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The Best of Jakarta: Food, Drinks, and Stores You Can’t Miss

After over a year of eating and drinking my way through Jakarta, as well as tons of exploring, I thought I would share some of my favorite places to eat and drink with all of you — because you never know when you might end up in Jakarta.

Chloe helped with this list, so many thanks to her for sharing many meals this year. I’ve provided website links where possible and any interesting stories as well. Jakarta may not have much in terms of sights for tourists, but it’s a wonderful place to share a meal with friends.

Best Cup of Coffee: Anomali Coffee (branches around Jakarta, including Jalan Senopati and the Setiabudi Mall). This is my favorite place to get a strong cup of Joe that isn’t the instant powered stuff that is so popular here. You can order by the cup, comes with a French press, based on Indonesian regions, Aceh, Sulawesi, Java, Papua, Flores, Toraja. I’m partial to Toraja. Also a great place to sit in A/C, use the WiFi and get some work done. A cup of coffee starts at Rp 23,000 ($2.40). Also for the more adventurous, you can order a cup of the famous luwak coffee, the beans pass through the digestive tract of civets!

Best Indonesian Lunch Place: Putri (corner of Jalan Cikajang and Jalan Cipaku II in Kebaroyan Baru). This place is great for lunch with wonderful plate varieties with lots of goodies. Try the juices, especially the mulberry. Chloe got me hooked on this place and almost every time I order the nasi opor ayam (coconut milk chicken curry) with nasi merah (red rice). For dessert try bubur manis (sweet porridge). This area is also fun to explore after you eat. Lunch will set you back around $3-4, but it is quality Indonesian fare.

Best Street Food: Menteng FTS (located immediately beside the Formule 1 Hotel on Jalan Cokramintio in Menteng) this spot features dozens of vendors and is one of the cleaner street food spots in Jakarta. You can order lots of Indonesian classics from sate to martabak. Bring some friends.

Best Street Seafood Stall: Santiga Seafood Stall (Jalan Bendungan Hilir, aka Ben Hil) is a great place to get some grilled fish or some spicy black pepper crabs. The place is always lively with musicians coming and going and people devouring mounds of seafood. Here’s a piece that we ran in the Jakarta Globe all about it.

Best Chinese Food: Liyen (Jalan Asemka Raya) around the corner from the Bank Mandiri Museum, this Chinese restaurant offers a good selection of dishes. Try the honey pork, you won’t be disappointed. Mandala Restaurant on Jalan Wolter Monginsidi is a close second, I love their asparagus crab soup.

Best Japanese Food: Izakaya Taichan (Jalan Melawai VI/5, Blok M) offers up delicious sushi and a mostly Japanese crowd. It’s located in Blok M’s slightly seedy “Little Tokyo,” so it makes for an interesting place to walk around at night.

Best Korean Food: Chung Gi Wa (Jalan Dharmawangsa III, No. 2, near Blok M). Delicious Korean food with a Korean countryside chic décor. The grilled meat and kimchi were tasty. Next door is a Korean grocery store. This was one of the more reasonably priced Korean meals I’ve had in Jakarta. Around $10 a person when splitting with friends.

Best Brunch: Koi (Jalan Kemang Raya No. 72) in Kemang has good burgers (OK, not a brunch food) and an amazing brunch menu. I love the poached eggs over spinach and smoked salmon. Pricer, brunch with drinks will set you back about $15 a person. But sometimes you just want a good Western brunch.

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