HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >

Best Jamaican restaurant

abyss Dec 13, 2007 06:53 AM

Hi everyone!

I posted this in the Manhattan board, and it was kindly suggested I also post here.


I'm looking to take a friend out for dinner when I arrive in NYC, and need some suggestions for great Jamaican restaurants. I know that he doesn't like Negril, or Maroons (in Manhattan), which both seem to get great reviews. It would be fantastic if anyone knows of somewhere that will serve pigs' tails and stew peas - I'll get extra brownie points if I can find somewhere that has both of these ;-) Not fussy about location, or atmosphere, as such. Just looking for great quality, authentic Jamaican food.

Thanks for your help!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. JohnnyCT RE: abyss Dec 13, 2007 10:07 AM

    Fisherman's Cove serves stew peas on Friday. Call ahead to make sure.

    B/Q to Newkirk Avenue

    Fisherman's Cove
    37 Newkirk Plz
    Brooklyn, NY 11226
    (718) 859-1580

    1. oolah RE: abyss Dec 13, 2007 07:16 PM

      A lot of the tastiest Jamaican food out here isn't really served in restaurants -- they're more like takeout joints. A few actually have tables, but they're not much for ambiance. For really incredible jerk chicken, go to Peppa's Jerk Chicken at Flatbush and Clarkson, near Prospect Park.

      If you're looking more for a nice sit down place, Brawta on Atlantic and Hoyt is decent.

      2 Replies
      1. re: oolah
        lambretta76 RE: oolah Dec 14, 2007 05:33 AM

        I wouldn't recommend Brawta - in my opinion it hasn't been good in about a decade. (It used to be very good back when its clientele was more Caribbean than local professionals.)

        1. re: oolah
          mrnyc RE: oolah Dec 14, 2007 11:15 AM

          i agree. i like KAYLAHS HUT in the bronx. its bare bones, but they are always cooking and they have all the basics. they have a few seats inside that you can easily get, i usually eat in there myself, but its mostly takeout. i find this fairly typical for most jamaican joints.

          fyi -- KH is on prospect at westchester in the bronx -- the 2,5 train stop is prospect. i go for lunch sometimes. if the grill is out front you are money for jerk!

        2. a
          abyss RE: abyss Dec 13, 2007 07:51 PM

          Thanks for the recs!

          Take out is probably fine as well, if you have any other suggestions :-)

          7 Replies
          1. re: abyss
            jen kalb RE: abyss Dec 13, 2007 08:36 PM

            I havent been for a few years (is it still there??) but Daphne's on E 23rd street used to be good.

            1. re: jen kalb
              gpcohen RE: jen kalb Dec 17, 2007 08:28 PM

              I think you mean Daphne's at 233 East 14th between 2nd and 3rd, closer to 2nd Ave. Excellent. Informal.

              1. re: gpcohen
                wleatherette RE: gpcohen Dec 19, 2007 07:18 AM

                the jerk pork at daphne's is excellent.

                1. re: gpcohen
                  jen kalb RE: gpcohen Dec 19, 2007 07:20 AM

                  you'r right, sorry for any misdirection.

                  1. re: gpcohen
                    racer x RE: gpcohen Jan 2, 2008 08:09 AM

                    Man oh man, they had great jerk pork at Daphne's. But they closed a couple of years ago (or were absorbed into The Blue Mahoe restaurant down the block, after which the Daphne standards never tasted quite the same). Has the old Daphne's reopened?

                    1. re: racer x
                      jen kalb RE: racer x Jan 2, 2008 05:03 PM

                      not to my knowledge - thats really too bad.

                      1. re: jen kalb
                        saminyc RE: jen kalb Jul 12, 2008 04:12 AM

                        Daphnes got incorporaqted into the bagel place across the street on 14th street having tried it yet in its new location but there are tables

              2. g
                guide boy RE: abyss Dec 15, 2007 09:38 AM

                Kelso Dining on Franklin near St. Marks in Brooklyn is a nice, sit-down place catering to the migrant Jamaica gone a Panama crowd. Nice stew peas, a dish which may feature pig tails.

                1. e
                  evtasch RE: abyss Dec 15, 2007 04:36 PM

                  Joyce', on Avenue D, just east of Utica, has some awesome food, and a decent-sized sitting area as well. I've had the jerk chicken, oxtail stew, beef and goat rotis, to name a few items, and am always impressed with the quality of ingrediants, cooking and presentation.

                  1. a
                    abyss RE: abyss Dec 17, 2007 06:51 PM

                    Thanks everyone for the recommendations :-)

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: abyss
                      oystersallday RE: abyss Dec 18, 2007 05:18 AM

                      how about islands on washington? here's an older ny times review...


                      and christies on flatbush for beef patties and baked goods?

                      some people in the neighborhood also suggest the ginger root cafe on washington ave but i haven't been.

                      good luck!

                      1. re: oystersallday
                        demigodh RE: oystersallday Dec 18, 2007 07:52 AM

                        Soule at Fulton and Washington in Prospect Heights is good. And if you don't like the menu there, you can walk around for five minutes and pass 15 other Caribbean restaurants

                        1. re: demigodh
                          HankyT RE: demigodh Dec 18, 2007 09:47 AM

                          McKenzie's on Utica between Carroll and Crown has excellent jerk and many other things on their steam table. not sure what but i'll bet it's all good.

                          1. re: HankyT
                            wleatherette RE: HankyT Dec 19, 2007 07:19 AM

                            mckenzie's is amazing! i've only had the jerk chicken, but it was memorable. this would probably be my number one pick.

                            1. re: wleatherette
                              racer x RE: wleatherette Jan 3, 2008 12:41 PM

                              I went to McKenzie's last night around 830pm for some jerk chicken based on the recommendations here. After being ignored for what seemed like a couple of minutes, one of the two counter guys cum cooks barked at me that there wasn't any jerk chicken, I should come back after an hour. If it weren't for the wondrous aroma emanating from the barrel barbeque grill on the sidewalk outside the store, that would have been my last visit to that shop. But I'll give them another chance ...

                              1. re: racer x
                                burton RE: racer x Jan 4, 2008 07:49 AM

                                Sorry you met with a less than warm reception at McKenzie's. They can be pretty brusque in my experience. Still, their jerk is excellent -best I've found in the city so far - and is well worth the flack. Do give them another shot.

                                1. re: burton
                                  racer x RE: burton Jan 15, 2008 08:00 AM

                                  Went back Sat night. The chicken was good, although I've had better in this city; some of the bits were slightly burnt. The portions were huge - the "medium" order I got seemed to be a very generous 3 or 4 pounds of chicken crammed into a 7-inch takeout tin. And the woman behind the counter was very friendly, unlike the man who'd been working there the previous time I went.

                                  But the wait is merciless. There were a half-dozen people queued up for chicken when I arrived. After a 20-min wait, the chicken came in from the grill outside. By this time, another dozen people had come in and filled the waiting area. The chicken ran out after I and those ahead of me were served, leaving the remaining dozen to wait for another order to be cooked up.

                                  I'd only suggest this place if you are prepared to wait a looong time.

                                  1. re: racer x
                                    racer x RE: racer x Jun 19, 2008 01:54 PM

                                    Just a follow up on McKenzie's. I've gotten bbq jerk chicken from them 4 times in the past few months. On 3 out of 4 visits, the chicken was partly burnt. The other one time it was delicious.

                                    75% burnt is not a very good batting average. I should have known better on the most recent visit because it was at night (thus dark out) and there was so much smoke coming from the charcoal that the cook was using a flashlight to see what was going on on the grill (not a good sign).

                                    Plus the wait for your order is always long. The only good thing about the experience is that you get a generous serving for your money.

                                    In sum, McKenzie's is fine if you're in the neighborhood, but I wouldn't go across town for their chicken unless you are prepared to wait a long time and don't mind getting chicken that is partly burnt.

                            2. re: HankyT
                              nbermas RE: HankyT Jan 15, 2008 08:55 AM

                              Is this Brooklyn? Any good places like this in the Bronx?

                              1. re: nbermas
                                racer x RE: nbermas Jan 15, 2008 03:39 PM

                                Yes, McKenzie's is on Utica Ave in Brooklyn, not far from Utica and Eastern Pkwy. The one good thing about the place is that you know your chicken is freshly cooked cuz it disappears as soon as it comes off the grill. (Nobody was touching the stewed chicken and other stuff on the steam table, however. The rice & peas looked liked they'd been there for ages.)

                                I'm still looking for a decent place in the Bronx. Let me know if you find one. The Feeding Tree, by Yankee Stadium, is often praised, but I've never been impressed by their food (most recently just a few months ago).

                                1. re: nbermas
                                  punto RE: nbermas Jul 13, 2008 07:40 PM

                                  You might want to try Good Dine at 3922 White Plains Road. I've been laid up with broken ankle for more than a month and my sister wanted to go on a mission of mercy to bring me something spicy to eat (I'm a confirmed chile-head), Her doorman in Riverdale insisted that she go the Good Dine and she brought me oxtail stew, spicy shrimp (I don't know what they are called on the menu, but that's what they were) and jerked chicken along with sides of cabbage and stew peas. It was all good and some was way better than good. I'm heading over there for more as soon as I am mobile. I gather that it is mostly takeout oriented but there is some sort of seating available.

                              2. re: demigodh
                                jen kalb RE: demigodh Dec 19, 2007 07:21 AM

                                not about food, but that side of Atlantic is not Prospect Hts, its Clinton Hill.

                              3. re: oystersallday
                                Pulpio RE: oystersallday Dec 19, 2007 05:52 AM

                                Islands is much better for take-out and delivery than eating in -- unless you have a LOT of time on your hands. Our last visit, our food arrived almost exactly ninety minutes after we sat down upstairs. We had plenty of time to watch a steady stream of to-go orders and deliveries preempt us. Major bummer.

                                1. re: Pulpio
                                  wleatherette RE: Pulpio Dec 19, 2007 07:21 AM

                                  the seating area isn't very comfortable, either. it's better to get take-out and chat with the ladies behind the counter. there's a good chance that they'll offer cups of their incredibly strong rum punch.

                                  1. re: wleatherette
                                    prunefeet RE: wleatherette Jan 5, 2008 06:04 AM

                                    I respectfully disagree, I ate upstairs at Islands a few months and had a great time despite the fact that the two ladies had the flu and a large harried man was cooking...one of the flu ladies came in and set up the upstairs dining loft, which is a testament to what you can do with a teeny tiny space. I thought it was delicious and charming. The jerk was not what I consider traditional jerk, it seemed more stewed, but still good.

                                  2. re: Pulpio
                                    fredid RE: Pulpio Jan 5, 2008 04:54 AM

                                    Nice thread abt The Islands - although I've always thoroughly enjoyed the chicken, also - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/368814

                              4. nbermas RE: abyss Dec 18, 2007 12:18 PM

                                I hear that Ripe Restaurant in Mount Vernon is very good and you might want to look at there web site. I get there mail and they always have fabulous events and there menu looks very interesting.

                                1. s
                                  Stewdude RE: abyss Dec 19, 2007 09:23 AM

                                  Christies on Flatbush Ave. just north of Grand Army Plaza has superb patties and excellent jerk chicken. It an informal small sit down place but the food, for the most part, is precooked and served from a steam table, rather then cooked to order. They have a homemmade jerk hot sauce that is truly killer. Worth the trip for the hot sauce alone!

                                  1. g
                                    Geo8rge RE: abyss Jan 5, 2008 11:28 AM

                                    Sugar Cane on Flatbush is upscale, somewhat pricey, and if you are picky probably more Trinadad than Jamaica.

                                    1. a
                                      astoriafoodie RE: abyss Jan 16, 2008 03:42 PM

                                      Does anyone know of any Jamaican restaurant in Queens? My Jamaican girlfriend is going crazy! :)

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: astoriafoodie
                                        racer x RE: astoriafoodie Jan 16, 2008 05:00 PM

                                        I've heard very good things about The Door, a Jamaican restaurant in Jamaica, Queens, but I haven't been there myself as yet.

                                        1. re: racer x
                                          jen kalb RE: racer x Jan 17, 2008 09:08 AM

                                          we've used The Door to cater functions at our church. Based on that experience (probably not the best way to experience it), Id say their food is very good but not earth-shatteringly great. It was a hit with the Jamaican and other caribbean folks in the church. It would definitely be worth a try for people in the area.

                                        2. re: astoriafoodie
                                          rootytootyfreshnfrooty RE: astoriafoodie Jun 19, 2008 02:36 PM

                                          There is an amazing place on Sutphin in the Lnden vicinity that is outrageously good. That's all I'm saying.

                                          1. re: rootytootyfreshnfrooty
                                            squid kun RE: rootytootyfreshnfrooty Jun 20, 2008 12:44 AM

                                            > There is an amazing place on Sutphin in the Lnden vicinity that is outrageously good. That's all I'm saying.

                                            Then why post?

                                        3. m
                                          msmel RE: abyss Jun 26, 2008 04:45 PM

                                          Like another poster, am a fan of Ripe Kitchen and Bar and am on their email list as well. Think the web site is www.riperestaurant.com. Authentic but innovative at the same time. Think the chef's two wins over Bobby Flay on Throwdown spoke to the restaurant's standards though it is not very pretentious.

                                          Show Hidden Posts