Friday, April 3, 2015

Fakhr El-Din Restaurant - Amman, Jordan

We made extra trip arrangements in Jordan with Jordan Select, above and beyond our Fun For Less tour. As part of those arrangements we got a dinner at Fakhr El-Din Restaurant in Amman with a set menu. Our guide, Isam Afaneh (we called him "Sam") arranged for us to eat there claiming it was the best restaurant in Jordan. I think he may be right. It is rated #3 out of 405 restaurants in Amman on Trip Advisor and we had a fabulous meal.
The restaurant is in a gorgeous home with tables set with white linens, nicely dressed waiters and beautiful looking food. And the quantities were staggering. We ate less than half of what we were served. 

The table was set with an edible center piece. Before long, the table was absolutely covered in food.
We had been advised to eat no fruits or vegetables in Jordan or Egypt. But as the waiters started to bring us in many small plates of food, there were some beautiful sliced tomatoes on the table with a little tahini on them. One or two of us started to eat them (tomatoes were on our list of foods to avoid), the rest of the group succumbed and it was no-holds barred for the entire group for the rest of the meal. We ate everything. Fortunately no one got sick. 
We ate no lunch and I was hungry. So I started to cut up radishes from the center piece and spread a little salt and olive oil on them. 
Before long, the table was covered in food.
The most unusual dish was kubbeh nayeh - fresh raw minced lamb, cracked wheat and onions. It was good by itself, but I mixed it together with hummus and it became divine. 
Many of us got lime juice with mint. The color was perfect as was the taste. 
Vine (grape) leaves with vegetarian stuffing cooked in olive oil. I've had stuffed grape leaves with rice, but these were immensely better. The filling was not as thick and it had a stronger taste.
Aleppo olives - green olives stuffed with red peppers.
Motabal Bathenjan - auberjine (egg plant) dip with lemon.
I can't figure this dish out. I believe it includes egg plant, onion and pomegranate. 
Homos (hummus) - blended chick peas with sesame paste and lemon.
Tabbouleh - finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, lemon, fresh mint, onions and cracked wheat.
Kabis - assorted home made pickles and olives. The black olives tasted like they'd been cured only about half the normal time. They were a little bit more stiff and slightly bitter. 
White cheese with zatar - fresh white goat cheese with oregano and olive.
Kibdet dajaj - fried chicken liver in lemon sauce. 
I didn't get a close-up photo of the meat platter, but a number of the meat pieces show up on my plate below. 
The two pieces of meat on the left bottom are kastaleta ghanam - lamb cutlets, charcoal grilled. The long piece of meat appears to be charcoal - grilled kubbeh - fresh minced lamb with onions and wheat, charcoal grilled. It was the best thing on the menu. Amazingly soft and flavorful. Several grilled onions are also on the plate with the outer layers having a grilled lamb taste. 
The brown ball filled with green appears to be spinach fatayer - pastry filled with fresh spinach, onions and lemon juice. The other brown ball was kubbeh sajeiyeh - two layers of cracked wheat filled with fried minced meat, oven baked. 
The menu does not identify the desserts very well. The bottom orange appeared to be orange peel, heavily sugared and slightly bitter. I don't recall the other two items. All were heavy in syrup and sugar and quite solid. Desserts very different from what we are used to.
Apples, bananas, pears and strawberries. We were so full that we did not eat much of this. We did consume quite a few strawberries and they were much more flavorful than the strawberries we are used to. 
The food was fresh, nicely put together, and as I look at the menu, we didn't even get the good stuff - I'd like to go back. Look at this list of items we did not get: (a) sanasel - spine marrow salad; (b) noukha'at - salad of poached lamb brains; (c) thalat - lamb spleen filled with parsley, coriander and hot chilli; (d) crab salad - crab, endive, fresh mushroom & rocca; (e) Fakhr El-Din speciality - artichoke, palmetto, asparagus, fresh mushrooms, endives and avocado; (f) sawda nayeh - fresh raw lamb liver; (g) fatayel nayeh - fresh raw lamb filet; (h) the Fakhr El-Din raw platter - a specially made platter of different fresh raw lamb cuts with spices and seasonings; (i) batarekh - fish roe; and (j) zagaleel hamam - baby pigeons charcoal grilled or marinated in tarragon sauce. Those are some of the unusual items. There is a whole list of other less unusual treats with lots of cooked lamb dishes included. 
Our happy group with one of our main waiters.
We left after dark - full and happy.


  1. A truly memorable meal. My mouth waters just looking at all of this delicious food. I would have gladly suffered through food poisoning for the privilege of eating those amazing dishes.

  2. Definitely a meal for the record books and the Top Ten List. I'd love to go back, but I think I'll pass on the fresh raw lamb liver when we order on our own.