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. Strawberry Hill

    $$$$ | Jamaican

    A favorite with Kingstonians for its elegant Sunday brunch, Strawberry Hill has a stunning location; the open-air terrace has spectacular views...Read More

  • 2. Jade Garden

    $$$$ | Chinese

    On the third floor of the Sovereign Centre mall, this place has great views of the Blue Mountains. Take a seat in one of the shiny black-lacquer...Read More

  • 3. Marguerites Seafood By the Sea

    $$$$ | Seafood

    At this romantic seaside restaurant, lobster, shrimp, and fish are the specialties, as is the Caesar salad. You can have your lobster grilled...Read More

  • 4. Seagrape Terrace

    $$$$ | International

    Named for the trees that line the beach at the Half Moon resorts, this beachside restaurant is open to the public. At lunchtime, a superb buffet...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. The Caves Restaurant

    $$$$ | Jamaican

    With a reservation, nonguests can savor authentic Jamaican cuisine with a twist at this gorgeous boutique resort on Negril's West End. The price...Read More

  • 7. The Ruins at the Falls

    $$$$ | International

    Just as the name suggests, this restaurant is perched beside a waterfall. Tables sit at the base of the 40-foot cascade, making this a romantic...Read More

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