When I travel, the only thing I research is what to eat and where :)
I mean, what better way does a person have to know a city and its people than food? So, from a Amman local with a deep appreciation for delicious and authentic food experiences, here’s a short and quick guide on how you as a visitor to my city can explore Amman food culture — starting with breakfast.
Note: While there are many great places to have international food in Amman (Brisket & Fatty Dabs for burgers; Vinaigrette for sushi; Tandoori Oven for Indian; just to name a few), this guide will only cover local food and street food. In some instances, the word “Lebanese” might make an appearance, but don’t be fooled by Lebanon’s excellent PR prowess. The food culture in the Levant is one and the same.
Breakfast (and Jordanian Dinner):
Breakfast is our best game as Jordanians. When I travel, it takes me just a few days to get breakfast homesickness. One note: traditionally dinner in Jordan is exactly like breakfast, with lunch being the main course of the day. Of course this is changing with 9-to-6 workshifts having become the norm, but all these breakfast options (except Abu Khamees) also work for dinner.
Manaeesh & Kaek:
A breakfast staple that’s very similar to pizza. You can also have it for dinner.
Where to Eat:
B Lebanese Pastries, Second Circle – $: My favorite is the simple “Zaatar & Jibneh” (thyme & cheese), but practically everything on the menu is excellent. Try: kafta extra; kaket halloum; potatoes with rocca.
Abu Khamees, Sweifeyeh – $: Go early and expect to queue up on Fridays. The bakery only offers a few options and it is worth trying all. Closes early.
Salaheideein, Abdali – $: Kaek is a type of local bread. Grab some cheese and zaatar by the door and make a sandwich on the spot.
Hummus & Foul:
Amman has some of the most delicious hummus & foul you can have in the world.
Where to Eat:
Hashem, Downtown – $: You’ll find this in every guidebook about Amman and trust me when I say it isn’t a tourist trap. Order hummus, foul masri, falafel mahshi, and lots of tea. Also great after a long night out.
Hamada, various branches – $: A chain with many branches around Amman that is probably the most consistent food establishment in the Kingdom. Try their falafel sandwiches and their fatet hummus.
Al-Arabi Al Qadeem, 7th Circle – $: For a simple sandwhich that’s better than the more famous “Falafel il Quds” in Jabal Amman. Don’t bother with anything beyond the first item on the menu… falafel khobez hamam.
Hawader Beit Breakfasts:
At home, all Jordanians eat “hawader beit” for breakfast, which literally translates to “available in the house”. That is… brined olives, cheese, eggs, thyme, and other sorts of delicious Arabic “tapas”. Go with a group, it is traditional to share different platters with everyone.
Where to Eat:
Hattouteh, Abdoun – $$: My favorite, though I might prefer this late at night. Make sure you order a bunch of plates and tea to get the real “Hawader Beit” experience. My favorites: fokharet hattouteh, fokhara nabelseyeh, olives, magdoos, labaneh jarasheyeh, beid bi jibneh.
Wild Jordan, Jabal Amman – $$: Their menu changes often but they always have really good organic options. They also have an amazing and very affordable gift shop where you can buy Jordanian herbs and handmade items that were sourced ethically.