Shams was first founded in 2000 by Maha Dahmash as a small shop selling handmade pots and plants. As we expanded, Maha seized the opportunity to grow into the adjacencies of gardening and flower services, forging her name as one of Amman’s top florists. Over the next 15 years, she would successfully operate one of Amman’s first design concept stores, multiple supermarket kiosks and a full service event design service.

Inspired by a passion for heritage and culture, Maha’s husband Hazem Malhas renovated the Malhas family homes in 2015,  where Shams El Balad was born as a small cafe.

In mid 2016, Hazem and Maha's son Qais Malhas joined Shams El Balad, evolving into its Chef over the first few months. The small breakfast cafe soon  grew into an ambitious full-service restaurant,  integrated with a  design shop and events venue.

The restaurant's transformation was fully realized in May 2017 when it moved out of the original space and into the adjacent historical home of the Shuqeiri family. 

Perched up on a hill, the mindfully renovated villa is an architectural gem, telling the story of Amman through  its original tiles and its unvarnished walls . Lush gardens surrounding the main house would become our much beloved dining spaces. Our front terrace and balcony overlook the Roman Citadel and old Amman. While our shaded backyard is a garden oasis in the heart of the city and a favorite venue for weddings and parties.

In late 2019, Maha and Hazem’s daughter Karma also joined the team at Shams El Balad. A trained Industrial designer, she took over the design store from her mother and worked with Qais as Creative  Director to create harmony between the two parts of the company, the restaurant and the design shop.

This symbiosis unlocked  the true potential of Shams El Balad. Through seasonal  markets, themed dinners, talks, workshops, parties and concerts, our journal and our design-led food lab, we were connecting with our guests on a whole other level.