Because of the many all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, tourists tend not to go out for dining that much, having already paid for everything in their holiday packages. Despite the many resorts, there are actually a lot more independent restaurants serving up top-class Jamaican dishes than you would have expected.
Having a meal at any of these restaurants reveals the wide array of quality food and authentic flavours that represent the side of Jamaica that you never knew existed. Here are ten restaurants you can visit on your next trip to Jamaica.
1. USAIN BOLT’S TRACKS AND RECORDS, KINGSTON
A massive, vibrant restaurant and sports bar in Uptown Kingston, themed after Reggae and Dancehall music, with “record” menu,” and of course the Jamaican speedster himself (with the logo of his famous lightning pose), whose achievements are displayed on the large televisions, along with other historic sporting moments. The menu (“Nyammings”) include Croque Massa along with ‘bungles’ of fries and penne.
2. THE HOUSEBOAT GRILL, MONTEGO BAY
The ambience seems a bit unusual, in a wooden, double-decker boathouse on a ghostly dark lagoon, but there is no doubting the quality that the Houseboat Grill produces. Menus are started with tropical appetisers followed by sumptuous French-inspired entrees, or local lobster. There are countless top-shelf liquors in the bar if you join the crowd of Jamaican patrons.
3. MURPHY’S WEST END RESTAURANT, NEGRIL
On the most westerly tip of Jamaica, close to the home of the Island’s most immaculate beaches, lies Murphy’s West End Restaurant. It is a traveller’s paradise for amazing food and a great Island vibe. Visitors indulge in homemade Jamaican food that is a great as any Jamaican grandma will make. Portions are very reasonable and filling. The seating area has hammocks hanging under the tapas-syle roof, providing a perfect place to recover from the food coma, with a glass of “the coldest Red Stripe Beer on the Island”.
4. MISS T’S KITCHEN, OCHO RIOS
This laid-back restaurant provides diners with a full sense of the dignity Jamaican’s have over their people and country. The Island setting provides the ideal ambience for indulging in the restaurants honey-fried chicken, grilled lobster or curry goat. They even offer vegetarian dishes with daily menus that never substitute meat with flavour. Beat the Caribbean heat with ice-cold juices made fresh daily.
5. SCOTCHIES, KINGSTON
Your Jamaican trip is incomplete until you've had some authentic Jerk Chicken and the perfect place to get it is at Scotchies. As soon as you set foot in Scotchies, you will encounter a line of about 20 feet long, but every minute of the wait is totally worth it. This is one of the best places in the Caribbean to get a taste of history, to go alongside your fiery Jamaican dish. The method they use to smoke the meat on logs of Jamaican allspice trees is originated from the tribal communities from about five centuries ago. Throughout the years the marinade of evolved to shows the island’s love for flavours and spices.
Now renamed and under new ownership
6. CIAO JAMAICA, NEGRIL
Situated upstairs in an elegant, open-sided gingerbread-style architecture, with tables on the wraparound balcony and the cheerful bustle of salsa as well as one-drop reggae music. The Jamaican and Italian affair, as the name would suggest — pizzas and calzones and penne giamaica (with jerk sausage). There is also a hookah lounge and a Kids menu.
7. M-10 BAR AND GRILL, KINGSTON
M-10 Bar And Grill is the perfect spot for anyone looking for great food in a vibrant setting at an affordable price. The liquor menu is almost as extensive as the dinner menu, making this spot ideal for happy hour, especially on Fridays. The backdrop is laid-back and electric, allowing visitors to forget about the hustle and bustle and enjoy chilled rum and coconut water. If you love seafood, Tuesday night is your night, when the restaurant has its all-you-can-eat crab night. You will have your sweet and sour and curried, spicy, garlic crab, served with a variety of sides ranging from potato wedges to traditional rice and peas.
8. THE ALMOND TREE, HIBISCUS LODGE HOTEL, OCHO RIOS
At The Almond Tree, you dine to a cliffside ambience high above the Caribbean Sea in Ocho Rios. The restaurant’s onymous almond tree grows through the ceiling of the gingerbread-style bar, which itself is innovative because of it’s ‘swinging chairs’ on ropes. The menu is International and Jamaican so that you can expect kingfish in coconut before your pumpkin soup or lobster thermidor.
9. EITS CAFÉ, NEWCASTLE, ST. ANDREW
Tucked away in the hills of the lofty Blue Mountain Range is EITS(‘Europe In The Summer’) Café. The restaurant is a fresh escape from the red hot Kingston heat and bustle, blending the best of European and Jamaican cuisine. The restaurant is known to have a farm-to-table reputation, with all of their produce coming from their garden. Under the roofed outdoor terrace, you will be blessed with scenic views of amazing frosted canopies. You might hear reggae beats being played a couple of miles down the road or the pitter patter of rain on the roof. Whatever the experience is, it will be on to remember.
10. JACK SPRAT, TREASURE BEACH, ST. ELIZABETH
Situated in a garden just above the beach, Jack Sprat is themed to Reggae music, complete with film posters and album covers all over the walls and a jukebox — and of course, reggae playing in the background. Tables are set inside the island-style house and laid out undersea almond trees. There are an amazing seafood and a wicked Jamaican-style pizza too. There are also weekly bonfires on the beach.