Jakarta’s one (and only?) redeeming factor, I think, is its culinary offerings, so one should take advantage of it to the max. MSN listed the best Indonesian restaurants in Jakarta, which I re-list below along with my comments (only those I’ve tried). Note that I can’t vouch for these addresses and phone numbers; you might need to re-google to get it right.
EDIT: Actually, MSN translated this article from this website, The Culture Trip. MSN did reference the site, but I thought that it clarifies the author’s affiliation rather than indicating the actual article as an outright COPY. Geez MSN. Thanks to beautyintheeyesofbeholder for pointing this out!
- Angke Restaurant, Jl K.H.Zaenal Arifin Blok B I/1, Krukut, Tamansari, Tel. 6343030.
- Bandar Djakarta, Jl. Pantai Indah Pintu Timur, Impian Jaya Ancol, Tel. 6455472. Specializes in seafood, located on the waterfront inside a huge amusement park complex. Very, very busy during holidays and weekends (thus best avoided if you are anti kids running around, people shouting over the din of kids screaming, bad random person singing on the stage, etc). Food is generally good, just make sure you order very different types of dishes, since a lot of them taste almost the same. But good. You can choose your own dining victims, many of which are still crawling/swimming in the various aquariums. For the food quality and ambiance, the price is surprisingly reasonable, bordering cheap.
- Harum Manis, Jl. KH Mas Mansyur Kav. 24, Karet Tengsin Tanah Abang, Tel. 57941727
- Ikan Bakar Cianjur, Jl. Cipete Raya 35, Tel. 75900222
- Pondok Laguna, Jl Batu Tulis Raya No 45 Pecenongan, Tel. 3459993. Chinese style cooking with great seafood menus. The place is always busy, but they’re very quick and usually efficient, so you should not have too long of a wait unless you have a large group (in which case, reserve and order ahead).
- Dapur Babah, Jl. Veteran 1 | 18 – 19, Tel. 7060 2256. If you’re a novice to Indonesian cuisine, this is a good place. The decor is interesting, the food is delicious in a tame sort of way.
- Lara Djonggrang, Jl. Teuku Cik Di Tiro 4, Menteng,Tel. 3160288. This is another best enjoyed for its ambiance, and to impress the newly-arrived foreigners.
- Seribu Rasa, Jl. Agus Salim No. 128,Tel. 392 8892. This place is the happy medium between ambiance and taste. The food is delicious and hearty, but not overly sharp. Given the extensive menu, however, if you are a novice to Indonesian food, choosing what goes together well, might be tricky. But mostly, your money will be well spent.
- Sate Khas Senayan, many locations in Jakarta, take your pick. I believe this is the first franchise of Indonesian cuisine. Menus have been tried and tested for decades, but honestly they are not too tame. The best value for money in this list, and although there is an extensive menu, dishes generally complement each other well. One could dine here for a few days in a row without being bored.
- Sampan Matsuda Sentra. Jl. Teuku Cik Ditiro II No. 1, Gondangdia, Menteng, Tel. 31924617.
The one I would add to the list above is Tesate (Pacific Place Mall, Plaza Senayan, and Menteng). This is the up-market sister of Sate Khas Senayan. There is a twist of western flavors and sensibilities, while keeping the Indonesian characters of the food.