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Jayakarta -- Indonesian in Berkeley!

I just had a very nice lunch at Jayakarta Restaurant, a new Indonesian/Singaporean restaurant in the former Papa's Persian Restaurant space on University Ave. It's been open 2 weeks, I don't think it's been mentioned here yet.


I had #33 Nasi Padang. The beef was tasty and fork tender. The chicken gizzards w/stinky beans was delicious, though the beans seemed to be favas, nothing stinky about them that my nose could detect. My companions opted for the #41 Lontong Cap Go Meh and the $6.95 lunch special with Sambal Goreng Hati Ampla and Tahu Telor Bali and Gado-Gado rather than regular green salad. All three of us, including a guy from Singapore, enjoyed our dishes very much. Can't wait to go back for dinner to try the Sate Kambing (goat satay), Sayur Asam (sour tamarind soup), and Babat Goreng Kecap (crispy fried tripe)!

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  1. This place looks very promising indeed just by looking at the website pictures. The dishes seemed authentic and the sheer varieties gave any Indonesian connoisseur many reasons to pay a visit. The prices are very reasonable also. WOW !

    I will visit this place soon.

    Just from looking at the website, I am very impressed. This could turn out to be the biggest gem in terms of Indonesian restaurant in Bay Area.

    And sounds like the taste from the above post also concurs with my expectation.

    1. I work very close to here and am very excited to try this place! Two of my co-workers went on Friday for lunch and said that it was CROWDED so be wary. I think I may order to go for my lunch from there today ;)

      1 Reply
      1. re: muimi07

        Okay, I did get a takeout plate from there today. Pretty good though I'll reserve the real judgement for a sit down date with my friends.

        Their lunch special is a pretty good deal @ $6.95 for two items plus rice and salad. Salad could be either gado-gado or American style salad. I went for beef rendang and a grilled chicken dish with gado-gado. The rendang was wonderfully spicy (a lot hotter than I'm used to from the other places I've had it) and I loved the gado-gado. I most especially their peanut sauce, it was wonderful and spicy, sweet and salty all at the same time. (Oh GOD it was good with the tofu in the gado-gado.)

        I have to say that their take out was on the skimpy side. The container of gado-gado was pretty sizeable but griled chicken was two small pieces as was the rendang. I'll chalk this up to being takeout. All in all, pretty good stuff. Room for improvement but again, takeout factor could have played a part.

      2. Seems strange that takeout portions would be smaller than eat-in... is that just a limitation of the container size? Our lunch servings were generous, no one could finish and I had a nice mid-afternoon snack of the leftovers.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Maya S

          The take out container was a standard clear plastic container and instead of packaging the salad in a seperate container all together, they put the salad in a seperate container with the rice and entrees. (I wish I'd taken a picture now!) So yeah, that made the serving a bit smaller than I would have liked but otherwise it was good.

        2. I had two desserts there today, #94 (Es Shanghai) and #104. The "Es Shanghai" was advertised as being "assorted fruit with assorted syrups." In fact, it was a soupy shaved ice dessert with lots of red beans, red bean jelly, gelatinous green noodles, condensed milk, and other bizarre accessories. Like a lot of Southeast Asian ice desserts, it was overpowering with so many different flavors hitting you at once. It was an interesting thing to eat, but only a few bites. My friend was lucky enough to have ordered something he could finish, #104. Unfortunately, he was able to finish his BBQed banana topped with Hershey's chocolate sauce and taco cheese because he wanted to tell people in the future that he had finished it. One of the worst desserts ever, that coming from someone who enjoys weird food.

          1. Would anyone happen to have the address or corner streets for Jayakarta? Thanks in advance.

            1 Reply
            1. re: DavidB

              It's on the Web site. URL's at the top of the topic.

            2. I've been to Jayakarta a couple of times. The first visit I had #32 Nasi Lemak (BBQ chicken in coconut milk, BBQ chicken on bamboo skewer, fried crispy potatoes, and fried peanuts with anchovies). Yummy. I also tried the Susu soda (sort of like a cream soda with a bright pink something splashed over it). You got to love a drink that's bright pink. I've been back a few times and have been less successful with the noodle dishes. I tried the mie goreng (fried noodles)(fine but kind of one dimensional) and the mie tek-tek (a little too sweet for my taste but overall tasty). But I have to say, I have no idea what these dishes are supposed to taste like. I've also tried the beef satay and liked the peanut sauce (although I might opt for a different meat option next time). Jayakarta has an extensive menu and I'm looking forward to return visits. It's a nice addition to the neighborhood.

              I overheard the owner tell someone she used to be the cook at an Indonesian restaurant in SF. Does anyone know which one?

              3 Replies
              1. re: Grocers Daughter

                The Web site says "the Indonesian Restaurant," probably means the Indonesia on Post St.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I think that could only be true based on the website info - the cook is from IR on Post St.

                  If so, then her food is definitely on the good side. I have tried IR several times on the past and was never disappointed. I even had a great experience once with a classic dish of a set menu (sayur asem, chicken, and accesories on a banana leaf) that was truly amazing even in Indonesian native standard.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    yes Bosss,.....you're wright Indonesia Restaurant on Post St

                2. Six chowhounders had an impromptu and serendipitious chowdown at Jayakarta on Wednesday evening. Marlon and Dolcetto took the ordering into their capable hands and ordered up a most excellent feast. In no particular order we had:

                  Gado gado - Indonesian salad with fried tofu and peanut sauce. The peanut sauce seemed housemade and not from peanut butter, thank god!

                  Achar Kunting - Pickled strips of carrots and zucchini that went very well with the rich curries and grilled meats.

                  Mie Goreng - We got the egg noodles (bakmi) version. Good, not clumped up at all but hey I am a sucker for egg noodles so maybe someone else will have a different opinion?

                  Ayam Kalasan - A fabulous very moist griled chicken. A friend who knows more about Indonesian food than I do said that its marinated in the juice of the young coconut but is supposed to be fried rather than grilled. I don't care - it was tasty and came with a fabulous chilli sauce with the taste of fresh chillis.

                  Beef Rendang - Rich and packing a lot of spice - this was a much superior version to the one we had last weekend at Nyonya Bistro in Milpitas.

                  Oseng Oseng Tempeh - Crispy fried tempeh with fried tofu adn string beans in a sweet soy sauce. I really enjoyed this one too - although described as sweet it was not at all sugary sweet and was great with the rice.

                  Terung Belado - Eggplant in a spicy chilli sauce was not all that hot but very flavorful nevertheless.

                  Coconut Rice - Excellent - I loved the rice redolent with coconut and with crispy fried bits of coconut on top. It partnered both the rendang and the veggies very well.

                  Lontong Cap Go Meh - A rich soup with a coconut base and rice cakes. It was a little too thick and rich especially as it came after everything else but I can see how it would be a great standalone dish for supper.

                  My favorites - the Ayam Kalasan which was moist and came with a great sauce, the Oseng Oseng Tempeh where the interplay of the crispiness of the tempeh and the hot and sweet sauce was great and the Coconut Rice.

                  All in all I am going to be back and am so glad to have this great little place nearby. I hope the others from the chowdown will chime in with their opinions too.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: jhinky

                    Hmm, interesting. I went for lunch twice (okay, takeout) and the ayam kalasan was my least favorite item on my combo. It was on the smallish side and was rather dry. I guess I should go for dinner, not lunch!

                    1. re: muimi07

                      The ayam kalasan I had was very moist and easily one of the best chicken I had in a while. I ordered it as an entree and maybe it's better on its own. Dunno.

                    2. re: jhinky

                      Oh, man, I am so jealous. This place is practically across the street from work and I have been eyeing it as a prospective chowdown location. As I know nothing about Indonesian or Malaysian food, all the comments have been very enlightening. Will definitely be going--had considering proposing a chowdinner there, maybe after the great Barley Sugar adventure of October 19th.

                    3. Sounds like a fruitful chowdown with success rate 9 out of 9.

                      BTW, the achars are supposed to be made from cucumbers.

                      14 Replies
                      1. re: Han

                        My Malaysian wife and I just returned from lunch at Jayakarta. We were very impressed with the menu, which appeared to include many of our favorites. We made our choices and informed the waiter that we both wanted our food "pedas", which in addition to meaning "hot and spicy" (not to mention my beautiful wife's appearance!), should have signalled to him that we might have half a clue as to what real SE Asian food should taste like.

                        She had the nasi lemak, which she'd rate at about 3 out of 10. The BBQ chicken was a bit too sweet, and it was accompanied by two oily fried patties of unidentifiable composition. The coconut rice was passable, IMHO.

                        I ordered the nasi lelapan lengkap which was marked on the menu with two stars, meaning "very" spicy...which is why I ordered it. The dish consisted of a huge wedge of raw cabbage plus about 1/4 plate of unblanched/uncooked...totally raw...green beans, some plain rice, sliced tomatoes, cukes and a piece of plain fried chicken (was supposed to be curry chicken). A small dish of sambal was also provided, which I suppose they thought qualified it as a "very spicy" dish. A meal fit for a rabbit. The meal included a bowl of soup which was nothing more than a mild tom yam broth with a bunch of raw peanuts and little baby corn ears thrown in. Double Yuk!

                        I'm sorry to report that Jayakarta was a huge disappointment. We won't be going back.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            pedas=spicy hot

                            Same meaning in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia.

                            1. re: chilihead2006

                              pedas isn't spicy hot thats only in Malaysia,pedas is a spice that make food hot

                              1. re: headchily

                                I am Indonesian (born and raised there).

                                PEDAS = SPICY HOT

                                The previous poster is RIGHT ON. It is NOT a spice by any means or connotation or anything. Not sure where you got your definitions. It is way off.

                                1. re: Han

                                  you must be a Big City boy, I got this definitions when I was in the native village in Bali

                          2. re: chilihead2006

                            I'm surprised that your Bahasa Melayu speaking wife didn't inform you that lalapan is basically a mix of raw vegetables served with sambal. Perhaps it's more of an Indonesian thing and they don't use the word in Melayu.

                            But looks like you essentially got what you ordered!

                            The soup seems like sayur asam, and is basically a thin tamarind-based broth. What did you expect it to be?

                            Speaking of real SE Asian food, there are similarities between Indonesian and Malaysian food, but there are also many differences. If a Malaysian orders nasi lemak in an Indonesian restaurant he/she is bound to be disappointed.

                            1. re: anthead


                              While I love Indo/Malay veggie dishes such as rojak or gado-gado, the food I was served at Jayakarta was appalling. A huge wedge of raw cabbage and pile of raw...not blanched or cooked...green beans is, well, it's just inedible. The plain fried chicken instead of curry chicken was only a minor screw up compared to the other issues, as it and the plain rice were among the few edible things on the plate.

                              Soup whose primary defining feature is a bunch of raw peanuts is another real oddball dish.

                              That the dish of plain raw veggies should be described as "very spicy" because of a small side dish of sambal is kind of strange.

                              The meal qualifies as the worst restaurant meal I've ever had anywhere in the world. I went there hoping we would find a place relatively nearby that served decent SE Asian food, as such places are too few and far between.

                              I don't need to be lectured on the difference between good and bad SE Asian food, as I've eaten as much of the real thing as many SE Asians.

                              But if the patron doesn't know what to expect, then perhaps Jayakarta will be a new and interesting experience for them.

                              (I wish the former owners of Rasa Sayang on San Pablo Ave in Albany would conside re-opening, as they knew what they were doing.)

                              1. re: chilihead2006

                                Lalapan consists of vegetables, such as cabbage, green-beans, cucumber, plus "sambal" (chilli sauce) on the side. It's also served with a soup, "sayur asem", a tamarind based, consists of peanuts, corn, and some veggie. It always came with fried chicken, not curry chicken. Lalapan is pretty common in Bandung or West Java in Indonesia; it's a Sundanese type of food.

                                Lalapan is not Dilapan. Eight in Indonesian is Delapan, not Dilapan. Lalapan derived from a word in Sunda language called Lalaban. Sunda is located in West Java, Indonesia.
                                Lalapan and Lalap is used interchangebly in Indonesia, while term "Melalap" is used as a meaning of eating a dish in positive term. "Melalap" can also have negative conotation of such as destroying a thing.

                                I've been to Jayakarta once couple weeks ago, our party ordered Soto Ayam, Soto Makassar, Lalapan, Mie Ayam and Lontong Cap Go Meh.

                                My wife ordered Lalapan dish. She lived half of her life in Sundanese land, thought the lalapan dish was quite authentic, and thought that the "sambal" or chilli sauce was very good.

                                However we can't really say the same thing for the other dishes we ordered.

                                1. re: Mul

                                  The dish was advertised as being accompanied by curry chicken, not fried chicken. Yet it was served with plain fried chicken.

                                  Seems the restaurant might benefit by sorting out their menu so that it more accurately describes what they're going to serve you.

                                2. re: chilihead2006

                                  I am not knowledgeable enough about Indonesian or Malaysian food to argue relative differences, but I do think that raw green beans are indeed quite edible! In fact, I really *like* raw green beans, and if the fact that you were served raw vegies, plain rice, fried chicken, and some broth really does qualify this as the worst restaurant meal you've ever had anywhere in the world, I'd say you have been very lucky indeed!

                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                    I've lived and worked...and eaten...on every continent except Antarctica. I've been to Indonesia perhaps 6 times, and lived in SE Asia for over 10 years. We eat Malay food at home perhaps twice a week. My expectations are probably higher than for most "orang puteh" who eat at places like Jayakarta, which in many ways is NOT an advantage.

                                    Since you are not familiar with Malay or Indo cuisine, and therefore have limited expectations, you may well enjoy eating at Jayakarta.

                                  2. re: chilihead2006

                                    Rasa Sayang has been open new Restaurant under name Dilapan Rasa in Richmond

                                    1. re: headchily

                                      Wow! No kidding!! I hope it's as good as it was in Albany. Such a rarity to find good Mamak style Malay food outside Malaysia.

                                      Terimah kasih! ;)

                            2. I am Indonesian and have had many lalapans. These are supposed to be raw veggies with a small bowl of chilis(sambal). So, you probably got what you ordered. I don't think it's interesting by itself unless it is accompanied by other main dishes such as fish, seafood, chicken, etc. But the chili (sambal) must be good or these guys don't know what they were doing.

                              What did you expect the "lalapan" should be anyway - just curious ?

                              I am a bit cautious now that I learned the "other" dishes were not so "hot". I will definitely steer clear of those then. Thanks, Mul !

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Han

                                You might want to try their Lontong Cap Go Meh. I've heard from other Indonesians that's their specialties; however it's not quite the same Lontong Cap Go Meh that I've known when I ordered it last time.

                                1. re: Han

                                  The small side dish of sambal was decent, but the dish was no larger than one of those small dishes you'd put a little soy sauce in at a Chinese restaurant.

                                  Actually, I was feeling a bit adventurous and thought the dish might be a variation on nasi lemak since it was listed along with the other rice dishes, and was described as "very spicy". It's kind of like describing a hamburger as "very tomatoey" because it's served with a little side dish of ketchup. Most Asian restaurants in the US seem to have lost the key to the chili cabinet, so I naturally gravitate towards the spicier end of the menu.

                                  My wife, who is a native born Malay, told me lelapan meant the same as dilapan, so I guess this may be one of the linguistic differences between Indo and Malay.

                                  If the idea of eating a wedge of raw cabbage and pile of raw green beans sounds appealing, then by all means, please rush down to Jayakarta and order some nasi lelapan lengkap and report back here how terrific it was.

                                  Bon appetit!!

                                  1. re: chilihead2006

                                    I'm surprised that after your multiple visits to Indonesia, you would equate the role of a bowl of sambal in an Indonesian meal to that of ketchup with hamburger.

                                    A well-made sambal is far more integral to an Indonesian, and especially a Javanese meal. But of course, it is too intense to be served in immoderate amounts, and hence the serving is adequate to balance out the flavours of the meal.

                                    As for the raw vegetables, Sundanese cuisine, of which lalapan forms a part, is famous for its devotion to raw vegetables. I personally think that the crunch of raw green beans is fantastic and works superbly in a dish like the Thai som tam, but may not be to everyone's taste.

                                    Also, how did you assume that places like Jayakarta are catering to orang putih and not Indonesian clients? Your average orang putih would have hardly heard of dishes like coto makassar and karedok.

                                    Again, let me repeat, a knowledge of Malaysian food does bring familiarity with some of the same flavour notes present in Indonesian food, but does not automatically confer expertise in Indonesian cuisines as well. Otherwise you wouldn't be shocked at the raw cabbage and green beans.

                                    1. re: chilihead2006

                                      Since this thread has come to the fore again, I'm getting a chance to catch up. I know much less of Malay or Indonesian food than I'd like, but the Lalapan sounds like the dip and raw vegetables that might normally accompany a meal in Thailand, which is almost never on a menu here.

                                      Is there a similar standard or tradition of this type of accompaniment in Indonesian food? If so, and if Jayakarta could get their menu a bit more organized so people know what to expect, they offer an opportunity to put together a more traditional meal than is often possible here.

                                      It sounds like the dish should be approached as just a small add-on to be enjoyed with the rest of the meal. I for one love the crunch of raw cabbage and green beans with my hot food.

                                  2. In closing, I'd like to say that Indonesian and Malay cuisine are among the most diverse, sophisticated and flavorful cuisines in the world, and I prefer them to all others...with perhaps Italian running a close tie.

                                    If I could convince my wife to open a Malaysian restaurant serving traditional Malay cuisine, I'd do it in a heartbeat, as the cuisine has an enormous potential market in the west. Thai food has become so mainstream and has lost much of it's authenticity.

                                    Likewise, Malay and Indonesian culture, art, music, dance and traditions are among the richest in the world. We need to see many more examples of these glorious cultures and cuisines in the US. If there were a truly first rate Malay or Indo restaurant on the west coast, I'd make a special trip just to check it out.

                                    1. Chilihead: maybe too early to dump Jayakarta ? Who knows, maybe you might really enjoy the tried and true dishes that some of the hounds mentioned above instead of the failed nasi lemak and lalapan which I agree with the previous hound to be "iffy" dishes considering the different regional specialties and peculiarity.

                                      But standard things like the beef rendangs, gado-gado, satays, lontong cap go meh should be done well if the kitchen knows their stuff.

                                      1. I'm weighing in on the negative on this one.

                                        I ordered the rendang the other night. In many respects I found it similar to a Thai peneng curry.

                                        The beef was kinda tough for a dish of this kind. And it was VERY oily. I might've forgiven the oiliness, but it didn't pack much flavor.

                                        A shame because I've been looking for something a little different recently.


                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: angel4sofia

                                          Positive reviews:


                                          And no, I'm not an expert on Malaysian or Thai cuisine, especially not in the context of the vast reservoir of knowledge that is this board, but I DO know when beef is so overcooked it has become stiff...


                                          1. re: Gerard

                                            Beef "rendang" in Indonesian Or Malaysian or Singaporean cuisine have to be cooked at least 4 hour (no kidding),and it's a slow cooking meal.

                                            1. re: angel4sofia

                                              If it's stiff, then it is undercooked definitely. We cooked beef rendangs at our home quite often.

                                              1. re: Han

                                                That might have been it, but my impression was that the beef had been slow cooked and then put on high heat for too long before serving.


                                                1. re: Gerard

                                                  Rendang is one of the simple and easy Indonesian dishes; you just need a slow cooker (crockpot) and Indonesian's curry. They key to good beef rendang is the curry.

                                        2. Finally made it to this place.

                                          #55 tempe orek, tempeh cooked with peanuts and dried anchovies, was super.

                                          #52, kangkung terasi, excellent version of this dish.

                                          #57, goat satay, very good though not as gamy as I'd hoped.

                                          #14, gado-gado, I prefer less potato and more crunchy vegetables, wouldn't order again.

                                          Overall, excellent. I expect I'll be going back a lot, especially since it's open till 10pm seven days.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            Had a great dinner last night, all hits, no misses, nothing too sweet:

                                            #9 siomay bandung, sort of a warm salad, chewy chunks of fish dumpling, boiled potatoes, parboiled cabbage, soft tofu, and hard-boiled eggs in a peanut dressing, much better than the gado-gado we had last time

                                            #72 gulai kambing, best lamb curry I've had in years, could pass for Pakistani

                                            #52 kangung terasi, I probably have to order this every time I eat at this place

                                            #28 mie tek-tek, egg noodles fried with chicken and vegetables in spicy sauce, very good, makes me want to try more of their noodle dishes

                                            #33 nasi padang, pile of rice with small amounts of several dishes: rendang (#69), chicken gizzards with stink beans (#66), hard-boiled eggs in chili sauce (#68), fried dried anchovies with peanuts (#84?), shrimp crackers (#11), and shredded cabbage; I'd get the eggs and anchovies again; rendang was good but bland and dry compared with the lamb curry, gizzards were good but there are a lot of other things I'd try before ordering them again

                                            The rice plates (#30-#33) are a great way to try a bunch of stuff.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              Thanks for bring this to the top of the Board. I did not know of any Indonesian restaurants in the Berkeley area. I used to go to The Rice Table in San Rafael but they have been closed for some years now. The owners were kind enough to share their recipes with me and I've been able to recreate them with success and delicious satisfaction. But once in a while I do like to go out and have someone else to do the cooking!

                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                I'm glad to hear this place is still good, I really enjoyed the one meal I had there last fall. I hope to try it again soon!

                                                Dave MP

                                                1. re: Dave MP

                                                  It's very good. I can't believe it took me nine months to get back there.

                                                  Some Indonesians at another table were eating what looked like curry mee but I don't find it on the menu. I guess it must have been laksa.

                                              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                Tried the #31 nasi rames rice plate for lunch. The crispy curry chicken (#63 ayam goreng kuning) was one of the tastiest things I've had here. Pickles (#54 acar kuning) were very good. Also came with rendang, a hard-boiled egg, peanuts with anchovies, and shrimp crackers.

                                                Some people at another table got these good-looking banana-leaf bundles I think must be the nasi bungkus weekend special rice plate at the bottom of the online menu:


                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                  Had lunch the other day:

                                                  #3 martabak, nice texture but kind of bland, wouldn't order again

                                                  #12 roti prata, good texture, didn't like the curry sauce as much as Singapore-Malaysian's but might order again anyway

                                                  #00, nasi bungkus, small portions of ayam goreng kuning, rendang, jackfruit, tofu, hard-boiled egg, and rice steamed in a banana leaf and served with a mild green chile sauce; jackfruit was really good but rendang got soft and the fried chicken lost its crispyness, probably won't order again (too bad they don't have a savory jackfruit dish on the menu)

                                                  #63, ayam goreng kuning, tasty but wasn't as good as the portion I had in the #31 rice plate

                                                  #52, kangkung terasi, excellent as usual

                                                  #55 tempe orek, not as crisp as the last time we had it

                                                  Good lunch but somewhat disappointing compared with previous visits. Nevertheless, looking forward to going back soon, there are still lots of very interesting-sounding dishes I want to try.

                                                2. This restaurant is excellent. I lived in Indonesia for 12 years and my husband is Indonesian. I have now eaten here at least ten times, with children, husband and others (many of whom were Indonesian), and no one was disappointed. All the Indonesians I have been there with have been uniformly happy with the food, as a matter of fact. This is Indonesian home cooking essentially - in other words the real thing, and exactly what you would eat in someone's home in Java or Sumatra. It helps to know something about Indonesian food though to avoid some of the stranger items. My husband loves the ampela and petai for instance, whereas I find those things just gross! I see from other postings that people have been surprised at some of the items they ate. Ayam kuning is SUPPOSED to be dry! Rendang IS cooked for a very loooong time, and supposed to be tough! Sayur asam IS a thin broth! I routinely order the tempe goreng (fried tempe) and kari udang (shrimp curry) in the lunch special. The laksa and soto are also good, as are the various appetizers, like martabak & roti prata - and the kangkung vegetable dishes. My children love all the chicken dishes. It would probably help if there were better photos of the food, but you can always ask someone there who seems to know what they're doing, and get their advice before you decide on something.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: shm

                                                    Martabak! How did I miss that?

                                                    What are ampela and petai?

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                      Ampela - chicken gizzards. Petai is the green stinky bean - a very acquired taste. it is usually cooked in a spicy sambal, and so is hot to eat, and then makes you stink!

                                                      1. re: shm

                                                        We almost ordered one of the stink bean dishes, that's definitely on my list for next visit.

                                                    2. re: shm

                                                      I had their laksa over the weekend--it was very good, I liked it almost as much as the one at Shiok in Menlo Park, which seemed a bit more complex in its spicing. I've heard intimations that Shiok has gone downhill, but I haven't been there in over a year so I can't say for sure.

                                                      I will have to head back to Jayakarta this weekend for the roti prata!

                                                    3. Looks like I need to give this place another chance.

                                                      Do you (y'all) think I'd have better luck with rendang earlier in the day? My first trip was very near closing.


                                                      1. Bali Chicken - a crispy sweet and savory grilled outside and very moist inside
                                                        Beef Rendang - the blend of chili, coconut milk and lemongrass, accompanied with beef that falls apart in your mouth, make this dish must
                                                        If you don't know anything about Indonesia food and you want to leave very full, consider getting the Rijstaffel - which is plethora of appetizers, soup and entrees for about $22 a head.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: catwood10

                                                          Is the rijstaffel offered regularly? I didn't see it in the online version of the menu.

                                                        2. Just had a 2nd visit with a larger group. Thumbs up on the roti prata, the otak-otak, the beef rendang, the ayam goreng, the kari ayam, and the whole fish in chili sauce. The mie tek-tek and es cendol were just ok. Service was good.

                                                          1. anyone know that the chef is native Indonesian?

                                                            2 Replies
                                                              1. re: headchily

                                                                Yes I finally found out by myself,she is very Indonesian

                                                              2. Yesterday, had a late solo lunch at Jayakarta, my first visit. Ordered #75, Pepes Ikan (Fish), "Banana-wrapped seafood:Seafood marinated in a mildly-spicy tumeric (sic)-base wrapped in banana leaf. Choice of Udong (shrimp) $9.50; Ikan (fish) seasonal"

                                                                Chose the Ikan (fish) version which was tilapia at $13.95 with steamed jasmine rice, (#85, Nasi Putih), $1. Had first ordered the steamed coconut rice (#86, $2) but the waiter said that the coconut didn't go with the fish order.

                                                                The tilapia had been covered in banana leaves and roasted with the edges of some of the leaves slightly singed and smelling of a subtle and healthy smoke. On opening the leaves, there was a good-sized fish without the head that had been smeared with a generous amount of a paste that tasted of turmeric, garlic and other spices that I couldn't identify.

                                                                The flesh was tender but cooked enough so that, if you were skilled more than I am, you could remove most of the bones in one swoop while losing only a small amount of flesh. The skin of the fish wasn't burned.

                                                                I ate about one-half of the fish, which was plenty for a normal lunch, spooned out some spice paste that coated the inside of the leaves and, for good measure, chewed on some of the crispy parts of the banana leaf.

                                                                This was the best roasted fish I'd tasted in a very long time and had never had anything quite like it. In the past few weeks, I've had the whole roasted catfish at Binh Minh Quan on 12th Street in Oakland Chinatown and the tandoori catfish ($9)at Kabana on University near San Pablo in Berkeley, all exceptional dishes, but Jayakarta takes the cake on this one with the smokiness on the outside and the flavors from the spices and and juices of the fish caught on the inside. It tasted almost as good cold when I had the remaining half for dinner that night.

                                                                1. What is the service like at dinner? I've read conflicting reports.

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: choctastic

                                                                    We got what we ordered, and the hot food arrived hot.

                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                      I have heard numerous reports that dinner can take up to 3 hours because the service is so slow. So are you saying you've never encountered this?

                                                                      1. re: choctastic

                                                                        Nobody's reported that here. Food came out plenty fast the other night.

                                                                        1. re: ratherdiethanread

                                                                          I read a bunch of reviews on this place. I think it could have been on yelp but honestly I can't remember at this point since it was over a month ago and I don't have the time to scour the web for the exact post. However, if Lauriston said he never experienced a long wait, that's good enough for me since he's been there on repeated occasions.

                                                                          One thing I don't like is that the owner of the restaurant feels the need to shill for him/herself on yelp. That is kind of sad.

                                                                          1. re: choctastic

                                                                            It seems like the kind of somewhat amateurish family business where if somebody were out sick or something they might get really backed up, but we've had no long waits.

                                                                    2. Link

                                                                      Lots of pictures of the food on the website

                                                                      Jayakarta Restaurant
                                                                      2026 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

                                                                      1. I just ate here for the first time on Saturday and I was really pleased. I had the mee goreng with a susu soda. The mee goreng was a bit on the greasy side, but otherwise delicious, and it was a huge portion. My dining partner had the beef rendang which for the most part was pretty tender and the sauce was just right. For an appetizer we shared the perkedel, delicious deep-fried seasoned potato patties that were so light and perfectly crispy on the outside. We both agreed that was the best part of the meal.

                                                                        They have a pretty extensive menu, so there's something for every taste. I can't wait to go back.

                                                                        1. Has anyone tried the Rijstaffel? I'll be there in a few weeks and was thinking about going in that direction for dinner.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Ian F

                                                                            I'll answer my own question. My wife and I had the Rijstaffel last night. The menu is on their website and is quite accurate. It was all very tasty but nothing was spectacular. It's a good way to get introduced to what the restaurant can do, and then go back and order individual dishes that might be of more interest; at least that's our plan. It seemed as though half the Rijstaffel dishes were accompanied by their peanut sauce, which fortunately was excellent. Probably the most interesting item was the grilled fish cake wrapped in a banana leaf. The quantity of food was more than enough and we had them pack enough leftovers that will make for another evening's dinner.

                                                                            Service was excellent. We arrived at about 5:30 as we were attending a show at the Berkeley Rep and it was quite empty. We were done by 6:40 and it was quite filled up by then. Overall, I thought the food was certainly on par with anything I had when I was in Amsterdam.

                                                                          2. This is one of my favorite places-- we've been going for years, entirely because of one dish: the Mie Tek Tek. These are the best Asian noodles I have ever had-- Thai, Chinese, Cambodian, Laotian, Indian included. (If you're given the choice, you want the noodles "fried.") We also love the Rendang beef. Every time we go, we get these two dishes (order them spicy!); when we try something else, it never quite measures up.

                                                                            1. I had lunch at Jayakarta today & must say that it was the most authentic Indonesian meal I've had in the Bay Area so far. Being from Singapore, where we are straddled between Malaysia & Indonesia, Singaporean-Malay cuisine tended to gravitate towards Sumatran-Riau Malay foods common in Johore (Southern Malaysia) & the Indonesian Riau Islands. Jayakarta serves Javanese food, but has enough similarities to the Singaporean-Malay cuisine I crave for.

                                                                              Anyway, we ordered:

                                                                              - Sayur asem, a vegetarian sourish-sweet soup with jackfruit, peanuts, string beans, baby corn, etc, flavored with tamarind. Jayakarta's sayur asem was very sweet, waaaay much sweeter than versions you'd get in Singapore, but is a true badge of authenticity! Javanese food IS supposed to be sweet, and what Jayakarta served is indeed exactly what you'd find on the streets of Jakarta or Surabaya;
                                                                              - Gado-gado. Again, a very authentic rendition of Indonesian-style gado-gado (as opposed to Singaporean/Malaysian-Malay versions which have thicker, chunkier peanut sauce);
                                                                              - Beef rendang - robust flavors, and stringy/chewy as it should be. The best rendang in Indonesia can be found in Padang, Sumatra - where the beef is cooked till it's dark & fork-tender, surrounded by a pool of super-delicious bright-red oil which oozed out of the beef. Malaysian/Singaporean rendang has a lighter tone & milder taste. Jayakarta's version, strangely, is somewhere between the Sumatran and Malaysian'Singaporean versions!
                                                                              - Ikan Pepes (whole spiced fish, wrapped in banana leaf & grilled/baked). This has never been one of my preferred Indonesian dishes, but my dining companions (both Americans) wanted to try some spicy fish dish, and this seemed the best option. Irregardless, I must admit that I found the dish to be very good indeed. The balance of spices was definitely spot on - there is definitely an Indonesian grandma manning the stoves in Jayakarta's kitchen.

                                                                              We shared a large pot of Nasi Uduk (coconut-flavored steamed rice). My dining companions thought that we had a truly authentic meal since I'd conversed with the service staff in Malay language (though I did try hard to put in an Indonesian accent, and throw in a few Indonesian words here & there), but I think Jayakarta truly cooks up authentic Indonesian food, irregardless of whether you speak to them in Indonesian or not, or whether they think you're already very familiar with Indonesian food.

                                                                              I just thought it was strange that their signboard says that they serve Indonesian AND Singaporean cuisine. There was nothing Singaporean about the place - except perhaps the "roti prata", but that's basically from the same dough used to make Indonesian "Martabak Telur" on their menu.

                                                                              I'll definitely recommend Jayakarta to any Indonesian, Singaporean or Malaysian who're seeking out some spicy food which reminds them of home, and would go back to Jayakarta if I'm in the neighborhood the next time.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: klyeoh

                                                                                Awesome report, thanks! I will definitely be heading back here soon.

                                                                              2. We went today with a party of four and tried several dishes.

                                                                                Martabak Telor - Probably the only miss of this meal. I've had this at Bamboo Village in SF and liked their version better. Here, it was rather thin (think crepe), without much ground beef, green onions, and scrambled egg filling, a tad oily, and the seasoning was uninteresting. Bamboo Village does it with a bold curry seasoning.

                                                                                Mie Goreng - The menu describes it as Fried Noodle, but it's really more like sauteed. I've had this dish at Straits and this one wasn't spicy at all, in fact it's completely different, more of a chicken stock based dry noodle. We ordered it with rice noodles and it's quite similar to the Filipino dish, Pancit. I thought the noodles absorbed the seasonings well and the chopped chicken, shrimp, sliced beef balls, egg, and water spinach were well cooked and tasty.

                                                                                Cah Kangkung - The perfectly cooked water spinach came with a minimal thin sauce that had nice flavors from the fried garlic and a hint of dried shrimp. It comes with beef and a hardboiled egg. Very good.

                                                                                Sate Ayam (Chicken) - Nicely cooked marinated chicken on sticks topped with a good peanut sauce, very creamy and rich peanut flavor. The peanut sauce was much better than the one I remember topped on the tofu-potato salad in the lunch special.

                                                                                Rendang - Pretty good version, beef was tender for the most part but the sauce was rather heavy and weighed down by the coconut milk. I've had better but this wasn't bad.

                                                                                Pepes Ikan - Like klyeoh, I thought this was very good. The paste had a yellow tint from the turmeric and strands of lemongrass seasoned the nicely cooked fish fillet. I also detected some garlic and ginger, amongst other spices.

                                                                                This visit was much better than my lunch last year where I had the Empal Balado (the "tender" beef was like jerky) & Sambal Goreng Hati Ampla (didn't like the sweet sauce).

                                                                                1. After reading the mixed reviews on this board, I decided to check check out Jayakarta at around 1pm. I ordered the $6.95 lunch special with vegetable soup, beef rendang and the sugar palm coated grilled chicken [forgot the original name]. I've been to Bali once and that's pretty much the extent of my experience with Indonesian cuisine.

                                                                                  The vegetable soup was ok, and a bit too salty. It sort of tasted like the Thai Tom Yum Goong soup, except not as great, and saltier.

                                                                                  The chicken was good, sweet, and tender and I prefered to eat it by dipping the chicken pieces in the beef rendang sauce as opposed to just eating the chicken by itself.

                                                                                  The beef rendang...what can I say? Sauce was heavy and tasty and it is by far the best thing about my lunch. Now, some of you say that because Been Rendang is cooked for a long time, it's supposed to be tough, while others on this board say that it's supposed to be tender. I don't quite know who to believe since my experience with Indonesian food is so limited. However, suffice it to say that my two large chunks of beef were very very tough. The meal did not come with a knife and I sure needed one! The dish would have been so much better had the beef been more tender. Now, I don't know how the kitchen in a restaurant works, but at home, if I ever need to make beef tender and quickly, I'd just cook it in a pressure cooker and then sauce the beef later. I don't know how Jayakarta made that beef, but it was too tough to chew.

                                                                                  Also, Chowhound should come up with some kind of food rating system, because when I say something is good, somebody else might think it's just average. I usually cook at home and very often, I'll feel disappointed if a recommended restaurant's food doesn't taste better than my own cooking.

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: ln_gao

                                                                                    Nice report. Welcome to Chowhound.

                                                                                    Don't get too caught up in authenticity. The bottom line is it should be pleasing to you.

                                                                                    When I'm reading reports about cuisines that are not familiar to me, I use the reports of how authentic something is for a better understanding of what I'm eating. Say something is supposed to be fatty with lots of tendons or something, I'll know that dish isn't poorly executed. It is supposed to be that way.

                                                                                    And so it goes with the tough beef. I'm not rereading the whole thread, but it is godo to get perspective about why it may be that way.

                                                                                    There may be a rating system in the future. However, they really don't work that well. Who knows if a restaurant with great food gets one star because the service was lousy. The person giving a restaurant a five star rating may think Olive Garden is the greatest thing on earth.

                                                                                    If you stay around on Chowhound ... and I hope you do report more ... you learn who has tastes similar to yours ... usually ... and use those recs for food that will please your preferences.

                                                                                    1. re: ln_gao

                                                                                      If you need a knife to cut rendang, it wasn't cooked right, but I've never had that problem at Jayakarta.

                                                                                      It's often dry if you don't eat it with lots of sauce, and that's my usual experience here.

                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                        I am Indonesian and have cooked beef rendang probably more than 20x and tasted hundreds of different versions out there - including the authentic versions cooked by Padang people who I believe first came up with this dish

                                                                                        What I observe is there are generally 2 main categories:

                                                                                        1) The soft type with pretty good amount of thick sauce(not like soup). The meat is usually tender and the sauce is from coconut milk. The good version has a dark brown color and the sauce is thick. This is the one I usually cooked and most people used packaged spices from Indofood/Bambu brands. When this type if the meat is tough usually is a result of a tough cut of meat (london broil). A good cut is a nice thick chuck with slivers of fat and if cooked properly will result in tender meat. Should be long enough to make it tender but not too long that the meat loses its flavor and elasticity. That window can be elusive sometimes and need constant attention to get it right. This is the most common type.

                                                                                        2) The harder type has almost black colour permeated throughout the meat. It is not really hard but the meat has striated texture. The sauce is usually very little. Never made this type. Can be very tasty. I have also seen the blackened version with quite a bit of dark coloured sauce

                                                                                        1. re: Han

                                                                                          You can normally find the first type in Indonesian restaurants in California & elsewhere in the world (London, Singapore, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Madrid, Barcelona, etc.). It's pretty common.

                                                                                          But my fave is the second version you described. It's Padang-style & I'd only tried that in restaurants in Padang (Sumatera), restaurants offering authentic/genuine Padang food in Jakarta, and Kota Bahru (a rather gourmet city in Malaysia). Usually , this dark version has reddish-oil emanating from it, and the texture can sometimes be melt-away tender if it had been cooked slowly for hours.

                                                                                    2. I had my first experience of Jayakarta today-- I had lunch menu item #31 Nasi Rames which included beef rendang, ayam goreng kuning (fried chicken marinated in curry sauce), hard boiled egg, fried anchovies and peanuts, pickles and carrots and jasmine rice.

                                                                                      The beef rendang was excellent-- stringy and chewy but not tough, with a dark very tasty and mildly spicy sauce. The chicken had no sauce and looked pretty dry but was actually very moist and flavorful. A mild yellow curry sauce surrounded the egg and a small portion of carrot slivers and pickles. I'm not a fan of anchovies but the fried anchovies and peanuts in a slightly oily sauce went well together.

                                                                                      It was good value at $7.95 but the rendang portion was pretty small-- next time I'll just get the rendang or try #33 which is similar to #31 but has a portion of #5 (chicken gizzards) instead of the ayam goreng kuning.

                                                                                      1. After tasting the wonderful Pepes Ikan at Bay Leaf in Sunnyvale ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/792355 ) I was eager to try Jayakarta’s version when I found myself in Berkeley at lunch time on Tuesday. It was very good but a cut below Bay Leaf’s. It costs more ($13.95 vs. $10.95 at Bay Leaf) but you get proportionately more fish. I was slightly annoyed by some small leaves that were too fibrous to chew fully. Even though I found it a notch below Bay Leaf’s and had a larger portion, I still scraped every last bit of spicy goodness off the banana leaf wrapping and regretted there wasn’t more.

                                                                                        Bay Leaf Restaurant
                                                                                        122 S Sunnyvale Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: charliemyboy

                                                                                          If those were lime leaves, not possible to chew, eat around them.

                                                                                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                                            I'm used to eating around kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, etc. but these looked edible (like Thai basil only very small) and were too small and numerous to easily avoid. Not a big deal, and I definitely would order this dish again.