Photo: Grab a meal at Resto Pecel Solo.

Eat and meet

Ready for a feast? Solo is ready for you anytime 24/7. Anytime. Locals say Solo is known as the city of “goyang lidah”—it wiggles your tongue (well your tastebuds), it certainly wiggled ours, but unfortunately 24/7 is still not enough time to try all the culinary delights this town has to offer.





Possibly Solo’s most well known speciality is Nasi Liwet. A simple dish of rice cooked in coconut milk and chicken broth traditionally made in a clay pot over a wood fire and served with chicken, egg and a thick coconut cream called kumut. Like many dishes from Central Java it can be very sweet. Jalan Teuku Umar is Solo’s “nasi liwet street” stalls open around 16:00 until late.

Start here: Nasi Liwet Bu Wongso Lemu Asli.

Start here: Nasi Liwet Bu Wongso Lemu Asli. Photo: Sally Arnold

The most renowned stall in this strip is Nasi Liwet Bu Wongso Lemu Asli who has been dishing up her famous recipe since 1950. She is considered expensive by local standards with prices around 27,000–35,000 rupiah for an average serve. This is a sit on the floor affair and the food may arrive before you’ve even made your selection (we guess they know what tourists want). If it’s too crowded just move to one of the many others in the street, all with variants of the same dish.

If you’re in the same area earlier in the day, head around the corner to Soto Triwindu. Opened in 1939, this small charming warung has a set up that resembles school desks—school desks from 1939 that is. Patrons look like they are sitting down to an exam rather than a meal! Wooden and glass cabinets sit atop long benches filled with self-service accompaniments to this beef based soup. The steaming bowls of soto use a rich stock adding glass noodles, bean sprouts and thin slices of beef and a sprinkling of chives, spoon on the sambal and a squeeze of lime from the glass cabinet and slurp it down! Soto Triwindu’s soto will set you back 14,000 rupiah. Open early for a delicious breakfast.

Settling in for class at Soto Triwindu.

Settling in for class at Soto Triwindu. Photo: Sally Arnold

If you’d like to sample some of Solo’s famous street food, but are not quiet sure where to start head over to Galabo (Gladag Langen Bogan) on Jalan Sunaryo where nightly stalls selling all kinds of Solo’s culinary delights set up shop. There’s covered seating with tables and chairs with overflow to mats on the street. Wander the long row of stalls and sample a few—most dishes are under 20,000 rupiah. They say they open late, but we ventured over on a wet night around 22:00 and most stalls has closed for the night.

For traditional fare in a more upmarket, yet very traditional Javanese “Insta-ready” setting, try Resto Pecel Solo. This multi-storey museum-like restaurant displays a selection of dishes on the ground floor, have a look, then head upstairs to the pleasant balcony on the third floor where you can order from the menu (we suspect it’s the same as on display). The menu provides photos to help you decide from the long list of local specialities.

Our kind of banquet at Resto Pecel Solo.

Our kind of banquet at Resto Pecel Solo. Photo: Sally Arnold

We chose pecak tengiri wader (35,000 rupiah), and to be honest, we’re not exactly sure what it is (the menu offers pictures, but very little explanation)—but it was more or less a spicy mix of mackerel, salted fish and petai (stinky beans) served with vegies, red rice and a tamarind based vegetable soup. Fishy and spicy with the sourness of the beans, for us was a very delicious combination. If fishy and spicy is not to your taste, they have a fat menu full of tempting offers that includes traditional snacks, sweets and drinks too. They don’t serve alcohol, but we were intrigued by the coffee beer (16,000 rupiah). Live music plays downstairs most days. The food is tasty and the ambience of this “waroeng tempo doeloe” (olden days warung) is a nostalgic treat.

In a similar vein, Omah Sinten offer classical Javanese cuisine in a lovely traditional setting either in a large open-air joglo or inside their air-con restaurant opposite Puro Mangkunegaran. Their menu features profiles of well-known Solo folk and their favourite food—so you can literally eat like a king, as some local royalty appear. Detailed descriptions of each Javanese dish is explained in Indonesian and English with a little history too. We liked the sound of Mangkunegara VII’s favourite dish, garang asem bumbung: boneless chicken, bleimbing wulu (a sour fruit from the starfruit family) and coconut milk steamed in a bamboo tube (35,000 rupiah), and also a royal favourite from the same palace try manuk nom (19,000 rupiah) for dessert. Literally “young bird”, named for how it makes you feel rather than the ingredients, this green coloured Dutch-style rice custard pudding is given a Javanese twist with salty crackers. If you eat so much you can’t move, check into one of their lovely rooms at this heritage hotel and restaurant.

Ikan Goreng Cianjur: Loved the various sambals here.

Ikan Goreng Cianjur: Loved the various sambals here. Photo: Sally Arnold

We ventured into Ikan Goreng Cianjur because our ojek driver said it was Jokowi’s (the President of Indonesia at the time of our visit in 2018) favourite restaurant in Solo, while we’re not sure if that’s true, it’s a good endorsement. Set in an expansive beautifully restored colonial building with a menu pages long. Make sure you have a look out the back at the beautiful stained glass mushola. Obviously there’s ikan goreng (fried fish), but a whole host of fish, seafood and other dishes including a good number of vegetable dishes if you are vegetarian (although you might ask the to hold the terasi). Be sure to try some of the sambals—they are particularly good, we had sambal mangga (mango sambal) (17,000 rupiah), and sambal bawang (onion sambal) (10,000 rupiah) but opted for ikan bakar rica (grilled fish) (82,500 rupiah) rather than fried and ayam goreng mentaga (chicken friend in butter) (55,000 rupiah). Our side dishes included broccoli with garlic (30,000 rupiah) and petai (15,000 rupiah). The portion size of the fish was more than enough for two, so single travellers would want to be pretty hungry as they only serve large sized fish. Aside from the excellent sambals, the other meals were well cooked, but not extraordinary. Ikan Goreng Cianjur also serves beer (large Bintang 45,000 rupiah)—it’s not on the menu but you can just ask.

Popular Cafe Tiga Tjeret was pumping when we popped in late at night with a live band and packed to the rafters. The fun atmosphere at this open-air style halal cafe is a greater draw than the food, as what’s on offer is simple angkringan (street cart) style snack food. Pick from a selection of things on sticks and things in banana leaf packets (3,000–6,000 rupiah per item) from the self-service counter and friendly servers will heat them up (if required) to order. Of our picks, we liked nasi rica bebek, a tiny parcel of slow cooked spicy and sweet duck and rice (5,500 rupiah). The extensive drink list offers local specialities. We tried the es jahe tape (8,000 rupiah)—iced ginger with fermented sticky rice (or possibly tapioca). While we liked the flavour of this spicy very slightly alcoholic drink (despite the halal signs everywhere), the texture was not to our liking, but it’s not going to break the bank if you just try another.

Pick your poison at Cafe Tiga Tjeret.

Pick your poison at Cafe Tiga Tjeret. Photo: Sally Arnold

If you’re hankering for some simple greens head to Tirai Bamboe Resto after 16:00. This stark but clean restaurant with laminate tables and fluro lighting is two restaurants in one, a typical Chinese Indonesian style restaurant in the evening with a large veggie selection on the menu and in the daytime a self-service Javanese joint. Veggie dishes are around 20,000-30,000 rupiah, and for meat dishes add another 10,000 rupiah. Tirai Bamboe Resto is a good option if you’re just after a cold beer too—not on the menu, but available (large Bintang 40,000 rupiah).

Bebek Goreng H. Slamat (Asli) is a local institution that has spawned several branches, we visited the branch in the west of the city near Alila Solo Hotel that claimed it was the original. Don’t be put off by the dingy decor of this simple place, the tasty food certainly makes up for it. Here it’s duck and chicken and little else—choose your body part (breast, thigh, head, feet or liver) or order the whole bird, regular fried or crispy (the same price cooked either way). The fiery sambal for which they are famous is served with the duck, but rice and side dishes are extra. We tried the regular fried duck breast (23,000 rupiah) which was crisp on the outside and juicy inside although rather a small portion, but what makes this dish is the super hot sambal (we went back for seconds).

Bebek Goreng H. Slamat (Asli): You’re here for the food (and the smiles)—not the decor.

Bebek Goreng H. Slamat (Asli): You’re here for the food (and the smiles)—not the decor. Photo: Sally Arnold

For a local sweet treat make sure you sample the serabi Solo, a small pancake, crispy on the outside and custardy in the centre, usually with a topping of chocolate, banana or jackfruit. Mouthfuls of ambrosia. A concentration of serabi stalls opens nightly in the Notosuman area, but you’re likely to find this tasty sweet snack on any street corner. Wash it down with a glass of milk. Yes, moo juice, or susu segar, another Solo speciality is fresh milk, that is boiled (to pasteurise it) usually with flavours added and if you’d like it cold, ice too. Most of the drinks go by acronyms: try SJTM which stands for susu, jahe, telur, madu (milk, ginger, egg, honey)—the raw egg is cooked in the boiling mink and the drinks is a delicious gingery custard flavour.

When you need a coffee break, head to Yellow Truck Coffee almost behind Taman Sriwedari. This oh-so-cute yellow and white cafe is popular with Solo’s hip young crowd. Cool tunes, funky decor and good coffee, the perfect spot to hang on a wet afternoon. As well as a standard espresso (15,000 rupiah), several speciality coffees are on offer including “magic” (22,000 rupiah, iced 24,000 rupiah)—we didn’t enquire, but to us any coffee can be magic first thing in the morning. We are not sure of what to make of the avocado coffee (30,000 rupiah) though. Yellow Truck Coffee also serves a selection of cafe style snacks. You could also check out Dobutzoo Cafe to the west of the city centre, also with yellow and white decor—seems to be a theme. More substantial meals including pasta, steak and dishes with a Japanese bent (35,000–90,000 rupiah) are served here along with coffee and bubble tea drinks. We’ll pass on the cotton-candy latte, thanks.

Coffee time at Yellow Truck Coffee.

Coffee time at Yellow Truck Coffee. Photo: Sally Arnold

Solo’s bar scene is fine if you’re up for a bit of karaoke, but we found having a drink in one of the restaurants that serves beer a more pleasant experience. However if it’s late at night (and you’re desperate)… On the north side of town close to Solo Balapan Station, Social Kitchen is a vast karaoke bar with an attached disco where you can enjoy beers, wine, cocktails, dim sum and pub grub (and sing and dance) until the wee hours.

Alternatively if you are after a quick drink before or after Wayang Orang performance at Taman Sriwedari, BM Bar and Kitchen is close, however the beer is pricey and there wasn’t much atmosphere when we visited. The toilets are “special” though.

Solo’s bar scene is sometimes memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Solo’s bar scene is sometimes memorable for all the wrong reasons. Photo: Stuart McDonald

For a drink with a great view (we believe) head over to Alilia Solo Hotel on the western side of town to their rooftop Agra Bar, unfortunately we were too early as it only opens after 17:00. Expect creative but pricey cocktails with your cityscape—great for a sundowner. Note that a smart dress code applies (no shorts, sleeveless tops or flip flops).

If you’d just prefer a quiet drink in the comfort of your guesthouse or hotel, Hypermarket at Solo Grand Mall sells large Bintang (33,000 rupiah) from a counter near the front checkouts, but unfortunately it’s not cold so ask at your accommodation if you can stick it in their fridge.


Map of eating options for Solo
Map of eating options for Solo
Legend
(1) Agra Bar Alila Solo (Off map to the west)(2) Bebek Goreng H. Slamat (Asli) (Off map to the west)(3) BM Bar & Kitchen (4) Cafe Tiga Tjeret (5) Dobutzoo Cafe (6) Galabo (7) Hypermarket (Off map to the west)(8) Ikan Goreng Cianjur (9) Nasi Liwet Bu Wongso Lemu Asli (10) Omah Sinten (See Cafe Tiga Tjeret)(11) Resto Pecel Solo (See Tirai Bamboe Resto)(12) Social Kitchen (13) Soto Triwindu (14) Tirai Bamboe Resto (15) Toko Tarik (beer shop) (16) Yellow Truck Coffee

Agra Bar Alila Solo 562 Jalan Slamet Riyadi, Solo; T: (0271) 677 0888; Mo–Su: 17:00–23:00.
Bebek Goreng H. Slamat (Asli) 618 Jalan Brigjen Slamet Riyadi, Solo; T: (0852) 2571 9898; Mo–Su: 09:00–21:00.
BM Bar & Kitchen 81 Jalan Bhayangkara, Solo (near Taman Sriwedari); T: (0857) 2566 4040; .
Cafe Tiga Tjeret 97 Jalan Ronggowarsito, Solo; T: (0271) 630 078; Mo–Su: 11:00–01:00.
Dobutzoo Cafe 20 Jalan Dr Soetomo, Solo; .
Galabo Jalan Sunaryo; Mo–Su: 18:00–24:00.
Hypermarket Solo Grand Mall; 273 Jalan Slamet Riyadi, Solo; T: (0271) 741 891; .
Ikan Goreng Cianjur 158–162 Jalan Brigjend Slamet Riyadi, Solo; T: (0271) 667 470, (0851) 0300 7700, (0819) 0827 888; Mo–Su: 10:00–22:00 .
Nasi Liwet Bu Wongso Lemu Asli Jalan Teuku Umar, Solo; T: (0857) 2897 4588; Mo–Su: 16:00–01:00 .
Omah Sinten 34–54 Jalan Diponegoro, Solo; T: (0271) 641 160; http://omahsinten.net Mo–Su: 09:00–23:00.
Resto Pecel Solo 55 Jalan Dr Supomo, Solo; T: (0271) 737 379, (0856) 4217 2374; Mo–Su: 08:00–22:00 .
Social Kitchen 1 Jalan Abdul Racman Saleh; T: (0271) 666 698; Mo–Su: 10:00–03:00.
Soto Triwindu Jalan Teuku Umar, Keprabon Rt01/Rw1, Solo; T: (0271) 646 006; Mo–Su: 05:30–15:30.
Tirai Bamboe Resto 6 Jalan Teuku Umar, Solo (lane near McDonalds); T: (0271) 668 738, (0271) 2931 928, (0271) 667 755; Mo–Su: Javanese buffet: 07:30–16:00; Chinese: 16:00–22:00.
Toko Tarik (beer shop) Jalan K.H Ahmad Dahlan; Mo–Su: 07:00–10:00 & 20:00–23:00.
Yellow Truck Coffee 35 Jalan Kebangkitan Nasional, Solo; T: (0271) 7461 015; Mo–Th: 10:00–23:00; Fr–Sa: 10:00–24:00.

Agra Bar Alila Solo
562 Jalan Slamet Riyadi, Solo; Solo, Java
T: (0271) 677 0888; Under 10,000 rupiah
Bebek Goreng H. Slamat (Asli)
618 Jalan Brigjen Slamet Riyadi, Solo; Solo, Java
T: (0852) 2571 9898; Under 10,000 rupiah
BM Bar & Kitchen
81 Jalan Bhayangkara, Solo (near Taman Sriwedari); Solo, Java
T: (0857) 2566 4040; Under 10,000 rupiah
Cafe Tiga Tjeret
97 Jalan Ronggowarsito, Solo; Solo, Java
T: (0271) 630 078; Under 10,000 rupiah
Dobutzoo Cafe
20 Jalan Dr Soetomo, Solo; Solo, Java
Under 10,000 rupiah
Galabo
Jalan Sunaryo; Solo, Java
Under 10,000 rupiah
Hypermarket
Solo Grand Mall; 273 Jalan Slamet Riyadi, Solo; Solo, Java
T: (0271) 741 891; Under 10,000 rupiah
Ikan Goreng Cianjur
158–162 Jalan Brigjend Slamet Riyadi, Solo; Solo, Java
T: (0271) 667 470, (0851) 0300 7700, (0819) 0827 888; Under 10,000 rupiah
Nasi Liwet Bu Wongso Lemu Asli
Jalan Teuku Umar, Solo; Solo, Java
T: (0857) 2897 4588; Under 10,000 rupiah
Omah Sinten
34–54 Jalan Diponegoro, Solo; Solo, Java
T: (0271) 641 160; Under 10,000 rupiah
Resto Pecel Solo
55 Jalan Dr Supomo, Solo; Solo, Java
T: (0271) 737 379, (0856) 4217 2374; Under 10,000 rupiah
Social Kitchen
1 Jalan Abdul Racman Saleh; Solo, Java
T: (0271) 666 698; Under 10,000 rupiah
Soto Triwindu
Jalan Teuku Umar, Keprabon Rt01/Rw1, Solo; Solo, Java
T: (0271) 646 006; Under 10,000 rupiah
Tirai Bamboe Resto
6 Jalan Teuku Umar, Solo (lane near McDonalds); Solo, Java
T: (0271) 668 738, (0271) 2931 928, (0271) 667 755; Under 10,000 rupiah
Toko Tarik (beer shop)
Jalan K.H Ahmad Dahlan; Solo, Java
Under 10,000 rupiah
Yellow Truck Coffee
35 Jalan Kebangkitan Nasional, Solo; Solo, Java
T: (0271) 7461 015; Under 10,000 rupiah
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Popular attractions in Solo

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Solo.


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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Solo? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Indonesia.


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