In Amman, a city full of amazing Arabic food, it’s no wonder other cuisines are often overlooked. For explorers looking to branch out and try international fare, there are some great options in the City on Seven Hills. From budget-friendly Ethiopian to splurge-worthy Italian, we’ve got all the spots you need to try.
American: This tiny little spot north of the 4th Circle has a constant line out the door and picnic-style seating sprawling out on the sidewalk on both sides of the street, where crowds chow down on epic slices of… you guessed it, barbecued brisket. But that’s not all. You can sample smoked pulled chicken, one of the best burgers in town, spicy buffalo wings that’ll melt your face off, filet mignon, ribeye, baby back ribs, and short ribs. If you can’t decide between a burger and brisket, they’ve got you covered with their BOB burger, a prime-beef patty sandwiched between sliced brisket served on a fluffy bun. With super-friendly owners and staff, tastiness in every bite, and consistent quality, Brisket is a fave among local foodies.
Chinese: The oddly named restaurant between the 5th and 6th Circles delivers solid Chinese food at great prices. While there are fancier Chinese restaurants in Amman, this no-frills spot provides the best value by far. The decor is nothing to write home about, but it adds to the authentic and affordable China-meets-Amman experience. Regulars say the lamb with green onions and wonton soup are not to be missed.
Ethiopian: While Abyssinia may be bare bones in terms of interior design, they serve up legit Ethiopian cuisine complete with the requisite sour-and-spongy injera bread. Located near the 2nd Circle, just around the corner from the street of bustling shops known unofficially as the “little Philippines,” Abyssinia isn’t fancy, but after noshing on aklit alicha, siga watt, and gome, you’ll still have cash left over to shop in the neighborhood while taking in one of the many captivating faces of Amman.
French: Hotel restaurants aren’t always known for excellence, but La Capital at the Four Seasons Amman is head and shoulders above the rest. Their execution of French classics is spot-on, with quality ingredients and Jordanian influences like a cheese plate that includes free-range sheep’s-milk cheese made locally in the French style. With a wall of doors that open onto the narrow terrace, an elegant dining area, a classic bar with comfy seating anchoring one end, and flattering lighting throughout, La Capitale has ambience that’s one part see-and-be-seen, one part upscale French bistro, and one part chic Parisian lounge.
Indian: Cheap and cheerful, this hidden gem is easy on the pocketbook and heavy on the flavor. A fusion of Indian and Pakistani food, it hits all the right notes with a traditional menu including the usual samosas, daal and, of course, various versions of biryani. You’ll have to work to find it, as it’s hidden in an alleyway downtown, but when you do, you’ll feel like a total Amman insider.
Italian: One of the few chef-owned, chef-driven restaurants in Amman, Melograno is a study in perfection. The Italian chef/owner puts a distinctly modern twist on the classic dishes – regulars rave about his house-made gnocchi, risotto al porcini, and the architectural desserts. Each dish is more delectable than the last, with the chef occasionally peeking out from the kitchen to see if patrons are enjoying the fare, while his wife greets guests and runs the front of house. The thoughtful wine list and perfectly portioned plates (no giant piles of pasta here) of balanced flavors and textures make it one restaurant worth splurging on in Amman.
Japanese: Yoshi is the go-to place for sushi in Amman. It will set you back a pretty penny, but the fish is fresh, the presentation is artful and the people-watching is riveting. The interiors are sleek and pleasantly moody but the al fresco courtyard is where the action’s at on Amman summer nights. Take some friends and share a sushi boat and the irresistible chicken peanut salad. For those who don’t indulge in sashimi, nigiri, or maki, they offer cooked teppanyaki, teriyaki, and foil yaki, as well as plenty of salads.
Korean: A Korean-owned two-story restaurant in a retail cluster in Abdoun, Soho is getting rave reviews from well-traveled locals and expats alike. Their BYOB policy with no corkage fee, light airy interiors, and warm hospitality make Soho a delightful casual dinner stop. The menu has a charming (if a bit strange) mishmash of Italian and Korean, but those in the know order the bulgogi. Authentic Korean is a rare treat in Amman, and Soho’s bulgogi might just be the best we’ve found.
Mexican: A burger shack for Mexican? Yep, but only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Two nights a week they serve up best tacos in town on house-made corn tortillas, south-of-the-border salads, burritos, quesadillas, and nachos, all at completely reasonable prices. And the burgers and shakes are pretty delicious too – some argue Fatty Dabs has the best burger in Amman. If you have your heart set on their craveable tacos, plan accordingly and arrive early – Fatty Dabs Mexican nights draw quite a crowd.
Paleo/Californian: While not technically international cuisine, a paleo restaurant in Amman is worth a shoutout. In an Abdoun retail cluster with a concentration of fantastic food choices, Primal has a unique angle: every delicious item on the menu is made without gluten or refined sugar. Pastas, crackers, and breads are made with alternative flours, seeds, and nuts, and refined sugar is replaced by dates, coconut sugar, honey, and maple syrup. Hearty main dishes of prime beef, salmon, chicken – as well as vegan options – are complemented by fresh leafy greens like kale and spinach. The nutritious fare, combined with beer and wine service and a dog-friendly umbrella’d patio surrounded by herbs and greenery, makes this a spot the health-conscious trek to on the regular.
Spanish:Amman may have a lack of authentic Spanish restaurants, but Copas Central serves up tasty Spanish-style tapas with Latin flair. The menu has something for everyone, and their talented bartenders will whip up just about any cocktail you can dream up. The artsy interiors, friendly staff, and charming courtyard will make you dream of Spain without lamenting the lack of jamón Ibérico on the menu.