This casual restaurant gives diners a full sense of the pride locals have over their country and people. The tropical setting provides the perfect backdrop for enjoying the restaurant’s curried goat, honey-fried chicken, or grilled lobster. They even cater to vegans and vegetarians with daily dishes that never substitute meat with flavor. Enjoy their ice-cold juices made fresh daily for the perfect elixir from the Caribbean heat.
Miss T’s Kitchen, 65 Main Street, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, +1(876) 795-0099
A trip to Jamaica is not complete until you’ve had jerk chicken, and the best place to get authentic jerk is at Scotchies. Upon arrival, you might see a line 20 feet long, but trust us, the wait is worth it. This is one of the best places to get a taste of history to go along with your spicy meal. The method for smoking meat on the logs of Jamaican allspice trees originated from the indigenous communities who were the first inhabitants of the island more than 500 years ago. Throughout the centuries, the jerk marinade has evolved to reflect the current population’s love for spicy, flavorful food. Be sure to order a side of roasted breadfruit, fried sweet dumplings called ‘festival,’ and an ice-cold Red Stripe beer for a truly authentic experience.
Scotchies (3 locations): 2 Chelsea Ave., Kingston, Jamaica, +1(876) 906-0602
St. Ann’s Bay, St. Ann, Jamaica, +1 (876) 953-8041
Jarrett Street, Montego Bay, Jamaica, +1(876) 953-8041
It’s hard to imagine finding authentic Italian cuisine on an island 5,000 miles away from Italy, but Toscanini is as close as it gets to the real thing. Owned and operated by the Ricci siblings, the restaurant is an impeccable combination of outstanding cuisine and service. Located at the beautiful Harmony Hall Art Gallery, the restaurant sits in a fully restored 19th century manse, giving diners a view into British colonial architecture. Regular customers know it would be a sin to leave the restaurant without having their profiteroles for dessert. The decadent cream puffs are coated in the restaurant’s special dark chocolate sauce, providing the perfect end to any meal.
Toscanini, A3 Highway, Tower Isle, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, +1(876) 975-4785
M-10 is a hot spot for anyone looking for quality food in a lively setting for a reasonable price. The bar menu is almost as extensive as the dining menu, making this a popular place for happy hour, especially on Friday evenings. The ambiance is casual and electric, allowing Kingston locals to forget the troubles of 9-to-5 jobs and enjoy a cold rum and coconut water. If you love seafood, you can’t miss the restaurant’s all-you-can-eat crab night every Tuesday. You’ll have your choice of curried, spicy, garlic, and sweet-and-sour crab, served with an array of sides ranging from traditional rice and peas to potato wedges.
M-10 Bar and Grill, 6 Vineyard Road, Vineyard Town, Kingston, Jamaica, +1(876) 930-2112
Hidden away in the hills of the gorgeous Blue Mountain Range is EITS Café, an acronym for ‘Europe In The Summer’. The restaurant is a refreshing escape from the unbearable heat and noise in Kingston, melding the best of Jamaican and European cuisine. The restaurant is known for their farm-to-table approach, sourcing all of their produce from their own organic garden. Under the covered outdoor veranda, your table will look out to spectacular views of lush forested canopies. You might hear the soft patter of rain on the roof or the gentle beats of reggae being played by locals a few miles down the road. No matter what, the experience will be one you’ll always remember.
EITS Café, 17 Mile Post, Newcastle, Saint Andrew, Jamaica, +1 (876) 944-8151
Locals know that a Sunday trip to Hellshire Beach is more about the food than the beach. Hellshire Beach is Kingston’s city beach and it has become a hub for some of the island’s best fried fish. And the best of the best is found at Aunt Merl’s Fish Place. It doesn’t get any better than sitting right by the beach knowing that whatever you’re eating was caught just a few hours before. Customers have the unique experience of picking a whole fish from an igloo of the morning’s catch. The most popular dish is fried fish served with ‘festival’ or a cassava flat bread called bammy. Sit under their thatch-covered patio and stick your toes in the sand while eating your perfectly cooked fish or lobster.
Aunt Merl’s Fish Place, Half Moon Bay, Hellshire Beach, Portmore, Jamaica, +1(876) 587-8475
After the abolition of slavery in the 1830s, East Indian indentured laborers traveled to British-colonized Jamaica to work on farms and plantations. Many of the families that settled never left, bringing with them traditions, customs and cuisine that have inspired the Jamaican flavors of today. Indian restaurants are located all over the island, but one of the best, in quality and service, is Tamarind. The restaurant offers both Indian and Asian fusion dishes for vegetarians and meat-eaters. One order of the buttery naan won’t be enough to catch the delicious gravies from their masala and korma dishes.
Tamarind Indian Cuisine, 18-22 Barbican Road, Orchid Plaza, Kingston, Jamaica, +1(876) 977-0695
On the most western tip of the island, close to some of Jamaica’s most pristine beaches, lies Murphy’s West End Restaurant. It is a traveler’s paradise for great vibes and even better food. Patrons enjoy homemade food as good as any Jamaican mother will make. Portions are filling but very reasonably priced. Hammocks hang under the thatched-roof seating area, providing the perfect place to recover from your food coma. Enjoy an ice-cold Red Stripe or coconut water straight from the fruit. If you happen to go for breakfast, try Jamaica’s national dish, ackee and saltfish served with fried dumplings called johnnycakes.
Murphy’s West End Restaurant, West End Road, Negril, Jamaica, +1(876) 367-0475
A meal at Mi Hungry isn’t one you’ll ever feel guilty about. The restaurant’s entire menu is raw, vegan, gluten-free and surprisingly delicious. We know what you’re thinking. This is going to take some convincing. Order their pizza made with a crust of dehydrated nuts and seeds topped with fresh tomato sauce and loaded with fresh vegetables and a creamy cheese substitute made of sunflower seeds. Still unsure? If we can’t convince you then the friendly Rastafarian owners will, as they will share their passion for whole foods and health with you. Pair any of their savory dishes with a nutritious juice made fresh every day from all the tropical fruits Jamaica has to offer.
Mi Hungry Whol’-Some-Food, Shop #24A, Market Place, 67 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica, +1 (876) 908-1771
Little Ochie is one of Jamaica’s greatest hidden treats, located on the southern coast of the island in a sleepy fishing village called Alligator Pond. Few tourists make it here, perhaps because of the distance from most resorts and hotels, or perhaps the locals just hope to keep it a secret. When you first arrive, the smell of fish and saltwater hit your senses as you watch fishermen drive their boats onto the sand to sell the evening’s catch. The fish is always fresh, made with recipes that have kept the business thriving since its opening in 1989. Whatever you order is sure to be amazing.
Little Ochie, Alligator Pond, Manchester, Jamaica, +1(876) 852- 6430