Jamaica Restaurants

Probably the most famous Jamaican dish is jerk pork—the ultimate island barbecue. The pork (purists cook a whole pig) is covered with a paste of Scotch bonnet peppers, pimento berries (also known as allspice), and other herbs, and cooked slowly over a coal fire. Many aficionados believe the best jerk comes from Boston Beach, near Port Antonio. Jerk chicken and fish are also seen on many menus. The ever-so-traditional rice and peas is similar to the moros y cristianos of Spanish-speaking islands: white rice cooked with red kidney beans, coconut milk, scallions, and seasonings.

The island's most famous soup—the fiery pepperpot—is a spicy mixture of salt pork, salt beef, okra, and the island green known as callaloo. Patties (spicy meat pies) elevate street food to new heights. Although patties actually originated in Haiti, Jamaicans excel at making them. Curried goat is another island standout: the young goat cooked with spices is tenderer and has a gentler flavor than the lamb for which immigrants from India substituted it. Salted fish was once the best that islanders could do between catches. Out of necessity, a breakfast staple (and the national dish of Jamaica) was invented. It joins seasonings with saltfish and ackee, a red fruit that grows on trees throughout the island. When cooked in this dish, ackee reminds most people of scrambled eggs.

There are fine restaurants in all the resort areas, many in Kingston and in the resorts themselves. Many restaurants outside the hotels in Mo'Bay and Ocho Rios will provide complimentary transportation.

What to Wear: Dinner dress is usually casual chic (or just plain casual at many local hangouts, especially in Negril). There are a few exceptions in Kingston and at the top resorts; some require semiformal wear (no shorts; collared shirts for men) in the evening during high season. People tend to dress up for dinner; men might be more comfortable in nice slacks, women in a sundress.

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  • 1. Kuyaba on the Beach

    $$ | Jamaican

    Open all day and right on the beach, this charming thatch-roof restaurant is one of the top spots for dinner on Negril's 7-mile (11-km) strip...Read More

  • 2. Rockhouse Restaurant

    $$ | Caribbean

    This restaurant is a must for dinner at least once. The open-air dining area has huge comfy bamboo sofas where you can relax for an aperitif...Read More

  • 3. Almond Tree

    $$$ | Eclectic

    Named for the massive almond tree growing through the roof, this Ocho Rios restaurant has been serving dishes "Back A Yard" (the way things...Read More

  • 4. Annie's Restaurant

    $$ | International

    For a special occasion or a night of romantic indulgence, book the private dining cave overlooking the sea at this casual but upscale small...Read More

  • 5. Billy's Grassy Park

    $ | Jamaican

    In the Middle Quarters strip along the South Coast Highway, this side-of-the-road stop serves fiery Jamaican food, including scorching peppered...Read More

  • 6. Cafe Blue

    $ | Café

    Perched on a hillside more than 3,000 feet up in Irish Town, Cafe Blue could be one of the most stunning places to enjoy a cup of coffee in...Read More

  • 7. Chicken Lavish

    $ | Jamaican

    This longtime West End eatery prepares chicken the way locals like it: curried, fried, jerked, and baked. The restaurant is in a simple, green...Read More

  • 8. Cloggy's on the Beach

    $ | Jamaican

    This casual bar and restaurant between Treasure Beach and Negril makes a pleasant stop, with lots of beachside appeal. There are tables inside...Read More

  • 9. Island Grill

    $ | Jamaican

    With 18 locations across the island, this eat-in or take-out restaurant about a block from the main tourist area serves a Jamaican version of...Read More

  • 10. Jakes Country Cuisine

    $$ | International

    Tables here are arranged in a terrace setting in front of the saltwater pool, with pretty lights in the trees at night (there are also booths...Read More

  • 11. Just Natural

    $ | Vegetarian

    This low-key eatery with the motto "come and relax" serves vegetarian and seafood dishes as well as fresh fruit and vegetable juices, but it...Read More

  • 12. Le Vendome

    $$$ | French

    The Charela Inn's pretty restaurant is lit up with strings of Christmas lights, with tables set out on the beach (there's also a covered patio...Read More

  • 13. LTU Pub

    $$ | International

    This thatched bar and eatery is one of the prettiest on the West End. Right on the cliffs and practically next door to Rick's Cafe, it has dazzling...Read More

  • 14. Mille Fleurs

    $$$ | Jamaican

    Enjoy European, Jamaican, and Carribean cuisine while watching the sunset on a terrace surrounded by tropical vegetation. Dishes made with local...Read More

  • 15. Norma's at Seasplash

    $$ | International

    Named for the late Norma Shirley, known as the Julia Child of Jamaica, Norma's at Seasplash is now helmed by a student of the late chef. Dishes...Read More

  • 16. Roadster

    $ | Jamaican

    This simple, rustic eatery across from Jamaica Inn serves good Jamaican food at unbeatable prices. You can eat under a tree or inside the restaurant...Read More

  • 17. Shark's Restaurant

    $ | Jamaican

    Unassuming, but nicely decorated, Shark's is a reliable place to sample local cooking in a friendly and laid-back atmosphere. The thatched roadside...Read More

  • 18. The Blue Mahoe

    $$ | Jamaican

    Located at the Spa Retreat, this restaurant offers upscale dining in a cliff-side setting where you can enjoy Negril's famed sunsets. Named...Read More

  • 19. The Garden Restaurant at Somerset Falls

    $ | Jamaican

    Surrounded by tropical gardens and the flowing waters of the Daniel River, this restaurant offers breakfast and lunch in a casual yet romantic...Read More

  • 20. Green Market Cafe

    $$$ | Jamaican

    For lunch, this casual hotel restaurant serves a decent buffet of mainly Jamaican food; an à la carte menu is also available. Green Market is...Read More

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