Since By The Lemon Tree is not a hotel and we don't have a restaurant, the following are suggestions for getting something to eat in our neighbourhood or in Amman in general. Also, since we don't prepare breakfast on Friday, you will find directions to a popular local coffee shop that may come in handy on this day.
Jabel Webdeh is only recently becoming a trendy area of Amman. Since 2010 a growing expatriate community is attracting crowds of revellers and thus more restaurants, galleries, shops and sundry activities. With one rare exception however, the food offering is still at best mediocre in our neighbourhood.
For a more gastronomically stimulating experience, Jabel Amman is the place to go. But even in Jabel Amman, from the point of view of value for money, we suggest you keep it to local restaurants. This is because what are euphemistically peddled as Italian or French restaurants are nothing of the sort, but will charge eye watering amounts of money for the privilege of experiencing mediocre, uninspiring cuisine that masquerades as Mediterranean fare. You basically get hotel food. On the other hand, even if you go to Fakhreldine which is reputedly the best and most elegant Lebanese restaurant in Amman, your average check will come to around JD35 per person giving you a very satisfying meal including a generous helping of the local tipple Arak.
But getting back to Jabel Webdeh. Most restaurants and venues in our area have opened on either Kulliat Al Sharia street or on Byouneah Street. Both these streets radiate north from Paris Circle – walking from By The Lemon Tree to Paris Circle, these are the two avenues that radiate to the left
For a quick bite in Webdeh we suggest
Joz Hind –eclectic Italian run by a young Italian chef married to Hind, a Jordanian pearl. This is your proverbial hole in the wall offering straight forward meals underscored by a homey and satisfying style of cuisine that is by and large influenced by Mediterranean flavors. This restaurant is located on Kulliat Al Sharia street about 100m in from Paris Circle on the right hand side just passed the French Institute.
Raqwuet Arab –this is your local sit down restaurant for Lebanese cuisine. Nothing to write home about but it will do if you just want to grab something quick before you turn in. This restaurant is located on Bayouneah Street about 50m in from ParisCircle on the right hand side.
Volks Burger – a local joint that our guests seem to find quite good. This restaurant is located on Bayouneah Street about 150m in from Paris Circle on the left hand side before the junction.
Other than the above there is any number of snack counters including a place called Rumi that opens earlyish on Friday morning. Rumi is located on Kulliat Al Sharia about 200m in from Paris Circle adjacent to the post office on the right hand side. This is also a popular café during the afternoon and evening
For Pizza and/or takeaway we suggest
The delivery menus of the restaurants we suggest are in your room
For Pizza we suggest "Luigi's" on 4th circle. They deliver. - 06 593 1932
This is merely a suggestion of a reasonable choice of thin crust pizza based on a universe of mediocre choices
ATICO – The Fakhreldine brothers are by far the most successful Food & Beverage entrepreneurs in Jordan. Other than offering a wide choice of restaurants ranging from the best Lebanese to Sushi and Tapas, the ATICO group also deliver from all their restaurants to By The Lemon Tree. To order, skip the call center number. Just call directly the restaurant you wish to order from.
For a proper Lebanese meal in an elegant restaurant we suggest
Fakhreldine –This restaurant is located by 1st Circle, in the back streets behind the Iraq embassy
Other worthwhile Lebanese restaurants are, in no particular order: Tannourine, Sufra (no beer or wine), Bourj El Hamam, Levant
For a meal in a quirky “local” environment we suggest
Auberge – Located in the heart of downtown, in a narrow alleyway, up some dingy stairs, this is a popular venue with foreigners and locals alike. You can get local fare and a glass of beer or wine for very reasonable prices. This venue is best avoided if you are squeamish. Alternatively, just don't peer too closely at the plate of vegetable that is placed in front of you...
Zorba – as above but probably more suitable for the squeamish kind.
Both these restaurants are located roughly about 200m south of the central post office
If you really must have Italian food
I am reliably informed that my previous suggestion of Esmat's Kitchen on Rainbow street is best avoided today. I am told there is a new Italian restaurant run by a young couple located in Abdoun, opposite Books@Cafe. The name of this new eatery is "Melograno". Once again, I am only suggesting this restaurant purely on hearsay and have not tried it myself.
Like all suggestions on this page, keep in mind that my opinion is worth exactly what you are paying for it...
Things to see and do in Jabel Webdeh
Darat El Funun
Just down the road from By The Lemon Tree on the way to downtown, you will come across this inspiring space arranged around a handful of old Jordanian residences. Darat El Funun is a very active center for promotion of the arts for the Middle East and North Africa. Certainly worth your while to spend some time in the leafy gardens sipping a cup of local tea. To get there: as you exit the gate, turn right. Just before the hospital take the set of stairs to your right. At the bottom of the stairs, across the street and slightly to the left is Darat El Funun.
The National Gallery Of Fine Arts
20 minutes on foot to the North of By The Lemon Tree is the NGFA dislocated in two separate buildings across Muntazah Square
Bait Sitti - ***
Combine gastronomy and fun. Learn how to prepare a traditional Arabic meal by actually cooking it under the guidance of the chef. Then sit down and enjoy it. Call: 0777 55 77 44
Just off of Paris Square on Kulliat Al Sharia street on the right hand side. Language courses, exhibitions, lectures along with a well stocked library
The Mukhtar’s Shop
Bits and pieces, souvenirs, some antiquities but, more fun, a chat with the Mukhtar of Jabel Webdeh himself about the history of Jabel Webdeh and Amman. Located on Paris Circle
At Inta Ana Studio located at number 10 Muntaza Square, by the National Gallery Of Fine Arts. The studio can be reached on foot in 20min, 2Km north of By The Lemon Tree
If you want to push farther afield, we suggest
Down town is located 10min on foot from By The Lemon Tree. Essentially, walk out of the main gate and turn right. Just before the hospital take the staircase to your right. At the end of the stair case make a left and immediately take the next set of stairs to the right. This is where Darat El Funun is located. Make your way to the bottom of the stairs and keep going down hill. At every following junction, go down hill. You are downtown.
The Jordan Museum
Now open 5 days a week, it is located by the Amman Municipality. Once you are down town it is a 15min walk towards the West from the Husseini Mosque
The Duke’s Diwan
A bohemian venue that, at the right time of the day, attracts interesting characters from various walks of life. Have a glass of tea and a chat with whomever you come across and take a look at whatever happens to be exhibited
On Jabel Amman you have:
Head quarters of The Royal Society For The Conservation Of Nature. A shop for natural beauty and food products, souvenirs, tshirts and a coffee shop run by the Atico group. Nice views of Amman and Jabel Webdeh.
The Soap House
An old house rehabilitated as shop where you can find natural soaps, creams and scents. There is also a glorious terrace offering city views. When you are done shopping here, you can walk over to Books@Cafe for a drink and a quick bite in an eclectic almost bohemian environment
On the outskirts of Amman you have:
The King Hussein Mosque
This is not strictly a tourist venue but it is worth a visit even if you only get to walk around it from the outside. Depending on whom you stumble upon when visiting, you may be invited to take a tour inside too.
The Royal Automobile MuseumIf you push as far as the King Hussein Mosque, you might as well drop by this museum. It is, of course, just a bunch of cars that have belonged to the Royal family of the Kingdom. Admittedly, this may not sound like an exciting excursion if you are not a petrol head but, to give credit where credit is due, this is a venue that is actually well managed and where they have had the good sense of presenting the vehicles within the context of notable events in the history of the Kingdom
For an interesting and fun day out without busting a gut...
There is a little tour that can easily be undertaken from Amman without having to get up with the cock nor returning late at night. It goes something like this.
Depart Amman at around 9am destination one of the hotels on the Dead Sea (they vary enormously in entry price). Splash about in the Dead Sea for an hour or so, shower and get back into the car.
Drive to the Baptism Site on the Jordan River (15 min). Take the tour
It is now around 2pm
Get back into the car and drive up to Mount Nebo about 30min up the mountain
Have a shufti around the Basilica (if it should open at some point), take in the view, day dream, count mice...
It is now around 3:30pm
Drive to Madaba (15min) and take in the mosaics at St Geroge's church
At about 4:30pm, leave the church and cross the street on foot
Get a late lunch / early dinner at Haret Jdoudnah (a vintage local residence now a restaurant)
Linger till you are ready to return to Amman
You should comfortably be back by 7:30pm without having busted a gut in the process