Jakarta Guide: Where To Eat, Sight-See And Shop Like An Insider

In this guide to Jakarta, we tap on activist and educator Elizabeth Raisa to give us the low-down on the Indonesian capital’s creative hotspots. Raisa is currently the co-ordinator for the Management in Creative Industries Undergraduate Programme at Lasalle College Indonesia, where she lectures on Fashion Business Portfolio and Design Thinking Methodologies. Outside of her academic career, she’s known as the founder and director of the Jakarta-based gender equality movement and dating violence hotline Perempuan/Pria Tagar Tegar (translation: Girls/Guys Hashtag Courage). She also has a book, Bandung’s Little Blue Book of Creative Wisdom, scheduled to launch later this spring.

Elizabeth Raisa

Here, the Indonesian native lists the must-visit spots for fashion, design and food lovers in Jakarta:


Ara Jakarta

"Truth be told, well-edited multi-label boutiques in Jakarta can be counted with the fingers on one hand. I trust Ara for a curated selection of Indonesia’s contemporary designers which offers craftsmanship and a twist of originality. Look out for owner and buyer Jo Elaine’s best pal designer, Toton Januar’s brand that make you feel like a very modern Indonesian princess (it’s always on my wish list, really). Also, NAFA graduate, Indonesian designer Friedrich Herman with his namesake label is worth a look for chic pieces that take you from day to night."

Jl. Kemang Raya No. 6. Colony Kemang 6 1F #5-6


"Head to Monstore for some original streetwear brands — it makes for a great stop in the ridiculously hip Senopati neighborhood (AKA S-Block). Need to get gifts for kids? Snap up a printed shirt or two with the Monstore Kiddo line. Recently they've also been producing T-shirts with Indonesia’s contemporary young artists and illustrators. I like the fact that no one can identify the stuff I wear and that I'm supporting a local entrepreneur compared to the usual branded suspects."

Jl. Gunawarman 21, Jakarta Selatan



"Better known as a graphic design agency office, exhibition space and cafe, its art shop carries eclectic goods of contemporary Indonesian design (think along the lines of what Supermama has done for Singapore tourists). Expect original, crisply designed notebooks and playing cards by the resident Leboye design agency, independent published books that aren’t available elsewhere on Indonesian architecture, design and social issues. Local label Sejauh Mata Memandang’s artisanal, hand-dyed scarves is a current fad we all love — it has become a new it-scarf among our socialites, actresses and celebrities."

Kemang Selatan 99A, Jakarta 12730

Galerie Nasional Indonesia

"Our Galeri Nasional owns an original piece by (Russian abstract art master) Wassily Kandinsky, among many other international and national artworks in their permanent collections. Moreover, one has to be reminded that our founding father and first President Soekarno was an avid art collector and painter; he wasn’t shy to order monolithic pieces from his travels of Europe for his personal collection or for the country’s museums. A selection from his collections have found a permanent home in this Galeri, but do visit often for their periodical exhibitions."

14 Jalan Medan Merdeka Timur, Jakarta



Image: Instagram (@kaumrestaurant)

"Kaum has been a recent comfort place of mine, be it for international business meetings (great for surprising them with Indonesia’s contemporary cuisine and taste) or with friends on weekdays. This place is great if you’re after original Indonesian cuisine with a kinder (read: less spicy) palate. My advice: order the entree Wagyu Maranggi sate, Mains of Ikan Dabu-dabu and Ayam Kampung Brantakan Sambal Terasi (don’t be alarmed by its messy look, that’s what it means to be ‘smashed’); and the super fun drink, Kecombrang Martini."

Jalan Dr. Kusuma Atmaja No. 77-79, Menteng, Jakarta

Warung MJS


"To escape the city grind, I like to head to Warung MJS, an Indonesian restaurant situated in an actual residential house with an outdoor garden and swimming pool. Food options look similar to the vegetarian rice stalls (i.e. 20+ options of dishes, to accompany your choice of white, green, nasi uduk or red rice) where they offer their specialized Central Java-style dishes, which include spicy sauteed papaya leaf or mild squid-ink sotong. Try their Ayam Mercon if you like it hot."

Jalan Setiabudi Tengah No. 11, Setiabudi, Jakarta Selatan


Bar Gina


"This quirky bar is Indonesia’s first feminist-themed bar in Jakarta’s hip S-Block. It’s not easy being a woman in an unsafe city and workplace. And since we’re reminded about that every day, a sip of ‘Lady Boss’ or ‘You have been warned’ may ignite your fighting spirit once again, followed by singing your heart out along to its live music sessions (you can request should you want to do a mic takeover). They also won’t mind you entering the premises with just a bra – perhaps, after a kickboxing session? No judgment here."

Jl. Suryo No.42, Jakarta 12180



The Gunawarman

"Your journey to rest might find you here at the wonderful The Gunawarman. It's a great choice especially for fans of Wes Anderson; the hotel comes fully decked with rather authentic faux-retro details such as key lockets behind the reception that’s  only for decoration (you check in with a card), but is perfectly outfitted to be Instragrammed — tastefully, of course. You’d have the most interesting bath time session in its open shower stall and separate antique toilet system. Finally, should you need to chase for a bite, an easy dine to see and to be seen would be at their resident Sofia restaurant that's open till midnight. Still hungry after midnight? The hotel is located in the hip S-block neighbourhood, which is littered with more than 50 cafes and bars."

Jl. Gunawarman No.3, RT.6/RW.3, Selong, Kby. Baru, Kota Jakarta Selatan, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 12110

This article is originally published on Female Singapore.

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