Eat Makassar is known for its freshly caught fish, which is served up in a variety of ways. Other specialty dishes are the meat soups, cooked to a thick broth, which are popular for breakfast and lunch. Two favourites are Sop Saudara (literally "Brother Soup", often eaten with fish on the side) and Coto Makassar, made with beef and various organs. (To order without the organs, ask for "Tanpa isi dalam".)
Makassar's signature dish, ikan bakar (barbecued fish), is available at many eateries, from cheap roadside warungs to classy new restaurants. As you enter, you'll be guided to the tubs of ice containing the day's catch where you can choose your fish and specify the style of cooking and sauce. Here are some useful terms for ordering your fish:
bakar = grilled
goreng = (deep) fried
rica-rica* = served with a very spicy chili sauce
parape = served with a tangy black sauce containing tamarind
polos = served plain, no sauce.
*Rica-rica (pronounced "richa-richa") is a specialty from Manado but is popular throughout Sulawesi where it seems people cannot eat enough chili.
Drink Bir(beer) is available in many restaurants and cafes, except during the fasting month of Ramadan, when it is harder (but not impossible) to find. Anggur(wine) is generally only available in hotel bars and restaurants and is ridiculously expensive.
Aneka jus(varieties of juice) are available in most places. Here are a few of the common ones:
jus sirsak = soursop juice (nicer than it sounds)
jus avokad/alpukat = avocado juice (avocado mixed with chocolate and condensed milk)
jus jeruk = orange juice
jus apel = apple juice
jus wartel = carrot juice
jus jambu = guava juice
Some places routinely add condensed milk and/or sugar to fruit juices. If you don't want these added, be sure to specify "tanpa susu, tanpa gula".
Kelapa muda– the water and flesh consumed straight from the green coconut – is a local favourite, available from stalls near the fort. Don't confuse it with es kelapa muda, which is a coconut-based drink (often pink) sweetened with syrup and all kinds of little gula gula (sweets).
Sarabba is a local hot drink made from a mixture of ginger, egg yolks, brown sugar, coconut milk and pepper. It is renowned as a tonic for just about every ailment, from colds and tiredness to flatulence and muscle pain. You can get yourself a cup of sarabba from the kaki lima (food carts) along Pantai Losari and elsewhere.
The area around Jalan Datu Museng and connecting streets is known as the Kawasan Kuliner (culinary district) of Makassar. Because its also where we recommend you stay (close to Pantai Losari), you'll find many of the eating places on our map are in that zone. But there are lots eating options further afield and we've listed our favourites.
Click the icon in the top left of the map and select the "Restaurants ..." layer. Click here to open map in a new window.
Fish & seafood
Kios Semarang Up on the 3rd floor with views over the harbour, Kios is a Makassar institution. This no-frills eatery serves up large helpings of Chinese and Indonesian food (seafood but no grilled fish) and is a popular place with locals and expats for a beer or three.
Lae Lae A canteen-style eatery serving grilled fish and other seafood, Lae Lae is cheap and popular with the locals but don't expect fancy service. Beer is not on the menu but is available.
New Dinar Now an old favourite. Medium priced with a good range of fresh seafood. Beer available. Try the ikan bakar parape (fish served with tamarind sauce).
Restoran Pualam New (2014), vast and up-market seafood restaurant. Prices are high by Makassar standards but the fish and vegetable dishes are some of the best in town. The spicy eggplant (terong) is a particular favourite here. Beer available.
Rumah Makan Losari Lively and popular seafood restaurant, indoor/outdoor.
Rumah Makan Nelayan A bit of an institution, this is a popular older-style fish and seafood restaurant, mid-range prices. Beer available.
Donald Mie A good place to sample bakso– Indonesian meatball soup – in a diner-style cafe. They also make nice cakes.
Kampoeng Popsa Food Court A selection of cheap eats vendors close to Fort Rotterdam with a view over the harbour. Try Ruman Makan Wiltob, named after William and Toby, the two sons of the owner, Suzy. Beer available.
Sop Ubi A tiny eatery down a laneway off Jalan Datu Museng (look for the illuminated sign out on the street) going strong since 1963. It serves only one dish, Sop Ubi, a soup containing cassava, bean sprouts, rice vermicelli, diced meat and a boiled egg. Add your own choice of sambal (chili sauce), kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and kacang (peanuts). It's cheap (Rp. 25,000 in 2016) and satisfying. Look for the photo of Steve (our webmaster) with the owner!
Bistropolis Our pick of the new breed of relaxed restaurant/cafes offering a selection of Asian and Western dishes, including pizza, pasta, nachos, burgers and steak as well as Asian dishes in a relaxed atmosphere. Also has gelati!
De'Sushi Japanese food on a budget.
Essprezza Cafe & Bistro A rare gem in Makassar and worth the short ride from the downtown or Pantai Losari, Essprezza has hip interior design with a hybrid Asian/Western menu and a soulful, jazzy playlist. The menu includes eggy breakfast options, waffles, tacos and spaghetti as well as some Indonesian favourites. There's even a collection of paperbacks to help you while away the time on the comfy couches.
Garorica HOP Tucked away in a little ruko (house shop) a bit south of Pantai Losari, Garorica HOP has a warm, welcoming vibe and serves burgers on home-made wholemeal buns topped with fresh salad and homemade relish. Vegetarian options are also available. They also do good coffee and homemade cakes and biscuits. "Garo rica" means spicy mixture and "HOP" is for "hang out place".
Pisa Kafe An Italian restaurant serving good wood-fired pizzas (including a 1-metre version for big eaters or large groups), pasta, espresso coffee and our favourite gelati. Beer available.
Shogun Up-market Japanese restaurant in the same building as Tokyo Rice Burger, overlooking Pantai Losari. Pricey by Makassar standards but the food is excellent. Perfect for a special occasion or your last night in town. Beer and cocktails available.
Tokyo Rice Burger A recently relaunched (2014) Asian fusion restaurant with comfortable indoor seating and outdoor tables overlooking the action of Pantai Losari. Beer available.
Zodiac Cafe & Resto Cafe-style venue popular with the local young dudes. Offers burgers, steaks and pancakes as well as the usual rice and noodle dishes. Beer available.
BeatStone Awaiting your report!
Makassar Golden Hotel Experience a Makassar sunset while having a drink at the outdoor bar and restaurant. To enter, go up the stairs beside the ground level cafe. A bit pricey, but worth it for the view. Alcoholic drinks available.
Kenari Tower Hotel This hotel has a rooftop bar and restaurant with great views over Pantai Losari. Great place for a drink as the sun goes down.
Numero Uno An Italian-themed outdoor bar that is a popular watering hole for expats and locals alike. Snacks, including pizza, are available.
Losari Beach Hotel Has a rooftop bar, the Sky Garden Cafe, with views over the water.
Aryaduta Hotel The Rotunda Bar here has a "happy hour" daily from 6 pm – 8 pm with 50% off draught beer.