Pangandaran is renowned for cheap, fresh seafood and you won’t find fresher than at the Pasar Ikan, the fish market at the northern end of East Beach. Here dozens of local-style seafood restaurants with long tables and little ambience bar strip fluro lighting, display eskies full of the day’s catch sold by weight—check what looks freshest (some is still alive!) and pick your cooking method—bakar (barbecued) or goreng (fried) and sauce, add some kangkung (water spinach) or pakis (fern tips) and chips or rice, order an icy cold Bintang or a fresh juice and sit down to a mighty feast. We’ve found it works best to give them a per person budget before ordering and let the experts guide you.
If the Pasar Ikan is a bit too downmarket for your sensibilities, Chez Mama Cilacap is a little more “restaurant-like”, but still with breezy local style and has been dishing up decent seafood for years. A little pricer than the market, but not much. It’s a good place to go with seafood and non-seafood eaters as they offer a range of other dishes as well.
If seafood is not really your thing, and you’d still like to try something local, Warung Nasi Pa Djaja is one of our favourite warungs in West Java. This modest point and pick serves up dozens of choices of Sundanese specialities with many vegetarian options (although check first they don’t contain terasi—shrimp paste or kulit—beef skin!). Try the pepes—fragrant chicken, fish or tofu steamed in banana leaves with ginger flower, galangal and salam leaf or the balls of tapioka leaves stuffed with coconut. Tea is included with your meal and if you’d like a beer, just ask and they’ll get you one from a nearby shop. As well as being some of the tastiest food in town, this joint is also one of the cheapest. 20,000 rupiah will get a large plateful, and vegetarians could fill up for 10,000 rupiah. Warung Nasi Pa Djaja is on Jalan Kidang Pananjung next to the Indomaret on the corner of Jalan Bulat Laut.
Green Garden Cafe on Jalan Kidang Pananjung is a relaxing friendly local spot run by our friends Rini and Asep (say Hi from us!), It’s leafy, but the main garden here will be on your plate—if you’re hankering for salad. Local dishes go for around 12,000 to 25,000 rupiah with some Western snacks on the menu too.
Modern green and yellow A & R Resto has the ambience of a McDonalds, but don’t let that put you off, the local food and drinks are tasty and good value. Nasi Timbel Komplit is a Sundanese favourite, with fired chicken, tempeh, tofu and salted fish with some fresh herbs and spicy sambal for 35,000 rupiah. They also serve Vietnamese style drip coffee (17,000 rupiah). If you’re feeling the heat on a hot day, they have air-con.
If you’re after a break from Indonesian food (although it’s on the menu here too), long-running Restaurant Relax consistently offers good food and very friendly service. Bratwurst, macaroni, goulash, home-baked bread and creamy yoghurt all make an appearance at this Swiss-run joint as do Indonesian dishes such as nasi goreng. The chips even come with mayonnaise. Take the time to chat to the expat owner—she’s seen a lot of changes in this little town over the years. European mains are around 60,000 to 80,000 rupiah, and Indonesian meals around 30,000 to 60,000 rupiah.
If you just want to enjoy a cold Bintang with your toes in the sand, Bamboo Cafe & Resto Pangandaran offers an extensive menu of standard Western and Indonesian fare, luscious fresh juices and cold cold (but pricey) beer and spirits, but hey, the view is priceless. Pick from a thatched covered table, swing from a hammock or stretch out on a sun lounge, relax and check the swell. Live music on weekends pumps up the pace. Along with all the other beach bars, this will be moving further north sometime in 2018, but still with a beach location, as the local government are removing all beachfront stalls along this strip.
Heading to Green Canyon or Batu Karas and feeing peckish? Rumah Makan Ibu Ade at Cijulang is a good local stop for a bite. Here it is self-serve buffet-style with many flavoursome fish and vegetable selections. When we stopped by, dad was building a skateboard rink for the kids out the back, so perhaps you could join them for a bit of post lunch fun.
A & R Resto 181 Jalan Kidang Pananjung; T: (0265) 750 0301, (0838) 2797 4470; .
Bamboo Cafe & Resto Pangandaran Jalan Pamugaran Bulak Laut, Pangandaran; T: (0813) 1371 8567; http://www.bamboocafepangandaran.com/ Mo–Su: 09:00–late.
Chez Mama Cilacap 179 Jalan Kidang Pananjung, Pangandaran; T: (0265) 630 015, (0813) 2307 2828; Mo–Su: 08:00–22:30.
Green Garden Cafe 116 Jalan Kidang Pananjung; T: (0859) 2770 8696; Mo–Su: 08:00–22:30.
Pasar Ikan Jalan Pantai Timur, Pangandaran; Mo–Su: 09:00–23:00.
Restaurant Relax 74 Jalan Bulak Laut, Pangandaran; T: (0265) 630 377; Mo–Su: 08:00–22:30.
Rumah Makan Ibu Ade 250 Jalan Raya Cijulang, Cijulang; .
Warung Nasi Pa Djaja 91 Jalan Kidang Pananjung; T: (0813) 2378 2277; Mo–Su: 07:00–21:00.
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.