Everyone knows that Jamaica is famous for its pretty beaches, towering mountains and Blue Mountain Coffee. But an abundance of homegrown ingredients and diverse cultural influences have melded a truly remarkable unique cuisine.

Jamaicans are descendants of European colonists, African slaves and those cultures that came later – Irish, Indians, Germans, Chinese, Lebanese and Syrians. It can be said that the island’s cuisine is a product of this diverse cultural heritage. Visit any Jamaican kitchen to discover the sizzling flavors of spicy jerk, sweet tropical juices, the aroma of stable spices like allspice and nutmeg, intense curries and sumptuous desserts. Montego Bay’s restaurants run the gamut from fast food to white table cloth, fine candlelit dining. Most restaurants are found near and on the “Hip Strip”, the Rose Hall Area and not far from the heart of Mobay.

Hip Strip Eateries

Hometown favorite is The Pelican. Locals gather here for morning coffee, ackee and fired dumplings. Check the Brewery for local and international fare, and nightly entertainment. Enjoy verandah dining and the best local cuisine at The Native, or shoot some pool at Mobay Proper, know for its causal fare and relaxed atmosphere. Coral Cliff is the big spot for gaming and having fun. At Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, ride the 110-foot waterslide before chomping on a Cheeseburger in Paradise. Next door is Blue Beat jazz and blues bar, a favourite gathering spot for locals and visitors. The Groovy Grouper at Doctor’s Cave Beach, offers jerk, BBQ and native fish dishes. Pier 1 on the Waterfront is a long-time favorite, known for its great seafood, cool tropical drinks, amazing sunsets and party atmosphere. If you crave authentic jerk, stop by the Pork Pit. For casual dining, there is Burger King, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

East Side Eateries

The Vineyards at Coyaba is a comfortable setting for gourmet dining. For fine dining, the Sugar Mill at Half Moon offers contemporary Jamaican fare, live music, and romance while Jasmine’s at the Ritz Carlton offers a fusion of Jamaican and Asian cuisine. Royal Stocks English Pub and Akbar, with Indian and Thai cuisine, are found at half moon Village. For authentic local flavor, stop at Scotchie’s, beside the main road, for the best in lip-stinging spicy jerk pork, chicken, fish and sausage.

West Side Eateries

The Houseboat Grill, on Southern Cross Boulevard in the Freeport Area, sits on Bogue Lagoon and is known for its romantic dinners. Located on a hilltop in Fairfield, three miles west of Mobay, the elegant Day-O Plantation Restaurant offers the finest in Jamaican and international cuisine in a tropical setting. For a more casual fare, Jerky’s Bar and Grill in the Fairview Shopping Centre serves up spicy jerk, cool drinks, and Karaoke every Saturday. The Fairview Shopping Centre is also home to Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dominos Pizza, Wendy’s, Juicy Beef and Dragon Court Chinese Restaurant.