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For Authentic Jerk Chicken... Head to Rap's

JonasBrand Jul 28, 2008 11:41 AM

When the drum is smokin out front (usually in the evenings), be sure to pull over a buy one of the best jerk chickens you'll have outside of Jamaica... from *Rap's* up on Eglington West a couple blocks west of the Allen.

Some tips:
- Be sure to get it fresh off the grill.
- Definitely sign up for a splash of the secret sauce.
- Eat with care, there are some small bones you need to pick around.
- Drink a bottle of Grace Grapefruit Soda, lots of zing and not overly sweet.

This place is a gem.

1541 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M6E, CA

  1. l
    LUV_TO_EAT Jul 13, 2009 12:11 PM

    Any one know when Raps is open (ie when is the drum outside smokin?) Never been would like to try it soon. Don't want to go there only to find he ain't starting till ## time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: LUV_TO_EAT
      Connoisseur Jul 15, 2009 05:30 AM

      Maybe it was an off day? But we had the jerk and the Ox and they were both oh so wrong.... Won't be going back

      1. re: Connoisseur
        acd123 Jul 15, 2009 06:09 AM

        What was wrong?

    2. dannyboy Jul 13, 2009 08:28 AM

      Finally made the trip out there yesterday afternoon...
      Pretty cool how you gotta head out after getting your rice+peas and get your chicken right off the grill...
      I got medium, I think I only got a leg and a thigh which IMO is a little skimpy for 8 bones ---
      The chicken was super tender and really well cooked, the flavouring was nice albiet i like it spicier and a little more seasoned, maybe have to give it another try to see what all of the fuss is about - he also didn't have his 'secret sauce' which i was looking forward to so i was a bit dissappointed there....
      IMO the jerk at Mr.Jerk on Wellesley OR Jerk Hut (?) at Bloor/Dufferin is quite a bit better but i WILL give it another go soon...
      also, Alberts rice and peas are better than his with the oxtail gravy.

      5 Replies
      1. re: dannyboy
        Connoisseur Jul 13, 2009 09:50 AM

        I can't comment on Mr. Jerk or Jerk Hut. But I can say based on CHOW reviews I tried Albert's ONCE and it was pure garbage my fiend and I have been on the hunt for the best of the best for some time now and Alberrt's was the worst of the worst. What a disappointment...

        1. re: Connoisseur
          dannyboy Jul 13, 2009 10:36 AM

          Their rice and peas are killer, it's simmered in coconut water - And their curry goat, i think the best in the city, the richest gravy ever...
          Jerk chicken wise, I think it's decent, not the best but - garbage? been to a million of them, to Jamaica twice, and it's certainly not GARBAGE by any stretch *shakes head*

          1. re: dannyboy
            grandgourmand Jul 13, 2009 10:39 AM

            Albert's jerk is pretty decent. Their star is the rice and peas, so flavourful.

            I wouldn't call it garbage either, or worst of the worst. That's a stretch.

            1. re: grandgourmand
              acd123 Jul 13, 2009 10:53 AM

              The jerk chicken at Albert's is not bad. It has pretty good flavour. But I don't like that they take the chicken pieces out of a tupperware container and throw it in the microwave. I far prefer getting the jerk chicken right off the grill at Rap's.

              1. re: acd123
                dannyboy Jul 13, 2009 10:55 AM

                agreed - minus 2 for the tupperware lol

      2. jayt90 Jun 26, 2009 03:43 PM

        Jerk King, at Morningside and Kingston Road, had a good jerk chicken today. The sides were boring: rice, peas, oxtail gravy, and steam table cabbage.
        I'll be looking for a place with better sides, as there is so much richness in them if properly done.

        I believe the chicken leg/thigh was cut up because it is a Chinese tradition, more than Jamaican.

        1. y
          YummyYummy Jun 26, 2009 02:32 AM

          Used to really love this place when I lived in the neighborhood back in 1993 to 1995. Remember eating there 2-3 times per week, especially late at night after clubbing. I really miss this place. :(

          Anyone know if the owner is still a guy named Horace? He was a very cool person. Think I'll make a trip up to where RAP'S is for old times!

          1 Reply
          1. re: YummyYummy
            Connoisseur Jun 26, 2009 06:15 AM

            Ok so I just noticed this thread yesterday and I'm salivating… Could this be the Jerk Mecca I’ve been searching for? My mind is racing in anticipation.

          2. a
            acd123 Jun 25, 2009 08:28 PM

            I had some fantastic jerk chicken tonight at Rap's.

            A new batch of jerk was done just as I walked in. I could smell it down the street. The chicken was smokey, spicy and a bit sweet. Great flavour. The meat was perfectly cooked. Too bad that the skin wasn't a bit crisper but who cares when the flavour is so good.

            I also had rice and beans with oxtail gravy. Also really good.

            6 Replies
            1. re: acd123
              duckdown Jun 26, 2009 12:34 AM


              thanks in advance!

              is it really $10 for only half a chicken?

              1. re: duckdown
                aser Jun 26, 2009 01:05 AM

                1/2 chicken at swiss chalet is $10.99. Be realistic, a $10 meal w/ rice & peas + coleslaw is far from brutal.

                I recall they offered small, medium and large for the dinners. I vaguely recall medium being $9 and large being $11, no tax.

                1. re: aser
                  duckdown Jun 26, 2009 01:52 AM

                  sorry i misunderstood then... sounds better...

                  i thought someone said they paid $10 for a half chicken on its own... which IS brutal

                  and swiss chalet isn't a good comparison hehe.. that place is a ripoff for sure :) i'd compare it with portuguese churrasqueira instead... which there are plenty of for $10 a whole chicken :)

                2. re: duckdown
                  acd123 Jun 26, 2009 07:20 AM

                  I got the large for $10 which I think was the whole bird but it's hard to tell b/c it's all hacked up. I think I remember seeing two legs though. The rice and beans with oxtail gravy and festival was an additional $4. Worth every penny.

                  1. re: acd123
                    d00n Jun 26, 2009 09:06 AM

                    Glad to see I'm not the only one who can't really tell...

                    ...but then again, he chopped it up in front of me. :/

                    1. re: d00n
                      acd123 Jun 26, 2009 09:53 AM

                      I think he puts in whatever looks like 10 bucks worth. He leaves some of the chicken from the previous order on the cutting board and mixes it in with the half bird that he takes of the grill for your order.

              2. duckdown Jun 24, 2009 11:41 PM

                Do they sell whole chickens?

                I often buy the whole chickens but usually the sides are pretty mediocre

                Just wondering if anyone had a rough estimate

                I plan on visiting tomorrow... hoodlums loitering around my SUV or not!

                8 Replies
                1. re: duckdown
                  d00n Jun 25, 2009 09:26 AM

                  I went to Raps couple nights ago during a drunken walk home. It was $10 for a large. I think a large was a half chicken, no side dishes (rice and peas nor coleslaw) I don't think they do whole chickens since they do them on the steel drum grill.

                  But maybe they were just ripping off the Asian guy, haha. I really wanted the rice and peas and coleslaw. :/

                  1. re: d00n
                    aser Jun 25, 2009 09:29 AM

                    I think you might've just ordered the jerk chicken, rather than the dinner. The dinner comes w/ rice & peas + coleslaw.

                    1. re: d00n
                      duckdown Jun 25, 2009 12:10 PM

                      Holy Crap, 10 dollars for half a chicken?!?!? that's horrible

                      whole chickens from a churrasqueira is usually only 10 bucks for the whole thing

                      maybe I don't want to go here after all

                      1. re: d00n
                        jayt90 Jun 25, 2009 12:16 PM

                        d00n, I hate to ask if you were too drunk to see how many legs or wings you got!
                        It may have been a whole chicken, spatchcocked. They remove the backbone, and flatten out the whole chicken for the grill.
                        DD, I don't think many west Indians would part wit' $20 for da whole ting!

                        1. re: jayt90
                          duckdown Jun 25, 2009 12:26 PM

                          LOL! yeah exactly

                          I would wonder the same thing; maybe the carcass has been butterflied

                          1. re: duckdown
                            ekammin Jun 25, 2009 12:30 PM

                            How about the "Real Jerk" Chicken or pork,

                          2. re: jayt90
                            d00n Jun 25, 2009 02:39 PM

                            Haha, I'm pretty sure it was half; I just didn't want to hear the end of it if I was wrong. :P

                            I remember eating a wing at night and a drumstick for lunch. And it came in one large styrofoam container and so I sorta assumed it was half since when you buy a whole chicken from an Asian store, it's usually two boxes, y'know what I mean? lol

                            But duckdown, totally let me know if you end up going. :Dd

                            1. re: d00n
                              d00n Jun 25, 2009 02:42 PM

                              P.S. Mainsha is better, imo. $9 for half a chicken with rice, peas and coleslaw. Deeeeeelish. But they aren't open late like Spence and Raps. I guess we can't all sell sketchy DVDs on Eglinton. :P

                      2. o
                        obstructionist Jun 24, 2009 11:02 AM

                        Do they have jerk pork?

                        1. Matt H Jul 29, 2008 09:04 AM

                          The best Jerk Chicken and by far the most authentic in all of Toronto. These guys know how to do it right!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Matt H
                            aser Jul 29, 2008 12:18 PM

                            I've always wondered about this place since I drive by late at night and the drum barrel is still smoking away, even in the dead of winter.

                            It seems the last few times I've driven by in the summer, the competitors on that block also have their grills out. Again keep in mind this is late night at 1am.

                            How is their oxtail?

                            1. re: Matt H
                              Matt H Jun 24, 2009 09:43 AM

                              HA! Funny I don't even remember writing this.......I think Raps is OK, but this is very strange!

                              1. re: Matt H
                                Yongeman Jun 24, 2009 10:24 AM

                                Too much rum punch?

                              2. re: Matt H
                                OTFOODIE Jun 24, 2009 10:35 AM

                                I agree. I stopped there a couple of times and enjoyed the chicken - spicy & moist.

                              3. Davwud Jul 29, 2008 05:51 AM

                                Thanks. I've always wondered about this place.

                                Will have to try it sometime.



                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Davwud
                                  callitasicit Jun 24, 2009 09:23 AM

                                  Great Blog Davwud!

                                  1. re: callitasicit
                                    Davwud Jun 24, 2009 01:51 PM


                                    I had few other places to review as well but the pictures accidentally got deleted.

                                    I'm leaving for "Down yonder" again tomorrow and will try to hit up a few places.


                                2. e
                                  embee Jul 28, 2008 02:36 PM

                                  I was driving along that stretch of Eglinton one evening and just HAD to find the source of the smell drifting over the neighbourhood. It was coming from Raps. It was the best jerk I've had in Toronto. Yes go there.

                                  (The area is, indeed, a bit dodgy, but I wouldn't call it unsafe.)

                                  1. grandgourmand Jul 28, 2008 11:57 AM

                                    Good tip...will definitely check that out.

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