If you are on the hunt for the best restaurants in Amman, then you are in the right place. Whether you are looking for fine dining or a small family-run restaurant whose seats spill into the sidewalks, there is no shortage of great places to eat in Amman.
Amman, the capital city of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is home to over 4 million of the country’s 9 million people. It is the perfect east meets west destination and is characterized by ancient Roman ruins, mixed with modern coffeehouses, and shopping malls!
A city of contrasts, with its age on display in the heart of the city at the Amman Citadel. Yet, it is no stranger to all of the modern convinces with Samsung stores littered among the narrow, winding streets and fast food franchises situated next to popular Jordanian restaurants.
Jordan is arguably one of the best countries in the Middle East when it comes to food. Heavy with Palestinian influences, you will also find bedouin dishes that have been perfected over centuries. It is characterized as Levant or Eastern Mediteranean, but due to its favorable position along traditional trade routes, you will find many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes served in Jordanian restaurants today.
After reading this list of the best restaurants in Amman, you should have no trouble keeping your stomach full, whether you have one day in Amman, or one week!
Best Restaurants in Amman | From Fine Dining to Street Food Eats
Hashem Restaurant Amman
- Excellent Food for just a few dollars
- Serving the King and the Royal Palace
- Open 24 Hours
- Oldest Restaurant in Amman serving traditional Jordanian street food
- Its Listing in Lonely Planet
What to Expect
Hashem Restaurant is the most well-known restaurant in Jordan and has been doing business for over 80 years. Despite its appearance, it will seat King Abdullah II, celebrities in town, locals, and tourists alike. It is a must for any foodie! You will find Hashem Restaurant in every guide book about Jordan as one of the best and most famous restaurants in Amman. It is also included in one of my suggestions for the best breakfasts in Amman.
Dining on plastic chairs, this 24-hour vegetarian restaurant serves up excellent falafel and hummus and I guarantee you will leave with a full stomach! It serves a set mezze style menu with falafel, hummus, babaganoush, picked veggies, and more. It does have indoor seating and outdoor seating
If you arrive right at dinner time, expect it to be busy with locals and a few tourists wanting to try Hashem’s well-known dishes. Try and pick a non-peak hour to visit if possible. At peak times you can see lineups down the street on account of its excellent food, cheap prices, and strategic location downtown.
A meal at Hashem for two people will cost about 4 JD – 10 JD.
How to get here?
Located in the center of downtown, pretty much anyone can direct you towards this Amman Restaurant if you are close by. Look for the Yellow and Green sign.
Al Quds Amman Restaurant
Al Quds is known for sweets but a great place to get authentic Jordanian food including Mansaf.
What to Expect:
A local haunt with sweets and typical Jordanian dishes, visit Al Qids for Mansaf or Maklubeh. Mansaf is the national dish of Jordan. Served on a large platter with a thin flatbread, mansaf is a bed of rice topped with lamb and a fermented yogurt sauce called jameed. If you ask just about any Jordanian what food you should try while in their country, mansaf will be the top answer.
How to get here?
Tawaheen Al-Hawa (the Windmills Restaurant)
What to Expect
Known as the “Windmills Restaurant” in English, Tawaheen Al-Hawa offers a fine dining experience in Amman. It is a massive restaurant with multiple rooms, and seats guests at square tables. The Windmills Restaurant has a set menu starting with messe, then mixed grille and then desert is an assortment of fruit and baklava style pastries.
The mix grille includes an assortment of appetizers, known as mezze. Mezze includes hummus, babaganough, moutabel, pickled veggies, and more all beautifully plated and worthy of your next instagram photo!
What to Try?
The Windmills has a set menu so no need to worry about deciding what to order. Try the Jordanian sausages that arrive with the appetizers and save the hummus for dipping your meat into. They are known as one of the best places for appetizers in Amman.
How to Get Here
The Windmills Restaurant is located near Al-Waha circle on Wasfi al-Tal Rd, Jubilee Gardens, Amman, Jordan
Manaqesh (also known as Arabic Pizza, and can be spelled quite a few ways in english: manakish for example.
What to Expect:
A small pizza place with just two tables to eat in. From morning to night you will see a constant stream of locals picking up manaqesh and other pizzas. Their menu is only in arabic and you will not see the tourists stop here (unless they are with a guide who fancy’s the place)
What is Manaeesh?
Mannaquesh (also often spelt Mannaesh) is breakfast pizza in Amman. Traditional mannaqesh is a round dough topped with zaatar (thyme mixture with salt, sumac and sesame seeds) and olive oil and baked in a fire oven. You can also try an array of different options depending on the restaurant. I like the halloumi (a salty cheese), and eggs and dried meat. I usually order all three types for just a few JD
What to Try
I order one za-atar and one halloumi (salty cheese) every time and it is a decent snack for 2 people.
Also try the eggs and dried meat (basterma) at breakfast time.
Excellent Hummus and Fateh
What to Expect
A typical sized, casual middle eastern restaurant, with outside and inside seating. It is a local favourite and a steady stream of locals eat here from morning until night. It is clean and inviting. Their staff is attentive and dishes appear almost instantly after ordering. Make sure you try the fateh, which is a mixture of bread and chick peas and covered with pine nuts and olive oil.
What the Locals order
Try the fateh and the hummus with chicken shawarma on top. You will not find better hummus anywhere! You can also get foul and moutabel.
Fateh is similar to hummus with mashed chick peas, but tahini and pieces of pita bread are added and it is topped with pine nuts and the flavourful green olive oil you will find all over Jordan!
If you want to add some meat to your meal, the staff will prepare hummus with shwarma from the shop next door. All you have to do is ask. Order “shai bi na’na” – tea with mint – to go with your meal. Even in the hot of summer, this refreshing tea tastes excellent with your meal.
How to get here?
My favorite location of Abu Jbara is located off the second circle. It has a blue sign and is on the left hand side of the road if you are coming from the second circle. About a block or two from the circle, close to a big sweets shop! There is parking on the street.
You will also find other locations in Amman.
Macsoud Seventh Circle Restaurant
I am not actually sure what this is known for, probably the shwarma, but that is not the reason I come here. it is my favorite place for a great hot dog!
What to Expect
A casual restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating.
Limited English speaking staff. Not somewhere that tourists would stumble upon as it is located in a residential neighbourhood.
What the Locals Order
I come here for the hot dogs and french fries. You may think I am crazy for eating such a western meal, but they have the best hot dogs, besides the ones you can cook yourself on a campfire. Their bread is so fresh, they put lettuce, tomato, corn, cheese sauce,relish and ketchup in with the hot dog. Their french fries have the perfect cajun spice that my kids cannot get enough of.
How to get here
Located near the 7th circle next to the DHL depot. It is close to C-Town grocery store and has street parking.
Best Deserts in Amman:
Sweets and pastries
What to Try
This bakery serves up a yummy baklava style dish that satisfies any sweet tooth. They have a few locations in Amman. The one I like is close to Abu Jbara off the second circle.
Must Try Deserts:
What to Expect
The most popular Kunafa in Amman will be found at Habibah in downtown Amman. Kunafa is a must for you to try while you explore Amman and you can watch it being freshly made at Habibah. Situated in a tiny alley, you will likely find the alley packed with locals and tourists, enjoying their dessert with a foam plate and plastic fork.
There are two types of kunafa, most easily explained in English as “soft” or “rough.” One is topped with shredded wheat (kheshna) and the other is topped with semolina… (na’ma). Try both and see which one you like better. A small portion is around 1-2 JD.
How to get here?
Located downtown in Amman, it is across from the police station and in a small alley next to the main branch of the Arab bank. While Amman’s downtown is full of twists and turns, almost anyone can point you in the direction of Habibah!
Best Coffee Shops In Amman
What to Expect
Stunning views of the city, Wild Jordan is a gift shop and cafe with food and drinks with locally produced goods supporting locals. Managed by the RSCN (Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature) it is marketed to locals and international visitors as a sustainability project in the country.
Price wise, Wild Jordan is on the high end price wise for coffee.
Books at Cafe
What to Expect
An Expat hangout and popular with visitors, books at Cafe is located next to an English language bookstore on Jabel Amman. It opened in 1997 as the first internet cafe in Amman and has evolved into a welcoming space for locals and visitors. It makes a great working space during the day and a funky evening hangout serving drinks.
It is not much of a local hangout, but a popular stop for the English speakers who call Amman home. Books at Cafe is also a LGTBQ friendly establishment in Amman.
Where to get a drink in Amman
Most 4 and 5 star restaurants in Amman will have a bar serving drinks to hotel guests and visitors. There are also liquor stores in town where you can buy an assortment of wines and spirits.
Jordan has an emerging wine market and you can taste some local wines (which are also usually cheaper than imports due to high import taxes on Alcohol).
Arak is also something to try while you are in the country. It is a Middle Eastern liqueur has a strong liquorice taste.
Books @ Cafe
As mentioned in the Cafe section, Books @ Cafe offers a welcoming space to read and work during the day and an evening hangout to get a drink.
Types of Jordanian Food
Mansaf is a traditional Jordanian meal. It is served on a large platter with a thin flatbread, then rice is added and topped with lamb, nuts and a fermented yoghurt sauce called jameed.
It is often served for special occasions or to show appreciation to guests. You can find it in many restaurants in Jordan, if you are looking for somewhere in Amman, check out Al Quds Restaurant.
In English, makloubeh is often called “upsidedown” as the method of serving the dish is by turning a massive pot upsidedown and the layered contents of seasoned potatoes, eggplant, onions and rice spilling onto a massive plate on the table.
You cannot visit the Middle East without trying falafel and it is a cheap eat for a snack. Whether you have it at Hashem Restaurant with a spread of mezze (appetizers) or in a falafel sandwich, it is a popular snack food in Jordan.
Falafel is made of chick peas and deep fried.
Almost a daily staple, hummus is served with every meal in Jordan. You will find it in breakfast buffets and at almost every lunch and dinner restaurant. After fresh hummus with deep green olive oil, you will have a hard time going back to store bought hummus at home.
A cheese based dessert, kunafa’s sweet flavor is balanced with a warm melted cheese to make the perfect after dinner snack! You can find kunafa in many bakeries in Jordan. Habibah Sweets is the most famous place in Amman for kunafa.
Zaarb is a mix of meat and vegetables cooked in an underground oven. It is commonly served at bedouin camps in Wadi Rum.
Mulukhiyah is a popular local dish made of greens and chicken atop a bed of rice. Squeeze some lemon on top for the perfect about of tartness!
The easiest way to describe Arias is like spaghetti sauce inside a pita. It is then toasted on the BBQ and served like a sandwich.
Musakhan is a chicken based dish with sumac seasoned onions and olive oil. It is served with thin bread to scoop the meat and onions.
More Jordan Travel Resources
In order to help make your visit to Jordan as memorable as possible, I have created a number of resources from planning guides to local eats. If you are a foodie, you will love these top breakfast places in Amman. Also do not miss the best things to do in Amman while you are there.
If you are thinking of booking a tour, or wondering how much hassle a self drive itinerary can be, check out this post I have on the best Jordan tours to book.
5 Things to Bring with You to Jordan
I have always been a guide book person and physically having that book in your hand as you plan your day, in addition to blogs like this one, can help immensely. Pick up a Lonely Planet Guide to Jordan (or the kindle version) before your trip to Jordan.
Whether you want to keep the sun off your head or want to show a little modesty, a scarf goes a long way in Jordan any time of the year. You can bring one with you or pick up one when you arrive, but don’t leave your hotel in the morning without it! It can serve as a hat to keep the sun off your head and neck in the summer and can add some warmth in winter and can offer modesty to cover shoulders for women.
A Grayl Water Bottle is something I recommend for every traveller, not just those going to the Middle East. Some people say the water is safe to drink from the tap, others say it is not; it is not something I am going to chance. And Jordan has a HUGE garbage problem. The streets, the forests and even the desert are littered with plastic bottles.
If you consider drinking at least 1-2 big water bottles a day while you are there, think of how much plastic that creates when every visitor and the population’s 9 million people do the same. With a Grayl, you can filter any tap water (or actually any water source) and have clean drinking water in seconds. Since most people travel with water bottles already, consider one like this with a filter so that you are not just pouring from big water bottles to small. It might sound expensive, but when you compare it to spending a few dollars per day on water while you travel (and do not forget how expensive the water is inside airports), you will pay for this very quickly.
An inexpensive Universal Travel Adapter is another must for Jordan. You will find an assortment of 220V plugs, from European 2 pin, another style of 2 pin and UK Plugs. While European 2 pin is most common, it is best to carry one of these adapters with you. With a handy USB input, you do not need to bring your plugs from home.
Kleenex or Wipes are another thing to put on your list. Jordan’s public washrooms (and even restraint or hotel lobby washrooms can often be unstocked. Unless you are good with a bidet sprayer, bring yourself some kleenex or wipes just in case! You will find that most washrooms in tourist sites and rest stops have an attendant that will give you toilet paper and paper towel for a small tip. Usually half a dinar is fine.
In Jordan, the plumbing is not set up to handle toilet paper. Every bathroom (even hotels) you should use the garbage can beside the toilet for your toilet paper and any sanitary products.
Motion Sickness Pills might be needed if you are prone to motion sickness and plan on traveling by bus or in the back of the car. There are many windy, hilly and bumpy roads in Jordan. Sea Bands might work for you if you are prone to motion sickness.
Travel Insurance for Jordan
There are a few other things to think about when it comes to travel. The first thing is travel insurance. Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident, things do go wrong when people travel, every day.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.