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Guido’s going out and dining out

Guido

Guido’s going out and dining out

Going out, eating out
In Amman you will find any number of good local/Lebanese restaurants ranging from expensive and elegant to popular and trendy. Bars and lounges are plenty too and the trend ebbs and flows with remarkable regularity. Purely from a budgetary perspective, we always advise visitors to keep their outings to local/Lebanese restaurants. This is because food and wine are rather expensive in Jordan as a rule but what are peddled as French and Italian restaurants are horrendously expensive. Wine and beer in particular, are prohibitively expensive. On one hand, imported wine and beer are subject to exorbitant import duties. On the other hand, hotels and restaurants add very steep markups to same so that in a best case scenario you end up paying JOD25.00 for a bottle of imported plonk in a restaurant. With that in mind, if you are interested in suggestions other than local/Lebanese, read on! There are 3 notable exceptions to the rule for authentic and competent Italian, French or Mediterranean gastronomy in Jordan. Le Container @ The Winemaker, Joz Hind and Jasmine House. Everywhere else, you will be treated to things that, at best, are incompetent imitations. Italian and French restaurants peddled by the branded hotels have a predictably conformist and bland approach to gastronomy but at eye watering prices. Things are not better in the independent restaurant segment where what is peddled as cuisine by self proclaimed "chefs" that could barely qualify as cooks in the real world, are incompetent concoctions of gastronomic nostrums that you could find in any dive on any street corner at any time of the day. ATTENTION! Hotels and restaurants in Jordan have taken to charging an arbitrary 10% Service Charge augmented by the Sales Tax at 16% that are added to your bill. Prices you see displayed on the menu therefore are misleading because they are actually 28% higher. So when it is time to pay your bill, that bottle of imported plonk you ordered for JOD25.00, will actually cost you JOD32.00. With that out of the way, here are our suggestions for drinks and dinner in Amman.
This is a unique venue for Jordan. With a reasonable selection of wine and spirits from around the world, this is better known as the home of St George, the wine of Jordan. Here you can purchase wine and spirits to take away or you can sit down and while some time away sipping some remarkable vintages at retail prices rather than restaurant prices. In the case of St George wine in particular, at the time of this writing (Jan 2019) the 2016 reds and the 2018 whites are spectacular. Specifically, we appreciate the Gewurztraminer, the Viognier, the Malbec, the Carmenere and the Syrah Rose. In the same space you will also find a rather distinctive restaurant called Le Container where, unusually for Jordan, the fare consists of things not found anywhere else in the country because they are imported by Le Container for their exclusive use. Depending on the day you go, you may be offered Iberico de Bellota, Cassoulet, David Herve oysters, Swiss Raclette, Bucatini all'Amatriciana, Spaghetti alle Vongole or even Pain Perdu or English Breakfast. Here too, wine prices are sold at retail rather than restaurant prices thereby greatly reducing your overall spend compared to what you would spend in main stream restaurants. This is a must for anyone passing through Amman.
The Winemaker
This is a unique venue for Jordan. With a reasonable selection of wine and spirits from around the world, this is better known as the home of St George, the wine of Jordan. Here you can purchase wine and spirits to take away or you can sit down and while some time away sipping some remarkable vintages at retail prices rather than restaurant prices. In the case of St George wine in particular, at the time of this writing (Jan 2019) the 2016 reds and the 2018 whites are spectacular. Specifically, we appreciate the Gewurztraminer, the Viognier, the Malbec, the Carmenere and the Syrah Rose. In the same space you will also find a rather distinctive restaurant called Le Container where, unusually for Jordan, the fare consists of things not found anywhere else in the country because they are imported by Le Container for their exclusive use. Depending on the day you go, you may be offered Iberico de Bellota, Cassoulet, David Herve oysters, Swiss Raclette, Bucatini all'Amatriciana, Spaghetti alle Vongole or even Pain Perdu or English Breakfast. Here too, wine prices are sold at retail rather than restaurant prices thereby greatly reducing your overall spend compared to what you would spend in main stream restaurants. This is a must for anyone passing through Amman.
At Jasmine House, Vincenzo cooks up a storm with judicious creativity and gobs of flare. It is well worth a visit. If you ask them nicely they might even allow you to bring your own tipple to accompany your meal.
Jasmine House
26 Al-Baouneyah St.
At Jasmine House, Vincenzo cooks up a storm with judicious creativity and gobs of flare. It is well worth a visit. If you ask them nicely they might even allow you to bring your own tipple to accompany your meal.
Luca runs this popular venue that proposes Mediterranean inspired eclectic cuisine. Although he is Italian, his cuisine is not strictly Italian. Rather, what Luca proposes is satisfying, eclectic fare underscored by homey, colorful, fresh and intensely aromatic dishes that are reasonably priced. This is your local for daily dining.
Joz Hind
Luca runs this popular venue that proposes Mediterranean inspired eclectic cuisine. Although he is Italian, his cuisine is not strictly Italian. Rather, what Luca proposes is satisfying, eclectic fare underscored by homey, colorful, fresh and intensely aromatic dishes that are reasonably priced. This is your local for daily dining.
This is one of our favorite haunts. Get the down town experience complete with green neon lights and reasonably good local cuisine. At Zorba you can also order beer, wine or Arak. Prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is pleasant and relaxed.
Zorba Restaurant
69 Basman St
This is one of our favorite haunts. Get the down town experience complete with green neon lights and reasonably good local cuisine. At Zorba you can also order beer, wine or Arak. Prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is pleasant and relaxed.
Although now very popular with both locals and foreign visitors, the quality of the street food you will find at Hashem's is still rather good, authentic and excellent value for money. It is open 24/7 so you can go any time the fancy may take you.
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Hashem Restaurant Down Town
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Although now very popular with both locals and foreign visitors, the quality of the street food you will find at Hashem's is still rather good, authentic and excellent value for money. It is open 24/7 so you can go any time the fancy may take you.
The owners of Sufra have had the good sense to non only propose the usual dishes found in all other restaurants, but also what is known as "Tabikh" which is the classic repertoire of the social or familial tradition. With a refined decor of exquisite elegance, here you will find food that is usually only prepared at home because it requires longer cooking times.
Sufra Restaurant
26 Al Rainbow St
The owners of Sufra have had the good sense to non only propose the usual dishes found in all other restaurants, but also what is known as "Tabikh" which is the classic repertoire of the social or familial tradition. With a refined decor of exquisite elegance, here you will find food that is usually only prepared at home because it requires longer cooking times.
Another inspired choice for a bit of variety. Here too, the owners of Levant have had the good sense to not only propose food that is found in all other local/Lebanese restaurants as they have added also some Armenian specialities and some judiciously creative twists drawing from both the local and Armenian traditions. In this restaurant you can also order beer and wine for an average spend of JOD35.00 per person all in.
Levant Restaurant
Another inspired choice for a bit of variety. Here too, the owners of Levant have had the good sense to not only propose food that is found in all other local/Lebanese restaurants as they have added also some Armenian specialities and some judiciously creative twists drawing from both the local and Armenian traditions. In this restaurant you can also order beer and wine for an average spend of JOD35.00 per person all in.
Sufficiently informal so you don't feel you are in a fashion show as is often the case in Amman and with a higher average age of patrons, Bonita is a popular watering hole that also proposes some reasonable nibbles.
Bonita Inn, Restaurant & Tapas Bar
Sufficiently informal so you don't feel you are in a fashion show as is often the case in Amman and with a higher average age of patrons, Bonita is a popular watering hole that also proposes some reasonable nibbles.
This is our go to for local/Lebanese cuisines. Elegant and tasteful decor, attentive service, above average cuisine along with Arak, beer and wine, make this restaurant a pleasure for the senses. Booking is essential. Average spend around JOD35.00 per person
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Fakhreldin Restaurant
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This is our go to for local/Lebanese cuisines. Elegant and tasteful decor, attentive service, above average cuisine along with Arak, beer and wine, make this restaurant a pleasure for the senses. Booking is essential. Average spend around JOD35.00 per person
Vinaigrette is a popular venue that is both a bar and a restaurant. The food spans from hamburgers to Sushi and it is reasonably good if rather expensive. You don't go to Vinaigrette for the food alone however. Vinaigrette offers an unrivaled view over Amman that is both relaxing and engaging which, depending on your mood, can compensate for the higher average spend. Failing that, if you book a table by the window, it makes for an outstanding romantic dinner.
Vinaigrette
4 Al Oroub St
Vinaigrette is a popular venue that is both a bar and a restaurant. The food spans from hamburgers to Sushi and it is reasonably good if rather expensive. You don't go to Vinaigrette for the food alone however. Vinaigrette offers an unrivaled view over Amman that is both relaxing and engaging which, depending on your mood, can compensate for the higher average spend. Failing that, if you book a table by the window, it makes for an outstanding romantic dinner.