu Belig, Gang 2


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