Eating and drinking in Aqaba is a delight and not at all behind dining in Amman. Some might even argue that it is ahead of the dining experience in the capital, as Aqaba’s location gives it access to some of the freshest fish and seafood in the area. Seafood lovers in particular shall be well taken care of in this city, though those who prefer other sorts of protein can still find something they like here. Aqaba cuisine is Levantine cuisine, after all, and Levantine cuisine would hardly be itself without the gorgeous lamb and poultry dishes (as well as the occasional pork or beef dish) that are some of its most internationally recognisable foods.
To cut to the chase, you can expect Aqaba dining to be much the same as Amman dining, but with the added bonus of seafood being more accessible and thus fresher as well as cheaper. There are quite a number of very well known restaurants in the city that boast of their sea-caught fare, from the Ali Baba Restaurant at the corner of Raghadan St. to Mina House at the Fishermen’s Harbour. The best way to find a good restaurant is still to ask a friend who happens to be a local, of course, but if that fails, you can just look for yourself along streets like Al Sa’ada and the even likelier Al Malik Al Hussayn Ibn Talal. These have a lot of good restaurants that might be just what you are looking for.
Al Malik Al Hussayn Ibn Talal has a lot of places of interest for the travelling foodie, in fact. You can find the famous Al Shami Restaurant here, for instance, as well as a good number of cafes and some of the best places to get a nightcap in the city. If your concern is the last (finding a place for some liquor), you should try places like the Royal Yacht Club and the hotels, as well as the Aqaba Gateway Complex. Of course, you can also just go to an off-licence and pick up some liquor to take back with you to your lodgings.
Aqaba is fairly modern, so it is probably no surprise that you shall see a lot of international restaurants and even fast food chains in the metro. McDonald’s is represented, as is Popeye’s. But if you have gone all this way to visit Jordan’s port to the Red Sea, what you should really be trying is the local cuisine. There are a lot of good places for this, and many of the already mentioned places are included. Al Shami in particular is highly recommended for those looking to get a sample of Jordanian fare, as is the not-as-popular-with-tourists but absolutely fantastic Hayat Zaman (this is very popular with locals, and you have to try their food to see why). Most of the restaurants have staff that speak good English, so you need not worry about a language barrier preventing you from getting the experience you want.