Eating Out in Jamaica

Most restaurants are small independent ones serving Caribbean food as opposed to large chains. Often the kitchen is on view so you can see what’s being cooked for you. The majority serve Caribbean food, but you can also find Italian and Chinese places etc. In Ocho Rios there’s actually a new development with Pizza Hut, KFC, a Chinese place and Juici Patties.

Juici Patties is a chain of patty restaurants. Patties are a traditional Jamaican snack with a filling such as beef or veggie, inside pastry, served hot. It’s around 200JMD for a patty in Juici Patties.

Jerk centres are common, and these sell typical Caribbean food such as jerk chicken (of course), rice & peas, plantain, bammy, festivals etc. Here, chicken and rice might cost you 500JMD but of course it varies.

I’m vegetarian and I knew that rastas are supposed to be vegetarian, so when I made friends with this rasta, I asked him if there were any vegetarian (“ital”) places in Ochi:


He said there are 3 ital places, but Calabash is the best one, so he took me there and introduced me to the chef (who was also the person who took your order). The kitchen was completely in view and there was a whiteboard with about 7 different options for that day including ackee in coconut gravy, lentil rice, rice & peas, plantain, red peas stew, callaloo and curry veg.

I had the ackee in coconut gravy, rice & peas and steamed veg:


This was a “small” but it wasn’t very small and it cost 380JMD.

Calabash also sold special oils, healing herbs, organic soaps and things like that:


I went back quite a few times, and I love this sign on the wall:


I went to one other ital place when I was there but it wasn’t as impressive. It was more like a hut, you could only sit outside and it only had 3 things on the menu for that day. The food still tasted good but I prefer Calabash with more choice and somewhere to sit inside to escape the sun when it gets too hot outside.

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