The Beginner's Guide to the Amman Food Scene
Amman is an amazing city to explore new cuisines and experience Jordanian cafe culture! During my semester abroad, I spent many evenings exploring new restaurants and cafes with my classmates to do homework, socialize with friends, and practice my colloquial Arabic skills. Below are some of my top food spots in Amman, from local gems to upscale hubs for international networking! Each of these spots have their own specialties, and are therefore not ranked in any particular order. Whether you're looking for a place to study, a Friday night stop, or a tasty treat—there is a place on this list for you!
Shams El Balad شمس البلد
Just off Rainbow Street, Shams El Balad was definitely the most-frequented spot by my friends in Amman. Follow their instagram page to stay updated on their weekend events and get a taste of the international and artistic scene. Amazing food, locally sourced drinks, and a great place for some friday night dancing!
Great for: fun dinner with friends, weekend spot for socializing, small tables or large group with reservation
Must try: za'atar hummus, spicy halloumi, harra potatoes, beetroot falafel, mutabal (if you like eggplant!)
Rumi Cafe مقهى رومي
Nestled in the heart of Paris Circle (otherwise known as Weibdeh), Rumi Cafe is an amazing spot to meet other expats living in Amman, friendly Jordanians, and American students alike! You can ask the cashier for a wifi code and sit in front of the gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows to get some homework done, or maybe facetime a friend from home.
Great for: coffee chats with friends, homework, light breakfast
Must try: espresso, lavendar or lemon cake
Hashem Restaurant مطعم هاشم
One of the classics! Hashem is one of the most famous restaurants in Amman. A bit of a hole-in-the-wall downtown, it's also home to some of the best falafel you'll get in the city (challenge: try all of the falafel hotspots in Amman and decide which you like the best).
Great for: casual dinner with family and friends, a quick lunch, big groups
Must try: falafel, mfarakeh, hummus, tea!
Wild Jordan برية الأردن
I probably can't count the number of hours I spent doing Arabic homework at this amazing eco-tourism cafe and restaurant! Attached to a popular hotel for adventurerous tourists, Wild Jordan offers unlimited free wifi, great food, and some familiar favorites if you're looking for a taste of home. Wild Jordan is also one of the larger places on this list, making it a great place to hunker down with friends and get some work done while sipping on one of their famous smoothies! My personal favorite: Wild Jordan's avocado toast for Saturday morning brunch.
Great for: studying, brunch with friends, spot to bring visiting family and friends
Must try: avocado toast with poached eggs (duh!), shakshuka, crepes, Purple Rain smoothie and date smoothie, power bowl, shawarma salad, Umm Qais grilled chicken
Manara Arts and Culture Center منارة
Looking for a good coffee with amazing views? Manara Arts and Culture Center combines an amazing art gallery with a modern cafe for light fares and delicious espresso. I met a ton of students learning Arabic here, and it was great to network with other international students and learn more about their experience!
Great for: study dates, international student networking, patio views, outdoor space
Must try: assorted pastries and sweet treats, iced espresso drinks
One of the most unique spaces I found in Amman was Dali! An amazing spot to come out with friends on a Friday night or grab a quick bite to eat during the week. Dali is split between an indoor seating area and a large covered patio with great lighting, a fun staff, and good music.
Great for: weekend outings, international fare, large walk-up groups
Must try: kibeh, mfarakeh, handmade drinks
Habibeh Knafeh (Habibeh Sweets) الحلو حبيبة
Of course, this guide would not be complete without mentioning the most famous knafeh in Amman — Habibeh. Stop by after dinner for a (very) sweet treat, one of the famous eats in Jordan: gooey sweet cheese fried in syrup and topped with a crispy pastry crust. Don't knock it until you try it! I guarentee you will be addicted by the time you leave Amman.
Great for: all day, every day.
Must try: knafeh (!!), assorted baklava
I hope this post gave you a quick glimpse into the food scene in Amman, and inspires you to try some of the best parts of Jordanian culture! While this is definitely not an exhaustive list, it should help you get an idea about the popular spots around the city, and hopefully make some new friends.
Saha صحة! ("Cheers!")