Are you looking for Indonesian Restaurants in Atlanta? Yes? Good!
As some of you may know, Halef is Indonesian. He came to Atlanta in 2004 and he’s been here ever since.
And if you know anything about Indonesians, it’s that when they move here (or anywhere for that matter), the thing they miss most about home is Indonesian food.
I don’t blame them. Indonesian food is delicious.
I’ve talked to Indonesians in Atlanta, in The Netherlands, in Indonesia, and several other places. The number one thing they miss when they travel or move abroad is family. Food is a close second.
So it should come as no surprise that we’ve done a ton of research and found all the best places for Indonesian food in Atlanta. And the research wasn’t that tough, because right now, there are exactly two Indonesian restaurants in Atlanta to choose from.
We’ve eaten at both of them and we’ve gotten to know the staff – a little bit at one and quite well at the other.
If you’re new to Indonesian food and want to know a little more about the cuisine, read Halef’s Introduction to Indonesian Food.
Here is our “Ultimate List of Indonesian Restaurants in Atlanta” – both of them!
Tempo Doeloe Indonesian Restaurant
Note: We’re sad to report that as of Fall, 2019, Tempo Doeloe is no longer open.
Tempo Doeloe is a family owned Indonesian restaurant at the corner of Shallowford Road and Buford Highway, just north of the city. The first thing you may notice when you come here is the friendly atmosphere. Everyone seems to know everyone else.
It’s also quite a small restaurant. Truthfully though, we don’t eat here that often. Nothing bad, though. I’ll explain why later.
But here’s a good sign – the customers tend to be Indonesian. My rule about food from other cultures is this:
If the majority of people at the restaurant are from that particular culture or country, then the food is probably very authentic.
A good rule of thumb if you want the most authentic Indonesian food: Choose the restaurant that people from the culture choose! I don’t always follow this rule, but I usually do.
Tempo Doeloe Atlanta menu
The food here is good. We always recommend ordering several pre-made options from the buffet table. Generally, you can have rice and three options – veggies, meat, and fish are always available.
Click the images below to see their menu:
Of course, if you’re Indonesian and want a specific dish, I’m certain they’d do their best to make it for you, even if it wasn’t on the written menu. But the buffet table is quite good and contains a lot of popular Indonesian food:
- Egg and tofu curry (Telur Tahu khas Bali)
- Nasi Padang, including Rendang and Sate Padang
- Varieties of Indonesian-style chicken (Ayam Goreng)
- Mixed veggies (Cap cay)
- Green beans with tofu and sambal balado
- Curry fish
The hot table is the best option if you’ve never tried Indonesian food before. You get to sample three dishes. If you don’t like one, then you have a couple more to enjoy.
It’s the most common way people order food here.
That’s when it’s available. It’s my biggest issue with the restaurant – the hot bar is only available during typically busy times for the restaurant.
Tempo Doeloe Grocery store
Tempo Doeloe also has a separate grocery store, called Java Foodmart, where you can find the most common ingredients you’ll need to make your own Indonesian food at home.
The good news for Indonesians and others from out-of-town is that Tempo Doeloe will ship your groceries anywhere in the United States!
A great service if you live in a food desert, where you crave Indonesian food but cannot get it!
Batavia Indonesian Restaurant Atlanta
This restaurant has been the favorite of ours for about 12 years. That’s mostly because it was the only one Indonesian restaurant we even knew about for a long time. So that’s why we’ve chosen it as our “Indonesian food home base” instead of Tempo Doeloe.
And although there is certainly nothing wrong with the food at Tempo Doeloe, we find Batavia’s food a bit more flavorful.
And they just have more options.
For years, Batavia operated two restaurants in Atlanta. One of their locations closed – probably because it was in a bad location. The current location is on Shallowford Road. It’s a fairly large location that also includes a grocery store where you can get Indonesian groceries, ingredients, multiple versions of krupuk (and some you can make yourself at home).
They also have desserts and other packaged food made by Indonesian people in the community.
Two of my favorite things to buy at Batavia:
- Tempeh: While I make tempeh at home, it’s sometimes just easier to buy it here. The restaurant owner makes delicious tempeh regularly and sells it at the restaurant. If you want authentic tempeh, this is the place to buy it.
- Sambal: Again, the chefs here make and sell various types of sambal. My favorites are the sambal balado and sambal ijo. They are delicious and more than worth the $8 per container.
Like Tempo Doeloe, Batavia Indonesian Restaurant has a hot table. But it’s bigger. Some of the things you’ll find regularly include:
- Beef rendang
- Various chicken dishes
- Fried fish
- Organ meats cooked different ways (Try Babat, or the beef tripe curry dish)
- Egg and tofu curry
- Spicy Tempeh (Sambal Goreng Tempe)
- Collard greens
- Eggplant with sambal (terong balado)
- Green beans and tofu
- Bitter melon
What I like about Batavia is that the owner varies the menu a little more. Sometimes, we will go in and see something on the hot table that just doesn’t seem to fit. For example, we recently visited and were offered peppered tempeh.
There wasn’t much to it really – just deep-fried tempeh with black pepper and salt. And it was amazing!
Batavia has an extensive a la carte menu as well. You can pretty much get anything you want here.
Tempo Doeloe vs. Batavia
As I said before, we like both restaurants. Both Batavia and Tempo Doeloe are counter-serve restaurants – meaning you don’t get service at your table.
And each of them has one big “con” – they serve the vast majority of their food on polystyrene/styrofoam plates with plastic spoons, forks, and knives, which is a terrible waste.
Tempo Doeloe Pros
- Friendly staff
- Cozier and nicer restaurant – nostalgic decor from Indonesia
- They ship groceries around the US
- Small bags of krupuk at your table that you pay for a la carte
Tempo Doeloe Cons
- Portions are smaller
- More expensive for the same types of dishes
- They don’t always have the hot table available. (That’s probably because it’s not as busy as Batavia.)
- Small dining room
Batavia Indonesian Restaurant Pros
- More varied hot table menu that’s always available
- New items occasionally
- Portion sizes are more generous
- Less expensive
- They sell tempeh
- Sambal is better
- Great for large get togethers
Batavia Restaurant Cons
- If you go in during non-busy hours, the food won’t be that fresh
- The decor
- You must request halal
Which Atlanta Indonesian restaurant is best?
Honestly, there’s not a massive difference between the only two Indonesian restaurants in Atlanta. But we definitely prefer Batavia because we find the flavors to be more pronounced and they have a bigger selection.
We eat here at least once a week and we’ve often taken large groups with us (Halef likes going here for his birthday!)
But you’ll probably love the food at each one. And really, that’s what matters!
For More on Indonesia: When we travel, we use Lonely Planet. By buying a book at one of the Amazon.com links below, we get a small referral fee at no additional cost to you.
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Michael is originally from Canada but now resides in Atlanta, GA with his husband, Halef, who also writes here. He is a Couchsurfing expert. Michael has traveled to over 50 countries learning how to experience more for less as he travels.