- Nabila Khouri
On the western tip of Jamaica, what was once a small fishing village has become a renowned paradise for anyone seeking miles of white sand beaches, friendly people, and excellent food. Negril has some of the Caribbean’s best hotels and resorts, but venture into local restaurants and seek local street food for the best that the area has to offer.
Murphy’s West End Restaurant
Murphy’s is a simple beach hut serving spectacular breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. You’ll enjoy homemade food and filling portions, for a very reasonable price. Hammocks hang under the thatched roof seating area, making it the perfect spot to hang out with friends while sipping ice cold Red Stripe and listening to reggae. Have their jerk chicken served with rice and peas and fried plantains for a taste of a Jamaican classic. If you go once, you’ll be sure to go back just to hang out with the friendly hosts.
Murphy’s West End Restaurant, West End Road, Negril, Jamaica, +1(876) 367-0475
Zimbali’s Mountain Cooking Studio
Hidden away in the mountains, just outside of Negril, Zimbali’s offers a welcomed change from the hot, bustling beach scene. The restaurant is part of the small hotel, Zimbali Retreats, which believes in holistic, authentic, cultural experiences that will get you closer to nature and feeling completely rejuvenated at the end of your visit. The restaurant offers a creative, primarily vegetarian menu created from the freshest ingredients, grown on the property’s own organic farm. They invite guests to tour the farm before or after their meals, allowing you to see how they are able to sustainably operate the retreat all year round. They pride themselves on happily catering to anyone with special dietary needs, including vegans and people on gluten-free diets.
3 Dives Restaurant and Cliff Bar
At 3 Dives, you’ll be dining cliff side while enjoying some of the best jerk in Negril. It is neither fancy nor fast, but it’s a relaxed environment where food is to be relished and enjoyed to the fullest. Their jerk comes with a homemade ‘granny’ sauce that is so good, many visitors take bottles of it home. Every year the restaurant hosts a Jerk Festival, inviting locals and tourists to come enjoy good music, excellent food and good irie vibes. Summer months are lobster season in Jamaica, and you won’t want to miss the grilled lobster at 3 Dives. Make sure to get an extra helping of granny sauce too.
Negril’s coastal geography offers both white sand beaches and rocky limestone cliffs. The restaurant, located at the Rockhouse Hotel, rests between picturesque cliffs and an oasis of lush tropical vegetation. You’ll have panoramic views of the cerulean blue ocean while dining on an island inspired menu that highlights the best of Caribbean cuisine. The fresh, seasonal ingredients used in the restaurant are sourced from the hotel’s organic garden located on the property. Arrive for an early dinner and you’ll have front row seats to one of the most spectacular sunsets on the planet. The stunning setting is perfect for intimate, romantic dinners.
Rockhouse Restaurant, Rockhouse Hotel, West End Rd, Negril, Jamaica, +1(876) 957-4373
Just Natural is a vegetarian and seafood restaurant nestled on the vegetated cliffs of Negril. Family owned and operated, it is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Though the menu isn’t extensive, whatever you order is extremely fresh, having been harvested or caught that day. The decor is simple and rustic, using the best from land and sea to complement the beautiful environment that will surround you no matter where you sit. The cooks and hosts are attentive and friendly, making you feel relaxed and at home in their small Eden by the sea.
Just Natural, West End Road, Negril, Jamaica, +1(876) 957-0235
Jamaican patties are a popular street food beloved and eaten all over the island. They resemble empanadas or meat pies, and have a flaky, buttery crust usually filled with beef, chicken, or vegetables. Mostly sold in local chain restaurants, it’s hard to find restaurants that take the time to hand make their own. Niah’s is known throughout Negril for delicious patties that are made to order for every customer. They come in flavors varying from traditional beef to lobster, and unlike other patties, they tend to be fried instead of baked. Like most street food, Niah’s Patties is run from a small shack built right on the beach for clear views of the ocean while you eat.
Presley’s Bar and Grill
Presley’s is hard to miss. The Negril institution is one of the brightest buildings on West End Road. The first thing you’ll see is the painted banner with a black and white portrait of Presley smiling back at you. Beloved by all, you’ll find him cooking up the most delicious lobster dinner you’ve ever had. The restaurant is small and homey, and though the set up is simple, Presley has taken special effort in making sure guests feel they are getting the best in food and service. Bring a small flag from your home country and Presley will add it to his collection that hangs on the walls of the restaurant.
Presley’s Bar and Grill, West End Road, Negril, Jamaica +1(876) 440-9833
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Fireman’s Lobster Pit
Fireman’s is known especially for the freshness of the lobster and crab they serve. In Jamaica all the seafood is fresh, but at Fireman’s you’ll pick the living crab or lobster you want to eat right out of the pots that wade in the shallow bay. Wait about an hour and it will be at your table, piping hot and covered in their unique garlic and ginger butter. We recommend going an hour and a half before you plan to eat. Pick your crab or lobster, and while you wait, take a walk on the beach or enjoy a cocktail at a local bar or hotel. The servings are huge and the prices are always reasonable.
Ras Rody’s Roadside Organic
This small shack on the sidewalk might not look like much at first, but the food here is phenomenal and won’t leave you feeling full and lethargic for the rest of your day’s activities. Everything is organic and vegan, or as the Rastafarians who run the shop say, the food is ital. Strict Rastafarians adhere to a primarily vegetarian diet, eating foods they believe will promote longevity. The owners of the shop, Shadrock and Keshina, love sharing their culture and passion for health and wellness. Even the most dedicated carnivores will find the food flavorful and satisfying.
Ivan’s Bar and Restaurant
A meal at Ivan’s will be one of your best while in Negril. The food is a celebration of the Jamaican kitchen, blending familiar flavors with other international cuisines. You’ll dine al fresco over the limestone cliffs. The soothing sound of crashing waves and the stunning sunsets create a peaceful ambiance that make it seem as though you were hovering over the ocean. As it gets dark, you might see the blinking lights of boats passing in the distance or the light of the moon reflecting on the dark water. Relax and enjoy the amazing service from the wonderful staff, who make it clear that their main priority is the happiness of their guests.