All of Kalibaru’s Hotels and guesthouses harbour in-house restaurants, but as they cater mainly to tour groups or middle-aged European independent travellers, the menus tend to be limited and much the same, with pricey European options or toned down local choices. However food is fresh often with homemade and homegrown ingredients and you’ll find wine and beer on the menu too (for a price).
A bunch of local warungs offering cheaper eats line the main Kalibaru road, but don’t expect gourmet fare here either. Some also sell beer at inflated prices, or a cold Bintang (at more reasonable prices) can be bought to take away at several shops, including the kiosk abutting the train station waiting area (convenient!), however with the increasing conservative views in regional Java, we don’t know how much longer this will be the case.
Our favourite local joint along this strip, Depot Baru, was unfortunately closed at the time of research as they only open irregularly in low season, but we have eaten there on several occasions in the past. Don’t be put off by the basic decor and fluro strip lighting, here you can expect good tasty Chinese food made to order. The owner speaks English and can make dishes as spicy (or not) as desired. Service can be a bit slow, but you can enjoy a cold beer here while you wait. Due to their patchy opening hours, it’s best if you notice they are open during the day to pop in and let them know you’ll come for dinner so they’ll remain open. Depot Baru is located east of the train station on Jalan Raya Kailbaru, just past the turnoff that leads to Margo Utomo Agro Resort, opposite and slightly west of the local market.
Warung Jerman is a relatively popular spot with travellers, possibly due to its name, although you won’t get bratwurst and sauerkraut, stock standard rice and noodle one dish meals go for around 20,000 rupiah. They don’t sell steins of beer, but will procure you a cold Bintang from nearby shops for a hefty markup (50,000 rupiah large beer). English speaking staff can help decipher the basic menu. Opposite Kalibaru Railway Station.
For a fresh juice, pop into cute cafe-style Teko, west of the post office. As they claim in Javanese, “waroeng cilik sing penting asik” it’s tiny, but cool. Teko offer an extensive drinks menu of milkshakes, juices, coffee and snacks with almost everything under 10,000 rupiah. Popular with local kids.
Worth an ojek ride from town, or a longish walk to build up your hunger (4km west of Kalibaru Station) Warung Desa Bu Dewi is a famous local roadside stop. This clean self service joint offers a choice of regular white rice or rice mixed with corn. Their speciality, ayam pedas kampung (free-range chicken with a sauce made from coconut milk, garlic and other spices, candlenut and whole chilies) is not too spicy if you leave the chilis.
As is usual in this sort of establishment, the food is served at room temperature, but they can heat it for Westerners—although your meal will cost a bit more for this service! For regular point and pick meals, the price will depend on what you put on your plate—expect around 25,000 for a meat dish, a couple of veggie dishes and rice, but for the “heated up Western version” it’s 50,000 rupiah regardless of what you select.
Depot Baru Jalan Raya Kalibaru, Kalibaru (opposite the market); .
Teko Jalan Raya Kalibaru, Kalibaru (west of the post office); Mo–Su: 12:00–24:00.
Warung Desa Bu Dewi Jalan Raya Jember-Banuwangi, Kalibaru (4 km west of Kalibaru Station); T: (0333) 897 484, (0877) 5593 6633, (0812) 345 9241; Mo–Su: 07:00–22:00.
Warung Jerman Jalan Raya Kalibaru, Kalibaru (opposite Kalibaru Station); T: (0819) 1389 3536; Mo–Su: 15:00–23:30.
Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.