Toumba on Where to Eat and Drink in Amman, Jordan
Toumba on Where to Eat and Drink in Amman, JordanToumba
The breakout Amman-based producer highlights his favourite spots for traditional Jordanian food, sweets and snacks in the capital city.
Toumba is a producer who has swiftly risen to prominence within the electronic music scene. Fusing UK techno with Jordanian folk music, Toumba has created a distinct sound that marries tradition with innovation. Rooted in his heritage and Jordan's musical identity, his unique sound feels like a breath of fresh air within the electronic scene. Within the past year, he's landed releases on the new London-based imprint Hypnic Jerks, the inimitable and revered label Hessle Audio and TSVI's Nervous Horizon. Through his most recent releases, Toumba has become a hotly-tipped name within the broader electronic scene.
Aside from music, he also works within the arts in Jordan. The producer is a curator at the Jordanian club and arts space MNFA; and he has a residency at the cultural organisation MMAG Foundation, which provides artists in the Levant with a space to exhibit their works.
Earlier this year, the producer put together a mix for our flagship series, showcasing talent from the Arab world. Here, he drills down further into his heritage and culture, coming through with a guide on where to eat and drink within the Jordan capital, Amman.
In this Guide
“Hands down the best shawerma in Amman in my opinion. Kept extremely simple with just meat, sumac onions, tomatoes and their signature tahini sauce. It is borderline magical how effectively these sandwiches keep you wanting more and coming back to get it. At 1.25 JD (£1.42) for a regular and 1.75 JD (£2) for a large, between which the difference is the amount of meat rather than the size of the sandwich, you really can’t go wrong.”More Info
“Open 24 hours a day, this spot on Basman Street in downtown Amman serving up amazing grills is our go-to spot for a late (or extra late post-night out) dinner. It’s a big four floor restaurant but I’d always recommend sitting at the top floor for nice views of the street. Staff are super friendly, the atmosphere is amazing, food is inexpensive and they serve alcohol. We’ve taken countless artists to this spot and it has become a staple in the scene. Big tip is to go for an assortment of their amazing salads before moving onto the meats.”More Info
“One of the oldest falafel spots in Amman, Abu Mahjoob is the embodiment of a neighbourhood eatery. It’s a staple of Jabal Al Luweibdeh, one of the most vibrant and culturally rich areas in Amman, making it the perfect addition to your schedule while wandering the beautiful streets of the must visit neighbourhood.”More Info
“Al-Thawaq is a no-frills sandwich shop that serves classic home-style sandwiches. However, the magic lies in the bread, the preparation and the sandwich selection. They prepare the simple home-style sandwiches in a way that completely elevates them without compromising their homely simplicity. The menu consists of everything from everyday staples like halloum, labaneh and zeit w za’atar, to more hardcore classics like spleen, tongue and marrow (which are a must try if you’re slightly adventurous).”More Info
“Foron Rex is an artisanal bakery that makes some of the best bread in Amman. What I go there for, however, are the sandwiches. They use their outstanding bread to make equally outstanding sandwiches using 100 percent local products and produce. My personal favourites are the double decker (their take on a club sandwich with locally produced mortadella and beef bacon sandwiched in their gorgeous milk and butter toast) and the roast beef baguette or focaccia with horseradish sauce. Rex is also a great spot to buy delicious local products like cured meats from Jolly Man, artisanal jams and marmalades from Namliyeh; Tuneib’s amazing pickles, chilli sauces and tapenades. Half a baguette will set you back around four JD (£4.50) which is a bit pricier than what you’d expect for sandwiches in Amman, but it’s well worth it.”More Info
“If you visit Amman without trying knafeh you’d be missing out on one of the most amazing desserts in the world (I might be a bit biased). The best place for me to get knafeh in Amman, albeit a mainstream spot, is Habiba downtown near the famous Hashem Restaurant. The place and the atmosphere around it is magnetising. It’s a small shop, barely fitting five to 10 people, so you order your knafeh (125 grams of knafeh khishneh for me) and eat it outside while it’s hot.”More Info
“Tamreyet Omar is the perfect spot to hit after enjoying a sandwich (or two) from Reem; located just across the street and serving up one of the simplest yet mouthwatering desserts around. As the name suggests, the hole-in-the-wall spot specialises in tamreyat – an extremely light and fluffy fried dough dusted with powdered sugar – but it also serves awwamat and asabea’a zaynab. A single temreyeh will set you back 0.3 JD while the bigger tamreyeh extra will set you back 0.5 JD which makes it one of the cheapest desserts in town too.”More Info
“What better way to start your morning than with fresh hot manaqeesh, and the best spot to get them in Amman in my opinion is Sabaho. While they do have a big selection of manaqeesh, I personally just go for either the classic akkawi cheese or zeit w za’atar, which isn’t to say that the other menu items aren’t just as good (the basterma is killer).”More Info
“Floriana is a pizza shop next to my house in Um Uthaina. While their pizzas are good, it’s their sandwiches – particularly the Zinger – that keeps me going back. They use the same pizza dough to make the flatbread for the sandwiches and it’s baked in their pizza over fresh to order, which makes it extremely light, airy and slightly crispy in all the right places. After the bread is baked, the fillings are spread onto it before it’s wrapped and put inside the woodfired oven one more time to warm it up just enough to slightly burn the roof of your mouth on the first bite, but it’s so good that you end up finishing it before it even slightly cools down.”More Info
“This sweets shop is where you can get the absolute best halawat al jubon in Amman. It’s definitely a must visit if you have a sweet tooth and you want to try one of the most delicious traditional desserts in Amman. It’s also located in downtown so it’s a perfect stop to stop by for a quick, sweet snack while you explore the city.”More Info
“Shams El Balad has been my go-to for a drink for years. Its stunning architecture, timeless decorations and vibrant, welcoming atmosphere makes it hard not to turn into a regular. While it serves some of the best food in Amman using all locally sourced ingredients, the star of the show, to me, is their Gin O’tra cocktail: a gin-based cocktail with cucumber juice and sweet scented geranium. Depending on when you go during the day, Shams El Balad can serve as the perfect spot for serenity while you have some coffee or a nice cocktail, but also as a great night out with nicely curated music and an unparalleled atmosphere. The place also occasionally hosts some interesting events like the Honest Natural Wine Fair and the Palestine Supper Club. You can also find a selection of products by local designers that you can buy there!”More Info
“Manara has been a recent favourite of mine when it comes to coffee shops. In addition to their nice coffee, they have an outstanding view of the city on their top floor. Its location in Jabal Luweibdeh makes it a hub for creatives and young people to come and work there, or just catch up over a nice cup of coffee. You can also check out their ever-changing selection of handmade goods by local designers which are often sold to raise funds for charity.”More Info
“This fresh juice spot is located right next to Al-Thawwaq (big tip on the Al-Thawwaq/Beit El-Rumman combo). They serve what must be at least 20 different combinations of fresh fruit juice smoothies and they give you the option to custom make whatever combo you want. The selection of combos changes throughout the year to accommodate for what’s in season but it’s almost a guarantee that whatever you get from there is gonna be extremely refreshing and hit every spot it needs to hit.”More Info