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Amman Restaurants

Eating out is not an everyday activity in Jordan. Proper restaurants will be visited only for business affairs or family celebrations. Restaurant meals are later than normal American evening meal times. Fancier restaurants are typically open from 7:30 PM to midnight or 1 AM for dinner, with few people besides tourists appearing earlier than 9:30. A meal will cost JD 10 to JD 15 for two courses and beer or wine. The major hotels all have a variety of restaurants, but the best food is usually in non-hotel establishments. Reservations are rarely necessary, especially if you go early, but all restaurants will now and then be reserved for a party.

At the other end of the scale is the shwarma stand, in most cases for carry-out only. Meat (usually a choice of beef or chicken) is wrapped in a small unleavened bread, with some vegetables and yogurt or other sauce. The "sandwich" is smaller than the equivalent gyro, donar kebab, or rolly-polly, but the price is right - JD .200 to JD .400. Stands will normally be open from before noon to fairly late in the evening, and usually sell soft drinks and water. In between are a growing number of informal restaurants, and fast food places. Many are oriental, with staples such as hummus or shwarma, but a growing number are western-style with hamburgers, pizza and chicken. Some are open all afternoon. Following are a selection of the better ones. Prices are inexpensive (JD 5 or less for a meal with a beer, if available) unless noted; medium (JD 10 or so); or high (JD 15 - 20).

Several of these write ups on restaurants refer to the maps completed by Mr. Dan Gamber, who also completed these restaurant surveys.

Walking Distance (Amman Northwest Map)

Down the hill from ACOR and to the left a short distance are a shwarma stand, KFC, Popeye's, Pizza Hut, Chili House and a real McDonalds. These are legitimate franchise operations nearly up to US style, but with no pork products.

Slightly Farther (Amman Northwest Map)

If you go down the hill, turn right on University and go right at the interchange, you are on Madeenah (Medina) Street. Down a few blocks on the right is Subway, the real thing (no pork though), and then Boston Chicken. Inexpensive.

If you go to the first traffic light (Gardens - Wasfi al Tal Street), called Duwar al Waha by the taxi drivers, and turn right, you are at the Arabic restaurants Al Waha and Al Bawadi. Medium. The former has a large outdoor seating area, the latter is slightly more swank and slightly more expensive. It is frequented by tour groups taking an early lunch.

Farther down Madeenah Street on the right past the next light is Chen's Chinese (Cantonese) restaurant, something of a hangout for ACOR fellows. Medium. Across from Chen's is the Jammu Kashmir Indian Restaurant. A little farther on the left are Funny Bunny (broiled burgers like at Burger King) and then another Pizza Hut and Popeyes. Chen's is about 2 1/2 miles from ACOR.

Shmeisani (Shmeisani map)

Shmeisani has the largest concentration of restaurants in Amman. Most restaurants are clustered on or near a one-way loop that runs east-west through the commercial area, north of the Arab Bank and several blocks south of the Marriott and Forte Grand Hotels. The loop is cut by one north-south street. Restaurants in this area are indicated as NE, NW, SW, etc., depending where they are on the loop. The north-south street is center, with Jabri at the south end. Following are some places people have liked. The numbers refer to locations shown on the enclosed maps.

  • 30-Something, Shmeisani SE next door to Mama Mia's. Excellent steaks at reasonable (like JD 6) prices. Shmeisani map "3"

  • 36 Flavors Ice Cream, on SW corner near KFC.

  • Frosti has excellent ice cream. Center, across street from Chili's.

  • Jabri, center. Extensive pastry selection.

  • La Maison Verte, French, just off loop NW, high.

  • Leonardo Da Vinci, half block north of Chili's on N-S street, next to Tom & Jerry. Good veal, felt by many to be the best Italian food in Amman. High.

  • Mama Mia, SE near Babiche. Try the meatball sub. Outdoor seating. Beer.

  • Milano, SE by Babiche. Try the hot Italian sub and Pizzas.

  • New York New York, SW, enter next to Kentucky Fried Chicken. Beer.

  • Pizza Hut, NE corner

  • Popeye's, SW side of commercial district

  • Other Locations

  • Bukhara, Intercontinental Hotel. The best Indian food in town, many say. Jebel Amman map "I"

  • China, east from first circle on Rainbow, right at third cross street after the mosque. Medium. Some say the best Chinese (Cantonese) in Jordan. Jebel Amman map "21"

  • Chez Hilda, Sweifieh. The best pastries in Amman, many say. Sweifieh map "3"

  • Corfu Taverna. Go north from 4th circle on Queen Noor St. past interchange, turn right at traffic light, then two quick rights. Mid range. The only Greek restaurant in town, and not bad. Medium-high. Shmeisani map "c"

  • Lebanese House Restaurant, Jerash. From Roman city parking area go south, right at circle, left at first road (sign). From Amman, via Sweileh towards Jerash, exit Jerash south, left at traffic circle, then first left. The food and setting are worth a trip even if you are not going to visit the ruins. Moderate.

  • L 'Olivier, Continental in winter, Arabic in summer. Follow Cairo Road past Abdoun Circle, turn left at T-junction by Orthodox Club. Fine garden seating area. High. Abdoun map "L"

  • McDonalds, 7th circle road across from Jaber (Amman NW map), and also in Sweifieh.

  • Romero, Italian. Second street on right going from 3rd circle towards 2nd circle. Reservations necessary. High. Jebel Amman map "3"

  • Rozena, two blocks north of Circle Road, one block east of 2nd Circle. Continental, medium to high. Jebel Amman map "11"

  • Turino, Sweifieh around corner from Istiklal. Sweifieh map "T"

  • Villa D 'Angelo, from 2nd circle toward 1st, turn right just past large commercial building. Separate bar. Some people consider this the best Italian. High.

  • Houstons for American styl hamburgers, salads, etc.

  • Lebanon Snack is marvelous for fruit cocktail shakes and reasonable, tasty sandwiches.

Copyright © 2000 American Center of Oriental Research
Original Web Design and Content Organization:  Robert E. Mittelstaedt
Current Web Design Courtesy of  Andrew M. Smith II
Web Maintenance: ACOR Staff
Last modified: March 15, 2000