Petra House

    Jordan is an often-overlooked country in the Middle East, just North East of Israel. It’s technically part of the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean is a well-known region of the world, popular with tourists and lovers of sun and relaxation. Petra was not just a Christian rock band, but is also a city in Jordan. The word itself means “stone rock.” All these ideas merge into one at the Petra House Restaurant in Vancouver, just across the bridge from Portland, Oregon.

    Technically, Petra House serves Mediterranean food, but Petra House puts a Jordanian flair to it.

    I had never had Jordanian food but when my buddy Cliff wanted to have his 40th birthday party at the Petra House Restaurant, I figured I would find out soon enough what this food was all about… and whether or not I would find a new favorite ethnic food.

    We crossed the bridge and made our way to the restaurant. Ubiquitous windows lined the adobe walls of the restaurant and, upon entering, we were teased by the aromas of one of the top ten restaurants in Vancouver, Washington. From a wide-open dining room to cozy private booths, the Petra House Restaurant, on appearances alone, had all the makings of a future favorite.

    Using the recipes passed down to him by his mother, Isaac Dakar opened Petra House in 2013. Delicacies from char-grilled salmon kebabs with shrimp to more traditional offerings, such as bamyeh bilahmih: A savory dish of oven-baked okra served with halal beef, onions, tomatoes, and spices.

    And, it has that down home, homie feel As Cliff sat us all down and the water left the rosewater for us to wash our hands with, we sank into the pillows and ornate carpets of Petra House. You would never have known that we were in Vancouver, Washington, because it felt as authentic and I would imagine it would be dining in a restaurant in Jordan… but thankfully, without the oppressive heat!

    And, as far as ethnic foods go, this food is on the healthy side. Very few saturated fats, olive oil and, of course, the finest in fresh ingredients, many of them, as expected are locally sourced.

    Cliff had a great fortieth and we all gorged ourselves on delicious foods, food which was new to my taste buds. I’ve found a new favorite eatery and you can bet that I will be back at the Petra House. It’s just a short camel ride away from Portland, Oregon, my home sweet home.

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