Jamaica is the fourth-largest country in the Caribbean. This island is well-known for its music and culture, stunning natural features, and, most notably, its cuisine. Jamaican cuisine draws from a wide range of global influences, including that of Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. A trip to this island is perfect for the gastronomic traveler as there are a variety of restaurants to choose from.
You'll need to be willing to travel across the island if you want to find the best eateries in Jamaica. The best way to experience the island's diverse cuisine is by staying at one of the all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. You can't go wrong with any of the great eateries in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Negril, or Whitehouse in the southern part of Jamaica.
Here are a few of our favorite restaurants that you’re sure to enjoy while vacationing on the island:
Ivan’s Restaurant and Bar is located at the Catcha Falling Star Resort in Jamaica. For fine dining, this restaurant is in the top 10 in the Negril area. Set by the ocean, this restaurant is a must for dinner and sunset while in Jamaica. At Ivan’s, you can enjoy candle-lit dining out on the patio near the cliff’s edge for amazing views.
Ivan’s serves up classic Caribbean cuisine with a modern twist. The menu at this restaurant includes favorites like jerk chicken and grilled lobster. Locals and visitors alike love Ivan’s for its vibrant atmosphere, free-flowing reggae music, and good service. If you're wondering what to order here, some diner favorites include jerk chicken penne pasta, crab cakes, and mango chicken.
The Rockhouse Restaurant in Negril sits on a clifftop right above the stunning Pristine Cove. If you want to enjoy traditional Caribbean cuisine made with fresh local ingredients, this restaurant is a fantastic choice. Rockhouse is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This restaurant is well-known for its delectable cuisine, extensive beverage menu, and breathtaking ocean views.
The service at Rockhouse is part of the reason diners love this Jamaican locale. On the menu, some of the most popular selections include grilled snapper, jerk chicken, Jamaican rancheros, and the smoked marlin sandwich. You can pair your meal with a range of freshly squeezed juices, as well as cocktails and wine. Rockhouse has an incredibly romantic atmosphere and it is a great place to spend an intimate afternoon that ends with an amazing sunset.
The Sugar Mill restaurant is located at the Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay. At this restaurant, the chefs combine international classics with Jamaican ingredients for a flavor-packed finish. With an elegant, open-air design. It also has a bit of a rustic feel, mostly due to its location at an old sugar mill. The Sugar Mill restaurant is known for its superb food and service, as well as its cozy, romantic setting.
Sugar Mill is only open for dinner from 6 pm to 10 pm. Once you're seated either out on the lawn or on a patio next to the centuries-old stone walls, you can scan through the menu to make a selection. Some of the popular options include oxtail ravioli, snapper poached in coconut and saffron, short ribs, spiked lobster, and beef tenderloin. Vegetarian options are available, including the cannoli entree. There’s also an extensive drinks menu at this restaurant. Before going, be sure to make a reservation!
If you enjoy casual dining, Scotchie’s restaurant in Montego Bay, Jamaica, may be precisely what you're searching for. This is one of those restaurants where you’re sure to enjoy great cuisine and leave satisfied. Scotchie's has friendly, fast service and a casual, welcoming vibe. Diner favorites include jerk chicken and pork, which are typically served with side dishes that are just as tasty. You can also try the jerk chicken or jerk pork wraps that have many foodies raving.
If you order anything spicy at Scotchie’s, pair it with coconut water, local juice, or even the local Jamaican beer, Red Stripe, for the best experience. Keep in mind as well that when you order fish, this item is prepared to order. While you wait, try the soup of the day for a more diverse dining experience. Other customer favorites at Scotchie’s are conch soup, festival corn, pork sausage, chicken sausage, and more. Enjoy your meal and drinks in one of the adorable tiki huts at this location.
Insider tip: Staying at an all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay or an all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios can position you near some of the best restaurants, bars, and entertainment in Jamaica. These resorts each offer multiple themed restaurants and day and night entertainment so if you don’t want to venture out too far during your holiday, you won’t have to!
The Houseboat Grill in Montego Bay is a floating restaurant located within the Montego Bay Marine Park Sanctuary. The restaurant is repositioned periodically, sometimes based on sea conditions. Most of the time, things are calm but you will notice the boat drifting a bit from time to time. As you’ll be dining out on the ocean, you can expect pretty stunning views, especially at night.
Inside this dining establishment, you’ll appreciate the cozy and intimate interior, particularly the charming views of the lagoon. The staff here might share a bit of history on the boat and the names of a few famous artists who have stayed there, such as Aretha Franklin, the Beach Boys, and The Grateful Dead. The Houseboat Grill is open for lunch and dinner. During a dining experience here you might want to try the snapper fillet, lobster, or lemon caper pasta. The fruit punch here is amazing!
To get to Houseboat Grill, you’ll take a short ferry ride from the shore to the boat. When it’s time to leave, you can ring a bell for the ferry service. This is a great date spot as it really takes you away from it all.
You’ll feel the warmth of Miss T's Kitchen just as soon as you step into this Ocho Rios eatery. This is the place to go if you want to experience true Jamaican cuisine. Menu items that are popular at Miss T’s Kitchen include curried goat, fried chicken, and jerk chicken wrap. You'll be biting into something delectable in no time thanks to the quick service here!
Miss T's Kitchen serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. If you're searching for vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free meals, Miss T has some great selections. Customers of this establishment frequently leave reviews about how delicious the cuisine is and how friendly the staff here always seems to be. When it comes to drinks, try the rum punch, which goes well with almost anything!
People who eat home-cooked meals on a regular basis are often happier and healthier. At Miss Sonia’s in Negril, you'll definitely have a chance to try a meal like this - Jamaican style. This restaurant is located near Seven Mile Beach and it is a great place to go for lunch and dinner. Prices at Miss Sonia’s are also quite reasonable.
At Miss Sonia’s, you can expect a hearty meal that’ll probably have you coming back at least once more during your vacation. With plenty of dishes on offer including stews (chicken, seafood, beef, pork), pasta, and grilled seafood, as well as vegetarian and vegan options, you’ll be best off taking your time deciding what to order. Even with that said, many guests have expressed that the Jamaican Pattie keeps bringing them back to Miss Sonia’s.
Miss Sonia has been making patties for over 40 years. Working alongside her grandson, Chef Harry, the patties here are usually filled with beef, vegetables, lobster, or shrimp. While you might have tried a Jamaican Pattie before, having one of Miss Sonia’s will be a completely different experience. After having a meal here, don’t forget to ask about purchasing a bottle of the delicious (and super spicy!) jerk sauce. Pizza and local juices are also available here.
The Bushbar is part of the Geejam Hotel in Port Antonio. This is an upscale location that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Bushbar is known for its Jamaican fusion dishes, expertly made cocktails, and also its amazing views — you’ll be able to admire an ocean outlook while you dine, as well as soak in the serenity of the lush surrounding rainforest.
The Bushbar offers fine dining at its best and the menu here focuses on Jamaican and international cuisine. For breakfast, you can try the buttermilk pancakes, three-egg omelets, and tropical fruit plates. Lunch can include some fresh and tasty grilled mahi-mahi, spicy shrimp, or even a jerk chicken wrap. The pea soup is delicious as well! For dinner, try the curry shrimp, snapper fillet, or Mento stew. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are also available.
In terms of the ambiance here, expect intimacy mixed in with luxury — there’s an infinity pool, live entertainment, an outdoor pool table, and much more. With the combination of amazing views, great food, and upbeat music, you’ll feel ready to mix and mingle while enjoying a few options off the wine and cocktail menu.
If you’re on the hunt for the best restaurants in Jamaica, don’t skip out on Murphy’s West End Restaurant in Negril. This is a locally owned restaurant that serves cooked-to-order Jamaican food that is worth waiting for. The ingredients here are fresh and the food is expertly seasoned which means you can enjoy quite the flavor parade as you eat.
Murphy’s West End Restaurant is laid-back but the service is super attentive. You’ll be able to relax here as you try some of the guests’ favorite dishes that include grilled, curried, or jerked lobster, garlic shrimp, curry fish, and oxtail. Pasta is also available (fish, shrimp, lobster, and chicken). Enjoy your meal with refreshing juice, an ice-cold beer, or whatever appeals to you from the bar. When dining at Murphy’s, be sure to walk with cash as this establishment does not accept credit cards.
Insider tip: Staying at an all-inclusive resort in Negril is a good idea if you want quick access to some of the best restaurants in this area. Negril also has some of the best beaches in Jamaica and lots of fun things that couples can enjoy together.
The restaurant at the Strawberry Hill Hotel and Spa is a good option if you’re looking for fresh and flavourful Jamaican cuisine. This hotel is set on 26 acres in the Blue Mountains in Kingston, Jamaica. Having dinner here on any night of the week or even Sunday brunch is especially appealing if you appreciate stunning mountain views.
The breakfast menu includes options like 'Jamaican Style Eggs Benny’ and the ‘Jamaican Traditional’ which includes ackee and saltfish, sautéed callaloo, bammy, Johnny cakes, and more. For lunch, you can choose from a selection of wraps, salads, sandwiches, soups, and full meals. On the dinner menu, the Jamaica oxtail Shepherd’s pie, rosemary rack of lamb, potato-wrapped snapper, quinoa, and plantain salad, fish stew, and coconut curry prawn linguini are pretty tasty. For dessert, homemade ice cream (we love the coffee flavor!), cheesecake, fritters, and rum cakes are available.
After dinner, you can relax at Strawberry Hill’s bar. Take your pick from a range of tropical mixed drinks and other rum options. The wood-paneled walls in this space are adorned with photographs of past guests including some famous ones. There’s a vintage piano here as well that you can have a go at before or after your meal.
The Far Out Fish Hut in Montego Bay is considered a gem in Jamaica. On the outside, you might not know what to expect from the casual outlook of this establishment but once you step inside, you’ll be greeted with the reality — the Far Out Fish Hut has some of the most delicious seafood in Jamaica.
At this establishment, you can take your pick of which seafood you’d like to be cooked up by the chef. Options include parrot fish, lobster, snapper, shrimp, conch, and more. If you’re not sure about what to try here, popular menu items include grilled lobster, grilled conch, and grilled or fried fish. The snapper is prepared in foil and steamed with spices, onions, and okra. If you ask the chef to spice up your meal a bit, they’ll throw in some Scotch bonnet peppers, which will add all the fire you need.
The Fish Hut is a seaside open-air establishment and the menu changes often based on market availability. Indoor and outdoor seating is available, and there’s also a TV that’s normally tuned to the latest sports match. You can alternate between keeping score and admiring the pristine ocean views. Lots of drink options are available here too.
Expert Tip: If you are in the mood for French food, you have to visit Bayside Restaurant. This open-air eatery specializes in French cuisine and has a beautiful outdoor seating area. The charming character and breathtaking views make this restaurant a must-do on your next Jamaican vacation. Our favorite dishes from Bayside include Escargots Gratinés, Poulet Cordon Bleu, and Canard à L’Orange.
This restaurant is located at Sandals Montego Bay and is only available for guests of that and other Sandals resorts on the island (such as Sandals Royal Caribbean, which is 5 minutes away). The best part? Bayside’s exceptional food and drinks are included (and unlimited) as part of Sandals' all-inclusive vacation package.
Sandals Montego Bay
Jamaica has a lot going for it in terms of its cuisine. There is something to love for just about anyone on the menu at most eateries on this island. If you're not familiar with the food, you might not know what to order. To help out a bit, we've provided some details on a few of our favorite signature Jamaican dishes!
● Jerk chicken - Jerk chicken is made by cooking chicken over pimento wood, which adds to its flavor — this is a Jamaican staple. Jerk pork, fish, and lobster are also available. Jerk sauces are usually quite spicy but sometimes you can let the restaurant know that you’d prefer less sauce for a milder experience.
● Red Stripe Beer - Red Stripe is a popular Caribbean beer that is brewed and packaged in Kingston, Jamaica. This beer has a sweet flavor with a hint of apples - it has just about 4.7 percent alcohol. Red Stripe Beer is available in many destinations outside of the U.S.
● Ackee & saltfish - This is the national dish of Jamaica. Ackee is a fruit that is similar to lychee, and, for this dish, it is served alongside saltfish (any type of salted fish but most often codfish). Ackee & saltfish is a popular breakfast or brunch combination in Jamaica.
● Fried plantains - These are a favorite side dish of Caribbean, South American, and West African people worldwide. If you order this dish, you’ll find your plate full of caramelized, thinly sliced plantains. Fried plantains can be served with meals including stewed chicken and oxtail, fried fish, curried meats, and more.
● Breadfruit - Originally from Micronesia, breadfruit can be boiled, fried, or roasted. Breadfruit is closely related to jackfruit. In Jamaica, you might be served breadfruit with steamed callaloo or ackee and saltfish for breakfast.
● Curried goat - This is a type of stew that is often served with rice and peas. Curried goat (or curry goat, as it’s typically called) is hearty with a distinct taste and it is often made with carrots, potatoes, coconut milk, and other ingredients. Aside from curried goat, other types of curried meats and fish are available in Jamaica including curried shrimp and curried chicken.
● Dumplings - These are made with flour, salt, baking powder, butter, and water. In Jamaica, dumplings can be boiled or fried and incorporated into a variety of meals. Jamaican dumplings are also called Johnny cakes and they are a popular breakfast food.
● Jamaican patties - This is a popular snack food available with a variety of meat fillings like ground beef, lobster, and shrimp. There are quite a few places to find Jamaican patties on this island — Miss Sonia’s in Negril is one of the best options.
● Oxtail - Consisting quite literally of meat from an ox’s tail, oxtail is amazingly delicious when cooked just right. This meat is usually slow-cooked in a stew and served with beans and rice.
● Jamaican bammy - This dish is also known as cassava bread. It is a thick, flat bread usually eaten with fish and stews.
● Conch - Popular in many Caribbean islands such as The Bahamas and Turks &Caicos, conch is usually served as part of a soup, curry, or stew in Jamaica. This dish is typically very fresh and most of the time it is cooked with a range of vegetables.
There you have it, the best restaurants in Jamaica, and everything you need to know about the most popular signature dishes on this island. One thing’s for certain, Jamaican cuisine is not boring. Whether you want to try some authentic Jamaican seafood dishes, spice things up with some jerked meals, or enjoy some international favorites, you’ll be able to find a restaurant in Jamaica that suits you.
For a vacation that includes multiple gourmet restaurants and cuisines from around the world, you’ll want to look in the direction of the all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica. Sandals has multiple Jamaica resorts in areas such as Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios, and Whitehouse. Any of these resorts will be perfect for a couples' vacation that is stress-free and filled with plenty of delicious meals.
Expert tip: Jamaican food has influences from many cultures including African, Asian, Indian, and many others. Here are a few of the best Jamaica-inspired recipes foodies will love:
● Sandals Secret Jerk Marinade Recipe From The Jerk Shack
● Authentic Jamaican Oxtails Recipe
● Jamaican Ackee and Saltfish
● Jamaican-Style Jerk Chicken