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A Culinary Tour

Jakarta is not only the capital of Indonesia but also the epicenter of Indonesian cuisine, a place where you’ll find mouth-watering spicy noodle bowls and vibrant vegetable salads topped with tangy-sweet peanut sauce at seemingly every turn. Plus, as a port town in an island nation, Jakarta’s food scene comes with a heavy dose of international flavor, most prominently from China, Europe and India. The bottom line being, Jakarta has a huge variety of exceptional eateries, from street food to fine dining, across countless cuisine styles. Here’s how to experience the best of it.

Day

1

MORNING
  • When in Jakarta.

    Start the day with a scrumptious brunch at Maple & Oak in the upscale Menteng district. The cozy space atmosphere paired with modern design is the perfect setting to enjoy their light bites or filling dishes and end the meal on a sweet note with a dessert. From there, head to Giyanti café nearby and have a taste of authentic Indonesian coffee from locally sourced beans.

MIDDAY
  • Market Stroll.

    One mile away awaits Jalan Surabaya, Jakarta’s legendary open-air market that sells a delightful hodgepodge of traditional and modern artifacts across the many cultures that have influenced this massive city. If you’re looking for a piece of authentic home décor, from ancient Indonesian tribal masks to Chinese jade dragons, this is your spot. 

  • Bird’s-Eye View.

    Ride the lift to the top of Monas, the National Monument in the center of Merdeka Square and take in Jakarta from more than 400 feet high. If it’s not a clear day, keep your feet on the ground: Merdeka Square contains multiple national memorials and statues, a fountain and top-notch people watching.

AFTERNOON
  • Best Street Food.

    Jakarta’s widely celebrated street food comes in two types: carts on the road and small, family-run eateries in more-or-less permanent locations. Be sure to visit Jalan Sabang, walking distance from Monas, where you’ll discover an array of carts and tents selling cuisine across the archipelago. The specialty is, of course, gado gado, an Indonesian favorite of lightly steamed vegetables, fried tofu and/or tempeh, and eggs in a sweet peanut sauce. Add lontong (banana leaf-wrapped rice cakes) to round out the dish.  

  • Take a Break.

    Eastern medicine cites proper digestion and low stress as keys to good health. Keep yourself in prime condition with a detoxifying deep tissue massage at The Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Pacific Place. The day spa is a tranquil oasis on the eighth floor, including a soaking tub, sauna, steam room and cold plunge pool. 

EVENING
  • A Dinner to Remember.

    Reserve a table at enchanting Bunga Rampai, where authentic Indonesian cuisine is served in a rustic-yet-elegant setting. The restaurant is one of Jakarta’s hottest venues for traditional Indonesian cuisine. Bunga Rampai’s menu epitomizes Indonesian comfort food, done the right way. They serve an authentic Indonesian fare, with a few Dutch additions to the menu. Housed in a classic Dutch building, walk into Bunga Rampai and you’ll instantly feel its elegant Indonesian charm.

  • Rooftop Toast.

    Often, in a city of skyscrapers, the best evenings end with a sky-high nightcap at Skye Bar and Restaurant, 56 floors up on the roof of the BCA Tower. Once it gets late, local DJs spin tunes.    

Day

2

MORNING
  • Sacred Architecture.

    Jakarta is a majority Muslim city, but many religions have found a home here, and the metropolis prides itself on religious tolerance. The most striking church is the triple-spired Jakarta Cathedral, built in 1901 in the neo-gothic style. Across the canal, you’ll see the gleaming Javanese marble and signature dome of Istiqlal Mosque, the largest place of worship in Southeast Asia.

MIDDAY
  • Old Town Brunch.

    It’s hard to beat brunch at Café Batavia, just north of Merdeka Square in Jakarta Old Town, in one of the oldest buildings in the city on historic Fatahillah Square. The restaurant’s colonial-style interior is perfectly on point, and its menu features a mix of Western and local cuisine. Try nasi goreng, a fried egg on top of fried rice. 

  • I Scream, You Scream.

    Pop into Ragusa Italian Ice Cream for a post-brunch sweet treat. The historic shop has been a part of Jakarta since 1932.

  • Culture Break.

    Linger at Fatahillah Square to take in the lively scene of street peddlers, puppet shows and people on bikes, bordered by colonial buildings. The fountain in the center is a replica of the 18th century original, used to supply water to the city back when it was known as Batvia, the capital of the Dutch East Indies.      

AFTERNOON
  • Healthy Delights.

    Take care of your body and become more familiar with the SCBD district by grabbing healthy delights at Berrywell. Choose from their variety of smoothie bowls complete with fruit toppings along with cold-pressed juices, wraps and pastries perfect for an afternoon treat.

  • Mixology Masters.

    Continues on to Potato Head at the Pacific Place Mall to try one of their award-winning cocktails that are inspired by Indonesia’s fresh and exotic flavors. The bar’s tropical, open-air patio offers a welcome break from the bustling city. 

EVENING
  • Farewell Dinner.

    Reap the culinary bounty of Indonesia’s international influences at Amuz, just around the corner from The Ritz-Carlton Jakarta, Pacific Place, on the second floor of the Energy Building. The gourmet restaurant’s chic Parisian interior features original artwork by two of Indonesia’s top painters and pairs well with the resplendent menu of contemporary French cuisine and fine European wines.