JAMAICAN CUISINE is a broad term that implies a unique cooking style native to Jamaica. Although it’s almost impossible to pinpoint the origins of this uniquely Jamaican food, one thing is for certain; there isn’t another country on earth that can boast such an exciting array of popular dishes. From jerk chicken and curried goat to jerk pork and poi, there’s something for everyone in this famous Caribbean island nation.
Jamaican cuisine – Famous dishes
Jamaican cuisine is a fusion of West African, Spanish, British, and indigenous Taíno flavours, creating a unique and flavorful culinary style. Here are some popular dishes and ingredients found in Jamaican cuisine:
- Jerk Chicken: a spicy dish made with a blend of herbs and spices, including allspice, thyme, and Scotch bonnets.
- Ackee and Saltfish: the national dish of Jamaica made with ackee fruit and salted cod.
- Rice and Peas: a staple side dish made with kidney beans and coconut milk.
- Jamaican Patties: a pastry filled with spiced meat, vegetables, or cheese.
- Callaloo: a leafy green vegetable dish often made with spinach or taro leaves.
- Curry Goat: a spicy dish made with goat meat and a blend of spices.
- Yams: a starchy root vegetable commonly boiled, fried, or roasted.
- Jamaican Rum: A spirit made from sugarcane and known for its smooth, rich flavour.
Get familiar with Jamaican food. There’s nothing like the herbs and spices-infused food from Jamaica, so eat to your heart’s content while you’re on this Caribbean island.
Jerk cuisine—chicken, lobster, fish, or pork—is world-famous and originated in Jamaica.
The mix of sweet and savoury spices on the meat for every palate is irresistible. Jamaicans are also known for their Ital cuisine, which promotes fresh fruits and vegetables developed by Rastafarians to encourage a healthy lifestyle.
You can also try Jamaican patties and flaky pastries with fillings like meat, vegetables, and cheese. Other Jamaican dishes to check out our curried goat, coconut shrimp, rice and peas, and a vegetable dish called callaloo made with amaranth, taro, or Xanthosoma.
Whare to try the world’s best Jamaican Food or Jamaican Cuisine?
To fully appreciate JAMAICAN CUISINE’s unique flavours and textures, you must experience it first-hand. Fortunately, visiting Jamaica is an easy journey from here! With so many top-notch restaurants in Montego Bay and Port Royal serving up authentic JAMAICAN CUISINE, you won’t lack when you visit this slice of paradise.
Below is the list of famous restaurants in Jamaica to taste world-famous and delicious Jamaican food.
You can’t leave the island without eating jerk chicken, pork, or fish at Scotchies. Locals recommend it if you want to have an authentic dining experience on the island.
The mouth-watering aroma of freshly grilled food from the open pit welcomes diners. Having a bite of their savoury and smoky jerk food is traditionally spiced and served with side dishes. Then make your food spicy with their homemade sauce created with scotch bonnet peppers.
Enjoy the jerked meat with coconut-infused rice and peas, roast breadfruit, or the mildly sweet and crispy festival bread.
Neighbourhood: Ocho Rios and Montego Bay
Type: Authentic Jamaican cuisine
#2. Rockhouse Restaurant
With great sunset, cliffs, and the Caribbean Sea view, fine dining at Rockhouse Restaurant is wonderful for an energy-filling breakfast or romantic dinner.
Their menu is refined with ingredients from Rockhouse’s garden. Some of the best dishes they serve include the fresh-tasting coconut shrimp or a rich coconut chicken, blackened mahi-mahi with mango chutney, and snapper steamed in a banana leaf.
Neighbourhood: West End Road, Negril
Type: Caribbean, Jamaican, Seafood cuisine
#3. Zimbali’s Mountain Cooking Studio
Farm-to-table cooking at Zimbali’s Mountain Cooking Studio is a must-try for foodies who want an immersive dining experience. Take a look at their beautiful garden room or have a farm tour in the mountains. The chefs prepare your meal in front of you and have little facts about the food and ingredients they use.
Every bit of their black bean stuffed samosa, a hot bowl of pumpkin soup, and banana coconut sushi tastes fresh and delicious. But there’s more on their menu, so explore your options from their organic choices.
Neighbourhood: Canaan Mountain, Negril
Type: Caribbean, Jamaican, International cuisine
Best for: Families with children or vegetarians
#4. Just Natural
Come and relax at Just Natural. Eat organic and seafood dishes surrounded by a rustic yet charming garden with herbs and fruits used in their menu.
Sit by an intimate spot with mismatched recycled tables and chairs. Hearty meals like their smooth and soft lobster meat or the healthy callaloo omelette. Other popular breakfast or lunch choices are vegan burritos, fish, and pasta.
You’re paying for the food and ambience at an affordable price, making this restaurant one of the best values in Jamaica.
Neighbourhood: Hylton Avenue, Negril
Type: Caribbean, Jamaican, healthy cuisine with vegetarian-friendly options
Best for: Vegetarians, healthy-conscious foodies
#5. Ivan’s Bar and Restaurant
Taste Jamaican cuisine with a modern twist plus a scenic view while dining at Ivan’s Bar and Restaurant.
Treat yourself to fresh lobster dinners while seated at an open-sided thatched roof or any private tables near the cliff’s edge. These romantic settings are perfect for romantic meals under the stars.
Get a tasty and hot mango chicken or the creamy jerk chicken penne, which has a balanced spicy jerk flavouring. Then wrap your meal up with a luscious triple chocolate cake or cheesecake.
Neighbourhood: West End Road, Negril
Type: Caribbean, Jamaican, American cuisine
Best for Couples or groups of friends
#6. Miss T’s Kitchen
Miss T’s Kitchen welcomes its diners with an open and colourful setting. Listen to reggae beats while savouring authentic Jamaican food.
Drink a rum concoction and match it with one of their best dishes, like oxtail stew seasoned with herbs and spices. Their thick and creamy curried goat with savoury flavour is something to try, too. For a spicy meal, try their fish escovitch served with pickled carrots, onions, and fiery scotch bonnet pepper.
Neighbourhood: Main Street, Ocho Rios
Best for Groups of friends, solo travellers
#7. Fireman’s Lobster Pit
Looking for a seafood place? Fireman’sLocals and tourists love fireman’s Lobster Pit for its fresh seafood menu. The laidback outdoor seating with a relaxing ocean view is perfect for dining at any time of the day.
Don’t miss out on their mouth-watering lobsters and king crabs grilled over pimento wood. These perfectly seasoned and smothered garlic butter seafood meals taste even better when paired with an ice-cold Red Stripe beer.
Neighbourhood: Norman Manley Boulevard, Negril
Best for Seafood lovers, families, groups
#8. Juice Patties
Nothing can beat an authentic Jamaican patty, so try one at Juici Patties. It’s the largest fast-food chain in Jamaica, with over 60 branches.
Their tasty, hot, and inexpensive patties have different fillings like chicken, beef, cheese, shrimp, ackee, and soy. Heavier meal options include ackee and Saltfish, callaloo and Saltfish, chicken and chips, and soups.
Despite the long line, the fast and quick service makes it even better for those who are in a rush for their next destination.
Neighbourhood: St. James, Montego Bay; Falmouth, Trelawny Parish; Newline St, Ocho Rios, and more
Type: Fast-food, Jamaican
Best for: Any type of traveller
#9. Devon House I-Scream
Dessert lovers line up at Devon House I-Scream. This ice cream parlour serves the best sweet treat after your outdoor activities.
Enjoy a scoop or two from the selection of sweet and creamy ice cream flavours while strolling around for sightseeing. Try out the creamy coffee ice cream, silky pistachio, classic grape nut, or their new ginger-based ice cream packed with intense spice flavour and salted caramel flavour.
Neighbourhood: Hope Road, Kingston
Type: Jamaican Dessert
Best for: Sweet tooth, families with kids, solo travellers, friends
#10. Smurfs Cafe
Looking for a place to enjoy your breakfast or lunch? Smurfs Cafe serves fresh, hot, and delicious food,, which is perfect for budget-conscious travellers.
Their must-try dishes include ackee and saltfish and callaloo omelette. Eat these while enjoying a cup of freshly roasted coffee to start your day.
Neighbourhood: Treasure Beach, Jamaica
Type: Caribbean, Cafe, Jamaican