Jamaica has a number of eateries from fine dining to Jamaican dishes. Below are a few of our favorites.
The Appleton Estate
Tucked away in Jamaica’s lush and fertile Nassau Valley, the beautiful Appleton Estate has been producing its distinguished range of authentic Jamaican rums for over 265 years – making it the island’s oldest distillery and sugar estate still in operation.
Take a guided tour of the estate and discover the rich heritage and painstaking care that goes into crafting each bottle of these complex, warmly flavoured rums with a visit to the distillery and ageing house, where you’ll see historical artefacts from the estate’s long past and witness rum-making in action.
You can also sample the full range of rum varieties to appreciate each blend’s distinctive taste and aroma – from the classic Appleton Estate Signature Blend, to the Rare Blend 12 Year Old and Luxurious 21-Year-Old Jamaican Rum. Visitors can even pick up a bottle (or two) as a souvenir of your time in Jamaica.
The Houseboat Grill
For laid-back dining in a unique location, step aboard The Houseboat Grill, moored just off Montego Bay Freeport in the tranquil waters of the Bogue Lagoon. With a cosy indoor dining room and open decks perfect for admiring the view or counting the stars, this is a fantastic location to enjoy a range of local and globally-inspired dishes lovingly prepared by Chef Rich Nurse – think grilled north coast mahi mahi fillet with a wild rice pilaf, dashi roasted red pepper cream sauce, grilled bok choy and tomatoes, or grilled tenderloin of beef and grilled shrimp with spicy Scotch bonnet beurre blanc, accompanied by roasted garlic mashed potatoes and brown butter carrots. This is waterside dining at its very best.
Since 1984, Evita’s has been serving up a mouth-watering selection of fusion dishes that combine the best of Northern Italian and Jamaican cuisine. Set in a quaint Jamaican “Gingerbread” style house dating from the 1860s. Evita’s boasts a cosy interior and fabulous views over Ocho Rios and has played host to celebrities ranging from Kate Moss, Keith Richards and Naomi Campbell to Princess Margaret and Sir Anthony Hopkins. Try the “Jerk” Spaghetti (with spicy jerk sausage sautéed with onions, garlic and marinara sauce) or Lasagna “Rastafari” (vegetable lasagne with ackee and catalo) to see how skilfully Evita’s crafts Italian-style dishes using the best of authentic Jamaican produce.
Belinda’s Riverside Restaurant
An extremely popular stopping-off place for rafting tours travelling down the Rio Grande River, Belinda’s Riverside Restaurant has gained worldwide fame for its authentic Jamaican cooking. After slowly drifting down the river for an hour or so on a slender bamboo raft, your guide will bring you to this remote gem of an eatery for what is certain to be a highlight of your trip. Owner and chef Belinda prepares hearty feeds of mouth-watering chicken fricassee, crayfish curry, grilled parrotfish and other traditional dishes prepared from fresh, locally sourced ingredients – all cooked on a wood-fired grill within a rustic bamboo hut on the river’s edge. With accompaniments such as roasted breadfruit, fried plantain, dumplings and rice, this is good, simple cooking that is absolutely packed with flavour.
Situated in the stylish Mammee Bay Estate in Ocho Rios, Bamboo Blu is one of the few restaurants in Jamaica to offer oceanfront dining on its own private beach, complete with lounge chairs and cabanas for customers to use. Dine on innovative dishes inspired by Jamaican ingredients and cuisine – think grilled lobster, baked Bungo crab or honey jerk BBQ ribs – all crafted by Executive Chef Osmond Brown, who has worked at a selection of Jamaica’s top resorts. This is the perfect venue for a romantic dinner on the beach – you may even catch one of their evening bonfires or some live reggae music!
Dinner Terrace at the Jamaica Inn
Set within the breezy Jamaica Inn, an elegant family-run hotel which has been delighting visitors to Ocho Rios for over 50 years, the open-air Dinner Terrace overlooks a spectacular white-sand beach and the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea. Stop by for a light, reviving lunch of sandwiches, pasta, soup or Jamaican dishes such as curried goat with wild ginger, garlic and scotch bonnet pepper, or grilled snapper topped with spicy marinated julienne vegetables and served with potato salad. Then, as evening approaches, enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail in the oceanfront bar before dining on international dishes with an island twist – think chilled white peach and goat cheese soup, followed by a Caribbean seafood ragout in in a puff pastry vol-au-vent, or grilled lobster in season. This is gourmet seaside dining at its very best.
Sugar Mill at the Half Moon Resort
For relaxed fine dining in a unique, historic setting, look no further than Sugar Mill at the luxurious five-star Half Moon Resort. Set on the site of a 17th-century estate, complete with working waterwheel, this award-winning restaurant melds traditional Caribbean cuisine with a range of influences from Asia, Europe and Africa for a truly unforgettable dining experience. This is the perfect place to gain an appreciation for the rich diversity of island cooking and the quality of the local produce. Start with delights like smoked marlin carpaccio with codfish and crayfish brandade, before savouring entrées such as tea smoked duck breast with orange-coriander steamed bammy, citrus sauce, sorrel chutney and tempura okra – all while enjoying the atmospheric setting under the stars.