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Jakarta draws residents from all over the Indonesian archipelago, and the restaurants in the bustling city reflect the mix of unique cuisines. The capital city is the natural place for the culinary-curious to sample the country’s spectrum of cooking, as well as fine international cuisines. Here are the Forbes Travel Guide editor’s picks for the best restaurants to visit in Jakarta:
1. Payon. For authentic Javanese cuisine, visit Payon, in the bustling and high-energy Kemang area of South Jakarta. The local and foreign cosmopolitans come here to escape urban life — the restaurant is an oasis of greenery in a city of skyscrapers and you can dine on traditional, well-made dishes under an open pagoda.
2. Huize Trivelli Heritage Resto & Patisserie. This historic restaurant, operating out of a 1939 house, is a family restaurant in the truest sense — the menu of original dishes has been handed down over several generations. The offerings include traditional Indonesian meals adjusted for the Dutch palate, while the décor reflects the family’s Javenese-European and Chinese cultural traditions.
3. Lara Djonggrang. This spot is a go-to restaurant as much for its enchanting ambiance as its menu made up of a range of traditional eats from across Indonesia. Antiques and cultural artifacts are displayed in a dimly lit, mystical setting — statues from Javanese temples, traditional instruments and shadow puppets among them.
4. SATOO. Those looking for a variety of types of cuisine can head to Satoo, the international, upscale buffet at the Shangri-La Hotel Jakarta. It is so popular (with both locals and visitors) that reservations are highly recommended. Go hungry, and leave room for multiple trips to the dessert bar.
5. Anatolia. At the top of the list for authentic gourmet Turkish cuisine, Anatolia is also a good pick for vegetarians who will find a slew of options here. This Kemang-area eatery serves up belly dancing performances in the traditionally decorated space (think Persian carpets and artifacts adorning the walls).