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Island of Jamaica: Top Talent in Best Restaurants



Visitors to Jamaica are in for a culinary treat! When visiting this Caribbean island, you'll find an array of fresh fresh, lobster, shrimp, and other types of seafood prepared with island spices, rice and peas, plantains, and breadfruit. Jerk chicken is the signature dish of Jamaica, and can be found at street vendors and almost every restaurant across the country. Some of the best jerk chicken can be found at Scotchie's, a legendary restaurant that now has several locations, while Murphy's West End in Negril has authentic dishes and an isolated location to truly relax. Float down a raft in Port Antonio to Belinda's outdoor kitchen for a home-cooked meal.

When you've had your fill of Jamaican dishes, we suggest heading over to Evita's for quality Italian fare or Tamarind for Asian fusion dishes. We've also tracked down a bakery in Kingston, Devon House, for out-of-this-world rum cheesecake, pastries, and shrimp and chicken patties.

For an elegant evening out, the Houseboat Grill serves up an eclectic menu on a floating restaurant in the calm waters of Montego Bay, or the Rockhouse Grill offers fine dining at a boutique hotel situated on the Negril's cliffs. Listen to peaceful reggae music and watch the sunset over the sparkling waters.

Here are the 10 best restaurants in Jamaica to help make your decisions easier.


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As part of the luxury Rockhouse hotel, this cliff side restaurant has a fantastic menu and sweeping views to match that make for a romantic dinner. Outdoor seating is available overlooking the sparkling water, and reggae music playing in the background sets the tone. Try one of their signature dishes like lobster blaze and crab turnover as an appetizer for two, before sampling the blackened Mahi Mahi served with mango and chutney, snapper steamed in banana leaves, and island shrimp curried in a papaya shrimp boat. Ordering a cocktail at lunch can easily lead to lingering around for sunset and dinner.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: This is ideal for couples looking for a fine-dining experience or friends that want to splurge on a nice evening out.

Amber's expert tip: Their new "pushcart" that features street-inspired cuisine like peppered shrimp and oxtail.

Read more about Rockhouse Negril →




This quaint restaurant's unique setting aboard a houseboat gives diners an opportunity to dine on the sea--literally and figuratively. Moored in the calm waters of the Montego Bay Marine Park Fish Sanctuary, the Houseboat Grill offers a picturesque setting. In the past, the boat has been a bar, restaurant, green room and even a setting for a movie. The menu boasts seafood dishes like New Zealand mussels, red snapper filets, and pepper shrimp. The landlubber's choices are excellent as well and include Jamaican-spiced pork medallions, fondue, and expertly seasoned steaks. The menu rotates often, so call ahead to make reservations (recommended) and check for specials.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The Houseboat Grill is more than just a beautiful setting, and the eclectic menu makes this a gem in MoBay.

Amber's expert tip: Don't miss the local bands during happy hour!

Read more about The HouseBoat Grill →




The smell of fresh pastries from the brick oven draws visitors in, but this darling little bakery also serves refreshing tea, coffee and house lemonade. Devon House is known for their chicken and shrimp patties which feature flaky dough, generous filling, and just the right amount of spice. Fresh doughnuts and rum and raisin cheesecake (with a fair amount of rum), as well as danishes, banana and fruit cakes, cookies, and potato pudding are local favorites. The staff is friendly and helpful, prices are extremely reasonable for the value of the items, and the outdoor garden offers the perfect setting to enjoy your meal.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Everything on the menu is worth going "off the diet" for!

Amber's expert tip: If they run out of the shrimp patties, wait for them!

Read more about Devon House Bakery →


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Set on the water, this shack might not seem like much but it has some of the best seafood on the island. You'll find fresh parrot fish, snapper, lobster, shrimp, and conch at this local dive, and diners can even choose their own seafood to be cooked. The snapper is prepared in foil and steamed with spices, onions, and okra - served with plastic silverware to boot. If you ask to spice it up, they will add some Scotch bonnet peppers (Jamaican Habanero peppers), so be ready for it! Indoor and outdoor seating are available and you can wash it all down with a cold Red Stripe.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: This is the place to go for island-style fresh fish.

Amber's expert tip: Be patient with the service, it can get busy at times!

Read more about Far Out Fish Hut →




This Kingston restaurant offers Indian and Asian fusion dishes with two chefs that specialize in kebobs and Chinese cuisine. The flavor of the items is enhanced with traditional spices from India, and then prepared in a traditional Tandoor oven. Dishes include marinated chicken tikka with spicy masala, coconut curry, kebobs with garlic and yogurt, and chickpea-battered salmon filets. Portions are very generous, so we recommend sharing with a second person. Reservations are accepted online and are suggested for large groups. Lunch specials are offered from Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 3pm. Be aware that they are closed on Mondays.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: This Indian-fusion restaurant is a solid "go-to" for lunch or dinner in Kingston.

Amber's expert tip: You can also try the new Saffron Indian Cuisine Restaurant, a sister store to the Tamarind.

Read more about Tamarind Indian Cuisine →




For a laid-back environment that is sure to put you in the relaxed, "no worries" mood, the Chill Out Hut is just the place. It offers sublime sunset views and dining on the beach or inside the hut, as well as swinging hammocks to kick off your shoes. The menu consists of a mix of American favorites like nachos, wings, cheeseburgers, and pasta as well as fried snapper and bammy. The bar features strong, tropical drinks that add to the ambiance as well as live reggae music and videos. It is ideal for weddings, romantic evenings, or just soaking in the vibes.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Tropical drinks and beach hammocks set the tone, and the cuisine completes the experience.

Amber's expert tip: Sundays features a weekly pig roast.

Read more about Chill Out Hut →


4
Ocho Rios


Scotchie's restaurant in Ocho Rios is said to have the most authentic jerk on the island. In fact, their food is so popular it now has three locations in Jamaica and has become somewhat of a legend on the island. Tiki huts provide covered seating, yet the restaurant looks like a shack with mouth-watering aromas pouring fro the smoky grills. Jerk chicken, pork, and festivals - a Jamaican twist on sweet bread sticks, are served with peas and rice, bread fruit, and plantains. Be careful with the homemade sauces, which are made with Scotch bonnet peppers (a seriously spicy pepper).

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: The ambiance of Scotchie's is just as authentic as the food.

Amber's expert tip: Be careful with the homemade sauces, which are made with Scotch bonnet peppers that make them very spicy!

Read more about Scotchies →


Evita's Italian Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Evita's Italian Restaurant


Located in Ocho Rios in an 1860's "gingerbread house" with wooden floors and a mahogany bar, Evita's earns its reputation as one of the city's most authentic Italian restaurants by serving a full menu of savory entrées, not just the standard pasta dishes that you will see at others. The restaurant serves a range of pastas (over 30 varieties), but the entrées like lasagna with ackee fish and fresh tomatoes, sautéed snapper in an orange sauce, and lobster in a white créme sauce steal the show. The extensive list of wines only compounds the esteem locals and visitors have for Evita's.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: For more than 25 years, Evita's has been the self-proclaimed "best little pasta house in Jamaica."

Amber's expert tip: You can enjoy lunch or dinner indoors or outdoors on the verandah overlooking the cruise ship piers.

Read more about Evita's Italian Restaurant →




This family-run jerk chicken spot is tucked away past the Negril lighthouse and also serves up the freshest fish made to order. The friendly owner whips up items like grey snapper, shrimps and lobster in a spicy curry and coconut cream sauce, or chicken with pumpkin mashed potatoes. It is easy to see they truly enjoy what they do, and can often be seen mingling and chatting with guests. Hammocks invite visitors to kick back and see a little slice of authentic Negril away from the hotels, and reasonable prices make this a stop that can fit into a budget vacation.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Murphy's has an isolated location, amazing food, and owners who genuinely appreciate your business.

Amber's expert tip: They aren't always open in the off-season, but keep trying!

Read more about Murphy's West End Restaurant →




Belinda's is an institution in Port Antonio and is a perfect lunch stop that can be reached via a peaceful ride down the river on a bamboo raft. Belinda and her daughter cook outdoors in several different pots on the river with a woodfire in her outdoor kitchen hut. She cooks up massive craw fish, barbecue, rice and peas, chicken, callaloo, soup, rice and dumplings. Three-hour relaxing rafting tours journey down the Rio Grande, and be sure to inform the captain of your vessel or hotel operator that you want to stop at Belinda's and they will make sure she has supplies in advance.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: For a true taste of Jamaica, this is home cooking at its finest!

Amber's expert tip: There is also an amazing swimming hole right near her outdoor kitchen.

Read more about Belinda's →


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Meet Amber Nolan

Originally from upstate New York, this restless traveler has a knack for befriending interesting characters. You can usually find her just about anywhere that has a hammock. Amber's favorite...  More About Amber

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