Jakarta today offers an excellent variety of sophisticated fine dining restaurants located in many parts of this sprawling metropolitan city.
The best Indonesian cuisine and international restaurants are found in unique surroundings as they are located in elegant and well appointed colonial buildings that enhance that special nostalgic atmosphere of fine, graceful dining like in those colonial days long gone.
The Oasis Restaurant on Jalan Raden Saleh in Central Jakarta , the Bistro Boulevard on Teuku Umar, Bunga Rampai on Jalan Tjik Ditiro and the Jittlada Thai restaurant on Jalan Sultan Agung are just a few prime examples. The Café Batavia across the old Stadhuis at Fatahillah Square in Old Batavia takes one back to the grand style of grand meals in the Dutch colonial era.
Meanwhile, Jakarta ’s top hotels serve grand buffets for lunch in one all inclusive price where diners can pick from a wide selection of cuisine from Japanese sushi to juicy steaks and roast beef, to crunchy salads, and close the meal with chocolate cake, fresh fruits and delicious aromatic coffee.
Malls have also gotten into the fray to pamper diners, where entire floors are today dedicated to upscale restaurants, but there are also smaller bistros, cafes and fast food to cater to the thousands of busy professionals from the surrounding office towers, and shoppers and cinema buffs filling the attached cineplex.
The Kemang area in South Jakarta is a small world all its own where are some top international restaurants, among which the Turkish Anatolia restaurant, but also others serving first class Italian, Indian, Chinese, Indonesian, or Dutch cuisine.
And everywhere around this city one finds simple restaurants and street stalls so that no one can ever complain of having to go hungry for lack of food available.
Indonesia’s favourite food are satay and Gado-gado or Ketoprak, Sate, sometime spelled satay is Indonesia’s kebab. These are thick slices of chicken, beef or mutton skewered and deliciously barbequed then poured over with hot peanut sauce or soya sauce.
While Gado-gado is Indonesia’s salad consisting of boiled spinach, watercress, beansprouts, boiled potatoes and boiled egg, poured over with ground peanut sauce sometimes eaten with lontong, which is rolled rice boiled in leaves. Another variety is the Ketoprak which consists of beansprouts, tofu and rice noodles served with fresh peanut sauce mixed with spices.
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- Should you decide to travel by taxi, make sure that the taxi use the argometer. If possible, opt for Blue Bird taxis. They’re known for their reliability.
- Bring lightweight clothes unless you plan to stay indoor most of the time. Jakarta is quite hot.
- Learn a few necessary phrases in Indonesian. Not all Indonesians can speak English well.
- Check your bill before you leave, to avoid any mistakes. Tipping is not common if you buy food from street vendors or most fastfood restaurants. It is polite to leave a tip in classy restaurants, though?
- Shop till you drop! There are many boutique and classy stores selling sophisticated and exclusive items in Jakarta . Malls like Mangga Dua, for instance, might even persuade you to buy new sets of underwears to party gowns!
- Visit DUNIA FANTASI (Fantasy World) in Ancol. This place offers entertainment for kids and adults. Try the rollercoaster for a breathtaking experience. Ride ferris wheel to marvel at magnificent view of Jakarta .
- Visit SEAWORLD, also in Ancol, where you can observe gigantic fish from Amazon, piranhas, and watch the numerous fish eat!
- Go to Taman Mini (Indonesian Miniature Park) to see miniatures of many things including Indonesia’s traditional houses.
If you are more adventurous try the TransJakarta express buses, which connect the main streets of Jakarta and are more reliable. Make sure you know your destination (and most importantly, which bus to take, so you won’t be lost).
Some restaurants that you might like to frequent:
- AMERICAN HAMBURGER KEBAYORAN BARU, Jalan Melawai IV no. 17, Blok M
- ANGUS HOUSE RESTAURANT, Chase Plaza Tower, 25th Floor, Jalan Jendral Sudirman Kav. 21
- BOB SHASHLIK RESTAURANT, Jalan Kemang Raya 14
- CAFE DE PARIS, Jalan Kemang Raya 90
- BEBEK BENGIL, Dharmawangsa Square, Jalan Dharmawangsa VI/IX
- TGI FRIDAY, The Ascott Jakarta , Taman Ria Senayan, Jalan Gerbang Pemuda, Senayan
- JAVA BLEU, Jalan Fatmawati 15 Blok E 31
- SATE KHAS SENAYAN, Jalan Cokroaminoto 78
- Bakmi GM, Delivery Hotline: +62 21 56 55 007
- The Duck King, Daily Opening Hour 10.00-22.00
- STC Senayan Lt. VII Mezzanine, Jl. Asia Afrika Pintu IX Gelora Bung Karno Jakarta Pusat 10270, Tel. +62 21 579 32032/33 Fax. +62 21 579 32031
- LA BRASSERIE, Le Meridien Hotel, Jalan Jendral Sudirman Kav. 18-20
- OISHII, Jalan Kemang Raya 24A
- wwwok!, Jalan Kemang Raya 9 JK
- DAPUR SUNDA, Kawasan Hanggar Teras Pancoran, Jalan Gatot Subroto Kavling 72
- WARUNG DAUN Masakan Sunda, Head: Jl. Wolter Monginsidi No. 41 Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta , 12180, Tel. +62 21 727861138, Fax. : +62 21 72786137, Branch: Jl. Pakubuwono VI No. 10 Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta 12120, Tel. +62 21 7395454, Fax. : +62 21 7259955, Email : warung_daun(AT)yahoo.com
- Rumah Makan Gudeg Bu Tjitro, Jalan Veteran I No. 23 Monas Jakarta Pusat, Tel. +62 21 3456727
- Waroeng Chamoe-Chamoe Ikan Bakar Manado, Jl. Panglima Polim IX No. 53 Jakarta 12160, Tel. +62 21 720 8294; +62 21 726 7094, Fax. +62 21 727 91805
- Gedung Millenia Lantai 2, Sudirman Central Business District, Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Jakarta Selatan 12190, Tel. +62 21 5152905; +62 21 515 2906
- PAPRIKA, Jalan Wahid Hasyim 55A
- SAMUDRA SHARKS FIN, Hotel Mulia, Jalan Asia Afrika
- Ulam Balinese & Sea Food Restaurant, Kemang Jakarta Reservation: +62 21 780 5572 & +62 21 781 4984
- Bebek Bali Resto-Cafe-Gallery, Komp. Taman Ria Senayan Jl. Gerbang Pemuda Jakarta 10270, Tel. +62 21 574 7667/69/70 Fax. +62 21 574 7229
The Oasis has received many awards. At dinner time guests are entertained with live music and the ever popular Batak singers.
The Menteng area in Central Jakarta was an exclusive district where the colonial elite lived in grand style surrounded by extensive gardens in the late 19th and early 20th century. Today these elegant houses are still maintained, and are now the preferred locations for fine luxury dining.
The colonial mansion that once housed the old Immigration office at Jalan Teuku Umar is secluded off by lush green trees, and today houses the Buddha Bar, serving what it calls special Asia-Pacific meals and wines in elegant French style accompanied by its special brand of music. For after dinner drinks and chat, there are the elegant lounge and bar and a stage for performances and entertainment.
Other restaurants in the Menteng area are the Bunga Rampai at Jalan Tjik Ditiro 35 serving Dutch-Indonesian Peranakan food, and the Jittlada Thai restaurant at Jalan Sultan Agung 10. The Lara Jonggrang at Jl. Tjik Ditiro 4 amd the Waroeng Shanghai Blue at Jalan Kebon Sirih and further up, the Kembang Goela at Plaza Sentral, Jl. Sudirman Kav. 47-48, serves Dutch-Indonesian cuisine and Rijsttafel.
Still in Menteng but already closer to Jl. Sudirman is the Seribu Rasa restaurant. This is housed in a modern minimalist building, but very tastefully decorated with very Indonesian décor serving excellent Indonesian cuisine.
Near to the Presidential Palace is Dapur Babah Elite at Jalan Veteran 1 housed in refurbished colonial shophouses. The restaurant serves authentic Peranakan Chinese-Dutch-Indonesian food in Indonesian-Chinese surroundings. There are other Peranakan restaurants like the Little Penang on Jalan Pakubuwono 6 no. 2 in Kebayoran or the Kembang Tanjung at the Mall of Indonesia in North Jakarta ’s Kelapa Gading.
Also in North Jakarta , in the Old Batavia area is Café Batavia, situated at the corner of Jalan Pintu Besar Utara and Taman Fatahillah. Housed in colonial mansion, the restaurant is a favourite haunt for expatriates seeking the nostalgia of pampered dining in old colonial style. The restaurant has warm wooden paneling, old photographs taken during the heydays of the Old Batavia, and offers drinks like “white orchid” reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe or a “Shirley Temple” sweet drink.
If, however, you are seeking international cuisines, then head to the Kemang area in South Jakarta . This is the expatriate “village”. Here you will find all varieties of food, from Italian pasta and pizza to Japanese sushi, Korean bulgogi, Indian tandoori, Chinese abalone, Dutch beefsteak to gudeg from Yogyakarta , from exclusive high end restaurants to cozy bistros and cafes. The Pawon at Jalan Ampera Raya has a garden atmosphere serving Javanese cuisine. Or go to Dakken for real juicy Dutch beefsteak with strong aromatic coffee to top it off .
A favourite at Kemang Raya is the Anatolia Turkish Restaurant. As soon as you enter the restaurant you will be embraced into the Middle Eastern Turkish atmosphere in its décor and ambience and of course its delectable meals.
The neighbouring Kebayoran area also has some pretty good restaurants, most located in refurbished old houses to give that special atmosphere. Among these are the Pan D’Or at Jalan Wijaya, serving excellent European meals and bread. The Merah Delima at the corner of Jl. Walter Monginsidi and Jalan Wijaya is a favourite Dutch-Chinese-Indonesian peranakan restaurant for lunch and dinner.
Nowadays, however, the many luxurious malls sprouting all around this sprawling city do not want to be outdone. Most have entire floors dedicated to pamper lunch and dinner crowds in style and taste.
The Pacific Place by Jalan Sudirman is today the “in” place for business people to entertain at the many classy restaurants here ranging from Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Italian, European, Korean, Mexican and Indonesian fare. The choice is almost endless. Similar range one finds at the Senayan City, the Grand Indonesia, at Citos, Pondok Indah Mall II better known as PIM or at Kelapa Gading on the other side of town.
Here are located some of the best and favourite restaurants that include the Duck King for Chinese food, Sushi Tei for Japanese food, Long Beach for spicy Singapore seafood, Dapur Sunda for fresh Indonesian meals. Of course on the ground floor are the usual fast food and coffee shops that include Starbucks, Coffee Beans, Dunkin Donuts, JCos, A&W, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds and favourite bread shops such as Bread Talk, Bread Life and many more.
If you prefer buffets, Jakarta ’s best are the all inclusive buffets found at the Grand Hyatt and the Hotel Indonesia Kempinski at the HI roundabout, the Meridien Hotel, the Shangrila, the Mulia Hotel in Senayan and the Marriott in Mega Kuningan. But most hotels do serve buffet lunches where you are treated to a whole array of cuisines from sushi to roast beef, a wide variety of crunchy salads, to mouth-watering deserts and ice cream all in one price.
For more mundane surroundings but good seafood, go to Muara Karang, in North Jakarta where there is a whole row of seafood restaurants with chefs busy grilling or frying fish freshly caught from the sea at the shops’ front.
In the evenings Jalan Sabang behind Jalan Thamrin is closed for traffic to allow dining on the street. This is a fun experience. This is near Jalan Jaksa, favourite road for backpackers.
And so anywhere in Jakarta you will not fear to go hungry as there is a restaurant around almost every corner. If not, then there are the many road side stalls and tents that sprout in the evenings on parking lots, or there are the hawkers passing by offering anything from noodles and sate to bread and the typical snack of the original Betawi community, the kerak telor which is a crepe made of eggs.
Mostly sold by street vendors, this treat has gained popularity, and so now you can get this delicacy in food courts and traditional restaurants.