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Cafe Royale in Santa Monica

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Cafe Royale, which is at 14th and Broadway in the centre of Santa Monica, is a Jamaican restaurant hiding next to a British auto repair shop.

It's very shabby looking and it's hard to tell when it's open and when it's not, but it's a good restaurant. They have the usual Jamaican specialities (curried goat, jerk meat) and the owners are very polite. It's kind of like an extension of a Jamaican family's kitchen - very unhurried and not huge on presentation.

The prices are quite reasonable and if you're taken with any of the items, there's a deli attached to it where you can get things to go.

I like it because it's a nice alternative to Cha Cha Cha or Cha Cha Chicken. It is a bit greasy but then most Caribbean food is.

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  1. Thanks for the post. Does anyone know if there is some enclave in the LA area of "real" Caribbean/West Indies restaurants? In Toronto, where I'm from, there are a couple of areas filled with roti and jerk joints. I've never quite found the same thing in LA, but given the ethnic diversity here I figure it must exist somewhere.

    The golden ring here would be to find some authentic jerk and roti. Jerk chicken/pork is sort of like BBQ in that there are a hundred ways to do it wrong, and only a few to do it right; and the vast majority of places are pretty badly.... if it's made in an oven, it just ain't the real thing...

    Dylan

    4 Replies
    1. re: Dylan Yolles

      There used to be quite a conglomo of them in Anaheim but that seems to have fallen by the wayside. Maybe somewhere in Mid-City?

      1. re: Dylan Yolles
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        michael (mea culpa)

        Maybe if you catch Roger Steffans' reggae show on KCRW (89.9) some places will be mentioned.

        1. re: Dylan Yolles

          Dylan, when I was dating a girl from Sudbury a couple of years ago, I begged and pled with her to stop in TO on our way north from Niagara so I could have a Caribbean meal. She HATES the city, even though she went to naturopathic college there, so it was obviously a major sacrifice, hehe. After a search proving more difficult than I thought it would be, we wound up at a Trinidadian joint serving up fresh, hot curries and rotis. It was JUST what I was looking for, and we continued north on Hwy 69, full and content.

          You're right, it would be awesome to have that variety here.

          1. re: Dylan Yolles

            I believe there are four or five Caribbean restaurants on Venice Boulevard in Culver City. Each one is very different from the other ambiance wise. One is a shack, one offers live music, one is more date/night up-scale, etc. I've eaten in a few of them and liked the shack (but don't remember any names).

            Also the Flava Bag Lady sells her jerk chicken at the Sunday Farmer's Market in Hollywood. She bar-b-ques behind the tent. I actually prefer her Jamaican curry.

            Lastly, there is an African festival held every year at Exposition Park in the summer time. They have an amazing food court, lots of restaurants I've never heard of. Check it out next summer.