A must for any stay in Jordan, the capital has a number of addresses to learn about the nuances of Middle Eastern cuisine. On the road or taking your time, a brief overview of Amman’s must-sees.
Jordan, this small country at the crossroads of the Middle East, welcomes all regional specialties to its table. Levantine gastronomy with its colorful mezze and grilled skewers prevails. Yemeni cuisine, which Jordanians love, occupies a good place. The small daily canteens usually specialize in a flagship: shawarma, falafel, mansaf… Foreign flavors are more the prerogative of the chic hotels of the capital.
Fakhr el-Din, Lebanon in style
Once the residence of the Prime Minister of Jordan and then the Spanish Ambassador, this beautiful house is part of the repertoire of good addresses for Jordanian high society. Located in one of Amman’s oldest neighborhoods, it is now home to some of the best Levantine food in the capital. The white-lined tables are set up in the old colonnaded reception rooms and coffered ceilings, or in the garden planted with laurel and jasmine, weather permitting. The endless menu offers a hundred dishes to share with the guests. The staff will help you put together a mezze of your choice, between well-known specialties and more original recipes.
Fakhr el-Din, Jebel Amman, 2nd circle, Amman. Such an. : +962 79 543 0055. Open daily from noon to midnight.
Tawaheen al Hawa. in bedouin style
A little out of the way in the new residential areas of the capital, this address is one of our favorites in Amman. They serve delicious Levantine dishes with corseted flavors, in a large courtyard lined with Bedouin tents. The tabbouleh with its measured acidity will seduce you, as will the malt ball, the aubergine caviar, with its delicious smoky accent. For bread, you prefer the “shrak”, a large thin pancake prepared by an old Bedouin woman at the entrance of the restaurant. The large tables are set with a hammered copper top on which the ordered dishes are placed. We like to pick among the guests, while we discuss or share, why not, a scented bong.
Tawaheen al-Hawa, Wasfi al-Tal Road, Jubilee Garden, Amman. Such an. : +962 6 534 9986. Open daily from noon to midnight.
Reem, the mecca of shawarma
This little eatery with a white and red plate on the edge of the 2nd circle is never empty no matter the time of day. The Ammanians do not hesitate to cross the city and face the legendary traffic jams for the pleasure of swallowing one or even two sandwiches filled with shavings of beef or lamb, onion and topped with white sauce. In 45 years of existence, the address has become a veritable institution and more than 5,000 shawarmas are prepared daily by an overtrained team. No table or chairs, the sandwiches are only sold to take away and can be eaten behind the wheel or in the back of the car.
Reem, 54 al-Kulliyah Al-Elmiyah Al-Islamiyah Street, 2nd Circle, Amman. Such an. +962 79 650 4584. Open daily from 10am to midnight, Fridays until 2.30am. .
Bab al-Yemen, the best mandi from Amman
Jordanians adore Yemeni cuisine and new restaurants are constantly popping up across the country. Bab al-Yemen’s spotless reputation makes it one of the most reliable places to learn about this little-known cuisine. Generous, it traditionally consists of a large dish of rice and marinated meat. The most popular dish from this somewhat kitschy establishment is the chicken mandi, a chicken seasoned with herbs and cooked in a clay oven. The smoky notes of this way of cooking mingle with aromas of cumin, coriander and cloves. The spices are tempered by yogurt mixed with meat and rice. A more complex dish than it seems and that will satisfy large appetites.
Bab al-Yemen, 109 Ghosheh Street, Amman. Such an. +962 78 888 9665. Open 24/7.
Salt, a steakhouse like in New York
The first floor of the very chic Hotel Fairmont houses a restaurant halfway between the Parisian brasserie and the American steakhouse. Refrigerated display cases filled with wagyu or angus beef set the tone. Here the meat is carefully matured, the cuts made with twine and the cooking is precise. The kitchen occupies a central position, bordered by a large zinc bar and framed by tables arranged in cubicles. Woodwork, mirrors and copper lamps provide the cozy atmosphere. The impeccable service, in white shirts and black trousers, shows the codes of our beloved Parisian cafes. Look out for a very nice wine list as well as crusty and soft bread worthy of the best French bakeries. An excellent address for those who resist the charms of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Salt, Hotel Fairmont, 6 Beirut Street, Amman. Such an. : +962 6 510 6000. Open every day from 12.30 pm to 4 pm and from 6 pm to 11 pm.
Sufra, authentic Jordan
It is rumored that Sufra has been open for ten years and offers the most authentic Jordanian cuisine. The recipes are meant to be household, simple and tasty. You will find the essential mezze, grilled meats and mansaf. But the real specialties of the house are the dishes stewed in terracotta pots, including the famous sajjiyeh, prepared with lamb or chicken. The frame fits the spirit of the card perfectly. Sufra is located in a quiet house in the heart of bustling Rainbow Street. Meals are served in the garden or in the beautiful family dining room which has retained its earthenware tiles.
Sufra, 26 Rainbow Street, Amman. Such an. : +962 6 461 1468. Open every day from 12 am to 11 pm, from 1 pm on Friday and Saturday. Reservation required.