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No trip to Amman would be complete without a walk down Rainbow Street, a kilometre-long stretch of rag-bag antique shops, art galleries, coffeehouses and low-key bars in upper Jabal Amman, a five-minute trip away by taxi from downtown. It is home to the city’s most happening creative community -- do not miss Café Des Artistes, Books@Cafe, Wild Jordan or Jacaranda Images to get a real sense of where Jordan is heading. Located in an old townhouse halfway down the street, Sufra is another favourite of King Abdullah and Queen Rania, and even though it has only been open for six months, it is already regarded as the best Jordanian restaurant in the country.

Should you want to get a glimpse into the story behind some of these cherished Jordanian dishes – like muskhan (chicken with pine nuts) or mansaf (lamb, yoghurt and rice) – pop into Beit Sitti on Jabal Weibdeh, a Jordanian run cooking school where you can eat and cook to your heart’s content with no one else around. Be quick, before the word really starts to spread.

Correction: A previous version of this article made mention of King Hussein and Queen Rania. This has been corrected to King Abdullah and Queen Rania.

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© 2012 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘Secret Amman’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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