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When it comes to food, Jamaica is a genuine paradise. This island nation offers endless culinary delights, from fiery jerk chicken to sweet and sticky puddings. But with so many choices, where should you start? Here are the best restaurants in Jamaica that will blow your mind.
There is a bevy of traditional dishes, including many different dining experiences, from fine dining to excellent street food.
This article will explore what and where to eat in Jamaica. It will discuss the different types of food available and the restaurants and eateries that offer the best cuisine on the island.
Tourism is a vital part of the Jamaican economy, accounting for nearly 20% of the country’s GDP. So, go outside your resort and try the local restaurants and street food to make the most of your cultural experience!
- Types of Traditional Jamaican Food
- 1. Jerk Chicken
- 2. Curry Goat
- 3. Ackee and Saltfish
- 4. Patties
- 5. Pudding
- 6. Rum Cake
- Best Places to Eat in Jamaica
- Ivan’s Bar and Restaurant
- Rick’s Cafe
- Miss T’s Kitchen
- Rockhouse Restaurant
- Bamboo Avenue
- Sugar Mill Restaurant
- The HouseBoat Grill
- Bourbon Beach
- Kenny’s Italian Cafe
- The Pelican Grill
- Evita’s Italian Restaurant
- Zimbali’s Mountain Cooking Studio
- Lorna’s Jamaican Cooking
- The restaurant at Strawberry Hill Hotel
- Final Thoughts
- What are some of the best places to eat in Jamaica?
- What is the most famous restaurant in Jamaica?
- What is the most popular food in Kingston?
Types of Traditional Jamaican Food
1. Jerk Chicken
Jamaican jerk chicken is one of the most famous Jamaican dishes on the island, and for a good reason – it’s delicious! The chicken is marinated in a spicy sauce made from peppers, onions, and thyme then cooked over a charcoal grill.
The result is a tender, juicy chicken with a fiercely spicy, smoky flavor that will excite your taste buds. One of the best spots to try jerk chicken in Jamaica is Scotchie’s. This restaurant is legendary for its delicious jerk chicken, and it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
2. Curry Goat
Curry goat is another popular Jamaican dish that’s sure to send your taste buds into a frenzy. The goat is cooked in a spicy curry sauce made from peppers, onions, herbs, and spices. It’s a hearty dish perfect for a winter meal and will warm you up from the inside out.
3. Ackee and Saltfish
Ackee and saltfish is a classic Jamaican dish made from ackee, a type of fruit native to Jamaica, and salted codfish. The ackee is cooked in a spicy sauce with onions, tomatoes, and all sorts of herbs and spices, and the codfish is added to give the dish a delectable salty flavor.
Patties are Jamaican pastries made from flour, butter, milk, and salt, similar to the British Cornish Pastie.
The dough is filled with various fillings, including beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, or vegetables. Patties are famous all over the island, and you can find them at street stalls and restaurants.
Pudding is a type of dessert that’s popular worldwide, and Jamaica has its unique version of this classic dish. Jamaican pudding is made from cornmeal, milk, sugar, and butter, and it’s typically cooked in a pot over a stove. It’s a delicious dessert that’s perfect for any occasion, and you can find it at restaurants and street stalls all over the island.
6. Rum Cake
Jamaican rum cake is made from flour, sugar, eggs, butter, baking powder, vanilla extract, and plenty of dark rum. It’s sometimes baked in a Bundt pan and is a delicious dessert for any occasion.
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Best Places to Eat in Jamaica
Ivan’s Bar and Restaurant
The most well-known and best restaurant in Jamaica might be Ivan’s Bar and Restaurant. Ivan’s Bar and Restaurant is an excellent option for first-time and returning visitors since it offers a modern Jamaican twist and scenic views.
When you dine at Ivan’s Restaurant, you will enjoy Jamaican food with a contemporary spin and gorgeous vistas. Lounge under the thatched roof or private cliffside tables and enjoy fresh grilled lobster dinners. This romantic environment is ideal for a lovely dinner beneath the sky.
Grab some delicious mango chicken or creamy chicken penne from the menu. Wrap this meal in three-tier ice cream cakes or cheesecakes for a fancy finish.
Rick’s Cafe is one of Jamaica’s most popular restaurants and offers visitors a unique experience. Rick’s is an iconic landmark in Negril and certainly worth a trip.
Located at the top of a 35-foot high cliff on the far west end of Jamaica, it boasts some of the best, uninterrupted sunsets in the world. The food is good but a little pricey. And while the atmosphere is pleasant enough, there’s not much to do after sunset – save eat.
So if you’re looking for fabulous sunsets and good food, Rick’s Cafe is worth a visit. But if you’re looking for a complete Jamaican cuisine experience, other options might be better suited to your needs.
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Miss T’s Kitchen
The food is delicious and well-known in the area for its emphasis on classic Jamaican cuisine. It’s in downtown Ocho Rios and is widely recognized as a lovely restaurant for the great local food, excellent service, and pleasant ethereal atmosphere. It’s a fantastic experience for everyone who visits.
Miss T’s Kitchen is known to have a wide variety of dishes to choose from, and the atmosphere is enjoyable and relaxed. I recommend checking it out if you’re in this part of Jamaica!
Rockhouse Restaurant is an excellent choice for tourists looking for a romantic evening out. The restaurant is lit at night with torchlights and candlelight, creating a cozy atmosphere. It’s also great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The views of the Jamaican coastline are stunning, and the food is delicious. Rockhouse Restaurant is a must-visit for tourists in Jamaica.
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Bamboo Avenue in Ocho Rios is great for authentic Jamaican food. The restaurants along this street serve traditional dishes such as curried goat, oxtail stew, and jerk chicken.
This is a great place to experience the culture of Jamaica, as the food is cooked using traditional methods and ingredients.
Bamboo Avenue is also a great place to find other Jamaican souvenirs, such as paintings and sculptures. If you’re looking for a truly authentic Jamaican experience, Bamboo Avenue is the place to go!
Scotchies is a favorite place to eat in Jamaica for a few reasons. First, the food is cooked over pimento wood, which gives it a unique flavor that is authentic and highly praised by locals. Second, the jerk dishes they serve are considered the best in the country.
Having sampled them firsthand, I’m tempted to agree. And finally, their traditional spiced chicken and pork is mouth-wateringly delicious and can be ordered with fish as a less-fiery alternative. So if you’re looking for a fantastic traditional Jamaican meal, check out Scotchies.
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Sugar Mill Restaurant
Sugar Mill Restaurant is in the famed Half Moon Resort, one of Jamaica’s most luxurious resorts. It far exceeded our expectations when we stopped for a bite. This is an excellent option for fine dining in an exquisite environment where you will experience renowned hospitality and delicious Jamaican cuisine.
The Sugar Mill is set in a restored 18th-century sugar plantation and mill. You will enjoy fantastic Jamaican specialties such as jerk pork, curried goat, callaloo, rice and peas, and plantains.
There are also plenty of international favorites like pasta dishes and steak. Our mouths water just thinking about the memories! The Sugar Mill is open for dinner from 6:00–10:00 p.m. daily. Reservations are required, so be sure to book early to avoid disappointment!
The HouseBoat Grill
The HouseBoat Grill is one of the best restaurants in Jamaica for two reasons. First, the food is genuinely excellent. The menu features a wide variety of seafood dishes and chicken, pork, and beef options. There’s something for everyone at this restaurant.
Second, the setting is beautiful. Utterly beautiful. The restaurant is on a small ferry boat in Montego Bay, and diners can enjoy stunning water views while eating. If you’re looking for a unique and memorable dining experience, The HouseBoat Grill is worth checking out.
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Bourbon Beach is a restaurant in Negril, Jamaica, known for its jerk cuisine. The restaurant is open on Monday nights, but you can also find food vendors walking on the beach during a concert.
The reviews of this restaurant are positive, with travelers stating that the service is good and that the jerk chicken and pork are some of the best they have had. If you want an excellent place to eat in Negril, Bourbon Beach is worth checking out.
Kenny’s Italian Cafe
Kenny’s Italian Cafe is the perfect place to taste Italy in Negril, Jamaica. The cafe offers a variety of delicious Italian dishes, as well as a relaxed atmosphere for chatting and enjoying the evening.
Kenny’s Italian Cafe is open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., and in the evening, it becomes an attractive venue for a romantic dinner, with lounge music and comfy chairs.
Kenny’s Italian Cafe is the perfect place to relax and have a great time while enjoying some of the best Italian food on the island.
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The Pelican Grill
The Pelican Grill is a family-owned and managed restaurant serving locals for 50 years, offering only the freshest Jamaican home cuisine in Montego Bay.
The Pelican Grill serves a variety of Authentic Jamaican foods, including Jerk Chicken, Oxtail, Curried Goat, Stew Peas, and not to mention their delectable soups such as red peas, pumpkin, and pepper pot.
The Pelican Grill is the place to go if you want a real Jamaican culture and authentic dishes. Their courteous staff will make you feel welcome, and their wide selection of dishes will leave you wanting more.
Evita’s Italian Restaurant
If you want a fine dining experience in Ocho Rios, Evita’s is perfect. The restaurant is located in an authentic 1860s gingerbread house, which gives it a warm and welcoming ambiance. You can enjoy lunch or dinner indoors or outdoors on the veranda, which offers excellent views of the cruise ship piers and Ocho Rios.
The menu specializes in hearty Northern Italian food, but there is also an extensive selection of Jam-Italian fusion dishes. Whether you’re looking for fresh pasta, seafood, vegetarian, or meat entrees, Evita’s has something to suit your taste.
I’m impressed with the restaurant’s overall atmosphere and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a unique dining experience in Ocho Rios.
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Zimbali’s Mountain Cooking Studio
Zimbali’s Mountain Cooking Studio is the perfect destination for discerning gourmets seeking an immersive dining experience. Located in the stunning mountains outside Negril, the studio offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
But it’s not just the setting that makes Zimbali a must-visit for food lovers. The chef prepares each meal meticulously, using only the freshest ingredients from the surrounding area.
The menu features a range of Caribbean, Jamaican, and international dishes, so there’s something to suit every taste. And if you’re traveling with children or vegetarians, don’t worry – Zimbali’s has a diverse menu for all tastes and dietary requirements.
Lorna’s Jamaican Cooking
Lorna’s is one of Kingston’s most popular takeout restaurants, and it’s easy to see why. The dishes are hearty and flavorful, ranging from curry goats to oxtail and beans. The sides are just as tasty, with options like mashed potato pancakes and macaroni salad.
And for those looking for a healthy option, the stir-fried pakchoi is an excellent choice. But what sets Lorna’s apart from other restaurants is its quick service.
Lorna’s is the perfect spot whether you’re looking for a late dinner or a quick lunch. So if you’re ever in Kingston, stop by Lorna’s Jamaican Cooking. You won’t be disappointed.
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The restaurant at Strawberry Hill Hotel
If you’re looking for luxurious accommodations in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, look no further than Strawberry Hill Hotel. This lovely 11-bedroom hotel is perfect for travelers who want to experience Jamaican culture and cuisine.
The restaurant at Strawberry Hill Hotel is renowned for its fresh, local ingredients and mouth-watering dishes. Whether you’re looking for a light breakfast or a hearty dinner, you’ll find something to satisfy your appetite.
And if you’re in the mood for some evening entertainment, the hotel’s live music will get your toes tapping. So, if you’re planning a trip to Jamaica, add Strawberry Hill Hotel to your list of must-visit destinations.
The Summerhouse is the perfect place to enjoy a romantic dinner with your significant other. This upscale restaurant is in a 19th-century palace with a wing where you can enjoy a unique dining experience. The Summerhouse specializes in Jamaican and Caribbean Island cuisine, and the menu features a variety of seafood and grilled options.
The East Indian mezze platter is also a popular choice among visitors. If you’re looking to book a reservation, you can do so before you arrive at the Summerhouse.
Alternatively, you can try your luck by staying for a week and hope that the queue doesn’t require reservations. Either way, you will surely enjoy an unforgettable dining experience at the Summerhouse, one of the best restaurants in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
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If you’re planning a trip to this Caribbean paradise, check out these best restaurants in Jamaica to make the most of your visit to this beautiful country.
They all serve delicious meals and provide excellent service. You’ll be able to discover something to your taste at one of these restaurants, whether you’re searching for Jamaican classics or something a little more unusual.
All of the restaurants on this list offer great food and service, and they’re all located in some of the most beautiful areas of Jamaica. If you’re looking for a place to eat that’s both convenient and scenic, then be sure to check out one of these best restaurants in Jamaica.
What are some of the best places to eat in Jamaica?
There are many great places to eat in Jamaica, but some of our favorites include the jerk cuisine at Scotchies in Ocho Rios and the seafood at Pier 1 in Montego Bay.
What is the most famous restaurant in Jamaica?
Scotchie’s is Jamaica’s most renowned restaurant, with a distinctive experience for visitors. If you’re seeking genuine jerk cuisine with a laid-back atmosphere, Scotchie’s is the place to go.
What is the most popular food in Kingston?
The most popular food in Kingston is ackee and saltfish.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.