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. Ivan's Restaurant

    $$$ | Caribbean

    Upscale Caribbean cuisine, stunning cliff-side dining, and romance make this one of the best places to eat on Negril's West End. Watch the...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Toscanini

    $$$ | International

    At Harmony Hall, this longtime favorite offers seating in the dining room and on the garden veranda. The menu features classic Italian dishes...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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

  • 14. 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

  • 15. 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

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