You’ve just booked a trip to Solo, and you’re wondering where to eat. Stop. We’re about to tell you – we’ve put together a list of Solo’s top 12 restaurants and eateries.
Solo, a.k.a Surakarta, is one of Indonesia’s top foodie destinations, and that’s all the incentive we need to write a listicle about the best places to eat across the city.
With cafes, fine dining and classic street food joints all rolled into one fascinating area, your Solo holiday is probably going to involve a lot of restaurant-hunting and menu-tasting. Don’t worry, we’re not judging you – we’ve done exactly the same thing!
So, without further ado, here are our favourite places to eat in Solo.
Solo’s Best Restaurants
Adem Ayem Restaurant
Adem Ayem doesn’t look like one of Solo’s most popular restaurants. With massive interiors that feel more like a school hall than an eatery that’s won two TripAdvisor Excellence awards, the ambience isn’t world-class, but the food is definitely among Solo’s best.
It’s particularly renowned for its gudeg (unripe jackfruit stewed with palm sugar, coconut milk and spices), which go well with steamed rice and grilled chicken. If you’re looking for an authentic Solo dining experience, Adem Ayem definitely needs to feature on your holiday hit-list.
Bakso, a famous Solo dish that features meatballs in a clear, flavoursome broth, is Bakso Alex’s specialty. Although this small restaurant serves other food as well – think mie ayam and ayam goreng – its bakso varieties, like bakso urat, are what draw customers from across the city.
Sit inside or eat under the cover of an open-air porch as locals rumble past on motorbikes. Bakso Alex certainly isn’t the biggest or the fanciest, but we think its meatballs are absolutely delish!
With polished wooden furniture and colonial-era décor, this restaurant’s unique, old-timey atmosphere definitely sets it apart from its fellow Solo eateries.
Its menus feature a diverse range of traditional Javanese food, including pecel (cooked vegetables tossed in a peanut sauce, served with rice and fried tempeh) jajan pasar (literally, “market snacks”, sweet dessert balls made from glutinous rice) and cabuk rambak (rice cakes served with a creamy sesame sauce, coconut, and crackers).
Pecel Solo is arguably the city’s best traditional Javanese restaurant, so read up on your Indonesian cuisine before you dine there.
Located on-site at Ramada Suites Solo, Ramayana is fine dining – Javanese-style. With exquisitely-patterned tiling, and an expansive selection of Indonesian and international foods, it’s a great way for you to experience quality dishes without leaving the comfort of your accommodation.
Go classic with dishes like gado-gado (boiled vegetables, tofu and bean cakes tossed in a mild peanut sauce) and soto ayam (shredded chicken and boiled egg suspended in a clear broth and served with white rice), or tuck into Surakartan lamb curry, Javanese fried noodles and pasta Bolognaise.
Gladag Langen Bogan
Also known as Galabo, Gladag Langen Bogan is market-esque food court with about thirty different food stalls offering a variety of cheap street food.
Although you won’t find the same quality here as you would at a proper restaurant, Galabo is a great way to try lots of traditional foods in a short time. It’s also got a fun, lively atmosphere – if you’re lucky, there’ll be live music playing when you visit!
Goela Klapa is a definite step up the culinary food chain – with padded leather chairs, beautiful Dutch-influenced architecture and a sterling reputation, it’s one of Solo’s best fine dining spots.
As you wander past the restaurant’s gorgeous fountain and gaze up at its brass-plated signage, keep in mind that it’s played to host to Joko Widodo, Indonesia’s current president.
The menu includes traditional favourites like nasi gulung dadali (fried chicken accompanied by a rice/corn mix served in a banana leaf basket), ikan bakar ala raja (whole fried fish garnished with sambal and fresh salad) and pindang tulang (bonefish boiled in a spiced broth).
Par Four Café
Although we absolutely love exploring traditional flavours when we travel, craving a taste of home is also perfectly understandable.
Par Four Café is all about soulful American food – we’re talking burgers, Nu Yawk pizzas, and schooners of cold beer. With friendly staff and a cosy ambience, this is your one-stop-shop for steaks and barbecued ribs in Solo.
Gubug Makan Mang Engking Solo
One of Solo’s best waterfront restaurants, Mang Engking is a cut above its competitors when it comes to ambience and plating. Traditional Surakartan meals are served in a contemporary style, and the menus offer English subtitles (always helpful if you don’t speak Indonesian).
The restaurant’s best dishes revolve around fresh-caught marine life, including carp, squid, and soft-shelled crab. Authentic? Tick. Tourist-friendly? Tick? Amazeballs seafood? Tick.
If you’re wondering where to eat in Solo, add Mang Engking to your list.
Ganesha Lounge Bar
Good alcohol can be hard to find in Solo, thanks to a largely-Muslim population and heavy governmental restrictions, but Ganesha Lounge Bar (located on-site at Ramada Suites Solo) has a few tasty bevvies on hand.
Their cocktail line-up includes Virgin Mojitos, Tirtanalinis, Rujak Punches and Ramada Elixirs, with Bintang being the beer-of-choice. For all the non-drinkers out there, Ganesha offers a good range of fresh juices, flavoured milks, coffee, iced/hot tea, squashes and smoothies.
If you’re looking for a place to eat in Solo with your family, or you’re chasing a caffeinated pick-me-up, we can’t recommend Ganesha enough!
Bebek Goreng H. Slamet (Asli)
Now a famous food chain with stores across Indonesia, the original Bebek Goreng H. Slamet was born in Surakarta, and it’s there that you’ll find the best of their hugely-popular fried duck.
Bebek goreng (Javanese-style fried duck/chicken) runs the risk of being overcooked, but H. Slamet’s offerings are perfectly balanced – crispy skin and smooth, succulent flesh.
Their hand-made sambal is equally popular, although, for the uninitiated, a glass of water might be handy – these delicious sauces are a tad spicy!
Shi Jack Kadipolo
This popular satay restaurant seats diners at a long, banquet-style table under a tented roof, and offers a delicious range of milk-based drinks and street food. If you’re a fan of skewers, you’re in luck – Shi Jack Kadipolo offers a selection of succulent satay-smothered sticks.
Alternatively, indulge with yummy sides like fried banana, tempe and fried tofu. Their milks are also refreshingly unique – it doesn’t matter whether you want yours hot or cold, chocolate- or strawberry-flavoured, with honey or with ginger, these guys have you covered.
Yellow Truck Coffee
This trendy, growth-focused coffee brand is a cut above its competitors. With a rapidly-expanding suite of stores and a reputation for quality cuisine, Yellow Truck Coffee is a great way to enjoy both Western and traditional dishes in Solo.
Its Surakartan branch is hip and spacious, with the kind of arthouse vibe you’d find in Melbourne or New York. Choose from a range of classic, signature and blended coffees, or stick to non-caffeinated drinks like taro lattes and lychee tea.
Munch on chow as diverse as creamy grilled chicken, beef stroganoff, spaghetti carbonara and nasi ayam penyet.