There’s an old saying in Jordan that exemplifies the generosity of the culture: “even when you’re full, you can still eat 40 more bites.” Whether you’re in a home or restaurant, prepare to experience hospitality that is second to none. While Petra and Wadi Rum are, by far, the most popular tourism sites in Jordan, the northern region has an abundance to offer as well. Amman and Jerash are home to some of the world’s best-preserved Roman ruins, outside of Italy. In an initiative to promote extended stays, the Jordanian Tourism Board waives visa fees for tourists staying two overnights, so why not begin your tour in Amman and journey south to Petra? After you’ve worked up an appetite from exploring the ancient ruins all day, reward yourself with a meal at one of the best restaurants in Amman, and maybe follow that with a drink at one of its best bars.
Arguably one of the best restaurants in Amman, Fakhreldin is distinguished by their traditional Levantine cuisine, served in a historic setting. The extensive menu effortlessly caters to vegans and vegetarians alike, with delectable options like rocca salad with beetroot and sumac, and the Fakhreldin special platter of artichoke, asparagus, mushrooms and avocado. Carnivores will be in their element as well, with an entire menu section dedicated to raw meats in addition to fried, grilled, and sizzling options. Five different types of potato delights and fattét hummus offer something for everyone.
Located in an Ottoman-style villa on Amman’s popular Rainbow Street, Sufra offers authentic Jordanian fare in an exquisite setting. Start with an assortment of hot and cold mezze, like stuffed vine leaves, hummus, aubergine salad, and grilled Nabulsi cheese. Then sample their fatté, a traditional Levantine dish of toasted or fried pita bread covered with hummus, aubergine and mint yogurt, or meat. Move on to one of their most popular dishes, sajeyet jaj, an aromatic combination of shredded chicken, onion, and pine nuts, and be sure to save room for some knafeh, pistachio ice cream with halva, or lukum for dessert.
Inside the Four Seasons Amman, La Capitale is a traditional French brasserie with an upscale menu and chic interior. Try their Plat du Jour, which offers classics like grilled lobster with tarragon gratin and octopus in wine sauce with potatoes. For a fusion experience, head to their cocktail bar to try local twists like the La Capitale martini, a combination of French gin and vermouth with Jordanian olives and dill. When you want to eat at one of the best restaurants in Amman, but need a break from Jordanian cuisine, this is the place to be.
Shams El Balad
Shams El Balad was born 20 years ago as a small plant shop, and evolved into a charming restaurant inspired by the city and its people. The menu, which focuses on seasonality and sustainability, bursts with color, flavor, and creativity. Try their hummus accented with sumac and walnuts, charred eggplant with tahini, mint, and pomegranate, pan-fried Nabulsi cheese with coriander, red chili, and sesame, beetroot falafel, Ijjeh frittata with parsley, labane, and sumac, and a variety of manakeesh bread with different herbs and cheeses. For dessert, dive into their date and rose halaweh and sesame mouhalabieh.
Rest your weary legs and fire up your appetite as you watch mouth-watering mezze dishes appear in front of you. Tawaheen Al-Hawa is a well known restaurant in Amman, specializing in traditional dishes like mansaf (tender lamb cooked in yogurt) to follow the seemingly endless plates of hummus, baba ganoush, labneh, and kibbe. Popular with locals and tourists alike, Tawaheen Al-Hawa welcomes you to experience traditional Jordanian cuisine at its best.
True to its name, Levant’s menu highlights the culinary traditions of the surrounding Levantine countries, with an emphasis on Armenian fare. Their tantalizing mezze options include pomegranate and pomelo salads, freekeh, and hummus, to compliment sumptuous main dishes like sour cherry kebab, meatballs, and lamb chops. Enjoy the delightful meal with a craft beer from Carakale, Jordan’s first microbrewery, established in 2010 in a town just outside Amman.
For the best shawarma in Amman, and possibly the middle east, head to this local favorite to experience their signature recipe. The family-run spot has passed their marinade recipe down for generations, which may be the reason that Jordanians and tourists alike line up for the crispy lamb drizzled with tangy yogurt and herbs. It may be “street food”, but this shawarma place has earned its place among the best restaurants in Amman. Reem’s serves roughly 5,000 happy customers each day and has received rave reviews from the New York Times on multiple occasions, need we say more?
Bourj Al Hamam
Within the Intercontinental Amman, Bourj Al Hamam is infamous in the region for it’s authentic Lebanese cuisine. The award-winning restaurant offers traditional halal dishes like lamb’s tongue salad and sea bass with oil and lemon, while catering to vegan and gluten free patrons as well. Ranked highly for it’s excellent food, service, and atmosphere, Bourj Al Hamam is the perfect place to dine after a day of adventure.