Jamaican Restaurants That'll Leave You Wanting Seconds
The best cuisine often doesn't get the attention it deserves. That's certainly true of the wonderfully flavorful Jamaican food.
Heavily spiced, the taste may take some getting used to for those who are uninitiated, but it's all worth it for a bite of hot jerk chicken, tender curry goat or crunchy patties.
If your mouth is already watering, go ahead and make plans to visit the best Jamaican restaurants in the United States.
15. Mad Cow Grill
Location: Laurel, Maryland
Visit: Mad Cow Grill
*Ratings are based on Yelp and Tripadvisor reviews, as well as our own editorial input.
Bottom Line: Mad Cow Grill
Let's begin with Mad Cow Grill, a Jamaican fusion restaurant in Laurel, Maryland, that provides a different experience from most other places on here.
What we love about Mad Cow is that it stays true to the typical flavors and spices that make Jamaican cuisine so delicious. But it also puts an interesting twist on things, offering flatbreads, tacos and burgers named after popular TV shows.
Whether you want authentic Jamaican or feel like something a bit more playful, you'll find something to your liking here.
Bottom Line: A&D Jamaican Restaurant
You wouldn't necessarily expect to find authentic Jamaican food at the foot of the Black Hills, but this is one of the things that make A&D such a delight.
The other is, of course, the food, which is as flavorful as it is inexpensive. A true match made in heaven.
Bottom Line: D's Island Grill Jamaica
Trying to spice your food adventures in Tucson? Head to D's.
Behind the casual facade lies expertly cooked food that'll leave you full yet wanting seconds. Go for the curry goat, whose tender meat will fall off the bone as you eat it, and enjoy the accompaniment of flavorful rice and beans.
Bottom Line: Johnny's Jamaican Grill
No restaurant with bad food can survive in New Orleans, the food heaven of the United States.
Despite having to compete with the absolute bliss that is Cajun cuisine, Johnny's Jamaican Grill has managed to stay strong and carve itself a niche in the food scene of the Big Easy.
Locals claim this is the best Jamaican food in the city.
Bottom Line: Ena's Caribbean Kitchen
Ms. Ena's food is legendary in Columbus — so much so that the humble restaurant was once visited by Guy Fieri.
The titular owner and chef of this small family restaurant hails from Mendez, Jamaica, and has been serving authentic food from the island since 1999.
It may be cliche, but you have to try the jerk chicken, which is seasoned in a signature jerk seasoning Ms. Ena makes herself.
Bottom Line: Jamaican Reggae Grill
Despite its somewhat cliche name, Jamaican Reggae Grill claims to serve homemade food from the island. The menu has all the usual suspects, as well as stews that are often left out in other Jamaican restaurants.
For those who think they can handle their spice and want to put their confidence to the test, the restaurant offers Scotch bonnet peppers, which have a 100,000–350,000 rating on the Scoville Scale (jalapeño peppers, for comparison, rate around 2,500–10,000 units).
Bottom Line: Mo'Bay Island Cuisine
Though it markets itself as a pan-Caribbean restaurant, Mo'Bay Island Cuisine heavily focuses on Jamaica. This is unsurprising given that its chef, Elvis Seymour Spence, hails from the island and began his career cooking at the prestigious Golden Dragon in Kingston.
Spence has brought his expertise to Georgia, where he serves the most popular Jamaican food dishes like red snapper, jerk burgers, jerk wings and curry shrimp.
The food is always fresh, and the portions are always generous.
Bottom Line: Jamaican Patty
Patties don't usually get the attention they deserve, being overshadowed by jerk chicken and curries. This Springfield food truck wants to change that by putting them front and center.
The patties are baked fresh and stuffed with cheese, beef or chicken. And if you feel like eating all the other typical Jamaican food, the food truck has that as well.
Though for this one, we recommend letting the patties shine.
Bottom Line: Andrene's Soul Food and Caribbean Cafe
You can count on the nation's capital to have food from any country. Jamaica has several restaurants represented, but none are as beloved as Andrene's.
For a true Jamaican meal, start with a chicken patty and then move on to oxtails with peas and rice. The casual restaurant also has some soul food-inspired dishes.
Bottom Line: Island Spice Jamaican Restaurant
Kansas is known for its great BBQ, so you know that it can do Jamaican food some justice.
Island Spice Jamaican Restaurant claims it's "as cozy as your grandma's kitchen," a slogan that definitely sells the experience.
They specialize in traditional and authentic Jamaican food, with oxtail being their most popular item.
5. Barrington's Jamaican Kitchen
Location: Bakersfield, California
Visit: Barrington's Jamaican Kitchen
Bottom Line: Barrington's Jamaican Kitchen
Barrington's is a family restaurant where you'll not only meet the owner but be made to feel as if you're at a family dinner.
The informal, welcoming vibe draws people in, but it's the excellence of the food that keeps them coming back again and again.
Get the signature Aunt Clair bowl, which has plantains, cabbage and your choice of meat.
4. The Islands
Location: New York City, New York
Visit: The Islands
Bottom Line: The Islands
Brooklyn is one of the centers for Caribbean immigrants, so it's really not a surprise that it would have one of the best Jamaican restaurants in the country.
Though there's a lot of competition, it doesn't get better than The Islands, a small, no-frills restaurant that never fails to deliver on the quality of its food.
Get the pepper shrimp for just the right amount of spice.
3. Yardie Spice
Location: Homestead, Florida
Visit: Yardie Spice
Bottom Line: Yardie Spice
A relative newcomer to the Jamaican restaurant scene in the U.S., Yardie Spice is so good it's worth driving an hour from Miami just to get it.
Open since 2013, the restaurant serves Jamaican and Haitian food — a combination you don't see much, even in South Florida. Expect the food to be spicy, the meat to be impossibly tender, and every meal to be better than you expected.
As a plus, vegetarian options exist.
2. The Jerk Shack
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Visit: The Jerk Shack
Bottom Line: The Jerk Shack
There are many, many Jamaican restaurants in the United States, but not many can claim to braise their oxtails and goat for 12 hours or to brine the pork and chicken for 48 hours.
Yes, The Jerk Shack really commits that much time to make sure the meat is more tender than you ever thought possible. This place may be redefining how we think of "fall off the bone" meat.
Location: Park City, Utah
Bottom Line: 11hauz
On a ski trip in beautiful Park City? Help your body recover after a long day on the slopes with a taste of some of the most authentic Jamaican food you'll find in the U.S.
Armed with the recipes of her grandmother, head chef Sheron Grant brings to 11hauz the kinds of flavors that simply can't be imitated but have to be passed down.
Reviewers not only claim that this is the best Jamaican food in Park City, but the actual best overall restaurant in the city.
Best Jamaican Restaurants in the U.S.
- D's Island Grill Jamaica, Tucson
- Barrington's Jamaican Kitchen, Bakersfield
- Mo'Bay Island Cuisine, Pooler
- Jamaican Reggae Grill, Carmel
- Island Spice Jamaican Restaurant, Leavenworth
- Johnny's Jamaican Grill, New Orleans
- Jamaican Patty, Springfield
- The Islands, New York City
- Ena's Caribbean Kitchen, Columbus
- A&D Jamaican Restaurant, Rapid City
- The Jerk Shack, San Antonio
- Andrene's Soul Food and Caribbean Cafe