Eating in Jakarta
Updated April 2016
In a city with a population approaching ten million, and with marked ethnic variation (Indonesian, Chinese, Malay, and many others), it is not surprising to find a wide variety of cuisine on offer.
I am listing below some centrally-located restaurants recommended by Western residents of Jakarta. They are not advertisements and are only included to give you an idea of the variety. The prices refer to 3 course meals without drinks. Bear in mind that tax and service charge will be added (see at the bottom of the page).
Sate Khas Senayan - Indonesian : Jl. Salemba
US10 - Truly Indonesian food in a clean environment. Frequented by locals, which is a good advertisement to the restaurant. Sate (or satay, a kebab): meat or fish cooked over fire on a skewer and usually served with peanut sauce). Try their chicken of fish stays. This is a good place to get acquainted with Indonesia cuisine. It is part of a chain with several restaurants in Jakarta.
Marche - Swiss-German : Jl. M.H. Thamrin, West Mall
US$15 - An European-run, far-eastern concept in a Swiss atmosphere with wooden interior and furniture: an apparent farmer's market where you buy food and hand it over to the adjacent kitchen to have it cooked as you like it. The fresh ingredients that you choose from the stalls are registered on a card that you receive when you enter. There is fish, meat, all sorts of vegetables, fruit, desserts, drinks, and a lot more. Final price varies depending on how much you choose! There are two Marche in Jakarta: the original at Plaza Senayan, and the one in the Grand Indonesia Mall which is larger and more modern.
Satoo at the Shangri-la - International : JL. Jend. Sudirman
US$20 - A delicious international buffet in a luxury hotel at an amazingly affordable price: Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Thai, European dishes, and more. Great variety of food in pleasant surroundings. Keep an eye on promotions to take advantage of even greater offers. Besides, if you book on-line in their website you are given a 25% discount:
Blue Elephant - Thai : Jl. Cut Meutia No. 2, Menteng
US$20 - Part of an international franchise, the exterior of the Blue Elephant in Jakarta gives the idea that you are about to enter a striking old Thai house; and indeed, once inside you are surrounded by an impressive and imaginative all-wood decor that is one of the highlights of the restaurant. Unusually for Jakarta, non-smokers have their own section. Considered the best restaurant in Jakarta serving authentic Thai food; it also receives some negative reviews, although some are inevitable and related to the spiciness of the food (which can be ordered non-spicy), or the size of the set menu portions. There is a Sunday buffet for under US$20 per person, and a lunch special for about US$8. Dinners may be quiet due to the somewhat awkward location. Vegetarians are well catered for with a wide choice of dishes.
Hacienda - Mexican : Plaza Senayan Arcadia, Jl. New Dhelhi
US$25 - This is as close as you can get to true Mexican cuisine. Great food and if you're into margaritas this is the place to go (and you get 2 for 1 during happy hour). Tacos and guacamole galore! A small band plays mariachi, and there is salsa dance night on Wednesdays. Conveniently located right in the centre of the Senyan Arcadia Mall. The menu can be seen online http://www.haciendabarandgrill.com/. Be aware of high prices for water...
Namaaz Dining - Indonesian Magic : Jl. Gunawarman no.42
US$90 - This is more than a restaurant: it is a fantastic show that takes you into a journey of culinary delights. You are served 17 courses, each a creative, deceitful surprise. Nothing tastes the way it looks, but the delicious outcome is the result of a great, ingenious chef. The fixed menu changes every 6 months. You can bring your own wine. You'll never forget this outstanding experience.
NOTE: Often, you'll see "++" after the price of food and drinks. This refers to the service charge of 5 to 10% plus local tax of 10% that most restaurants and bars add to the bill.
The tax is applied on the total, including service charge. Therefore, if there is a 10% service charge, the tax amounts to 11% of the actual consumption bill, and the "++" amounts to 21%.