Grand Hyatt Amman Hotel Review is part of the Quest Around the Globe Trip Report.
With only hours until my departure, the last item on the checklist was to eat mansaf, the national dish of Jordan. Though I had taken in the sites (see Dead Sea: A Must See Before You Die & Do’s & Don’t’s for Visiting Petra), my Jordanian culinary adventure was limited. I had bad food at Petra, street shawarma on Al Rainbow Street, an underwhelming Iraqi restaurant, and a breakfast buffet at the OH Beach Resort (see Guns & Butter: Amman, Jordan Travel Guide*). I asked the front desk at the Grand Hyatt for a restaurant recommendation and the man replied, “At this hour? No restaurants will have mansaf. Besides having my mother cook you some, I don’t think you will find any.” He then tried calling a few restaurants and they verified his prediction. Despondent, I pleaded with him to call his mother at once. He told me to relax because right next door there was a cafeteria style restaurant called Jabri which served the best mansaf in Jordan, second only to his mother’s. Better yet, I could pick it up on my way to the airport the next day (see Jabri: They Say It’s the Best Mansaf).
With my Etihad business class flight to Abu Dhabi leaving at 2:55PM (continuing on to JFK on Etihad Apartments), I had enough time to call the Uber, go to Jabri, and place a take-out order. I stepped up to the counter and said, “One order of mansaf and dolma please.” Seconds later, I was given a to go tray of mansaf and grape leaves. Looking back at the photos, I would have ordered more items. Looking back, I am glad I didn’t judge the quality of the food by the decor.
TPOL’s TIP: The proper Jabri restaurant is located at abri Central Wasfi Al Tal Street, Amman, Jordan
I didn’t eat on the way to the airport, hoping to save it as a pre-departure meal. With my hunger pain growing, I needed a distraction. I realized that I had no idea what mansaf was and if it was something that I would even enjoy, despite the hype. Turning to Wikipedia, I learned that mansaf is “a dish made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt and served with rice or bulgur.” All my favorites in one place, what could be better than that?
Upon arriving at the airport, my excitement gave way to anxiety as I was nervous about bringing this liquid dish through security. I can’t say for certain but it appeared that security gave me a smile when he saw the Jabri bag.
At the gate, it was time to feast. And feast I did.
Though my mansaf mission was accomplished, I still need to try two things:
1) The sit down Jabri restaurant
2). A Jordanian grandma’s version of mansaf.