Cafes are places of relaxation and socialization. In Jordan, they are the cultural and artistic pulse of the city. Friends, families, and individuals all come here in order to enjoy food and beverages, play board games and cards, talk, and enjoy the famous Arabic tradition of shisha (water pipe).
As a traveler to Jordan, you’re missing out on a fundamental aspect of Jordanian culture if you fail to go to at least a couple of these cafes here in Amman. To help you, we at Zaman Tours have listed 12 of the best cafe across many different areas in Amman, meaning you’ll be able to pick the one that works best for you depending on your budget, location, and expectation.
Some are modern, some are decorated more to the tune of traditional Jordanian artwork and customs, but all have their own unique charm that help make Amman the legendary city that it is.
1. Cafe Rumi (Jabal Al-Weibdeh)
One of the oldest and most famous districts of Amman, Weibdeh has in recent years become a hotbed for the tourist and expat community. Despite its historic heritage and legacy, it has ironically made its name as one of the biggest artistic and cultural centers of Amman. More than a few art galleries and exhibitions make their home here and it’s booming with some of the most modern Jordanian restaurants and cafes within the city.
Of these, Cafe Rumi is the most bustling. Located at the heart of Jabal Al-Weibdeh’s main street, there are no times when the cafe is not rustling with the sounds and conversations of Jordanians old and young. Jazz music echoes outside throughout the waning hours of the night. Nearly all the seating is outside, beautifully decorated with native plants and flowers interspacing different tables and the outside borders of the cafe. Topping this off is Rumi’s excellent coffee, tea which you can sip to your heart’s content, and friendly servers who have no problem speaking fluent English. If you are looking for the best of what “modern Amman” has to offer, this is the place to go.
Be warned it may be difficult to find a place to sit, particularly if you are going during Thursday or Friday night.
2.The Coffee Room (Jabal Al-Weibdeh)
Don’t let its small size fool you. This coffee shop located in Paris Circle, only about five minutes away from Cafe Rumi, is a tiny cafe brimming with some of the tastiest coffee in all of Jordan. They have a mixture of different hot drinks and the staff is always very friendly. There is a limited number of seats available, so this cafe is best to come to individually or with a close friend.
The cafe is cozy and welcoming. They also have house-made pastry and breakfast dishes. Paris Circle is one of the main areas of Weibdeh, making this coffee shop extremely convenient if you are planning to explore Weibdeh afterwards.
3. Jafra Cafe (Downtown)
One of the most legendary cafe/restaurants of the downtown area, Jafra Cafe has been around for decades. It started as a meeting place for journalists and social activists and has since evolved to be a favorite amongst both Jordanians and tourists. It’s walls are lined with the paintings of local Jordanian artists, with stunning black and white and color photos of the relentless and diverse sights of Jordan also crowding along the walls. The restaurant describes itself romantically as “the language of homeland and culture; the dream of the lover longed for by all Jordanians and Palestinians.” The decor and splendor is as calming and entrancing as it is engrossing, and you’ll feel right at home in the Middle East.
It’s one of the best places to enjoy the experiences of Jordan. Be delighted in the evenings to a live musician playing the Arabic instrument “Oud”. The restaurant boasts an excellent food menu as well as tea, coffee, and fresh juice selections. It’s also one of the rare places which offer plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. Jafra is a great place to go either alone or in groups; it’s simply put one of our favorite restaurants and there are amazing balcony areas where one can oversee much of the downtown area from up above. We love to sit on the balcony areas enjoying the Jordanian water pipe shisha, a good book in hand, and a fresh coffee on the table. Now that’s the life.
4. Old Town (Jabal Al-Weibdeh)
Oldtown is a massive cafe/restaurant located in the heart of Weibdeh and relatively close to Cafe Rumi. It’s been in the area for over a decade now and we think is the best place in Weibdeh to go with a large group. Old Town combines that authentic Jordanian charm with modern notions of decor. They have great outside areas on the ground level, protruding balconies overshadowing the main street of Weibdeh and comfy indoor seating arrangements. Even when Old Town gets busy, it never feels too crowded or suffocating. It’s a great place to go at any time of the day and they have a large menu with a wide variety of different dishes.
They also have in stock one of the funnest Jordanian games, a board game called Jackaroo that is playable between 2-4 players. We couldn’t find the rules online, but if you ever manage to make friends with a Jordanian ask them to teach you the game. You are sure to have a laugh-filled and unforgettable time.
5. Zajal (Downtown)
Nestled against an ascending well-shaded staircase with around 30 multi-colored umbrellas overlaying and shadowing the steps up towards the restaurant, Zajal is another one of the many famous, legendary cafe/restaurants in downtown. Featuring great outdoor balcony areas and open inside seating, it’s one of those cozy yet spacious areas that makes you feel completely at ease as you decide to smoke a shisha, drink a hot mint tea, or eat any of the many diverse menu items. Prices here range from average to cheap.
Perhaps most unique to Zajal is their famous Umbrella Staircase that leads up to their entrance. These stairs are a famous tourist and selfie attraction, as it features a mesmerizing and enchanting set of dozens of overtop bright-colored umbrellas that provide an engrossing contrast to the more black-and white staircase and painted murals along the wall. It’s a great place to come relax, sit, and enjoy a nice dessert from the nearby Aima ice cream shop.
6. Dust Roof (Near Rainbow Street)
Rainbow Street is one of the most popular attractions for tourists and Jordanians alike. Around the famous road countless restaurants, cafes, bars, and cultural landmarks have sprung up. In addition, there are a couple of great sites which have an overview of the broader metropolitan area and cater to the more scenic-minded tourist.
There are plenty of popular, usually crowded cafes regularly frequented by young Jordanians, but for this entry we decided to pick something a little bit more low-key from the area. Dust Roof is a great place to either grab a cup of coffee or a good meal, and they have a cozy atmosphere and multiple floors and countless tables so you will always be sure to find a nice spot to relax.
When I used to live near Rainbow Street, this was my favorite place to come relax after a long night. They also have a great breakfast buffet, so be sure to think about checking that out if you’re looking for a place to eat in the morning. This is a place that’s perfect for pretty much every context; whether you’re alone or with friends and family, the relaxing environment and friendly staff will be sure to make you feel right at ease. Like most cafes on this list, they also have many different flavors of shisha.
7. books@Cafe (Near Rainbow Street)
Calling itself an “oasis of freshness”, books@cafe is one of the original cafes that made Rainbow Street famous. It simultaneously functions as both a bookshop, cafe, and restaurant. This hybrid creation emphasizes diversity, inclusiveness, and shared knowledge; it features an international menu and great decor. It’s also known as one of the most friendly LGBT locations in Amman. Perhaps because it’s so famous, prices here are extremely expensive and you’ll usually pay about twice what you can in other locations.
8. Eco Tourism Cafe (Downtown)
Eco Tourism Cafe is our budget option on this list, but don’t think it degrades at all in its quality. This case can give you a taste of the more average cafes that Jordanians (usually male) tend to visit while smoking shisha or watching sports games. You can buy a good quality shisha here for around three dollars, which is cheaper than nearly every other place in Amman. There is no food here but they also have cheap hot and cold drinks and juices. They also have a great balcony area which oversees one of the main streets in downtown. If you’re looking for a real, authentic Jordanian experience with a great view and cheap prices, you can’t beat Eco Tourism Cafe. This is a place recommended to go with only one or two people.
9. Caffe Strada (Rainbow Street)
Just a short distance away from Rainbow Street, Caffe Strada is another one of those fantastic locations where you can enjoy a nice snack and drink while relaxing in a comfortable location. Drawing from Italian and European culinary traditions, Strada combines modern decor trends with supremely satisfying meals. Food items include different choices of salads, paninis, or croissants. Just looking for a drink? They have a fresh selection of juices, over thirty types of teas, and many other hot drinks. Strada is a smoke-free establishment. Caffe Strada is the best location if you need a quiet place to relax or study, and it’s accessibility to Rainbow Street make it also a great location if you are looking for a quick place to stop while viewing Amman’s most famous cultural and historic areas. Prices are very reasonable.
10. Jadal (Downtown)
The official name for this cafe is “Jadal Cafe for Knowledge and Culture;” which is a pretty succinct summary of what this cafe is really about. It’s founders established the cafe following the Arab Spring democratic protests that took place across the Arabic World in order to provide a gathering place for discussions, activism, innovation, and dialogue.
The cafe is an open area with great decoration and art. They have both outside and inside areas where you can relax.The prices are great and you pay for the amount of time that you are there (and not for the amount of drinks that you order). The first hour is 2JD and every subsequent hour is 0.5 JD. It’s highly recommended as a great place to chill, meet new people, and study. They also have occasional courses and workshops, so definitely check their website here to see if they have anything during when you will be in Amman.
11. Trieste (Seventh Circle)
An open, spacious cafe/restaurant, Trieste is only a few minutes from Seventh Circle. Over the past decade its amassed a loyal customer fanbase due to its splendid decor, great staff, and diverse and delicious food. It’s one of the best places to get seafood in Amman and most notably it has a large collection of free boardgames that customers can play while they eat, drink, and relax.
We highly recommend going here if you are with a group of friends! They have both traditional and more modern Western boardgames and you can ask the staff to recommend a fun game if you’re unsure what to pick. Prices are more expensive than the other restaurants but the food and experience is worth the price.
12. Ayman’s Coffee (2nd Circle)
Ayman’s Coffee is the top cafe in its area, and it’s especially famous for the quality of its hot drinks. There’s no indoor seating in this area, so it’s a great place to stop if you’re on the way to somewhere else. They have a vast selection of herbal teas, as well as different ingredients like lemon, cumin, sage, honey, and ginger. Prices are competitively priced relative to other cafes in Amman. Check out their turkish coffee and ginger tea!
These are just our picks for the top 12 cafes in Jordan. Depending on what you’re looking for, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of options to choose from.
What are you looking for in a cafe? Have you visited any of the above? Leave comments below.