Surprising find on Lake Toba, 10-15 minutes north of Tuk Tuk on the main road going towards Simanindo. The property, called "Sumatera Borobudur" is worth seeing in its own right, located right on the lake and filled with gardens and Buddhist statues - a rarity in this part of Indonesia. Handmade tempeh and mockmeats, soup specials every day, vegan versions of Indonesian specialties, homemade vegan coconut ice cream. Worth the trip and also easy to plan with a visit to Simanindo or the hot springs in Panguguran. Open Mon-Sun 10:00am-8:00pm.

Venue map for Buddha Cafe
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15 Reviews

First Review by enRoute


Points +360

11 Nov 2023

Great place to stop for lunch.

Came here for lunch.
Wasn't sure it was actually open but eventually a local turned up and notified someone in the cafe.

The mie goreng was good although nothing special.

Ordered vanilla and chocolate ice cream thinking I'd get a scoop of each but instead received two large pots worth 4 scoops.
Didn't need dinner that night!
The chocolate ice cream was really good.

Nice setting on a terrace overlooking a garden filled with buddha statues.



Points +1286

18 Jul 2023

Interesting place on the island

Definitely worth the drive on a motorbike. Interesting place. When I arrived I waited quite awhile until finally some locals guests got the attention of the owner to come out. After I ordered the food did come out fast and it was really good. Guacamole isn’t traditional Mexican guacamole but was still nice with their freshly made chips.


Points +825

29 Jan 2023

Wow amazing food and scenery

This area is so nice! The garden is huge, peaceful and meditating.
The food was also very good, and we saw the cooker come into the garden and pick up some fruits for our dishes. I would definitely recommend to go there. If you go with scooter from tuktuk, the road is quite in a good state. If you don't I think you can go only with a grab

Unfortunately they use cream in their ice-cream so it wasn't full vegan :(

Pros: Amazing garden and view on the lake, Good food

Cons: Ice cream is not vegan


Points +46

26 Jan 2020

Amazing and super random!

Being vegan and allergic to shrimp is not easy on Sumatra! This place is however fully vegan and is located slightly outside the touristy zones. However definently worth the ride. The food is amazing and the portions are big! The restaurant has a beautiful garden with all kinds of fruit trees and a beautiful view onto the lake. Must try: patato rendang.


Points +62

03 Jan 2020

What a find

How great! Fully vegan restaurant in a random spot on Samosir island, SO worth the drive! I had the sweet and sour tempeh and the matcha ice cream, both so delicious!!


Points +310

10 Aug 2019

Amazing homemade food

We were so happy to find Buddha Café on Samosir Island.

Over two visits, we tried the mixed fruit juice, fried tempeh with peanut sauce, rendang potato curry eggplant coconut curry, tofu steak and rojak along with two scoops of ice cream. Everything was super delicious.

Prices are on the high-ish side for Indonesia (which is still super cheap in Western standards!), but the servings are also pretty big. Especially the appetisers and ice cream (one scoop is shareable).

The garden was charming and we enjoyed the lake views.


For more tips, check out our full travel guide to visiting Samosir Island here:

Updated from previous review on 2019-08-10

Pros: Homemade Indonesian food in vegan versions, Big portions, Beautiful garden


Points +38

10 Jan 2019

Great surprise indeed !

I didn't even check Happy Cow before coming. To find vegan food is easy in Sumatra, unlike the Philippines where I travel a lot. Today, biking around I found the Buddha Cafe and couldn't resist but try a heavy meal as I was really hungry and the vegan ice cream.

To be noticed : it is mainly non-smoking. Fincing a smoke free place to eat in Sumatra is very difficult, so that's an asset.

It was really good, more expensive than usual places in Sumatra, but still very low for any international traveller. Good meal, including ice cream and cafe for about 5 euros...

Any vegan coming around Lake Toba should bump there and enjoy a really healthy and tasty plant-based meal. Non vegan would enjoy also, it is subtil gastronomy here.

Pros: real vegan food, good quality and home made, Very beautiful place and area, Very friendly service and non smoking

Cons: Plastic straw coming with drinks, Bottled water available


Points +34

17 Oct 2017

Nice restaurant on Samosir Island!

You wouldn't expect this on Samosir Island! Menu is small but has some very nice dishes. Definitely go here when on Samosir!

Cons: bit more expensive then warungs you find on the is


Points +15

17 Jun 2017

Fantastic find on Samosir

The restaurant has a very nice feel to it and the food is delicious. The drinks and ice cream were great too and made the trip worthwhile.


Points +57

18 Jan 2016


This place was such an amazing find, just go, you will not be disappointed! Best food I've had in some time

Pros: Ice cream!, beautiful location!


Points +280

24 Jun 2015

Delicious & Beautiful

Buddha’s Cafe is one of the most pleasant surprises hidden away at Lake Toba. The atmosphere is very peaceful and beautiful with lake front view and a large garden with Buddha statues and many types of flowering plants. There is a lot of attention to detail in the decorations on the walls and floor tiles. High standards of cleanliness and hygiene.

Their curries are the highlight - all have their own distinct and delicious flavours. We loved the Eggplant Curry and the Tempeh and Pineapple Curry. Our top pick was the Sweet and Sour Tempeh. Their ice creams are actually more like sorbets and have a coconut base. However, the staff are so incredible that they made me a coconut-free sorbet on the spot because I am allergic to coconut. In fact, they modified most dishes without hesitation. We also tried their guacamole w/ home made crackers - it was delicious, though not authentic guac.

Their pancakes you can give a miss - I think they are made from rice flour because they are more layers of doughiness than what North Americans would call a pancake.

They are more expensive than other restaurants around Lake Tabo, but their food quality is superior, which is why we visited more than once despite its location being more difficult to get to.

Most dishes are vegan, but they have a few dishes with egg due to vegetarians requesting frequently. No dairy is served in any dish.

To get to it, you must continue past Ambarita in the direction of Simanindo. It’s not convenient to walk to so you should bike or drive. We did kayak there one day from Tuk Tuk - it took about two hours from Tabo Cottages. They also have a guest house.

Pros: Vegan, Flavorful, Beautiful Grounds

Cons: Pricier, Location is inconvenient


Points +403

27 Nov 2013

Delicious Vegan food!

Delicious food, very friendly staff and yummy ice cream !!!
The place is also very beautiful :)


Points +19

17 Jan 2013

Best food EVER

My boyfriend and I stumbled upon Buddah Cafe while motorbiking around Samosir. It's not far from Ambarita. It's a beautiful location, peaceful atmosphere and the most delicious food I've ever eaten at a really good price. The owner is sweet and her little boy just too cute. Even my non vegan boyfriend said "This tastes better than any meat I've eaten." I can't recommend this place enough, their ice-cream is amazing too. We ate here twice. Go here for excellent service, and out of this world food.
-January 2013

Pros: excellent food, good value, friendly

Cons: None


Points +729

07 Jan 2013

Not worth a trek

It was nice to finally see a veggie place, but I wouldn't recommend heading out there just for this place; it's all right if you're passing. The food was okay, not bad and not fantastic, but comparatively very, very pricey.

Cons: Price, Location, Choices


17 Jan 2013

Really surprised you didn't enjoy it =/ We thought it was amazing and worth the travels there twice.


Points +1397

06 Jan 2010

a quirky and delicious haven

Wow, what a great place! I was quite surprised to come upon their welcoming "VEGAN CAFE" sign while riding out to the north part of the island.

Keep in mind that it's past Ambarita by a kilometer or so, maybe 5-6 kilometers from Tuk Tuk. It's really worth getting out there though, both to support this unique endeavor and to have some of the best food you'll find on the island. Fantastic homemade flavors, I went for several days in a row and had the specials every day - all were great! Plus homemade banana and carrot breads and coconut milk ice cream. The setting is absolutely beautiful and must be seen to be believed!

It's easy to spot from the road with its wall decorated with stupas and green tile roof. If you can't find it just call the number and they will help you out in perfect English. If you are on the island there is no excuse to miss this place! Combine it with a trip out to the wild and mystic northern tip of the island for a great day out.

Pros: very homemade, awesome setting, super friendly

Cons: a bit of a trek, somewhat pricey

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