There are all-out jerk wars in Montego Bay. Restaurants fight fiercely for the title of the best jerk joint in the city, and no trip to this Caribbean destination is complete without trying at least a few of them. Of course, it’s not just Jamaican food available in MoBay: there are places that specialise in seafood, steaks and fusion cuisines, too. Here’s a round-up of the top places to dine, whatever you’re in the mood for.
The patties in the name of this fast-food restaurant are half moons of pastry stuffed with everything from beef to ackee. Owner Jukie started making them in his mum’s kitchen when he was 16 and now there’s a Juici Patties eatery in almost all of Jamaica’s parishes – testament to the taste. You’ll find the Montego Bay outlet on St James Street, a 10-minute walk from the Hip Strip.
On Falmouth Road, on the way out of Montego Bay, Scotchies is another jerk institution. The chicken and pork is grilled over pimento wood to give it an extra-smoky flavour. Dishes are served alongside classic Jamaican sides such as breadfruit, roasted yams and festival bread. Seating, meanwhile, takes the form of cushion-topped beer barrels set in the shade of a series of palapa-style huts. There’s a palapa-style bar, too, where they make a mean rum punch.
Try all the Jamaican classics at the Pelican Grill on the Hip Strip. Jerk chicken, curried shrimp, ackee and saltfish, rice and peas and callaloo – a spicy green vegetable dish – are all there to taste. If you can’t decide what to go for, try the calypso platter – it gives you a little bit of everything. Unexpectedly, the restaurant also has a reputation for making great milkshakes.
Ten acres (4ha) of former sugar plantation envelop Bellefield Great House – explore the gardens before you sit down to a meal in the restaurant. The menu here mixes and matches Jamaican dishes with foods from around the world, so you’ll find options such as Jamaican red pea soup and smoked marlin with bammy sticks alongside Greek salad and quesadillas. There’s a cocktail bar, too. The martinis come highly recommended.
Not got a place to stay yet? Book one of the best hotels, or one of the top budget hotels, in Montego Bay now with Culture Trip. And when you’re here, make your way around the best markets in Jamaica, or catch some waves at the finest surfing spots in the country, before ending your day at one of the liveliest nightlife spots in Montego Bay.
This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Nabila Khouri.