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Favorite Caribbean Restuarants in SF, East Bay or South Bay

tjinsf Feb 24, 2014 05:12 AM

After a couple of weeks in NYC and many many delicious meals at restaurants serving a variety of Caribbean cuisines I want to find more in the Bay.
I've been to El Nuevo Frutilandia and the Parada 22 POP-UP and found them only average and El Nuevo had as much Latin American food as it did Cuban.

  1. soupçon Feb 24, 2014 07:19 AM

    I'd like to say Caribbean Zone, but that would reveal just how senile I am. I think they played that reggae "Happy Birthday" record one time too many.

    I used to think Primo Patio was irie, but haven't been there in a long time, either.

    1. Robert Lauriston Feb 24, 2014 08:32 AM

      Miss Ollie's is in a class by itself. The chef is from Barbados but also makes dishes from other Caribbean cuisines.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        escargot3 Feb 24, 2014 10:33 AM

        Miss Ollie's fried chicken on Friday nite did not disappoint.
        The plate of pickled medley was also as fab as ever.
        Oh, and the caipirinhas were strong.

        ps for those of you concerned about the lack of kick in the hot sauce -- it was seriously packed with wollup that evening.

        1. re: escargot3
          tjinsf Feb 24, 2014 10:37 AM

          is there anything in particular that makes the fried chicken more caribbean than southern? The curry goat and Salt Fish & Ackee are very tempting.

          1. re: tjinsf
            escargot3 Feb 24, 2014 11:17 AM

            interesting question, TJ.
            Are there any food historians in the crowd?

            1. re: tjinsf
              abstractpoet Feb 25, 2014 07:57 PM

              The chef at Miss Ollie's infuses the chicken with a mix of herbs (marjoram, thyme, etc.) and vinegar -- tucks that under the skin, and, I believe, slashes the meat itself and sticks some of the mixture in there too.

              1. re: abstractpoet
                chefj Feb 26, 2014 04:27 PM

                The last time I had it it was not slashed or stuffed. She uses the brine to carry the Seasoning.

                1. re: chefj
                  Robert Lauriston Feb 26, 2014 06:08 PM

                  I've always seen herbs under the skin in Sarah Kirnon's fried chicken.

              2. re: tjinsf
                Robert Lauriston Feb 26, 2014 08:50 AM

                Miss Ollie's fried chicken doesn't taste terribly Caribbean to me, though I think it's the chef's grandmother's recipe. It's just really good.

                I don't get ackee. Maybe you have to grow up eating it.

          2. s
            slew Feb 26, 2014 08:56 AM

            I like the curry goat special at 'Back A Yard' in Menlo Park...

            Their jerks are OK...


            3 Replies
            1. re: slew
              bbulkow Feb 26, 2014 06:26 PM

              There is also the Back A Yard in San Jose, haven't tried, expect it's similar.

              Coconuts in Palo Alto is quite good. There's some connection to Back A Yard but is sit down and longer menu. We have a Jamaican guy in the office and he requests Coconuts to be in our regular office food rotation.

              Two cuban places in San Jose are worth a stop. Cuban isn't _exactly_ carribean, but Cuba is in the Carribean, so maybe it's close enough.

              Habana Cuba - this is quite good, had the oxtails, plaintains, red beans rice, etc
              Los Cubanos - haven't tried but highly regarded

              Bogedita del Medio in Palo Alto has some nice Cuban dishes, but loses a bit of the Down Home feel of the other places.

              Mango Carribean in Palo Alto was down home and a great place to suck back a Red Stripe - forced out due to increased rents, one expects.

              If you're East Bay these all might be a trip for you, sorry about that.

              1. re: bbulkow
                Robert Lauriston Feb 26, 2014 06:47 PM

                Habana serves traditional Cuban food.

                Bodeguita del Medio is pan-Latin fusion.

                1. re: bbulkow
                  slew Feb 26, 2014 08:36 PM

                  The chef at "Coconuts" and "Back A Yard" is the same...

                  And both their web pages have music that you can't initially turn off until you navigate off the home page... :P

              2. e
                ernie in berkeley Feb 26, 2014 12:39 PM

                Suya African Caribbean on Oxford at Center does good grilled dishes at low prices.

                1. heidipie Feb 26, 2014 04:17 PM

                  A Jamaican lady I know strongly recommends Sweet Fingers in San Leandro.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: heidipie
                    Robert Lauriston Feb 26, 2014 04:23 PM

                    I had some great dishes there some years back. That and other reports:


                  2. drewskiSF Feb 26, 2014 11:19 PM

                    Kingston 11 is just 3 months old. Dinner only.


                    I haven't gotten there, but J. Kauffman had a pretty good mini review on Tasting Table


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