Many travelers visit Indonesia and head straight for the beach for a diet of Bintang (local beer) and Mi Goreng (fried noodles), and while this certainly sounds like a fun holiday, they’re missing out on a whole host of exquisite dining opportunities to tick off their bucket list. Anyone heading to the massive capital city of Jakarta should prepare their stomachs for a panoply of dishes that will amuse and amaze even the most adventurous of palates.
Jakartan street food is an absolute must-try, but it’s only half the story; the city is also home to some outstanding fine dining restaurants, authentic Indonesian cuisine (beef lung, anyone?) and skyscraping bars where you can rub shoulders with the glitterati.
If you really want to dine like royalty, follow our guide to the nine places where you can eat like a king (or queen) in Jakarta!
Upload Yourself To the Cloud Drop a pin in the middle of Jakarta and it will probably land on the head of a bright young thing posing for a selfie at Cloud’s 49th-floor rooftop lounge, which offers a panoramic view of a city that never seems to sleep. In the artistically decorated restaurant, you can eat Western fusion food or top-notch Indonesian grub while being serenaded by soft jazz, before heading out to the rooftop area where a zero-degree ‘vodka room’ awaits anyone bold (or warmly dressed) enough to enter.
Address: Altitude The Plaza Office Tower Lantai 46&49, Jalan M.H. Thamrin No. 28 – 30, RT.9/RW.5, Gondangdia, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, DKI Jakarta 10350, Indonesia
Reach For the SKYE If one rooftop bar isn’t enough for you, hop over to the 56th floor (by now, who’s counting?) restaurant at the BCA Tower in the heart of the city and admire the view of the bustling, neon-lit streets below, before heading into the gloriously designed (think South America chic) restaurant and attacking the Executive Chef Hamish Lindsay’s cosmopolitan menu. We recommend the pan-roasted salmon with honey wasabi glaze and the Manjari chocolate dome with Nutella mousse…yeah, you read that correctly.
Address: BCA Tower Lt. 56, Jl. M.H. Thamrin No. 1, Menteng, RT.1/RW.5, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat, Kota Jakarta Pusat, DKI Jakarta 10350, Indonesia
Make a Splash at Batavia Marina The harbor area is the best place in the city to catch the sunset, so why not toast the big orange ball with a couple of sundowners at this Indonesian, Asian and International fare-serving eatery? With an outside area surrounded by yachts gently bobbing on the ocean, a pool table and a pianist and singer who offer guests the chance to join in with some live karaoke action, not to mention the finest fish soup in town, there’s not a lot not to like about Batavia Marina.
Address: No. 9 Komplek Pelabuhan, Jl. Raya Baruna, Ancol, Pademangan, DKI Jakarta, 14430, Indonesia
Truly Unwind at The Dharmawangsa Jakarta Restaurant This 5-star hotel offers guests a lot more than a meal; if you have just come off a long-haul flight, be sure to book a massage in which their masseuses will knead your tired muscles into putty, leaving you fully rejuvenated to enjoy your feast. Sink a chocolate martini as you make your way through the platter of delicious Indonesian cuisine in art deco surroundings.
Address: Jalan Brawijaya Raya No. 26, Pulo, Kebayoran Baru, RT.1/RW.2, Pulo, Kby. Baru, Kota Jakarta Selatan, DKI Jakarta 12160, Indonesia
Putting the ‘Mental’ in Experimental, Definitely Check Out Natrabu In a recent poll, CNN ranked West Sumatra’s beef rendang as no. 11 on the ‘World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods’; if he tasted the piquant dish at this gorgeous family-run restaurant in Jakarta’s Chinatown, not even Donald Trump could call that “fake news”. Pose for a selfie on the gold-spangled throne before being presented with a wide array of dishes, including spicy squid, fried whitebait, and the aforementioned beef lung. Trust on this one, it’s well worth the risk.
Address: Jalan H.Agus Salim No. 29 A, RT.1/RW.1, Kb. Sirih, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, DKI Jakarta 10340, Indonesia
Put the World To Rights at Hotel Borobudur’s Churchill Wine & Cigar Bar Chomping down on a fat Cuban and sipping Scotch after Scotch may have helped Churchill win the war, but in this 5-star hotel, you can just be planning your day’s activities. For non-smokers, simply enjoy a crisp Heineken or a fancy cocktail and a game of pool while watching televised sports and hiding from the heat.
Address: Jalan Lapangan Banteng Selatan No.1, Ps. Baru, Sawah Besar, Kota Jakarta Pusat, DKI Jakarta 10710, Indonesia
Indulge Your Creative Side at Tugu Kunstkring To add an artistic flourish to your culinary adventure, be sure to add this opulent historical building to your list; have a cocktail in the Suzie Wong Lounge, named after an iconic 1950s romance novel, then take your seats in The Pangeran Diponegoro Room (tip: if you go for a private dining room, you may receive a dancing waiter with your dessert), where you simply have to try their oxtail soup, which is so rich and sweet that it resembles a steak jus.
Address: Jl. Teuku Umar No.1, RT.1/RW.1, Gondangdia, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat, DKI Jakarta 10350, Indonesia
Party On at Bunga Rampai This old Dutch colonial house is popular amongst tourists and locals alike; famed for its twists on classic Indonesian food, such as Nasi Tumpeng (cone-shaped rice dish) and Pempek (savory fishcake), it’s well worth a visit.
Address: Jalan Cik Ditiro No.35, Menteng, RT.10/RW.5, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, DKI Jakarta 10310, Indonesia
Save the Best Till Last at Cafe Batavia If you only have the time or budget to visit one restaurant, you may want to earmark this outstanding landmark, slap bang in the center of the city, overlooking Taman Fatahillah Square. The walls are filled with an eclectic mix of actors and stars pictures, and the images only get raunchier and wilder as you move into the bathrooms. With ceiling fans wanting a cool breeze over the wooden tables, it’s a perfect place to order a fresh coconut and choose from the delicious dishes that are listed on the menus…which are written on the back of the pictures. (Tip: come on Saturday night when a swing band will be in full, uh, swing!)
Address: Jalan Pintu Besar Utara No.14, RT.7/RW.7, Pinangsia, Tamansari, Kota Jakarta Barat, DKI Jakarta 11230, Indonesia
Well, that should keep you busy during your Jakartan trip; if you’re interested in exploring more of Indonesia (and maybe working off some of the delicious carbs that you’ve ingested!) then check out How To Surf Like a Pro In Indonesia, chill out with Bliss Out In Beautiful, Bountiful Bali or for more tips on the city that you’re planning to eat your way around, have a peek at Jakarta: Take A Bite Out Of The Big Durian!