The following guest post on the best food in Amman is brought to us by Chef Tariq Nasir, an American-Palestinian food blogger and founder of ChefTariq.com
So many places in the world to go, so many places to eat, and sadly so many great places overlooked. Amman, Jordan could very well be one of those places that gets overlooked by many, who then end up missing out on an experience of a lifetime. An experience that is hard to replicate anywhere else.
Unfortunately, a lot of people overlook Amman once they hear the words Middle East. There is no doubt that there is a fair amount of conflict in the region, but Jordan is a welcome oasis of peace in the middle of it all. A stable and neutral country, Jordan has a wealth of historical places really worth experiencing. Don’t let the worry about safety hold you back, you will be glad you came.
In this article, I’m going to show you where you can find some of the best food in Amman. There is so much delicious food here, and so many places to get it, that we are very often spoilt for choice.
Hummus (chickpea and tahini dip) is one of the best-known foods from the Arab world, and Amman has several places to get excellent hummus. A really great bowl of hummus can be found at Abu Jbara restaurant where it has reached legendary status. Always a line and always good, Abu Jbara started off as a small hole in the wall and has now expanded, and even has a place in Dubai. The perfect balance of ingredients is required to make the perfect hummus, and they get it just right. Pita bread is baked in-house ensuring you always have a fresh loaf! Hummus is a perfect dish to include in any mezze.
For the best fuul (pronounced fool) head downtown to Hashim which is definitely a fixture in the foodie scene in Amman, you will definitely get good food here. Even the King of Jordan stops by every once in a while for breakfast! It’s the kind of place where you are served more than enough food. Their fuul is the best, and definitely worth stopping for. This is a dish of fava beans and garlic, garnished with tomatoes, onions, and olive oil, and often spiced with cumin. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just the fuul that’s good – you can get a fabulous full breakfast here! Hashim is a definite fixture in the Amman food scene.
The best falafel is found on Rainbow Street, which is a cobbled road filled with coffee shops, restaurants, and clothing stores. A great place to stroll for a feel of Amman. Falafel al Quds is the place for the best falafel sandwich you will ever eat. But don’t expect a seat, as they don’t have any on offer. Counter service only. Very well worth the standing lunch. Some good runners up for falafel are Abu Jbara, Al Kalha, and Abu Mahjoub.
Another popular street food is shawarma, and consists of thinly sliced marinated meat stacked on a skewer and rotisserie grilled with pieces sliced off the edge as it slowly gets cooked. Shawarma Reem has been at the second circle in Amman since 1976. Their shawarma is absolutely delicious. Make sure not to miss it. Despite not having any place to sit they do an incredible amount of business at this little spot.
For something sweet, everyone will send you to Habiba for knafeh. Knafeh is a very traditional dessert in the Levant and is essentially made from cheese, shredded wheat, and simple syrup. It is really hard to describe the amazing taste of this fabulous dessert, but it really is a must try! Another great place to have this dessert is Nafiseh, which specializes in all types of Arab sweets.
Best Food in Amman: Recommended Restaurants
A nice restaurant to try for a wider variety of foods is Zajal, situated in the downtown area of Amman. Here you can find all kinds of very good Arabic foods at reasonable prices. It is a place frequented by both tourists, and locals, so you know it passes the resident test. A popular spot for coffee, food, or a hookah, definitely try to stop by this historic eatery.
If you are looking for a more upscale experience, the three restaurants I would recommend would be Fakhreldin, Sofra, and Burj Al Hamam. The first two are situated in historical homes in Jabal Amman, and the third has its home at the Jordan Intercontinental Hotel. These eating establishments will of course be much more expensive than the previous places that serve street food, but will offer you a very wide array of food from the Middle East. Make sure you try the kibbeh nayeh which is raw ground lamb, and similar to steak tartare.
About the Auther: Chef Tariq
Tariq Nasir is an American-Palestinian food blogger and founder of ChefTariq.com. He empowers the everyday home cook to bring Middle Eastern cuisine to their table. Growing up as a refugee, Tariq has a passion for bringing people together and has found that the dinner table is the perfect place.
We hope this helps you find the best food in Amman during you next trip to Jordan.