This post is the second in our Indonesian vegan food guide trilogy. To read the first post from Canggu & Seminyak press here (opens in new tab).
Nestled between Bali and Lombok lies the little gem of islands called the Gili Islands. They consist of three islands which are almost only a stone throw away from each other. Featuring beautiful white beaches, crystal clear water and a no-motor vehicle policy (despite a few electric scooters) they are a very popular tourist destination for mindful people, who wish to relax and enjoy nature without too much noise pollution.
In terms of food the Gili Islands cater to most desires. We will of course only focus on the plant based food which you will easily come by here !
Sadly we mostly ate out during dark hours i.e. we do not have a lot of pictures to show for the food.
Padang Bai (departure harbour)
If you are sailing to the Gili Islands with departure from Padang Bai, then it might be useful for you to know at least one place where you can get a decent plant based / vegan meal before the boat ride. Especially if you got up early in the morning, like us, and did not get to eat any breakfast.
We asked almost every single place at Padang Bai harbour and nobody had a fully plant based / vegan dish besides one place which was called Warung Bu Jero. You will find it by walking down the “main” street and turn right alongside the water front. Here it will be situated shortly after your right hand turn. If you cannot find it then ask the locals by giving them the name of the place. We got a pretty tasty tofu & tempeh dish with greens and fried noodles for a bargain.
Gili Trawangan is the largest of the three islands and the first you usually arrive at if you sail by boat from Bali. The island is walkable, but many also resort to using bicycles.
We strongly discourage the use of the horse carts as the horses suffer greatly under the heat and heavy load of having to move tourists and their luggage around. Please use your own feet or get a bike transport to move yourself and your stuff. The horses will thank you for it.
We stayed on the north side of the island which meant, that we were only 2 minutes away from the amazing Pituq Waroeng. Being the only fully plant based / vegan restaurant on the island we really wanted to support them a lot and were amazed to find that the food they cooked was some of the best we have ever come across – anywhere in the world !
In addition to the amazing food Pituq Waroeng serves, they are also extremely kind people. They support local communities through their Pituq Cofoundation, where provide aid to earthquake victims. You can find and follow their efforts on their Instagram page here.
Gili Meno is the middle island of the three and is the least populated and least developed. Our time there was sadly limited as we only visited as part of a snorkling trip. We would, however, love to come back as the slow vibe community appealed greatly to us.
Nourish is a fully plant based / vegan restaurant which also has the loveliest huts for rent. We could definitely see ourselves stay here and will have to come back again another time.
Due to the rushed nature of our visit our meal at Nourish was made very quickly and we did not really have time to sit down and enjoy it. It was, however, tasty and consisted of a raw zucchini noodle salad, sushi rolls and fresh pressed juices.
The third and last island is Gili Air, which lays host to a long beach parade of resorts, hotels, bars and restaurants. We actually found this island to be more developed and busy than Gili Trawangan. This also equates into more dining options and we were pleased to see a large selection of plant based foods here.
Musa Cookery is a little gem situated on the central/north side of the island. It is owned and managed by a young international couple, but staffed with friendly and skilled locals.
We ate here several times and tried almost everything plant based on the menu. The chefs even cooked the non-plant based items in a new version for us to eat. We have since seen that some of those have been adapted into the menu. Something we are so happy to see as it all tasted so amazing.
You are sure to get a smile, fist-bump, high five and maybe even a hug or two if you visit here. Something which is a definite must in our eyes.
Some of the local guys in the staff even joined us for a 1 hour beach clean up one early morning before starting work at the cafe ! You can see the story from that on our Instagram highlights.
Captain Coconuts is a combined cafe and hotel. They serve some pretty great smoothies and bowls which we were not shy at indulging in.
They also have a pool which we understand visitors of the cafe can also use. In addition they recently opened a sister-place called Captain Good Times.
Good Earth Cafe
This place is part of the H2O Yoga and Meditation Center where we stayed during our days on Gili Air. They somehow claim to be fully plant based / vegan, however, that is not the case as they serve both eggs and dairy milk.
That said, they have some very tasty plant based items on their menu and we both enjoyed their oat meal for breakfast, smoothies and bowls which were all delicious.
Despite having Mexicana in its name, this is a place to go for a more local vibe and cheaper meals. They boast a pretty sweet plant based / vegan menu with tempeh / tofu burgers, Gado Gado, burritos, falafel and crepes.
We really enjoyed our meals here and highly recommend this place, despite it being less “picturesque” and fancy.
Situated on the east coast beach lies Mowies. We had dinner here one night with some friends, but sadly it was very windy which kind of interferred with the ability to fully enjoy the food. There were only a few plant based / vegan items on the menu, but the ones we had – a salad and burritos – were very tasty.
Let us know in the comments if you visit any of these places and have some feedback to share. Also if you feel we missed someone which we should include next time we visit. 🙂
Cheers, Jen & Kris