Shams El Balad


Thoughtful food served in one of Amman’s most picturesque settings

Shams El Balad

On the Pass

Qais Malhas

What’s the story? Shams El Balad started as a small flower shop focused on design and sustainability and, over the course of a few years, evolved into something quite unique: a family-run cultural space, concept store and charming restaurant serving food that is creative, seasonal and homey.

More on the food: The restaurant started as a breakfast café headed by chef Qais Malhas. The menu was unique from the start, as it focused on serving traditional seasonal dishes that people were not used to eating outside home. It quickly gained popularity and turned into a full-service restaurant, where standout dishes now include green labneh, beetroot falafel, sumac eggplant, cauliflower mshat (fritters) and spicy cheese. Special attention must be paid to the bread, which is made from locally sourced heirloom wheat flour. Desserts are also outstanding: the date and rose man’oosheh is not to be missed.

What about the space? Shams El Balad is housed in one of Amman’s oldest villas, which was restored with minimal intervention to maintain the charm and character of the original home. The signature exterior features a romantic wraparound balcony overlooking the city and a lush garden complete with beautiful old mulberry trees. On the inside, the original geometric tiles remain intact and are complemented by stripped walls that showcase several layers of old paint in different colours.

Family factor: Shams El Balad is a family business in the truest sense: it was founded by Maha Dahmash and her husband Hazem Malhas, with their two children Qais and Karma now running the day-to-day operations. As an equal opportunity employer that puts inclusivity first, its key values are sustainability, acceptance, trust, continuous learning and uncompromising innovation.