A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Revisiting [underappreciated] Heritage

Downtown with Lina

My favorite thing about her is the fact that she’s probably one of the most spontaneous people I’ve ever met:

– “Lunch at 2?”
– “Sure! Where?”
– “I was thinking somewhere along the lines of Downtown.”
– “Alright, great!”

Most of my friends would have freaked out immediately at the idea of going downtown for lunch without much thinking put into the whole deal, after all, the downtown trip mostly comes with the whole sha bang of suitable mood, sufficient planning, and a fair share of procrastination.

Never with Lina though.

Roba-and-lina-at-al-quds Lunch

2star-wonder Lina_lunch

We started the day with lunch at the downtown branch of a restaurant famous for being an epitome of authentic Ammanite culture- Al-Quds Restaurant, the two-star wonder tale. This particular branch, being strategically placed right beneath the HQ of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, is conspicuously filled with beards, but it also has a fair deal of suits, skirts, jeans, along with warmer winter cords.

Downtown with Lina

We shared a delicious dish of their signature Mansaf, as well as a plate of Maftool with beef, which I’ve never tried before in my life as Maftool is usually cooked with chicken and I don’t eat chicken. We sat there for around an hour, supplied with a constant amount of over-attentiveness from our waiter, while we chatted endlessly on a lot of random things, like Jordan Planet, blocs, Muna Nijem, blogging, reciprocal votes, pan-Arabism, and Al-Ghad versus Al-Rai.

Downtown with Lina

Downtown with Lina

Downtown with Lina

Then we walked to the Husseini Mosque, where we whined a bit about the lack of preservation of the downtown area to one another, and visited this tiny herb store (“Since 1916”) by the mosque that sells really interesting multicolored herbs (including fluorescent orange!) with names like “the devil’s nail” and the “palm of the girl”.

Window Lina-and-the-glass
High-exposure-over-a-cup-of Bloggers

After that, we walked over to another one of those ancient coffee shops, “Maqha Al-Jame3a il Arabeya” (Arab League Coffee-shop), where dozens of Jordanian men well over their 60’s were killing time smoking argeeleh, drinking coffee, and playing chess, backgammon, and cards. It is not common to have two young Jordanian females visit such coffee shops, but other than the surprised looks when we first walked in, we agreed that this generation of males is a lot less likely to be intolerant to such an “uncommon occurrence”. If we had walked into a similar setting of men under 40 years of age, the looks would have certainly been different. This observation led to discussions, of course complete with delicious coffee, of the increasing political apathy of Jordanian youth, as well as the culture gap between our grandparent’s generation and our generation.

7abeebah-with-love Dt

Atm Anasheed-wataneyeh

Naturally, as soon as we left, we decided it was time for dessert. We walked around a bit looking for a “new” place to try out, but ended up going to all-time-favorite knafeh place Habiba, and as Lina said, “You really can’t come here without having Habibah! There’s something about that place.” We ate our knafeh in the alley right next to Koshk Abu Ali il Thaqafi (“Al-Thaqafah lal Jamee3”), a delicious way indeed to seal such a lovely day, and shared our book memories.

Downtown with Lina

We really wanted to walk home, but we were short on time, so we opted to take a cab, but we agreed and made plans (like we always do), to do this more often.

Picture 552



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  1. Imagine that you two busy ladies found time to do this! It has been a couple years since I’ve been to AlQuds or Habiba. It looked like loads of fun and I am so proud of you for entering male domain and leaving your characteristics mark of ‘making people think’.

    Thanks for the peak at Lina’s new haircut!! ;)

  2. Kinzi … there is always time for downtown :)
    we will be celebrating BiSCA’s 1st birthday at Habiba downtown by the way :) anyone interested … because that habiba downtown was a place of inspiration for your project :)

    Coooooooooooolll girls :)

  3. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh :'(
    I love Al Quds, I love habiba … and all of amman downtown

    sa7tain … I’ll sure join you next time I’m in Amman…
    I’m sooooooooooo jealous! :(

  4. Ayyob

    OMG Roba, your making my mouth water. I WANT SOME KNAFE.

  5. Lool

    it seems u had fun.. yeah Amman downtown the palce that you can find almost every thing u want …

    :) thanks for share .

  6. WoW! Isnt this Lina 3jelat with you? She is my friend! loooool
    Of course she will not know Naryat as my name is not Naryat :-D
    btw ta7eyye anese Ruba… or is it Roba? ok sayit once and i’ll remember it forever :-)

  7. Jad

    3alikom al la3na! konto orido al thahaba ma3akom fi hatheh al re7lato al jamilato!

  8. Ooooh! That knafeh looks amazing! I love knafeh.

  9. I never knew that the islamic brotherhood headquarters was in sagf el sail, it’s an aweful location for meetings!
    there’s no parking lots there, do they all come to their meetings by sarvees?

  10. cool post..
    it’s ok to talk about ur site on my blog ?(i already did)

  11. Husams

    Amazing the way you wrote it, gave me a free timeless trip to downtown, if you write a book as “Asfar Ebn Batota” I’ll be the first to read, addicted again.

  12. I cant think of this post except that it is a direct intentional way to TEASE ME! It’s been ages since I had that much time to indulge in a FULL DAY of fun eating and walking around! my full time job, two kids occupy all my time… next time make sure to tell me and Jad to come with u fi hatheh al re7lato al jamilato! heheheheh
    Jad never seizes to be the master of cracking me up laughing my head off and see it rolling around like craaaaaaaaaaazy!

  13. Nice photos.
    I never knew that the Ikhwan thing was there! Actually Hareega it does make since, so after a loud meeting, they all go downstairs and eat there.

    Thanks a lot, I’ve always wanted to know where exactly Koshk Abu Ali il Thaqafi was! It turns out that I always buy from that place (There is always a policeman hanging around, right?)

    Well, nice post and good for you for being real.

    Ru7tu o akaltoo fee wast el balad? Yay shu hafartalyeen o heeka mu cool.

    Jad how about we go to wast el balad, have dinner and then go and check out soog el slaa7?

  14. Hal


    I was supposed to go with you! This is what I missed?!?!!?

    I hate my job. :(

  15. The Best thing to do in amman !

  16. Looks like the perfect day:) Would have been great to tag along!

  17. well , nice PIC reallly… w Nice Blog

  18. sam

    well here u are ,2 girls…without hijjab going to downtown amman..when we were in amman, my husband would not let me go downtown with him, he said if I wanted to go i had to wear hijjab …MEN!
    looks like u had a great time…reading your blog…as well as Lina’s and Hal’s makes me think hey maybe living in jordon won’t be so bad…maybe i’ll give it a all we need is to get a home in amman! and a job of course…

  19. HEHE, awesome Roba
    it’s good to explore Amman by going downtown
    AH! I remember how my family and I used to go
    down there to buy bags for school! hehe

  20. you have great description for Amman,,

    little note : roba this the second time you mention that HQ of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan is beside Al-Quds Restaurant ??
    the first were when you had trip from the muslim brotherhood at downtown to the comunist partry at jabl ammn..(great geopolitics you have) :).
    Im not sure if this was the ” first ” HQ for them But Im quit sure that the HQ now is beside the Islamic Hospital at “al abdali” and its modren and big enough for meetings (Hareega) :) , the place you mentioned is just a branch but also has deep history as many things around in downtown.

  21. Look’s nice. Say hi to Lina.

  22. I miss Amman a lot :(

    I really loved the pictures.

  23. Blue!

    Hey, that’s cool of you too, I’m really proud of being a good friend of both you:)

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