Cardamom coffee and intense spice flavours, arjile, ancient Roman sites, mosques echoing Muezzin’ prayers, fancy restaurants… Journey with The Italian Eye into Amman, Jordanian capital, and dive into a real Middle Eastern experience.
City of colorful hijabs and crowded souk – the typical market- in Amman the past and the present mingle together offering visitors a myriad of scenarios and typical dishes all to discover and taste. Organized in dwar (circles), the city twists and turns across the elegant areas of Abdoun and of the residential Al’Rabiah. But it is in the first circle that the ancient heart of the city pulses: close to each other stand the sites of the old Amman Citadel, offering the beautiful sights of temples and of the Roman Theatre.
Built on seven hills, Amman welcomes its visitors with fancy restaurants, typical food places, and colorful taxis – the best way to get around, since the city does not really have bus routes. The white taxis are communal and have fixed-routes, while the yellow taxis are like any normal taxi. Prices are extremely cheap, so you just need to be careful that the taxi driver has his meter switched on.
The characteristic Jordanian hospitality makes everyone feel at home. Being food central to the Jordanian culture, Amman offers an incredible variety of traditional and international meals. Restaurants and bars are indeed the centre of Amman’s social and night life. Many of the best restaurants are in Jabal el-weibdeh (one of Amman’s oldest districts, just above Rainbow street and Al-balad) and Rainbow Street (the fancy street of the city, right in the heart of the first circle).
Where to eat and go out in Amman
Complex No 2, Al Farabi St 2, Amman, +962 7 9750 6070
One of the best rooftop restaurants/bars of Amman. With a mix of modern and oriental furniture, Dunia (1st circle) offers gorgeous views of the city, a nice range of wines, Middle Eastern food, and arjile (shisha). Open air space during hot summer days and a cosy spot during the cold winter, with glass covering the rooftop, Dunia is nothing but a beautiful place for romantic evenings, listening to live Oriental jazz and old Arabic tunes.
Complex No 8, King Al Hussein St 8, Amman. +962 6 463 0168
For those who want to experience Middle Eastern street food and taste the original falafel (chickpea balls), a must-stop is at Al-Quds on Rainbow street, where for 2-3JDs (3-4 EUR) it is possible to try the real falafel sandwich.
Prince Mohammad St 15, Amman, +962 6 462 2551
Traditional old style cafe in Downtown Amman, Jafra brings you on a time journey to experience the busy cafes at the early days of the city, with a chatty atmosphere, the sweet flavors of arjile (their watermelon and mint flavored shisha deserves a try) and live Arabic music (the singer and his oud are just magnificent). Jafra offers an incredible variety of Middle Eastern food, but the must-try are hummus, babaganush, and Jafra salad as appetizers, the mixed grill, and their mint and lemon fresh juice.
Rumi Cafe / Fan W Shai Cafe
Kuliyet Al-Sharee’a street, 14, Jabal Webdeh, Amman, +962 6 464 4131 (Rumi Cafe)
Kullyet Al Sharea St 25, Jabal Webdeh, Amman, +962 7 9808 2004 (Fan W Shai)
Walking on the characteristics and quiet streets of one of Amman’s oldest districts, Jabal el-weibdeh, two nice stops for good coffee, teas, and fresh juices are Rumi Cafe and Fan W Shai (Art & Tea). Tucked in Kuliyet Al-Sharee’a street, Rumi is a real gem, offering light and healthy breakfast that includes muesli, magsdoos, labaneh and other traditional food in a relaxed atmosphere. Close to Rumi, there is Fan W Shai tea and coffee house: hipster-like atmosphere, leaf-teas, and a beautiful terrace over Al-weibdeh.
Jasmine House Art & Food
Al Baouneyya street 26, Jabal Webdeh, Amman. +962 6 461 1879
An art heaven and a slice of Italian food in Jabal El-weibdeh: Jasmine House Art & Food is a gallery that brings art – with its many photography exhibitions all year round – and true Italian traditional cuisine under one roof. With delicate and minimal interiors and the scent of the Jasmine trees, this is the perfect place to spend a different and ‘artistic’ night in Amman.
Where to sleep in Amman
Queen Noor Street, Shmeisani, Amman. +962 6 569 6511
This 5-star hotel in the heart of Amman is located in the commercial district of Shmeisani. It has indoor and outdoor pools, a gym and spa facilities. The hotel has eight restaurants, featuring cuisines from the Chinese tradition to the Arabic and the American ones.
48 Hashemi Street, Amman, +962 6 461 4161
Located in Downtown, Amman’s famous Hashemiyeh area, opposite to the Roman theatre, Jordan Tower hotel offers great views of the ancient Jebel al-Qala’a and stands in the middle of the souk. The staff of the hotel is extremely welcoming and friendly, giving tips and help to plan visits in Amman and its surroundings.
How to get to Amman
By airplane: there are different air flight companies traveling to the Amman’s airport of Al-Alia, such as Royal Jordanian and Alitalia. Once arrived at the airport, there are many taxis that bring you in 30 minutes to Amman (prices around 25 JDs- 30 EUR). Bear in mind that at the airport you need to pay 40 JDs (60EUR) for the VISA (exchange shops can be found at the airport).