A Guide to the Best Restaurants in Petra

Mansaf (lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yoghurt and served with rice) is the national dish of Jordan
Mansaf (lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yoghurt and served with rice) is the national dish of Jordan | © Blaine Harrington III / Getty Images
Leann Mango

Found yourself hungry in the rose-coloured city of Petra? The long walks to and from its many tombs, caves and temples can leave even the most experienced of hikers absolutely famished. Luckily, you don’t have to look any further than this very guide to the top restaurants in Petra and the nearby town of Wadi Musa.

1. My Mom’s Recipe

Restaurant, Middle Eastern

Maqlobeh-3-1
Courtesy of My Mom’s Recipe

For a taste of authentic Jordanian food, My Mom’s Recipe is a must. The beautifully decorated eatery is located a few minutes from Movenpick Hotel in Wadi Musa (meaning the Valley of Moses) near the entrance to Petra. Walking into this restaurant can be a bit overwhelming; almost everything you could sit on is upholstered with traditional Bedouin fabric. The view of the city from the top floor is just as impressive as the upholstery, especially after sunset when all the buildings in the city are lit up. Try classic dishes like hummus and the traditional mansaf, a rice or bulgur dish made with lamb and fermented yoghurt and some of the restaurant’s freshly baked bread, which is famous all over Jordan.

2. Beit Al-Barakah Restaurant

Restaurant, Middle Eastern

Jordan - portion of various arabian kebabs in restaurant in Petra town
© Valery Voennyy / Alamy Stock Photo

Located just outside the city centre, Beit Al-Barakah is your go-to place if you’re on the hunt for some of the best traditionally cooked lamb in the city. You’ll love the mansaf lamb, the lamb kebabs, the lamb chops and every other lamb dish on the menu. Not only is Beit Al-Barakah in the lower price bracket compared to other restaurants in the same league, but complimentary tea and baklava are also served at every meal. A small bill, along with free mint tea and desserts, makes for a satisfying dining experience.

3. The Basin Restaurant

Restaurant, Middle Eastern

Basin Restaurant
Courtesy of The Basin Restaurant

A visit to The Basin is highly recommended if only to admire the beautiful setting. The restaurant is a little different from the other restaurants listed here. It’s located in the Petra Guest House hotel, which is close to the Monastery, so it’s quite literally in the middle of nowhere. However, that’s exactly what makes the dining experience so unique. The menu offers your typical lunch buffet of traditional Jordanian dishes and a well-stocked salad bar. You can enjoy your meal in the outdoor seating area where you’ll be surrounded by rose-coloured mountains and sand dunes. However, as you’ll be dining at a hotel restaurant, expect to pay a little more than the standard.

5. Zawaya Restaurant

Restaurant, Middle Eastern

Just down the street from the main circle of the city centre, Zawaya might be easy to overlook, but don’t let its plain exterior and low-key location next door to a bank put you off. The place is home to the tasty semolina coconut cake everyone raves about. Its menu offers a variety of dishes, including falafel and pizza – perfect for anyone wanting to take a break from Jordanian food.

6. Al-Wadi Restaurant

Restaurant, Middle Eastern

This list would be incomplete without mentioning one of the most popular restaurants in Petra’s Wadi Musa, Al-Wadi. Housed in the huge brown complex right off the main circle of the city centre, Al-Wadi is renowned for its famous camel kebab – worth a try for all you vagabond foodies out there. The restaurant is designed to resemble a century-old dwelling of a Bedouin prince, with traditional Arab weapons and shields hung on walls. Watch out though, because if you want to eat like a prince you’ll have to pay like a prince, but the good news is that this restaurant doesn’t hold back on portions.

7. Petra Kitchen

Restaurant, Middle Eastern

If you’re keen to learn all about local Jordanian cuisine, Petra Kitchen offers regular cooking classes. Working alongside local chefs, you will be guided through the preparation of classic family dishes made using locally sourced fresh produce. Those wanting to extend their cooking experience can take part in a multi-night cuisine course, which includes a trip to the local markets to source the ingredients for the meal that you will prepare from start to finish.

8. Red Cave Restaurant

Restaurant, Middle Eastern

Located by the Petra Main Gate, close to the main archaeological site, Red Cave Restaurant is incredibly popular with tourists. This friendly and welcoming restaurant serves local Bedouin dishes, such as mansaf and makloubeh, a chicken and rice dish that’s turned upside down before being served. After having your meal, relax on the terrace with some tea and baklava.

9. Palm Court Restaurant

Restaurant, Middle Eastern

Palm Court Restaurant is fairly new in Wadi Musa, located on the main street near the visitor centre and Petra Palace Hotel. Run by a Jordanian family, the traditional restaurant has a welcoming atmosphere with chefs inviting customers to help in the preparation of the meal, before cooking it in front of them. Palm Court is especially popular among vegetarian customers and offers dishes such as eggplant moussaka and spiced baked vegetable stew served with rice and fresh pita.

10. Feu La Bedouin Restaurant

Restaurant, Middle Eastern

Like much of the Middle East, Jordan was once mostly populated by Bedouin tribes, and their culture, decor and cuisine still heavily influence the region. At Feu La Bedouin you feel like you’re eating in a traditional Bedouin camp – in a tent, in the desert, and with a menu to match. The entire restaurant is covered with fine traditional Bedouin tapestry and lit by flickering candles placed on each table. The staff are also eager to make your experience even more interesting by answering any questions you might have on Bedouin cooking and culture. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the final price of your meal compared to the copious amount of food you’re served.

Nicholas Baker contributed additional reporting to this article.

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