When Gianyar-based writer Valiant Budi Yoga (popularly known as Vabyo) decided to open Sami Sami Space with his partner Ayu Vibrasita two years ago, he envisioned a cozy space mostly catering to locals who want to enjoy Indonesian dishes at reasonable prices.
Against their expectations, Sami Sami Space has also proven to be popular amongst foreign nationals, digital nomads and regular tourists alike. Business is good especially now that Bali is waking up from the pandemic lull, as showcased by Ubud’s once-again busy streets.
“Sami-sami” is Sundanese for “you’re welcome,” and it embodies the restaurant’s warm sense of hospitality. Vabyo himself is Sundanese and grew up mostly in Bandung, West Java.
“When we noticed that foreigners have also found this place, we decided to introduce more options such as Western food in our menu,” Vabyo told me during my visit to Sami Sami Space, which is located close to the Royal Palace on Jalan Suweta.
“Later, however, we realized that even foreign nationals are more keen on our Indonesian food,” he added with a laugh.
Sure enough, Sami Sami Space offers a plethora of options on their nasi campur (mixed rice) menu. Feeling famished that day (who am I kidding, I’m almost always hungry), I asked for terong balado (spicy eggplants), ayam kecap (fried chicken with soy sauce), tempe balado (spicy soybean cake), telur rica (boiled eggs with sambal), with kangkung (water spinach) and kerupuk (crackers).
How much did all of that set me back? IDR25,000 (US$1.68). Yep, you read that right.
The nasi campur, while perhaps not too spectacular, was nonetheless mouth-watering for a palate accustomed to comforting Indonesian meals like mine.
Did I stop at nasi campur? Of course not.
Buoyed by the generous portions and affordable prices (menu attached), I decided to have a munch on their kaya toast (only IDR22,000) for dessert. Again, while not too special, it did enough to satisfy my sweet tooth at a place that is not super pretentious like many other newcomers to Ubud.
The spacious venue is perfect for families with kids or those who travel in groups. If you want to get some work done, they have power sockets here and there to ensure you won’t need to panic about your laptop battery as the deadline approaches. Their WiFi is also quite stable (if you spend some time in Ubud, you will understand why this is a plus point).
Sami Sami Space is opens every day from 8am to 10pm, which is a relatively late closing time by Ubud standards.
One thing that you might need to consider is hailing a cab when you’re done. Just like at many places in Ubud, one has to be mindful of traditional taxi drivers. who can get quite territorial about their rideshare rivals.
Should you opt to get a rideshare regardless, you might need to play a cat and mouse when leaving Sami Sami Space to find your driver. From what I’ve seen, patrons prefer to do this anyway despite knowing the risks.
Overall, considering its strategic location, Sami Sami Space is a perfect option if you just want to relax after a day full of activities from yoga to dancing to shopping in Ubud. It can also serve as a meeting point for you and your friends, or maybe a Tinder date (*wink wink*). Who knows? Maybe your Eat, Pray, Love moment (well the first and third parts, at least) can happen here.
All photos by Amahl S. Azwar
next to Circle K, Jl. Suweta, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571
Check out their Instagram here.
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