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Sep 29, 2006 03:39 PM

Ocho Rios, Jamiaca

Hi, any good places in Ocho Rios for Real Jamaican Food??

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  1. The Ocho Rios Jerk Center, on DaCosta Drive at the intersection with the road to Fern Gully is a pretty good place for jerk. I don't know if you're looking at lunch or dinner, but going after 1pm tends to be better since there is longer opportunity for the spices to marinate.

    The best restaurant in the Ocho Rios area (and probably the best in Jamaica) is Toscanini, located just east of town in Tower Isle. It's located in Harmony Hall, below the art gallery. Ostensibly it serves Italian food, but there is a large Jamaican influence, particularly with its use of callaloo and other local ingredients.

    Futher inland, along the A1 in Moneague, is Cafe Aubergine. It offers Jamaican-inspired French cuisine in a historic coach house. It's best for dinner or lunch on the weekends, as during the week it tends to be full of cruise ship passengers at lunchtime.

    Bibibips, at 93 Main St., is hit and miss- the food can be OK, but if there is a large group there (such as when a cruise ship is in town), the quality goes down considerably. It does have fast (for Jamaica) service.

    Spring Garden Cafe, on the bypass road between the Fern Gully Rd. and the turnoff for the Jamaica Inn, has fairly good seafood at reasonable prices. Although much of the fish is listed on the menu as fried, they will grill it for you if you ask.

    Stay away from Evita's and Coconuts - they are both overpriced and offer uninspired food. The Ruins, while a nice location, offers Chinese food instead of Jamaican and the food is not very tasty.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Osvaldo

      I agree with all of your suggestions, but one place I will not miss in Ochi is the Ruins for cashew mouth is watering just thinking about it. Another great restaurant is downtown next to the craft market ... Tradewinds. It has a great ambiance and the food is just wonderful...and very jamaican.

      1. re: Osvaldo

        My SO is planning a trip for January to Riu Ocho Rios Hotel. She has been to Jamaica a number of times but it has been eight years. She is adamant that we need to stay within the compound of the hotel providing this all-inclusive deal. Is the food good enough that I won't miss venturing out and sampling what the residents eat? Is it unsafe? Is it ridiculously expensive to get a cab and go off the reservation to eat? There will be six of us and we're all between 25 and 60. We will be there a week and I am wondering if the food and amenities will keep me satisfied for that long. What are the hazards of exploring in Jamaica? I guess I'm not hearing any warnings as far as personal safety as I read these posts. I assume we will be harangued by people wanting to sell us goods or services.
        Any revisions as to suggestions about where we might go out to eat?

        1. re: Scargod

          Ocho Rios is a tourist town and as such you'll get good but not truly authentic Jamaican food in the better known spots, as it is diluted to appeal to the cruise ship masses. As far as safety is concerned, it's a matter of being smart like in any foreign city. Don't leave the premises with lots of cash, jewelry or your travel documents. Have the hotel arrange your cab through the local government operated transportation service (JUTA) and avoid getting into unmarked buses or cars that claim to be taxis. The JUTA driver is a great resource for local food recs, as are the housekeeping/grounds staff at your hotel. They live there-they know! Stay together as a large group and avoid desolate areas. Jamaica is no more dangerous than walking around in New York or Miami, as long as you use common sense. If it doesn't feel right then turn around! Yes you will get approached by numerous vendors wanting to braid your hair, sell you a shell or even offer you drugs but a strong "No thanks" will suffice. Jamaica is a beautiful country with a rich culture, stunning landscapes and friendly people. There's no reason you should be sequestered in your hotel for the duration of your trip. Enjoy your stay!

      2. I agree the Ocho Rios Jerk center is a good call. I enjoyed the jerked chicken, and jerked goat I believe at this location. No frills, not very expensive, and good cold red stripe... great after a day of bakin' at the beach....

        1 Reply
        1. re: swsidejim

          I just got back from Ocho Rios, thanks for the great call on the Ochio Rios Jerk Center, it made my day in Jamaica!

        2. I will be in Ocho Rios for two weeks in Feb and I was wondering if there are any updated tips on where to find good eats. I have been to Ocho Rios before and I will be staying with family. But I am still a tourist, i don't really know my way around. My family is not as adventurous as I am when it comes to food. I am hoping for casual places I can grab bite to eat during the day. I will try almost anything. I think most of my evening meals will be planned for me.

          1. Andy recent updates to this posting. Leaving for a week in Ochos Rios next month...

            2 Replies
            1. re: lollypop

              Yes! in the Ocean Village Shopping Centre, I am sorry I forgot the name of the place (even though I ate there almost every day for a week). There is a parking lot that is connected to the entrance to the beach. In the last store front closest to the beach there is a take out place that is awesome. I tried the fried chicken, turkey neck, cow foot (not for everybody) they were all great. They also had curry goat, some times stew chicken, I didn't try those. The price was right too, for $250-$400 JA you got a pile of rice and peas your choosen entree item and the ubiquitous smidge of coleslaw. In fact the small size which is cheaper would be enough for lunch. Much better then settling for KFC, and slightly less guilt inducing then the cheese patty Although if you have time and love patties you may want to swing by Juici. The breakfast items are true Jamaican style, callaloo, ackee, mackrel rundown served with boil banana, yam and dumpling.
              Real local cuisine.

              1. re: lollypop

                3 places...

                Scotchies for jerk
                Miss T's for jamaican food
                Passage to India for indian food