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. Evita's Italian Restaurant

    $$$ | Eclectic

    Set in an 1860s gingerbread house fronted by an old convertible roadster, Evita's–-an island institution and the self-proclaimed “Best Little...Read More

  • 2. Jack Sprat Restaurant

    $$ | Eclectic

    It's no surprise that this restaurant shares its home resort's bohemian style (it's the beachside dining spot at Jakes). From the casual outdoor...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. Margaritaville Montego Bay

    $$ | Eclectic

    Along Montego Bay's Hip Strip, this colorful restaurant is a favorite spot thanks to its 110-foot waterslide into the sea, water trampolines...Read More

  • 5. Margaritaville Ocho Rios

    $$ | Eclectic

    If you're looking for a cheeseburger in paradise and blended drinks, come to the familiar Margaritaville. Part of the popular chain (also in...Read More

  • 6. Sugar Mill

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    The former Running Gut Sugar Estate near the Half Moon Resort Golf Course is the setting for the Sugar Mill, where Caribbean dishes with an...Read More

  • 7. The Hungry Lion

    $$ | Eclectic

    This small but intimate restaurant with stylish decor has long been a West End favorite. An eclectic crowd comes to enjoy excellent vegetarian...Read More

  • 8. Hard Rock Café

    Eclectic

    Within walking distance of the cruise pier, this popular eatery is filled with music memorabilia, including Bob Marley's handwritten lyrics...Read More

  • 9. Jamaican Bobsled Café

    $$ | Eclectic

    The trials and triumphs of Jamaica's Olympic bobsled team, inspiration for the 1993 film Cool Runnings, are celebrated at this Hip Strip eatery...Read More

  • 10. Palm Court

    Eclectic

    On the mezzanine floor of the Wyndham Kingston Jamaica, the elegant Palm Court is open for both lunch and dinner. The dining room is furnished...Read More

  • 11. Pirates Cave Bar and Restaurant

    Eclectic

    If this place looks just a tad familiar, it might be because the cliffs and nearby sea cave were used as a setting in 20,000 Leagues Under...Read More

  • 12. R2

    $ | Eclectic

    Perched high above Ocho Rios, R2 is part of the Mystic Mountain entertainment area. Serving contemporary Caribbean cuisine with an emphasis...Read More

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