Despite often being overlooked by visitors to the region, Jordan’s buzzing capital city has a lot to offer. At once cosmopolitan and traditional, vibrant and serene, Amman is a city that has something for everyone’s tastes. Its thriving café culture is just one testament to the city’s diverse appeal. Here are some of the best coffee shops in town.
A spacious café that blends modern and rustic elements of interior design, Books@Caféis known around Jordan as a hub for the young and the trendy, and is a hit with international visitors too. The two-storey café has a curious aesthetic mixture, featuring some homely brick walls as well as flaunting some eccentric floral patterns. Just a few minutes away from Rainbow Street , the atmosphere is often rambunctious, the menu is diverse and international, and the healthy juices come particularly recommended. The terrace has great views of the city, and there are plenty of books inside.
Shams al Balad Café offers customers the very best of local produce, delivered straight from nearby farms. An excellent range of Middle Eastern teas and coffees, Shams’ menu also features a range of Jordanian delicacies including olives, breads, and sweet jams. Tastefully decorated, this organic deli is also home to a delightfully shaded courtyard area, which often plays host to talks and meetings on topics ranging from the arts to politics.
Just 100 metres away from Rainbow Street, Caffè Strada is a professional, thoughtfully run establishment, and is understandably popular with young Jordanians and tourists. According to its website, the café is smoke-free (not a given in Jordan), and labels itself as a “paninoteca and dessert parlour of Italian and European traditions”. A fantastic place to work and sample a wide variety of teas and coffees, Strada is comfortable, welcoming, and has a strong Wi-Fi connection.
In the heart of Rainbow Street is the light, airy, and simply furnished Turtle Green Tea Bar. Clearly marketed to an international crowd (the menu is in English), the café makes no false promises, with live turtles in an aquarium and more importantly, a fine selection of teas. Turtle Green has a strong claim for the best iced tea in Jordan, which makes the perfect antidote to Amman’s summer heat. It also has a cosy feel in the winter months, with its wooden furnishings and fireplace. It is very popular with students.
With live music, shisha pipes, and some flattering mood lighting, Jafra Café-Restaurant caters well to serious discussion as it does to first dates. Simple wooden furnishings make a pleasant change from some of the more image-conscious cafes on Rainbow Street. This downtown establishment strikes the perfect balance between the traditional and the modern. The menu features the best of local and Levantine cuisine, as well as the usual range of coffees, teas, and smoothies. Reasonably priced, Jafra is busy every evening.
It’s hard to resist being charmed by the rustic simplicity of the Jadal Café. The café is situated in a small, private courtyard in downtown Amman, and attracts a varied demographic of clientele. They serve a decent cup of tea (among other things), but the main draw is its serene ambiance and the cultural events that occur regularly. The courtyard takes on a different, livelier vibe at night, when live music is often played.