Eating out is not just easier and more relaxing than cooking at home, but it’s also more convenient (unless you buy your groceries in Pasar Santa). If your stomach isn’t used to the bacteria of this dirty city, start with the inside restaurants and don’t trust even the most expensive ones when it comes to fish. There are many good places to eat, with a wide choice and international cuisine. Have a gado-gado in the homonymously named restaurant, it’s the most amazing vegetarian food in Indo. On Mondays, go to Pizza e Birra for the cheapest beer in town and some Italian food: carb fest! If you do crave fish, I have tried D’Cost and enjoyed it with no grave repercussions.
To train your stomach before you hit the streets, check out the many food courts- they are almost in every large building of the city, my favorite is in Intiland Tower basement. You can get sushi or any kind of Indonesian delight, a whole meal for just over a euro! And finally, after a decent amount of probiotics have entered your system, you have the strength for street food! The best places are Menteng and BenHil, you will find sellers of all the Indo wonders, including Bubur Rice Porridge and Ketoprak, a delicious mix of rice noodles and vegetables swimming in peanut sauce!
After dinner, you should wait a while before going out: alcohol is too expensive to be ingested on a full stomach! For the lovers of mainstream house, you will find Jakarta to be your heaven; you will enjoy the large clubs such as Dragonfly, FX and Empirica. These places have a strict dress code. Women have to wear high heels. In Empirica you can also have ballerina flats, but if you wear sandals you won’t be allowed in, no matter how expensive these might be. In Dragonfly, if you try and smuggle a pair of comfy shoes in your bag, the bodyguards will find them and confiscate them. I have verified both phenomena first hand. Although the bitches checking you at the entrance claim that the dress code is purely for esthetical reasons, I confute this argument. The night in Dragonfly I started dancing merengue with a Mexican guy, we were occupying some space in the crowded room, and many people stopped their side-to-side dancing to watch us. That’s when the body guard approached us and told us to stop dancing that way. So the reason for this imperative must be that more people can be fitted in a club where women can’t dance freely, and the club makes more profit!
For those who love hard drugs and its related music, Kota is your place. The most famous clubs here are Colosseum and Melly’s. But if you just want to enjoy a nice evening with friends and decent music, your best shot if you are in the center is to go to (Sudirman Central Business District), and find Lucy in the Sky or Beer Garden. Here I caught DubYouth, the most thought-of dubstep DJ in Indo. For dancing, Potato Head can also be good, with occasionally Hip Hop and R&B nights. But the young hipsters of Jakarta hang out in the south, where the universities are, and specifically in Kemang. This district is 20 minutes (in the middle of the night: with no traffic) from the center, and has many clubs, bars and restaurants that are nice to visit. Many Indonesians start their evening in 7/11 mini markets, where there’s cheap beer and tables outside for an easy pre-drink!
Finally, if you are interested in seing some romantic and chill live indie bands, keep an eye on the movements of Payung Teduh, Dialog Dini Hari and FLOAT: their performances are beautiful, romantic and dreamy!