Where to eat in Negril
Are you saying you are not doing an all inclusive..GOOD JOB..99% of Negril bound guests do the all inclusive and miss all the local eats. We had a few meals in Negril whilst driving around. I wanted local and Ital (Rastafarian cuisine) so enjoyed the Hungry Lion. Someone told us Rock House Restaurant was nice..it looked great but we opted for another place. I loved lunch at Chicken Lavish.
Some local foods to try: Anything jerked of course, callaloo, ackee and saltfish (breakfast) with dumplings (sometimes called Johnny Cakes or Droppers). Fish and fungie (like Polenta) or Ducana (sweet potato patty).
Let us know how you do..
I would second the recommendation of Hungry Lion- it is located on West End Rd. past the Rockhouse hotel. The Rockhouse restaurant is pretty good, although the service can be spotty. (One waitress asked us if we minded if the couple next to us smoked a cigar, and then got mad when we said we did.) Chicken Lavish, also on West End Rd., is also pretty good.
Norma's on the Beach is probably the weakest of Norma's three restaurants in Jamaica (both Norma's on the Terrace in Kingston and Norma's at the Marina in Port Antonio are better), but it still has good, upscale versions of Jamaican cuisine, with local ingredients. It's located on Norman Manley Boulevard in the Sea Splash hotel.
Another restaurant at a hotel that is pretty good is the restaurant at The Caves resort, located past Rick's Cafe on West End Rd. The resort is typically only open to guests, but the restaurant is open to non-guests for dinner and has some good variations on Jamaican specialties.
There is some good jerk in Negril, but stay away from Three Dives, the jerk place featured in the Amazing Race TV show. Its quality is not high and it is not particularly clean, even for Jamaica. I think it is cashing in on the reputation it gained from the show. The Negril Jerk Hut (aka Negril Jerk Centre), while not featuring the seaside view of Three Dives, is much better. It's located at the very beginning of the West End Rd., near the traffic circle.
Finally, while the diving and sunset views at Rick's Cafe can be impressive, the food there is very mediocre and overpriced.
We love Negril and have been there four of the last five years. we've stayed on the cliffs and on the beach love both. As Phelana mentioned above, we started out doing the all-inclusive and now "forage" for all of our meals. We do a fair amount of Caribbean travel, and the food in Negril is the best. We don't do much high-end gourmet dining, but try to support the local businesses and try the native dishes. Our favorites:
On the beach
We love Coconuts International - right on 7 Mile Beach near the Negril Beach Club Condos. They are locally owned and very reasonably priced - we've had the garlic lobster (chunks of Caribbean lobster sauteed in garlic butter) the red snapper, the whole lobster, and escovitch fish. All well-prepared and tasty, and each dinner comes with soup and salad. Lobster will run you about $15US
We really enjoy Bourbon Beach (now DeBuss) for jerk chicken - they have good fries and reasonably priced Red Stripe to go with!
Norm at the Bar-B-Barn serves wonderful food with a local Jamaican flair (there are two restos on the property - Angela's serves Italian food and I must admit that we have a weakness for the jerk sausage pizza, but Norm is the chef at the Bar-B-Barn restaurant)
The restaurant at Rondel Village (Irie on the Beach), has really good breakfasts - the french toast has syrup with chunks of fresh pineapple, mango and papaya in it, and the coffee service is fast.
White Sands has really good fruit plates and great two-for-one drink specials every day. Highly recommend the Dirty Bananas.
Across the beach road, Selina's serves the best coffee (Blue Mountain hand-roasted by Big Roy on premise) and really good eggs and omelettes - the banana pancakes are also supposed to be wonderful. Selina also has great lunch and "snack" food - her "cheese on fire" is SO good.
We usually eat breakfast at one of the places mentioned above, then wait for the patty men to come around at lunch time. There are two of them, Neville and the Indian - personally, we like the Indian's patties and coco bread better (the chicken patty is our favorite - like a spicy curry chicken in pastry dough) but Neville is SO sweet we usually buy from him too. His chicken patty has mushrooms and the dough is less flaky. Two patties and coco bread cost us about $2 US
On the Cliffs:
Xtabi is a wonderful setting with very good food and friendly bartenders. We like to go to the cliffs for a day of snorkeling, and the bartenders at Xtabi are happy to let you use the chairs, etc. We try to buy lunch and drink or two, but they don't mind either way. Regardless, this is a much better spot to enjoy the cliffs over Rick's. No cliff divers, but better atmosphere, food and folks!
I was in Negril years ago and stayed on the beach. There was this quaint little place called the Mahagony Inn that had a little shack on the beach, they had pepper shrimp to die for. They also had home made jamaican patties.
Don't know if the place still exists but if it does you should definitely try it out.