Surabaya is Indonesia’s second largest city after Jakarta, the capital. It is the most convenient gateway to East Java and the province’s many tourist destinations, as most major international flights into the region will fly to the city’s Juanda Airport. The city itself is replete with culinary wonders and foodie haunts. Here is our guide on where to eat in Surabaya, as well as a couple bonus places from the surrounding regions 😉
1. Beatus – Alfresco Dining & Grill
Sure you have heard of Chilli Crab, Black Pepper Crab and Salted Egg Crab. But, have you heard of Caramelized Butter Crab? If you have not, then you need to visit Beatus when you are in Surabaya!
One regular portion of crab (about 500 grams) costs around IDR 260k (~SGD 26). If you do not want to spend too much, instead of getting one crab for each person, just share among yourselves as one portion is actually good for 1-2 people.
Beatus has two branches in Surabaya, the one at Citraland only opens for dinner while the Graha Loop branch opens from lunch time.
Beatus Graha Loop Address: Jl. Bukit Darmo Bvu, Surabaya Phone: +62 878 5684 0407 Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday, 6 pm to 11 pm Friday & Saturday, 6 pm to 1130 pm Beatus Citraland Location: Citraland Golf & Club House Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 10 am to 10 pm
Tip: Drop them an email / give them a call in advance to reserve your table (& crab too)!
2. Empal Pengampon
You don’t simply go to Indonesia and completely skip all the awesome local food! If you want to know which Indonesian food that you should try when you are in Surabaya, I would say Empal Pengampon is one of them. It was our first stop after we arrived in Surabaya.
Empal is an Indonesian dish which actually means sweet fried beef. The nasi empal (empal with rice) at Empal Pengampon comes with sambel goreng kentang (sweet potato chips – it’s really good!!), tofu, tempe and chilli. This is definitely the dish to go for when you are extremely hungry, as the flavourful empal will make you eat more rice.
This eatery is located in one of the tiny alleys in Surabaya. Don’t expect anything fancy as it is really not fancy at all. BUT, I can assure you that you will have an enjoyable meal at Empal Pengampon.
Empal Pengampon Address: Jl. Pengampon Gang II No. 3, Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia Phone: +62 31 3530362 Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 8 am to 2pm; 5pm to 9pm
3. Layar Seafood
If I were to ask a few of my friends from Surabaya “which restaurant do you always visit when you are back in Surabaya?“, majority of them would definitely say Layar Seafood.
This place is probably one of those restaurants where your parents would bring you for family dinner on a weekend regularly. I can completely understand why it is so. It is your typical not-so-fancy-but-decent-enough Chinese restaurant that serves pretty decent food with extensive food menu and affordable price.
Layar Seafood Address: Jl. Manyar Kertoarjo No. 62 - 64, Surabaya, East Java 60116, Indonesia Phone: +62 31 5947666 Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11 am to 10 pm.
4. Domicile Kitchen & Lounge
Domicile is the hip place that all the funky kids in Surabaya go to 😉 It spouts the usual suspects of every seen-and-be-seen joint – warm hues, an open kitchen, floor-to-ceiling windows that let in plenty of natural lighting during the day (perfect for Instagramming!). The space is really pretty, and it’s one of those places you go to for the whole ambience. Service was just so-so, though.
Domicile Kitchen and Lounge Address: Jalan Sumatra no. 35 Surabaya, East Java 60281, Indonesia Phone: +62 31 5016900 Opening Hours: Sunday to Friday, 11 am to 1 am. Saturday 11 am to 2 am.
5. Lareia Cake & Co
Craving for cakes? Lareia is the place you need to head to. Famous for its mille crepes, the cafe has in recent years become the household name for cakes amongst Surabaya’s foodies. The cafe is located in a shopping mall, and for A the interior didn’t inspire much – it was not a space we’d hang out all day in.
We tried the Banana Nutella Mille Crepe, Oreo Castle Mille Crepe and Banana Cream Cake. We had really high expectations for the mille crepes, naturally. A was particularly excited to try them, thinking perhaps she would finally understand the hype around mille crepes. Sad to say, even after Lareia, she still thinks mille crepes in general are overrated. The Banana Cream Cake though, was really good! Next time we’re in town, we’ll definitely come back to try more of the other cakes and tarts.
Lareia Cake & Co. Address: Ciputra World Mall, 3rd floor Jl.Mayjen Sungkono No.77 Surabaya, East Java 60224, Indonesia Phone: +62 31 51200196 Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10 am to 10 pm
6. Monopole Coffee Lab
Freshly-brewed coffee? Check.
Delicious cakes from Lareia Cake & Co.? Check.
Instagrammable space? Check.
Monopole Coffee Lab ticks all the right boxes, and is the epitome of Surabayan hipsterville. The space has an industrial feel to it, with an exposed ceiling and concrete flooring, but brightened up by splashes of cheery colours. The cafe had blue walls and bright yellow chairs, nice touches that we particularly liked.
We tried the Taro cake – it was good, but probably had been sitting a tad too long in the refrigerated counter. The cafe’s specialty brew, the Taro Latte, was superb. The freshly-brewed organic tea was really refreshing, and came in such a cute beaker too. We’ll definitely come back and hang out the next time we are in town!
Monopole Coffee Lab Address: Jl. Raya Darmo Permai I No. 38, Surabaya, East Java 60226, Indonesia Phone: +62 818 519 949 Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 10 am to 10 pm Friday & Saturday, 10 am to 11 pm
A visit to Surabaya and East Java is also often accompanied to a short trip to Malang, a town located a 2-hour drive away. So here’s a couple bonus recommendations on where to eat in Malang 😉
7. Melati Restaurant
Located at Tugu Hotel, Malang’s iconic heritage hotel, Melati Restaurant is the perfect place to dine in if you are looking for authentic, traditional local fare. The space had a very nostalgic feel. We felt like stepping back in time to the old colonial days, and we mean it in a good way when we say the whole place would fit perfectly in a classy haunted-mansion movie.
The restaurant, rated as the number one in Malang, serves a variety of cuisines, from Indonesian, Chinese Peranakan, to Dutch-inspired. The menu at Melati Restaurant is so extensive that you will definitely have a hard time making a decision. If you are confused on what to order, just ask the waiters for advice on the menu and you won’t be disappointed! The Rijstaffel, Cwie Mie (a local noodles dish) and Sate Ayam (chicken satay) were our favorites.
The service was impeccable, the food was delicious, and we had a really lovely dining experience here. It was such a refreshing change from all the modern, often dime-a-dozen eateries that we were used to. If you could only try one restaurant in the whole city, we would definitely recommend Melati Restaurant.
Melati Restaurant Address: Jl. Kahuripan 3, Malang Phone no: +62 341 363891 Opening hours: 24 hours
8. Istana Ayam Goreng Sri
If you are traveling back from Malang to Surabaya, do not forget to stop by Istana Ayam Goreng. It is also one of those long-standing establishments in the area where families go to every weekend. The restaurant is housed in a huge wooden space and can accommodate large parties.
The menu feature authentic, no-frills local Javanese fare, and don’t forget to order the restaurant’s namesake – Ayam Goreng (Indonesian fried chicken). Our other favorites include Tahu Telor (a dish of fried eggs and tofu with peanut gravy) and Sayur Asem (Indonesian-style sour vegetables soup).
Istana Ayam Goreng (Rumah Makan SRI) Address: Jl. Dr. Soetomo No. 3-4, Pandaan, East Java, Indonesia