Header image courtesy of @Unionjkt (via Instagram)
Just like any other major urban cities, Jakarta offers a plethora of endless cafés that serve delicious beverages, pretty desserts, and everything in-between to the city’s 9.6 million residents. However, the dark side of this trend is the quick turnover these new joints face, or as the old adage goes, “Out with the old, in with the new.” It is no easy feat to survive the café scene and those that do really had to earn their stripes. Here are the six popular cafés in Jakarta, Indonesia, that have stood the test of time, with reputations for good food, good service, and good times.
The legendary Union branch inside Plaza Senayan is undoubtedly the most popular among its five outlets across town. With its American bistro concept, the café is known for its plush red leather sofas and framed wall décors. For menus, the famed Union’s red velvet cake is regarded as the frontrunner among pastry lovers in town. They also offer a nice selection of caffeinated brews and pasta delicacies. It’s wise to reserve a seat as Union is always packed with customers who are there to eat, meet, or pose in front of Union’s popular mirror façade.
Union Brasserie, Bakery & Bar, Plaza Senayan Courtyard, Ground Floor, Jl. Asia Afrika No.8, South Jakarta, Indonesia | (+021) 57905861
The Anomali brand is no stranger to Jakartans. With seven outlets across town, this two-storey café still reigns supreme as the brand’s initial joint in the energetic Kemang neighbourhood. Known for its myriad coffee options—single-origin, affogato, espresso-based, and fusion—the brand utilises rich Indonesian coffee beans (such as Aceh, Papua, Toraja, and Java), making it super popular among coffee enthusiasts. With its exterior of terracotta bricks, wooden chairs, and industrial décor, you’ll find yourself in the company of freelancers and corporate workers during your visit, savouring their coffee orders and Anomali’s pastry selection.
Anomali Coffee Kemang, Jl. Kemang Raya No.72, Bangka, South Jakarta, Indonesia | (+021) 7194742
Tucked inside the Plaza Festival in Kuningan area, Lucky Cat Coffee & Kitchen is one of the few 24-hour cafes in Jakarta. Fortunately, its opening hours are not the only cherry on top here, as the spacious café also offers a good cup of Java and all-day brunch menus (mushroom & avocado on toast!). With rustic interiors and a translucent roof, this house-turned-café boasts a cornucopia of seats, a thoughtful old tree, and rows of hanging plants on its second floor—an ideal location for dates, catching up with friends, or some much-needed me-time.
Lucky Cat Coffee & Kitchen, Pasar Festival No. 1, South Parking. Jl. HR Rasuna Said, South Jakarta, Indonesia | (+021) 52961475
For historical buffs, a trip to Jakarta is not complete without a stopover at Café Batavia. Overlooking the Fatahillah Museum in the Kota Tua area (“the Old Town”), the seasoned eatery has been around for over 200 years (built in 1850) and has undergone refurbishments in the 1990s to match with the modern standards while still maintaining its olden charm, evident in its teak-wood interior, colonial grid windows, and golden chandeliers. For food, the café offers plenty of delicacies with an Indonesian focus, such as bubur Nusantara (Indonesian-style congee), gado gado Batavia (Indonesian salad with peanut dressing), and martabak (Indonesian pancake), among others. Tip: Don’t forget to marvel at the old photographs and paintings!
Café Batavia, Jl. Pintu Besar Utara No.14, Pinangsia, Kota, West Jakarta, Indonesia | (+021) 6915534
As one of the earliest cafés to open during Jakarta’s second-wave coffee scene, Monolog has stood the test of time since it opened its door over a decade ago. With an unusual spot in the open alley of Plaza Senayan, the café adopts an industrial décor with ample seating areas. You can find a wide range of cuisines like Italian, Japanese, Thai, and Indian along with an all-day breakfast and dessert options (their Nutella lava cake is to die for!). For drinks, they serve refreshing juices, teas, and fine coffee roasts, with iced orange caramel latte as the most popular choice. It is extremely crowded during breakfast and dinner time, so advance reservation is a must.
Monolog, Plaza Senayan, Ground Floor, Jl. Asia Afrika, Senayan, South Jakarta, Indonesia | (+021) 5725144
Located in the iconic road of Sabang, Sabang 16 is a renowned, cosy little café in Central Jakarta. Plastered with mural drawings on the walls, the intimate café can only house about 30 visitors at a time, but has built a strong fan base among book readers, corporate workers, and freelancers over the decade. Not only popular for its warm setting, patrons also flock to the café to sample its authentic Indonesian iced coffees (such as Aceh Gayo highland coffee) and its bewitching and decadent kaya toast. Don’t forget to reserve your seat and enjoy a different side of Jakarta at Sabang 16.
Sabang 16, Jl. Sabang No. 16 B, Thamrin, Jakarta, Indonesia | (+021) 31926726