As Southeast Asia’s largest city, Jakarta has a cosmopolitan restaurant scene that makes it possible to taste regional dishes from different parts of Indonesia. Here are the 10 best places to savor Jakarta’s top cuisine.
Marco Padang Grill specialises in authentic Padang food, a local type of cuisine that originates in West Sumatra. Dishes typically incorporate coconut and chili, and this style of cuisine is traditionally eaten with your hands. At Marco Padang Grill, Chef Marco Lim brings Jakarta an upscale version of this distinct cuisine, drawing recipes from his own Sumatran heritage. The restaurant’s interior is romantic yet unpretentious, with low lighting, bold red and black furniture, and exposed brick walls. Try nasi sayo, the restaurant’s signature dish, which is made with steamed rice, sautéed vegetables, curry sauce, red and green chilies, and dried beef.
Burgreens serves flavourful vegetarian cuisine in a relaxed environment. Founders Max Mandias and Helga Angelina aim to introduce healthy, organic cuisine to Jakarta, creating dishes that incorporate vegetables sourced directly from local farms. Although the restaurant’s mission may seem lofty, its menu is playful. Try the ‘Mini Trio’, which consists of three well-charred mini burgers made of mushrooms, chickpeas, and beans, served with sweet potato chips instead of traditional French fries. Burgreens feels completely removed from the crowds and noise of Jakarta, with its passionate owners making the atmosphere feel welcoming and laid-back.
Indonesia’s cuisine is deeply connected with the Chinese immigrants who have come to this country over the years, bringing their rich culinary traditions with them. Angke Rest is one of the best places to get a taste for Jakarta’s Hakka Chinese cuisine. The restaurant’s spacious dining room attests to its popularity, with food served in a grand banquet style. The menu offers an extensive selection of poultry, vegetarian, beef, pork, and seafood dishes, along with soups and salads. Highlights include the bebek panggang (roasted duck) and the tauge cah ikan asin (sautéed bean sprouts with dried fish)
There’s almost always a wait to get a table at this local favourite seafood restaurant, yet it’s worth joining the line-up for some of the freshest seafood in the city. At Bandar Djakarta, diners choose their lobsters, crabs, clams, and other seafood from the restaurant’s aquarium, ensuring the dishes are extremely fresh. After choosing what to eat, diners tell the chefs exactly how they would like it cooked, whether that’s grilled, steamed, boiled or fried. Service is fast and friendly, and the atmosphere is always lively. The restaurant now has several locations around Jakarta, all of which continue to pack in eager diners every day of the week.
Harum Manis offers sophisticated Indonesian cuisine in an elegant setting. The restaurant’s interior blends elements of traditional Javanese architecture with sleek modern details, including an open kitchen area. In addition to its traditional cuisine, the restaurant also highlights Indonesian culture through regular folk performances, educational activities, and other events. Signature dishes include colenak nyi iteung and ayam bakar bangsawan,as well as a special chef’s menu which is changed every month. The sharing platters and Sunday buffet are perfect options for diners looking for an introduction to Indonesian cuisine.
Ikan Bakar Cianjur focuses on Sundanese cuisine, which is based on the cooking techniques of Indonesia’s large ethnic group from Western Java. Sundanese cooking emphasises freshness, and therefore the restaurant only uses high-quality vegetables, seafood, and meat. These fresh ingredients are prepared with minimal cooking, leaving space for the natural flavours to shine through. Try the nila pesmol, which is deep-fried tilapia fish with onions, tomatoes and chilies, served with the restaurant’s signature sauce. The restaurant’s interior is bright and airy, and seating is also offered outdoors on a second level terrace.
Consistently ranked among Jakarta’s top restaurants, Dapur Babah is set in a stunning 1940s shop house. The restaurant specialises in Peranakan/Babah cuisine, which is a fusion of Chinese, Dutch and Indonesian cooking techniques. Try the nasi tjampoer babah, rice infused with Pandan leaves and served with nine different side dishes, including shrimp skewers and sautéed tempeh. For dessert, there’s es tjampoer babah, which is shaved ice with tropical fruits, coconut milk, and selasih seeds. The food is excellent, but this restaurant is also well-known for its gorgeous décor, which features antiques from the early 20th century, authentic teak furniture, and cosy booths.
Known for its romantic atmosphere, Lara Djonggrang is a favourite of expats and tourists. Combining authentic Indonesian cuisine with a theatrical dining experience, this restaurant is inspired by the historic feasts of Javanese kings. The décor lives up to the magic of the folk tales that inspired the restaurant’s name, with ancient Indonesian artifacts, dramatic murals, towering statues, and ceiling pillars recycled from centuries-old temples. Javanese gamelan music provides the soundtrack for meals like urap (mixed vegetable salad with coconut), and kare tahu terong(curry made with tofu, eggplant and potatoes).
Set in a quiet location away from the busy streets of central Jakarta, Seribu Rasa offers creative Indonesian fine dining. The menu brings together traditional Indonesian flavours and cooking styles inspired by other Asian cuisines, such as Chinese and Thai. The result is a progressive menu that highlights the subtle sophistication of Indonesian cuisine. The menu offers an excellent selection of meats, seafood, noodles, rice, and vegetarian dishes, all of which are prepared with fresh ingredients. Highlights include the fried chicken with mango sauce; and the Malacca nasi lemak
This down-to-earth restaurant serves hearty Indonesian dishes in a casual environment. The service is friendly, and the food is both affordable and authentic. Sate Khas Senayan is known for its lamb, beef, and chicken satays, which are served with a choice of sweet soy sauce or thick peanut sauce. The menu also offers Indonesian staples like gurame bakar (grilled fish) and ayam goreng kremes (fried chicken in batter). The restaurant features an excellent selection of traditional drinks including teh poci (tea served in a clay pot with sugar) and cendol (coconut milk, jelly noodles, Pandan flavouring and palm sugar).