The only thing better than eating a delicious meal is eating a delicious meal that doesn’t put a dent in your wallet. Although there are a crazy number of cheap restaurants in Jakarta, only a few are universally beloved by foodies and bargain-hunters alike.
So to make this list, we decided to highlight restaurants:
A. That have an average rating of 4 out of 5 or above from user reviews sites such as Zomato, Google and Tripadvisor
B. That have main course dishes priced Rp 50,000 or below (much less in some cases)
Soto Betawi H. Husein
Its 4.3/5 rating on Zomato and 4.4/5 rating on Google prove this is one of the best places in all of Jakarta to get one of the capital’s most iconic dishes. Soto Betawi H. Husein serves a deeply flavorful version of the savory beef soup, rich with coconut milk and just the right blend of spices. Sink your teeth into some tasty tender offal like lungs (paru), or if you’re squeamish just stick to the “soto daging” (Rp 21k) with regular cuts of beef. Get here before noon or be prepared to wait for a table.
This place is an open air hole-in-the-wall that has harsh fluorescent lights, cramped seating and no AC – but it is almost always packed. That, and Bakso Akiaw’s very impressive 4.7/5 rating on both Zomato and Google and 4/5 rating on Tripadvisor are a testament to how much people love this place. Not a fan of bakso you say? Then you’ve never tried Akiaw’s meatballs. Tender and beefy, they have legions of fans who also love the moreish beef slices that they serve here. Each bowl of their bakso soup, which you can get with either regular noodles, kwetiaw or bihun, is a wonderful balance of salty and sweet (don’t forget the cilantro) that people swear by and keep coming back for over and over again. Depending on what you pick, your meal should be a little over Rp 40k plus drink.
Bakmi Karet Foek
Noodle lovers in Jakarta constantly debate about where to find the very best mie ayam in town, but Bakmi Karet Foek, with a 4 out of 5 on Tripadvisor and a 4.3 on Zomato, is certainly one of the top contenders. For one thing, it has some of the best bakmi karet (“rubber” noodles) in the business – thick, chewy and satisfying. They also make some delicious dumplings, both the popular pangsit and the rarer suikiaw. Their most expensive dish – a bowl of the bakmi ayam with a side bowl of suikiaw – will only set you back Rp 21,500. They also serve pork.
We know this is a bit of a controversial choice since they’ve been in the news recently for allegedly using expired ingredients, but that doesn’t seem to have any serious impact on Marugame Udon’s user ratings, which are high among all of its many locations throughout Jakarta. This Japanese chain specializes in serving up thick, chewy udon noodles in a variety of styles along with plenty of deep fried tempura treats. The basic kamaage udon (Rp 34k), served with a warm dashi based broth, is pure Japanese comfort food (even better with the egg upgrade), but be sure to also try their chilled zaru sabu (also Rp 34k), served with a dipping sauce to which you can add zingy ginger and sinus-clearing wasabi, which makes for a perfectly refreshing light meal on a hot Jakarta day.
Mie Aceh Seulawah
There are many fine Achenese restaurants in Jakarta but this little hole in the wall on Bendungan Hilir has stood the test of time. It has a few franchised outlets across town but the original is far superior. Their mie aceh special (Rp 32k) is loaded with beef, shrimp and plenty of spices – with just enough heat to make it totally addictive. If you need more, their crispy roti canai with curry soup (Rp 16k) is heart-stoppingly good. Be sure to order the sambal ganja (Rp 12k) if they have it – it might not be what you’re hoping, for but it’s delicious nonetheless. Wash down all that heavily spiced goodness down with a cup of their creamy teh tarik (Rp 15k).
There’s been an explosion in ramen restaurants in Jakarta the last few years and many are imports from Japan that sell pricey bowls of gourmet noodles. Seirock-Ya is also a Japanese ramen brand, but their noodle soups comes in at the lower end of the price range, with a bowl of their signature tori paitan ramen shoyu, featuring a rich soy-based chicken broth, coming in at just Rp 49k (note: they only serve halal ramen). Despite the relatively low price, their ramen is among the highest rated in the city, with the Radio Dalam outlet earning a 4.6/5 on Zomato and a 4.5 on Google.
Nasi Campur Kenanga
Not to be confused with Nasi Campur Putri Kenanga, the chain which can be found in many mall food courts and is… not as good, the Nasi Campur Kenanga in Dharmawangsa’s Grand Wijaya Center is one of the best places to get nasi campur babi (pork mixed rice) in all of South Jakarta. For Rp 48k you get a plate of rice surrounded by porky goodness, including sate babi, roast pork, pork sausage and crispy pork belly.
FYI: The Kaca Mata chain also serves up a great reasonably plate of nasi campur babi.
Warung Bu Kris
Plenty of warungs around town will get you a great meal for cheap, but Warung Bu Kris, a chain from Surabaya, consistently serves up some of the best spicy penyet dishes in town, especially their ayam penyet (Rp 18k) featuring fried chicken smothered in their utterly addictive chili sauce.
This list is a good start but obviously isn’t totally exhaustive, so if there are any other cheap and tasty restaurants you think belong on this list, be sure to tell us and your fellow readers in the comments below!