Foodie Finds: Top 6 Restaurants in Jakarta
Jakarta, Indonesia is one of the food capitals of the world. Although I usually chose to run with the local customs, eating home cooked meals or snacking at street stalls, Jakarta hosts an amazing selection of international fine dining that I think merits sharing. The restaurants I’m suggesting here are much more expensive than eating on the street, but are worth splurging, and still much cheaper than their counterparts at home. As the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta is a truly "Melting Pot" which represents throughout the archipelago.
Anatolia was first opened in 1999, and has become known as the best Turkish restaurant in Jakarta, due to their large group of loyal clientele. One of the first Turkish restaurants in town, they have rotated through several world famous chef. Their current head chef, Kevser Zorlu, was a chef at the Turkish embassy here in Jakarta, and has been an important participant at the Jakarta Culinary Festival.
I especially appreciate this restaurant, not just for the beautiful interior, but also for the amazing choices available for vegetarians. Anatolia boasts a dark but cozy interior with genuine Persian carpets and mood lighting, creating an authentic Turkish ambience. Passing through the dining area, the back room opens up into a lounge. The decoration is extremely welcoming, and the rich flavorful food available there reaches all expectations, if not surpassing them. Popular choices include the ricotta stuffed mushrooms and the fresh made falafel. For meat eaters, they are famous for their incredibly tender lamb shanks, which cost about 17 dollars, 170,000. Anatolia also has traditional ground coffee, a good reason to pop in with a good book, and have a cup of the thick, strong black coffee, served with thin grounds in it.
A favorite in the expat community for its high standards and (relatively) low prices. Prices for a full three course meal here add up to about 200,000 (20 dollars) per person. On Friday and Saturday there is live entertainment in the form of belly dancing, but the restaurant is much more crowded.
Ninety-nine is one of a kind. It’s the first full blown restaurant to open in a grocery store! Ninety-nine is an off shoot of Ranch Market, a high class grocery store frequented by expats, famous for selling imported cheeses, prime cuts of meat, and other luxury goods. Restaurants in malls are becoming more and more common, and have increasingly low quality, but Ninety-nine stands out from its pale competitors.
Entering the restaurant it seems like you’re entering an oasis. There are live plants, bright natural lighting, with modern decor. The noise level is high, but not enough to be a problem. Ninety-nine has, as many other restaurants on this list, become very popular with the young, well-off Indonesian crowd, since it opened a few months ago, and can be packed at rush hours.
The menu presented at Ninety-nine features 88 selections, with immense variation. The macaroni and cheese comes with raving reviews. Although the current head chef hails from the US, he has complimented his selection with Indonesian and other Asian styles of cooking. In addition to their immense menu, Ninety-nine offers an impressive selection of wines, expensive, but very good.
Ganesha is a very popular North Indian restaurant. It has become the most prominent Indian restaurant in Jakarta for its curries and tandoori style dishes. It offers a selection of very yummy vegetarian and non-veg options. Ganesha’s mutton kebabs and samosas are two of the most popular items on the menu. The food is freshly made every day, with homemade cheese made every morning, and naan (homemade Indian leavened bread) made on the spot for your order.
Along with its yummy food, Ganesha is extremely well decorated. The embroidered pillows, wooden tables, and art tapestries make Ganesha easy on the eyes, as well as authentically Indian.
To get the most of your money, visit at lunch on the weekend for the 120,000 North Indian buffet, or for happy hour, between 5 and 7 on weekdays.
Social House is the current ‘happening’ place in Jakarta. Since it opened, it has become very popular very quickly with young rich Indonesians, and expats. The restaurant extends over a balcony that looks over Jakarta. The seats over the balcony are noisier, but give a beautiful view. Sitting in Social House with one of their famous mixed drinks, surrounded in soft light and warm air with a plate of gnocchi in a rosemary butter sauce is a wonderful experience. The waiters do everything possible to keep that experience as positive as possible.
The food served at Social House appeals to all, as it is geared to the wide audience that Jakarta hosts, serving Asian and Western food side by side. The ravioli stuffed with spinach topped with a delicate homemade tomato sauce has become a family favorite. Pizza, tofu, pastas, and curries are all on the Social House menu. The restaurant has a wonderful ambiance, with trees growing up around the tables strung with glowing white Christmas lights. The wooden tables and bar give Social House a rustic look, along with giant blackboards that have menus and quotes written over them neatly in chalk.
A wonderful place to spend the night with friends. One of the best restaurants in Jakarta.
Hacienda is the place to go for Mexican food. Hacienda is unlike most of the restaurants on this list, in that it’s not the choice for a fancy restaurant. Although the decor is lovely, with wooden furniture, exposed brick, metal chandeliers, and walls of art, the restaurant itself is a bit cramped, and the ambiance is overtaken by the loud music and darkness. However, do not discount Hacienda. The welcoming staff, and the smiling live musicians make it worth the while, not to mention the food.
The menu gives vegetarians lots of options, and includes everything that would be found in a typical Mexican restaurant anywhere around the world. Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and my personal favorite, mole, chicken cooked in a nut chocolate and spice sauce. The portions are generous, almost enough for two people. Dessert is decent, but not as impressive as most of their main courses, the most popular option being the ‘tres leches cake.’ The in house bar, at the front of the restaurant has an incredible selection of mixed drinks, covering four pages of the menu.
The food served at Pearl isn’t authentic Chinese food, per se, but westernized Chinese food. Located in the Marriott, the decoration is as beautiful as the hotel that hosts it. The well-lit, open room is decorated with modern furniture with a Chinese twist. Private rooms are available on demand.
The food at The Pearl is superior to any Chinese restaurant I have been to before. Not only is the food rich and flavorful, the cooks are extremely accommodating. The pumpkin soup (served in a carved out pumpkin) is one of my favorites. Vegetarians or vegans should have no issue with eating here. The menu has sufficient options, but if nothing strikes your fancy, special menus can be requested. In advance, for celebrations or just a special night out, the chef will cook a menu special for you.
Anne Driscoll is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.
All photos courtesy and copyright Anne Driscoll