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Jakarta today offers an excellent variety of sophisticated fine dining restaurants located in many parts of this sprawling metropolitan city.
The best Indonesian cuisine and international restaurants are found in unique surroundings as they are located in elegant and well appointed colonial buildings that enhance that special nostalgic atmosphere of fine, graceful dining like in those colonial days long gone.
The Oasis Restaurant on Jalan Raden Saleh in Central Jakarta, the Bistro Boulevard on Teuku Umar, Bunga Rampai on Jalan Tjik Ditiro and the Jittlada Thai restaurant on Jalan Sultan Agung are just a few prime examples. The Café Batavia across the old Stadhuis at Fatahillah Square in Old Batavia takes one back to the grand style of grand meals in the Dutch colonial era.
Meanwhile, Jakarta’s top hotels serve grand buffets for lunch in one all inclusive price where diners can pick from a wide selection of cuisine from Japanese sushi to juicy steaks and roast beef, to crunchy salads, and close the meal with chocolate cake, fresh fruits and delicious aromatic coffee.
Malls have also gotten into the fray to pamper diners, where entire floors are today dedicated to upscale restaurants, but there are also smaller bistros, cafes and fast food to cater to the thousands of busy professionals from the surrounding office towers, and shoppers and cinema buffs filling the attached cineplex.
The Kemang area in South Jakarta is a small world all its own where are some top international restaurants, among which the Turkish Anatolia restaurant, but also others serving first class Italian, Indian, Chinese, Indonesian, or Dutch cuisine.
And everywhere around this city one finds simple restaurants and street stalls so that no one can ever complain of having to go hungry for lack of food available.
Indonesia’s favourite food are satay and Gado-gado or Ketoprak, Sate, sometime spelled satay is Indonesia’s kebab. These are thick slices of chicken, beef or mutton skewered and deliciously barbequed then poured over with hot peanut sauce or soya sauce.
While Gado-gado is Indonesia’s salad consisting of boiled spinach, watercress, beansprouts, boiled potatoes and boiled egg, poured over with ground peanut sauce sometimes eaten with lontong, which is rolled rice boiled in leaves. Another variety is the Ketoprak which consists of beansprouts, tofu and rice noodles served with fresh peanut sauce mixed with spices.
The most comfortable way to get around is by renting a car or take a taxi. Best call for a taxi from your hotel or mobile. If you are not used to driving among Jakarta’s peculiar traffic rules and behavior, it is best not to even try to drive yourself in Jakarta, as this may up your blood pressure no end. There are “car calls” and valet services available at all hotels and malls to call drivers. Else use your mobile to call your driver.
If you are more adventurous try the TransJakarta express buses, which connect the main streets of Jakarta and are more reliable. Make sure you know your destination (and most importantly, which bus to take, so you won't be lost).
Since Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia, this megalopolis is only one, two (or several) trips away by plane, from many big cities in the world. From Sukarno-Hatta airport, formerly known as Cengkareng, you're free to see the sights of Jakarta.