Expat Restaurant Reviews
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Visit Jakarta's Restaurants - a listing of some favorite restaurants of expats in Jakarta!
More information in Dining Out at Restaurants in Jakarta ... read on !
For contact information of restaurants , see the Jakarta Restaurants section of the Shops and Services listings.
After dinner, check out the Night Life in Jakarta: Bars, Clubs, Discos and Night Clubs
Got a favorite restaurant or information on a restaurant that you want to share with others ... let us know what you think and we'll put it up on this page! Please rate the restaurant at the end on a scale of 1 to 10 - with 10 being the highest.
Cuisine - Indonesian, Padang
Finding an authentic Padang restaurant where you really want to sit down, relax, and eat the food, can be a challenge.
Restoran Simpang Raya, on Jalan Margonda in Depok (directly across from the Hotel Bumi Wiyata, about 1 km south of Universitas Gunadarma, about 2 km north of Hero and Depok mal) is large, clean, and well-lit. there are even a few air conditioners which, owing to the open design, aren't quite as effective as they could be, but, all-in-all, this place is much more comfortable than most Padang restaurants.
Best of all, the food is very tasty and authentic, without being unbearably spicy. The selection includes all of the usual dishes, which are brought to your table following the custom at Padang restaurants. This is a great place for newcomers to try nasi Padang favorites like rendang and sayur nangka without suffering the culture shock of an average Padang restaurant. They also have an assortment of fresh juices and cold beverages that are actually cold. The only thing missing would be a nice cold beer--come to think of it, why is it that Padang restaurants never serve beer? It seems like a natural drink to go with a spicy dish like rendang.
Newcomers should aware that items brought to your table without being ordered are NOT free. You pay for everything you eat. MS
Cusine - Turkish
A stuffy foursquare meter shop front with the word shawarma painted in red on the large window at the entrance. When you walk in, a sweaty slightly obese Turkish guy greets you with his toothless grin. When you place your order, he just nods and grunts a few meaningless words and slaps some greasy meat on a steaming hot pita bread already sitting on a plastic plate and throws it on your table. Well, might not be as repulsive as that, but that's the image of a Turkish restaurant in my mind. The ultimate foodies nightmare I inherited, living in West European countries.
But as soon as you enter Anatolia, a Turkish restaurant located on Jl. Kemang Raya, which just opened last year, the image just melts on the spot. The waiters, wearing Middle Eastern uniform greet you with a generous smile at the reception area, ready to guide you to your table. The rectangular room is tastefully decorated with Turkish ornaments - lampshades in the shape of traditional Turkish hats hang in a line down the center of the room; a hooker (water pipe) is sitting temptingly in the corner of the bar. Basked in Turkish Kiss music - performed by the famous singer Tarkan, it's just a relatively chic accommodating place to be.
Booking in advance is recommended, especially for dinner during the weekend. The staff has often refused walk in customers, as seating is limited. After my second visit I have learnt that it's wise to carry your own damask napkin in your bag just in case they run out (the fact that their restaurant is located face to face with 5 @ sec doesn't really help).
Let's talk about their original Turkish recipes (authenticity is achieved by importing 85% of the dried ingredients directly from Turkey). My first pick is a set of appetizers comprising of:- finger borek (fried fetta and cheddar cheese rolled up in filo pastry), sambousa vegetable or chicken, a stack of pita breads with buttered nuts and olive hummus, muttabal (a mashed grilled eggplant mixed with Tahini garlic lemon and yogurt; some people call it babaganoush). Taboule, a crunchy tingling Parsley salad adds a fresh element amongst the mellowness of the bread and the dips.
Their signature dishes are the Sish Kebab and Shawarma. Chicken and Lamb Sish Kebab are simple and fresh. Just make sure to ask your waiter to grill them evenly and not to overcook the local chicken breast as it tends to be too tough and a bit difficult to swallow. Shawarma Iskendar, which is rice and pita bread topped with mutton, tomato butter and pure yogurt sauces is heaven on a stick, a dream come true for cholesterol addicts.
They have a choice of chicken, mutton or vegetable curry, which are very tasty for those who like it hot and have steam hissing from their ears.
On my fourth visit (while you're reading this you can already tell that I'm a frequent client), our host - the chef owner - Sezai Zorlu, who for the last seven years with his father managed restaurants in Singapore, offered me his newly developed main offering and dessert. It was Snapper Sish Kebab, the best main course I've tried so far; and Sobiyet, a walnut curd wrapped in syrup soaked filo pastry. An authentic Turkish sugar fix.
The bay leaf infused Fish Sish Kebab was tender, juicy and succulent; while the marinade gave it a strong pepper-ish flavor. The chef told me that after testing the new dishes for two months with his regular guests, they might be incorporated into the menu. I thought it was a great idea to keep expanding the menu, to avoid regular clients, people who have no other place to go - like me; from becoming bored.
Sezai keeps the restaurant's atmosphere relax and friendly by frequenting all the tables several times throughout the meal. We are always tempted with traditional coffee and a complimentary dessert of Baklava, which completes the meal with a sweet touch of candied Pistachio nuts packaged in filo pastry.
So, when people ask me what I think about Anatolia, personally as a fish lover I would say: “Nice fish and dips!” AG
Cuisine - Indonesian
Out of all Indonesian dishes, one of my favourites is Coto Makassar, and I have yet to find anywhere that does it better than this place. Losari can be found about half way along a row of wall-to-wall warung makan down one side of Jl. Kendal, where you have to run the gauntlet of “parking attendants” that leap out in front of your car to help you park at whatever restaurant pays their commission. If you determinedly continue until you find Losari, you will be in for a treat.
The restaurant itself is basic but clean, with plastic tablecloths and chairs, and a half-height lattice wall with a large cotton banner separating the dining area from the street. All in all, a no-frills eatery with hand-washing facilities, overhead fans and a TV that gets switched to MTV the moment I enter (I guess I am one of only a few foreign customers, and as such I always get the most courteous of treatment, even though they wrongly assume that I dislike Indonesian TV). Losari specialises in barbecued fish of various types, Coto Makassar, various ice desserts and juices. Coto Makassar is a hearty beef soup containing chunks of tender lean beef, chopped fresh spring onion (scallion) and fried onion in an opaque stock that looks like it came from a muddy rainwater puddle. It comes in two varieties: standard at Rp. 6000, and khusus (special) at Rp. 7500. The standard variety also contains babat (tripe), whilst the khusus only contains regular meat.
The last time I visited Losari with my wife, they had five varieties of fish on the menu, none of which I had ever heard of, priced between Rp, 10,000 and Rp. 20,000 each. Enquiring into the qualities of the various types prompted a platter displaying every type and size to choose from, all of which looked very fresh with clear eyes and clean skin. When I asked where they came from (meaning which part of Indonesia), the proprietor/waitress explained she had taken them from the fish-tank and killed them about 5 minutes ago (I guess it doesn't get much fresher than that). I chose a large one with a name I couldn't pronounce and a bowl of Coto khusus, while my wife ordered a bowl of Coto biasa (standard) and promised to “taste” my fish (which is actually Indonesian for “steal a significant portion of your fish because it's nicer than I expected”). Happily, beer is also available, and I ordered a large cold one. The barbecued unpronounceable fish arrived perfectly cooked, with the skin charred black so it could be easily removed, revealing firm moist flesh that simply fell away from the bone. The freshness was evident from the flavour and texture, with just a hint of wood-smoke (my wife enjoyed every mouthful, of which she had many). As is usual in Indonesia, the fish was cooked complete with the head, which no longer bothers me, even when my wife eats it (well, maybe a little). The Coto was simply wonderful- not too spicy but certainly not bland, piping hot, with plenty of tender meat and no fat or gristle. All this was served with a small side salad (free), a bowl of home made chilli ginger paste (free) and a dish of lontong (rice wrapped in banana leaves and steamed, to form a solid stick which is broken up and dropped in the soup) which is charged at Rp. 1000 for each one eaten. I passed on the dessert, while my wife had a bowl of shaved ice flavoured with fruit syrup and chopped banana. A wonderful meal which made me remember why I come back at least once a month, and great value at a ridiculous Rp. 40,000 for two (currently less than 4 dollars). DC
Overall marks out of ten: nine
Cuisine - Japanese
I tried Tokyo at the suggestion of one of my wife's colleagues, whom I am now convinced dislikes me intensely for some reason. “It's wonderful,” she gushed, “if you like Japanese food that is. But I can't join you tonight.” I love Japanese food, but was a bit dubious about eating it at anything other than a real Japanese restaurant. After an hour and about ten u-turns on Jl. Fatmawati / Jl. Panglima Polim, we found it.
To say Tokyo is popular is an understatement: it was packed, and we were eventually seated on the end of a long table of other diners. The restaurant consists of tables on the sidewalk, plastic stools and a tarpaulin cover held up by the wall, a tree, various sticks and lengths of string tied to bricks. I hate those flimsy plastic stools, and have unintentionally destroyed several in the last few years; they're just not designed for 6 foot 80 kg bule. Tonight was going to prove no exception. We ordered teriyaki chicken, teriyaki beef, prawns deep fried in batter and rice for my wife, plus two fresh orange juices.
The first disappointment came when the orange juice turned out to have been adulterated with a large volume of sugar, which appeals to the Indonesian palate but unfortunately not to mine, and I always forget to tell them not to add it. The teriyaki dishes arrived shortly afterwards, consisting of thin strips of meat swimming in sauce, accompanied by a pile of shredded cabbage topped by a large dollop of pink seafood style sauce (why??). One taste of the meat was all it took to convince me my reservations about non-Japanese Japanese food were well-founded. The sauce, which covered the meat in copious quantities and couldn't therefore be scraped off, was obviously made up primarily of kecap ABC, a sweet bottled soy sauce that is nice when used sparingly but is not intended to be drunk by the litre. Other ingredients I could only guess at, but I would bet more sugar played quite a large part. The pink seafood style sauce was also unpalatably sweet, and after nibbling at a little uncontaminated cabbage I gave up.
The prawns arrived last, accompanied by (you guessed it) another litre of kecap ABC. Examination of these revealed about 75% oily batter and 25% prawn. I was about to express my utter disappointment to the waiting staff, when the stool I was sitting on, with the perfect timing befitting such an occasion, decided to collapse without warning, leaving me sitting on the restaurant floor (a.k.a. the sidewalk). I stood up and looked around at all the other diners, who were staring at me like I had just arrived from Mars. Thinking I should explain myself, I picked up the stool, which now had legs in every direction like the points of a compass, pointed at it and said “I, err ...”. “Its okay, sir,” replied a waiter, “we won't charge you for the stool. It happens all the time.”
Having retrieved the food in plastic bags so as not to offend the waiters by rejecting it (not my idea), I grudgingly paid the bill and we left. The total bill, for what it's worth, was around Rp. 75,000, making my alternative dining option (beer) seem much better value.
Back home I offered the remainder of the food to a passing cat. The cat hurriedly ran over to the plate and sniffed it, then without saying a word gave me a look of complete and utter contempt and strode off. It occurred to me that I should have done the same thing. DC
Overall marks out of ten: two
Cuisine - Indonesian
Restaurant Ayam Goreng Suharti on Jl. Cilandak is excellent. I used to go to Padzi on Ampera Raya quite a bit for Indonesian food, but find that this place surpasses it easily. Food is superb. Used to be run by a couple who have now split up, and the husband has continued to open a few similar places, in competition with the ex-missus, who supplied the original recipies, but didn't have the patent on them. Both sets of restaurants are fairly similar (same names), but the female-run ones have a picture of a woman on the sign, while the male ones have a picure of a chicken. Cilandak outlet is supposedly the best ... about 150 yards down the road from the Simatupang toll road, where Ampera Raya changes to Jl. Cilandak. Mccaffc
Cuisine - Italian Pizza
A sharp new restaurant opened in Kemang at the corner of Kemang Raya and Kemang Selatan IX (just across the street from Anatolia).
Good food, excellent service and decor. Very reasonable prices. Pizza is much better than average.
The first thing you notice when you arrive is that this place is very stylishly decorated. Attention was paid to design to the extent that each table is individually lit by a recessed halogen light in the ceiling. We arrived at about 5:30 PM on Thursday and had no trouble getting a table in non-smoking. There were about five other tables with customers, so we weren't along, either. The PA was playing a Sting CD, a little too loudly for my taste, but within the range of acceptable. A competent server arrived promptly and took our order. We had garlic bread, 'Izzi dough balls' (kind of similar to the bread and garlic butter you get at Tony Roma's for free), Ceasar salad, Fettucine Con I Funghi (which used fresh mushrooms), and a 'Milano' pizza. The whole bill with the glasses of tea was Rp127,000. So, one of the biggest plusses about this place is that price is very reasonable for the quality of the food, service, and decor.
The food was all good. Being a native Chicagoan, where we get very snooty about out pizza (best pizza joints in the USA, by far!!!!), I'm not going to tell you that this place would run Gino's East out of business, but it is easily the best pizza I've had in Indonesia--there's no reason to go the Pizza Hut just down the street anymore. One problem with pizza in Indonesia is getting a decent Iitalian sausage. Another is a decent crust. On both of these points Izzi Pizza has a big lead over their local competition.
The location is also very handy for Kemang locals. Because of it's location on Kemang Selatan IX, you can walk there on back streets from many parts of Kemang without ever having to walk on a main road.
4 1/2 stars (out of five)
Gado Gado Boplo Cuisine
I tried Gado Gado Boplo at this branch near by Jl. Sudirman and I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants healthy, yet affordable food. Don't be fooled by the minimalist interior, which may seem like is definitely a place that you wouldn't be ashamed to show off to your non-veggie friends. I know, because I have tested the waters with many of my somewhat skeptic non-veggie friends, and Love Powers converted their taste buds.
With it's bright and candy-colored décor -- a deep yellow and purple -- brisk and attentive wait staff and attractively presented illuminated photographs of the menu items, it is an attractive alternative to both other vegetarian restaurants and the regular fast-food outlets.
For drinks, try their Power Mixed Bean, a combination of mung beans, soya beans and red beans blended in vanilla ice cream - thick, creamy and not too sweet. Cool Girl is a refreshing combination of Sunkist orange, pineapple, carrot and ginger, while Cool Man is a cooling combination of passion fruit, cucumber and lime. Pretty pink and golden-colored Power Aloe Vera combines agar agar and aloe vera. Drinks are at Rp 8,000, a little pricey perhaps but they offer large servings and pure ingredients - no syrups!
On the main menu favorites include Power Satay at Rp 10,000 for five portions - extremely convincing for carnivores - it has a creamy rich peanut and cashew sauce. Power Sapoh, Rp 15,000 - served bubbling on a hot plate - is a subtle symphony of flavors with braised Japanese silk tofu, red and green paprika, carrot, white Chinese spinach and sliced bakso (veggie meat balls). Power Veggie Cake (Choy Pon), Rp 6,000 is a melt-in-the-mouth delectable steamed cake served in a bamboo basket, using grated bengkuang and finely minced mushroom in a fine rice flour wrapper. Some of the newer items on the menu include Rujak Juhi, 12,000, Power Siomai, Rp 6,000, Power Yaki (Japanese sukiyaki), Rp 15,000 and Power Veggie Steak, steak with side vegetables, Rp 24,000.
Still going through growing pains, having introduced many new items on the menu, Love Powers will need to decide on their main menu and stick to that in order to establish its own character.
Gado Gado Boplo Cuisine
I tried Gado Gado Boplo at this branch near by Jl. Sudirman and I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants healthy, yet affordable food. Don't be fooled by the minimalist interior, which may seem like a fine-dining restaurant at first, but the price of food is actually cheap for middle class customers. I must say its Vegetable Salads at their finest! Staying at Rasuna Apartments, I'm always looking for food that I can actually eat at a daily basis and then I found it at this Casablanca branch. Gado-gado is a traditional dish in Indonesian cuisine, and comprises a vegetable salad served with a peanut sauce dressing. It is widely served in hotels and restaurants in Indonesia. Try Rujak Juhi too at Boplo, it is a little spicy to taste, but its rich and creamy sauce is hard to resist, poured on top of a salad. This is another variation of gado gado. I think its very healthy, for vegetarians to try because this restaurant serves a good selection of vegetarians dishes. In addition, Gado-Gado Boplo has complete menu of Indonesian dishes! I work out, so I need to look after my diet, and Gado Gado Boplo has a great healthy menu that I can work with. Other dishes to try are nasi rames, nasi timbel, bakmi ayam, ice campur, etc. Just look for an outlet close to you.
Cuisine - Authentic Indonesian cuisine
This restaurant is famous for a dish call Ketoprak, an Indonesian salad with peanut garlic sauce and rice noodles, with prawn crackers served on top. The Ketoprak recipe comes from the old popular street hawker in Jl Ciragil, in Kebayoran Baru. Now the delicacies of local street culture can be found in Green Garden, West Jakarta, in a casual dining, yet clean and classy, atmosphere. The restaurant is bright and cool, with a combination of modern and classic Indonesian designs. The decor makes you feel you are dining in a traditional Betawi haven, with a few banana trees to accentuate the theme. Very easy to find and very brightly lit at night. Ciragil's food is very authentic and delicious, yet fairly cheap. It's great to take the family here. Ciragil serves a full selection of Indonesian dishes including, Gado Gado, Nasi Goreng, and Lontong. Outside the restaurant is a replica of a Satay stand, and and Es Podeng stand, where orders for these dishes are prepared, giving an extra feel of authenticity. On the second level is Waroeng Ciragil Cafe, where you can enjoy a fine selection of coffees, and ice blended drinks. They will deliver in nearby neighborhoods. It's a must-try for expats! Rating: 9 out of 10.
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