By: Ario Triwibowo
As the most populous place in Southeast Asia, Jakarta is a bustling and a chaotic city that can easily overwhelm visitors. Being Indonesia’s capital, it is the center for both the nation’s government and the main economic sector. Behind the restlessness of everyday rush hour, Jakarta is sprawling with various attractions that you can indulge in. Whether you want to kick back and relax or party all night long, Jakarta has it all. These insider tips showcase my favorite places to eat, shop and play!
Food in Jakarta
Indonesia is well-known for its traditional cuisine that has been derived from a broad range of different cultures and heritages spread all over the country. There are countless local food stalls and restaurants offering Indonesian cuisine found all over Jakarta. International flavors are also on offer, as the food obsessed Jakartans fear no culinary borders.
- Bumbu Desa – Sundanese Food
Jl. Suryo No. 38 Blok S Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan
This restaurant has outlets are spread out all over Indonesia and even in Singapore and Malaysia. It offers you the delicacy of Sundanese food. Sunda is a cultural heritage that originates from West Java, known to serve their delectable dishes accompanied by lalap (raw vegetables) and sambal (chili sauce). Try out the nasi timbel (a dish that contains rice, fried chicken, lalap and sambal), nasi liwet (a dish that contains rice, beef and vegetables) fried chicken, beef offals, gourami (barbequed carp with sweet soy sauce), shrimp, and stir fried vegetables.
- Ragusa – Italian Ice Cream
Jl. Veteran I No. 10 Jakarta Pusat
Ragusa is a famous ice cream café, established in 1932. Its old-fashioned Dutch period design is preserved, taking you back to early 1940s Batavia. Ragusa offers a wide variety of ice creams such as banana split, special mix, spaghetti ice cream (no kidding), cassata siciliana, tutti frutti, chocolate sundae, lemon ice, cola float and nougat.
- Natrabu – Minangkabau (Padang) Cuisine
Jl. H. Agus Salim No. 29 Jakarta Pusat
Natrabu is a well known Minangkabau or Padang restaurant. Established in 1967, this restaurant has been showered with various awards and played host to various international events, meetings or conferences between heads of state. You can enjoy various Minangkabau cuisines here such as chicken curry, fish curry, spicy boiled eggs, spicy beef dendeng and the infamous and world-wide acknowledged rendang (beef cooked with traditional spices).
- Burger Blenger – Jakarta’s Finest Local Burger
Gria Astika Jl. Lamandau IV No. 16-18 Kebayoran Baru Jakarta Selatan
Burger Blenger is Jakarta’s most famous local burger place, located in a small kiosk that has caught the attention of many burger lovers ever since it started up. Its most recommended burgers are beef burger, cheese burger, hotdog and cheese hotdog.
- Poste Kitchen + Bar – Asian and European Taste
The East Building Ground Floor, Jl. Lingkar Mega Kuningan E.3.2 No.1 Jakarta Selatan
Poste is a restaurant with a homely feel located in the heart of Jakarta. Chill out and enjoy different choices of Asian, Italian and European dishes within the comfortable ambience of Poste.
- Gultik – Beef Curry Food Stall
Bulungan – Mahakam Intersection (Behind Blok M Plaza), Jakarta Selatan
Gultik or gulai tikungan is a beef curry served with rice sold by street vendors or hawkers on the sidewalk. The unique taste of the curry and the cheap price keeps their regular and new customers coming back for more.
- Ayam Betutu Khas Gilimanuk (Gilimanuk Betutu Chicken) – Balinese Cuisine
Jl. Wolter Monginsidi No. 63 A Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan
Bali is not famous just for its sandy beaches and alluring wild nights, but also for the exotic and spicy Balinese food. This restaurant is based in Bali but has opened up an outlet in Jakarta. Most of the dishes are spicy, such as the Ayam Betutu (steamed chicken). There are also other treats available, such as satay and various pork dishes.
Nightlife, Bars and Clubs in Jakarta
There are many bars and clubs in Jakarta, mostly located in South Jakarta. These are a few notable clubs and bars that Jakartans often visits.
Plaza Senayan, 4th Floor, Senayan Square Complex, Jl. Asia Afrika No. 8 Jakarta Pusat
Claimed as the biggest and most luxurious club in Jakarta, X2 is ready to take you in with its warm ambience and state of the art sound. Featuring both international and local DJs, X2 is specialized in progressive and trance music.
City Plaza – Wisma Mulia Jl. Jend. Gatot Subroto No. 42 Jakarta Selatan
Blowfish is a combined award winning restaurant and bar, serving Japanese cuisine with an avant-garde design. With various events each day, Blowfish surely brings a different sensation to each night.
- De Hooi
Jl. Metro Duta Raya Blok B4 No. 31 Pondok Indah Jakarta Selatan
De Hooi is your typical wild and crazy bar, the perfect spot for hanging out and drinking beer. It offers a great ambience and live music at most occasions.
- Beer Garden
Jl. Benda Raya No. 7 Mampang Prapatan, Jakarta Selatan
Beer Garden is an outgoing bar and restaurant, perfect for mingling with friends and spending the night out.
- Café Batavia – Jakarta’s International Cafe
Jl. Pintu Besar Utara No 14 Taman Fatahillah Stasiun Kota Jakarta Barat
Café Batavia is famous among international tourists. This café’s antique furnishing and unique décor, set on the Fatahillah square, breathe the atmosphere of the colonial past. It offers international fare and drinks (Western, Chinese and Indonesian).
- Anomali Coffee – Pure Indonesian Coffee
– Anomali Coffee Setiabudi – Setiabudi One Building Level 1, l. H.R. Rasuna Said Kav 62 Kuningan Jakarta Selatan
– Anomali Coffee Senopati – Jl. Senopati No. 35 Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta
– Anomali Coffee Kemang – Jl. Kemang Raya 72 unit G, Kemang Jakarta Selatan
For you coffee lovers out there, there’s a special place for you that deserves your attention. Anomali Coffee ensures brews up Indonesian coffee at its best. Try out Toraja Kalosi, Sumatera Mandailing, Papua Wamena, Java Estate, Bali Kintamani, Aceh Gayo Organic and the very famous Luwak coffee.
– Jl. Gereja Theresia No. 1, Menteng, Jakarta Pusat
– Cilandak Town Square Lt. 1 Jl. TB Simatupang Kav 17, Cilandak, Jakarta Selatan
Kafe Pisa offers an Italian atmosphere on its patio. This café is famous for its gelato, but also serves other tempting treats such as pastries, past and pizza.
- Little Baghdad – Café from the Middle East
Jl. Kemang 1 No. 72, Kemang, Jakarta Selatan
It could not get any more middle-eastern than in Little Baghdad. The menu, music, décor, and painting all work together to bring you to the Middle East. The dishes are unique and many entail goat meat. Take the Lahan Mashwi for example. Goat-meat wrapped in a flour-bread sandwich. If you’re in here anyway, don’t forget the sisha. The Sisha is the way middle easterners smoke their tobacco by using a hookah. The hookah is a waterslide pipe used to smoke the tobacco that is placed on top.
Jakarta Arts and Cultural Events
Both national and international cultural events and performances can be seen in many different venues in Jakarta.
- Taman Ismail Marzuki – The Jakarta’s Finest Art Central
Jl. Cikini Raya No. 73 Jakarta Pusat
Taman Ismail Marzuki is a national cultural performance center, where very frequent events such as drama, dance, theater, plays, movies, wayang (puppet shows) and poetry readings are performed.
- Gedung Kesenian Jakarta (The Jakarta Art Hall) – The Main Stage
Jalan Gedung Kesenian 1 Jakarta Pusat
Gedung Kesenian Jakarta or The Jakarta Art Hall is the one of the main venue for performing arts, whether traditional, national or international. Be sure to check the performing schedules and ticket bookings first if you wish to see a certain performance here.
- Erasmus Huis – Dutch Cultural Center
Jl H.R. Rasuna Said Kav S-3 Jakarta 12950
Erasmus Huis is a Dutch cultural center that frequently organizes art and cultural events such as music, movies and discussions.
- Goethe Institut – German Cultural Center
Jl. Sam Ratulangi 9-15 Jakarta Pusat
The German Goethe Institut regularly organizes events for those who wish to learn more about the German and Indonesian culture.
Shopping in Jakarta
- Penny – For Fans of Vans
Graha Obor 2, Jl Bangka Raya 110, Kemang, Jakarta Selatan
Penny is best known for selling original Vans sneakers, but as its business unfolds, it began offering other types and brands of various apparels. Other than Vans sneakers, Penny also sells Rebel8 tees and hats, Dreambird tees, New Era caps, Solidgold tees, Plains Original tees; and many more. If you are a hug fan of Vans sneakers and looking for some rare sneakers, then Penny is the place for you.
- Fashionmart Group – 100% Branded Italian Product Discount Specialist
– StockJunction – Jl. Pintu Air 5 / 53H Pasar Baru Jakarta Pusat
– Pro-Fashion-Line – Jl. Barito II / 15A Kebayoran Baru Jakarta Selatan
– Fashionmart – Hotel Prapanca, Jl. Prapanca Raya 28-31 Jakarta Selatan
– Italia Auctions – Sahid Jaya Hotel, Lobby Level, Jl. Jend. Sudirman 86 Jakarta Pusat
Stores from the Fashionmart Group have different names and are mostly located in South Jakarta. This fashion chain sells Italian branded products and apparel at discount prices.
- Aquarius Musikindo – Music and Entertainment
– Aquarius Pondok Indah
Jl. Sultan Iskandar Muda No.7 – Jakarta
– Aquarius Mahakam
Jl. Mahakam I No.3 Jakarta
Aquarius Musikindo is one of the largest music producing companies in Indonesia. It also runs a music store under the same name, and its outlets can only be found in Jakarta. If you wish to purchase some good Indonesian and international music, you may visit this music store, with both outlets located in South Jakarta. This music store also sells tickets for various music events and concerts.
- Camzone – For Your Camera Needs
ITC Fatmawati, 2nd Floor No. 45 Jl. R.S. Fatmawati No. 39 Cilandak Jakarta Selatan
For you photographers, finding a store that sells cameras and accessories at a competitive price is a must. Camzone is the perfect store for you. It offers a broad range of cameras and products from various brands such as Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Sony, Pentax, Konica Minolta, etc.
- Serenata Galeri Musik – Choosing Your Musical Instrument
Jl. R.S. Fatmawati No. 51 B-C Cilandak Jakarta Selatan
Serenata Music Gallery is a musical instrument store providing many instruments from guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards to pianos, saxophones, trumpets and violins.
- XSProject – Products from Waste
Jl. Kaimun Jaya No 28 Cilandak Barat Jakarta Selatan
XSProject is actually not a shop, but a foundation aiming to reduce the amount of waste by reusing plastic materials. The plastic materials are gathered and changed into useful and unique products such as bags, handbags, wallets, pencil cases and baskets. People are encouraged to support by not just merely donating money, but also contributing to the various activities of the XSProject. You can also donate your plastic waste to this foundation. The various products are for sale, but be sure to contact them through email or phone if you wish to buy in large quantity. The catalogue of products is available on their website. Isn’t it fun to shop for funky items and save the planet all at once?
- Pasaraya Grande – The Pride of Indonesia
Jl. Sultan Iskandarsyah 2 No. 2 Jakarta Selatan
Its logo, “The Pride of Indonesia”, says it all for this shopping mall. Pasaraya Grande attract a lot of foreign visitors, especially when they are searching for exclusive Indonesian products. Here in Pasaraya Grande, you can find a lot of Indonesian handicrafts, sculptures, paintings, ornaments, jewelry, puppets, batik and so on. Besides that Pasaraya Grande also offers clothing, sportswear, perfumes, watches and shoes, Pasaraya Grande has it all.
- Pusat Buku Murah (Cheap Bookstore) at Blok M Square – New, Old and Rare Books
Blok M Square, Jl. Melawai V Jakarta Selatan
Pusat Buku Murah or The Cheap Bookstore is located on the Basement Floor of Blok M Square. It is a paradise for bookworms in search of old and rare books. Most of the books are used and second-hand, but some are still in good nick. The books sold here are mostly Indonesian, but there is also a wide array of English written novels, comics and magazines. Bargaining here is not a sin, so it is advised to be accompanied by an experienced friend to bargain for the perfect price.
- Ms. Jones – For the Fun and Cheerful Ladies Out There
– MAZEE at f6 fX Lifestyle X’nter Jl. Jend Sudirman Pintu Satu Senayan Jakarta Selatan (Counter)
– Rukan Business Park Kebon Jeruk Blok D2 No7 Jl Meruya Ilir Raya No. 88 Jakarta Barat (Workshop)
Ms. Jones is a boutique dedicated specially to fun and hip women, made to wear their fashionable collections. Ms. Jones has 3 different collections, namely Ms. Jones, Ready to Ms. Jones, and Little Ms. Jones.
Ms. Jones is a simple but flirty collection of cocktail and evening gowns. Every gown will be custom-made to perfectly fit every customer. Ready to Ms. Jones is a collection of fun and cheerful summer-style day dresses with an affordable price tag and is available in small, medium and, large sizes. Little Ms. Jones is a collection for the stylish little miss to play with her friends, with an age range from 1 to 6 years old. The collection is made with specially chosen materials and tailored to be comfortable for children.