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The 29 Essential Restaurants in Kingston, Jamaica

From jerk chicken and hot-fried patties to Rastafarian vegan feasts and shaken rum cocktails, here’s where to eat in Jamaica’s culture-rich port city

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Kingston, Jamaica — a city where street corners pulsate to an innate beat, as the smoky aromas of pimento and thyme fill the air. Chicken sizzles on grill-pans, cups are refilled with rum, and friends new and old labrish and suss about their day.

Meanwhile, 17 miles away and 3,500 feet above, in the lush Blue Mountains, a serene breeze provides the perfect companion to an afternoon cup of coffee sweetened with condensed milk, and a slice of dense sweet potato pudding served with a scoop of Devon House vanilla ice cream on the side.

Jamaica has long been defined by picturesque white sand beaches, turquoise water, rum punches and jerk chicken. And while it does deliver on these expectations, it is so much more. Vibrant street food; redefined Caribbean gourmet; distinct dishes from the diverse ethnicities of the island; clean, vegetable-forward flavors from the Rastafarian community, and fresh seafood eaten with sand between your toes.

Kingston is a microcosm that embodies all this and more, and sways to a rhythm all its own. And while visitors tend to stick to the coast for the quintessential “sun and sand,” it is Kingston where you’ll find an unfiltered, unapologetic culinary journey.

Price Key
Prices per person, excluding alcohol
$ = Less than $1,000 (Less than US$7)
$$ = $1,000 to $5,000 (US$7 to US$35)
$$$ = $5,000 to $10,000 (US$35 to US$70)
$$$$ = $10,000+ (US$70 +)

Note: The inclusion of restaurants offering dine-in service should not be taken as an endorsement for dining inside. Studies indicate a lower exposure risk to COVID-19 outdoors, but the level of risk is contingent on social distancing and other safety guidelines. Check with each restaurant for up-to-date information on dining offerings. Please check the CDC for updated information on coronavirus cases in the area.

Leisha Wong is a lifestyle writer who has lived in Kingston, Jamaica for the past 15 years, who has turned her passion for food into curating food events, including Jamaica’s first food market event, Kingston Kitchen.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Summerhouse

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Vintage blue and white dinnerware is the perfect canvas for the creations envisioned by the talented sister duo of Suzanne and Michelle Rousseau. Located at Harmony Hall — a former estate and national monument that dates back to the late 19th century — Summerhouse redefines modern heritage Caribbean dining in a picturesque setting. The building is a stunning marriage of Georgian and Jamaican architecture, with fretwork interwoven with the original stone walls. Dishes are a similarly delicate combination of recipes from Jamaica’s culinary traditions and the broader Caribbean region. An East Indian mezze platter features baigan (roasted eggplant) and pumpkin and coconut choka (both from Trinidad) served with roti and raita, alongside a redefined pickled herring flambeed in rum. Local sausages and a fancified version of pan chicken — a street corner staple that features chicken grilled in a steel drum pan — are notable proteins, alongside the citrus-infused catch of the day. Sunday brunch at Summerhouse is a celebratory affair, with well-dressed guests sipping on bubbly and sharing Scotch bonnet cornbread, chevre crusted with cassava, and creamy seafood risotto. There’s also a riff on lox with locally-smoked marlin, while fluffy crab cakes get a hit of sweetness from the accompanying plantain salsa. ($$$)

a peek through palm fronds at a table set up for a meal with wine and plates.
A meal at Summer House
Michael Condran

Stush in the Bush

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At Stush in the Bush, hidden in the hills of St. Ann, owners Lisa and Christopher Binns have brought magic to the local vegan landscape with thoughtful menus inspired by the seasons and a passion for sustainability. Vegetables, the bounty of Jamaica’s rich soil, are the main protagonists here. Lisa and Chris are as much storytellers as they are restaurateurs. Guests are welcomed with a personalized menu starting with hors d’oeuvres that can include crispy plantain with almond hummus, yam and pineapple croquettes, and a watermelon tartare. Lunch is a melody of in-season flavors: spicy arrabbiata with almond ricotta, black linguine and “meatballs,” open-flame grilled “Fyah” pizza, or nasturtium flowers stuffed with cashew ricotta, accompanied by a spread of homemade pepper sauces and dressings. Lisa passionately describes each dish to guests, while after lunch, Christopher leads them on an “Earth walk” through the farm, inviting visitors to establish an intimate connection with the food, and perhaps even plant a tree. Coffee, cinnamon rolls, rum raisin ice cream, and beignets with lemon curd are just some of the dessert options that may meet you after your walk; the only way to end an experience that may forever change the way you eat. ($$$$)

Majestic Japanese Restaurant

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Following his love for reggae music, Kazumi Utoguchi, affectionately known as “Taka,” came to Jamaica in the 1990s. He has since built an empire of restaurants under the East Japanese umbrella, including East New Kingston, Annex East, and the most high-end concept, Majestic Sushi & Grill. At this chic location, you’ll find everything from sashimi and sushi platters, nigiri, sashimi, and hand rolls; to steaming ramen bowls, teppanyaki-style dishes, and more. It’s all situated within the intimate and lush surroundings of Stony Hill. Music is as integral a part of the East Japanese experience as the freshness of the seafood, whether it’s Beres Hammond playing through the speakers, or the crowd-favorite DJ Marie playing live on Friday nights. ($$$)

Chateau 7 Jerk Centre

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This unassuming roadside eatery, perched precariously on a busy hairpin corner in Stony Hill (also known as Red Gal Ring), serves the most innovative jerk in the city. Traditional jerk pork and chicken are cooked over pimento wood in the back, but it’s dishes like curry pork, jerk wild hog, and cow cod soup that draw fans here weekly. ($$)

a pile of cooked chicken on tinfoil.
Jerk chicken at Chateau 7.
Chateau 7 / Facebook

Eits Cafe

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The plates that emerge from the tiny kitchen at EITS Café are helping define modern farm-to-table dining in Kingston. Run by the charismatic father-daughter team of Robyn and Michael Fox, the restaurant specializes in dishes like plump barrel-roasted chicken (literally chicken cooked slowly in an aged rum barrel) and savory crepes with coconut curry conch and mountain mango chutney. Then there’s that dreamy Goddess dressing, house-baked bread with Scotch bonnet butter — I can go on. ($$$)

Café Blue - Irish Town

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If you are going to enjoy Jamaica’s Blue Mountain coffee, there is no better place to do it than the source. Café Blue, in Irish Town, is perched on the mountain’s edge, and offers coffees picked at their nearby Clifton Mountain Estate. Keep it simple with a cup of 100 percent Blue Mountain coffee, or if you’re game, order the Misty Blue, which calls on a shot of rum for an extra kick. There’s also a wide breakfast, sandwich, and pastries menu if you want to grab a cup and stay a while. Head to the outdoor deck, drink in the view, and indulge in the full bean-to-cup experience. ($-$$)

Kingston Dub Club

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Situated in the hills overlooking Kingston, this hideaway is a sanctuary for roots, rockers, reggae, and dub music. Each Sunday, with a “stubby” Red Stripe in hand, lovers of Jamaica’s music celebrate the past, present, and future of reggae music. Wednesdays are for live sessions, when up-and-coming Kingston talent takes the stage for live shows. ($-$$)

a crowd of people dancing in front of colorful speakers.
Kingston Dub Club
Kingston Dub Club / Facebook

The Cheffing Don Catering

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Plant-based diets are integral to Jamaican culture, thanks to the practices of Rastafarians, who adhere to a vegetarian-based diet (also known as ital) which is believed to bring you closer to the universal and natural life force. Food should be natural, organic, and from the earth — such is the guiding philosophy of Davion Edwards, the chef behind this vegan restaurant where daily specials are inspired by produce sourced directly from farms in Clarendon. Pumpkin takari (pumpkin stewed with coconut milk), lentil stew, and Pastafari (a creamy, dairy-free pasta) are among the frequent favorites. ($$)

Uncorked

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What began as a simple wine bar has, over the last 10 years, led the charge in shifting the island’s appreciation and accessibility of wine. While the menu was initially intended as a collection of small snacks to accompany the vast selection of wines, it has morphed into a fully fledged restaurant, with impressive cheese and charcuterie platters, weekly specials, and innovative breakfast and brunch menus that feel both locally and internationally inspired. Still, this is first and foremost a wine bar, with one of the largest selections on the island. A second Kingston location on Constant Spring Road continues the mission of bringing great cheese, wine, and gourmet food to its neighborhood fans.  ($$$)

Eleni's Bakery Jamaica

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When Eleni Daperis and her husband Dmitri came to Jamaica from Montreal, it was not to open a bakery. But lack of access to fresh, minimally processed bread pushed the couple to open Eleni’s Bakery. It was an instant hit, and today the bake shop has expanded into a full restaurant, with an extensive breakfast and lunch menu, and a large selection of freshly baked sourdough breads, French pastries, and other desserts. This might be the best croissant in Jamaica, and the crowds that congregate early in the morning are a testament to this. Grab one with a cup of premium Marley brand coffee and while away the morning at one of the outdoor tables. ($-$$)

Fromage Brasserie

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For a vibe reminiscent of a Parisian sidewalk café, Fromage Brasserie (and its sister restaurant Fromage Bistro) is the place. While the chic people-watching may be hard to replicate, the steak frites with bacon and onion truffle butter transports you halfway to Rue Cler. There are also less Francophile dishes on the menu, like sticky Korean BBQ pork ribs and spicy snapper Creole stew, that are equally worth a trip. ($$$)

Marianna’s Kitchen

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Marianna Farag, known as Nana, forges elaborate, creative vegan dishes that reflect her personal journey from the Middle East to the Caribbean, and the flavors and traditions she picked up along the way. Stepping into Miss Marianna’s Kitchen feels like stepping into her home, a place where the culinary-curious come to feast upon whatever local ingredients inspired her that morning, or even what soundtrack was playing the night before. Daily specials are described in detail — gluten-free, peanut-free, kelp-quinoa protein, summer rolls with sea minerals; daikon radishes, carrots, zucchini, purple cabbage, with a special sesame-based dipping sauce —  and are surrounded by a host of delicious supporting acts like stuffed grape leaves, gluten-free mujadara with mango-cucumber salsa, or fried “chicken” with salad. ($$)

Chilitos Jamexican Food

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A liter of margaritas is just the thing to go along with your JaMexican elote or jerk chicken tacos. This seamless melding of Mexican and Jamaican ingredients comes together in a laid back location — part repurposed container, part backyard bash — defined by easy-going service and relaxed vibes. ($$)

Tamarind Continental

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A menu that’s too broad can be a bad sign, but not at Tamarind Continental. A spin-off of its sister restaurant, Tamarind Indian, the Continental features three distinct menus — Indian, pan-Asian fusion, and French-Italian — offering something to suit all cravings. The result is a sophisticated smorgasbord of flavors. Spicy mughlai mutton with a side of buttery naan appears on the table alongside a meaty fillet of snapper brightened with herb-citrus butter. The butter chicken pizza is comforting and spicy, a surprisingly satisfying combination of two disparate traditions. ($$$)

White dishes with bright orange food and garnishes.
Dishes at Tamarind
Tamarind official

Regency Bar & Lounge

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Regency Bar & Lounge is old-world Jamaica — the kind of place where bartenders wear bow ties and white suits while mixing some of the most creative cocktails in the city. When James Bond creator Ian Fleming was in Kingston in the 1950s, you can imagine that this is where he would have had a gin and tonic. Today, you can come for curried goat rice balls, mac and cheese with lobster and specks of Scotch bonnet pepper, and other delicious reasons to pause and refuel between cocktails. ($$$)

candles on tables on a covered patio with foliage at night.
The patio at the Regency Bar & Lounge.
Terra Nova Jamaica Official

Broken Plate Restaurant

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Mediterranean vibes abound at this rooftop restaurant. Led by the young and talented chef Damion Stewart, his fresh approach to food is a welcome addition to the Kingston culinary scene. Small plates include grilled sprat skewers finished with a spicy Scotch bonnet chimichurri drizzle, seared sliced ahi tuna served with fresh greens, and duck breast bruschetta; larger plates showcase specialties from the land and sea. Craft cocktails also feature local flavors, like the lychee mule; a local take on the caipirinha  with fresh mango and gin; and a Jamaican riff on Long Island iced tea that features local ginger beer as the base. ($$$)

Kaya Pizzeria and Herb House

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A pizzeria at a cannabis house just makes sense. Kaya Pizzeria doles out some of the island’s best wood-fired, thin-crust pizza, showcasing local ingredients as well as traditional Italian recipes. Whether cannabis is part of your meal or not, the deck at Kaya is a welcoming, open-air space perfect for all, complete with murals and retro artwork fitting for this Kingston location, which joins the Kaya family as the third outpost, following the success of its original location in Drax Hall (the first medical cannabis house in the Caribbean). ($$)

a loungey patio with many couches and a mural.
Kaya Herb House and Pizzeria
Kaya Herb House / Facebook

Cru Bar and Kitchen

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Rooftop views and a sophisticated lounge atmosphere draw the city’s beautiful people for weekend brunch. All-day prosecco and cocktail specials accompany bar menu options like BBQ pigtail, shrimp, and bacon tacos, and loaded fries with jerk chicken. With beats provided by a live DJ, it’s an ideal way to spend your Saturday. ($$$)

A fancy bar under a high wood roof.
Cru Bar and Kitchen
Cru Bar and Kitchen / Facebook

Tea Tree Crêperie

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This simple creperie and tea shop began as a partnership between Carrie “Quizz ‘’ Sigurdson and her mother Maree, two Canadian expats with a dream to open a tea house. Today the café turns out beautifully light crêpes overflowing with a fun variety of fillings. There’s beef in béarnaise sauce;  the Big Blue, with more tenderloin and a handful of blue cheese and cheddar; and the bestseller, smoked marlin with cream cheese topped with pepper jelly. There are sweet crêpes, too, filled with Nutella, apple crumble, lemon curd, and s’mores filling. The menu now also includes one of the best eggs Benedicts on the island served on house-made English muffins. And yes, they do have tea, but for something stronger, there’s the potent Magic Mint Lemonade. ($$)

Nirvanna Restaurant Lady Musgrave

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Indian and pan-Asian cooking are the focus of this elegant Kingston refuge. The team in the kitchen hails from Mumbai, and prepares a varied lineup of traditional Indian curries and juicy tandoor specialties, each artfully presented. It is one of a trio of restaurants run by restaurateur Jaya Chatani, who is deftly helping to diversify the island’s culinary scene. ($$$)

Devon House Bakery and Ice Cream

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The linchpin in the Jamaican gastronomic center that is Devon House, Devon House Bakery makes Kingston’s most perfect patties. A cheffed-up version of Jamaica’s signature hand pies, these golden puff pastry creations encase unique fillings like curry goat or chicken, lobster, and shrimp. Sweet options include traditional pastries such as sweet potato pudding, bread pudding, and rum cake. And the only thing to follow up a patty from Devon House? A cone from the treasured Devon House Ice Cream. Locals gather on the Devon House lawn each Sunday for popular flavors like Grapenut, Devon Stout, and rum raisin. There are toppings, but these cones are best enjoyed on their own in their natural surroundings.

a hand holds a fried patty.
The ultimate patty from Devon House.
Devon House Bakery / Facebook

The Steak House on The Verandah

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With her trademark head scarves, feisty kitchen manner, and mastery of local flavors, the late Jamaican culinary maven Norma Shirley helped redefine Jamaican gourmet cuisine. The Terrace at Devon House played host to her talents for most of her career, and since Shirley’s passing in 2010, the restaurant has worked hard to maintain her legacy. The late great chef Colin Hylton made it his own under the name Guilt Trip, a flamboyant and daring celebration of Caribbean ingredients. The latest to take the torch is Christian Sweeney, who delivers light, fresh, and modern renditions like local lobster and an unexpected take on steamed water crackers, served with a bold creamed herring sauce and topped with shrimp. While many still gather for the wide selection of steaks and chops, it is the locally inspired Scotch bonnet tuna tartare, garlic-infused mussels, and jerk sausage that are rewriting this sophisticated experience. ($$$)

a bowl with pasta on a tile table.
Grilled chicken pasta at the Steak House
Steakhouseja / Facebook

The Commissary

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Christina Simonitsch is behind this self-described “little kiosk” takeout operation. What it lacks in size, it makes up for with an everchanging treasure trove of goodies like croissant-donuts (these sell out within hours), chocolate mousse, tiramisu, chicken liver pate, smoked marlin dip, vegan kale walnut pesto, ackee hummus, sorbetto, prosciutto pizza, and more, all made by Simonitsch, as well as a selection of other local vendors and artisans. You’ll want to try one of everything on this menu. ($$)

District 5

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Rooftop views, loungey decor,  and an extensive drinks and bar food menu draw a stylish crowd to sample the Caribbean-inspired menu at District 5, with staples like ackee and saltfish (or curry chicken) spring rolls, saltfish fritters, and sweet-and-salty pigtail. Chef Brian Lumley is newly at the helm, and brings with him a smart mix of innovation and a respect for local traditions. ($$$)

a pile of calamari on a plate.
Fried seafood are a specialty at District 5.
R Hotel Official

Chillin’ Restaurant and Bar

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The traditional Jamaican box lunch is simply a takeout lunch, usually of local dishes, served at lunch time, and usually for a reduced price. But at Chillin’, the boxed lunch is worth eating on site at the sleek location featuring a bright and breezy deck. The menu here features island-renowned curry goat from Murray’s Farm (the original location is in Clarendon, about an hour from Kingston), alongside a selection of other traditional dishes like stew peas with pigtail, fried chicken, and oxtail. ($$)

A dish of green stew sits on a table with rice.
Chillin’ Restaurant and Bar
Chillin’ Official

Strawberry Hill Hotel

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Having hosted such greats as Mick Jagger and Grace Jones, Strawberry Hill is a haven of Jamaican casual sophistication and elegance. Leisurely weekend lunches are the move here, where traditional fretwork and batik prints provide the perfect backdrop to a menu of New Jamaican cuisine, like steamed whole local fish, and the duo of curry goat and oxtail. Go for lunch and stay to watch the sun set lazily over the city, a Blackwell rum punch in hand. [$$$]

A wood table with flowers, salt and pepper, and many plates of salads.
Brunch at Strawberry Hill.
Strawberry Hill Hotel Official

M10 Bar & Grill

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Once a truck stop,  the only vehicles you’ll find here today belong to diners who flock for delicious, homestyle food. Known for some of the best fried chicken (be sure to ask for it with curry gravy), red pea soup (a thick soup made from red peas and pigtail), cow foot and beans, and oxtail stew around, M10’s menu also features glitzier options like surf and turf and lobster thermidor. ($$)

Di Dragon Restaurant

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This is the definition of a hidden gem. Situated way off the beaten path, inside someone’s home on the waterways of Portmore, Di Dragon is possibly the island’s best Chinese restaurant. Fans make the trek to indulge in the famed salt-and-pepper lobster, garlic crab, and ginger-scallion pork. Make sure to make a reservation, and if you can, place your order in advance to save yourself the warranted long wait. ($$)

Gloria's Seafood

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For many Jamaicans, Gloria’s Seafood is the requisite first stop on the way home from the Norman Manley airport. From humble beginnings, Gloria Harris grew an empire that is now synonymous with fresh, wholesome Jamaican seafood. Perched on the water overlooking the infamous town of Port Royal, Gloria’s offers freshly caught fish, cooked whichever way you wish — in a rich brown stew; steamed with Excelsior water crackers; or fried with spicy escovitch sauce — as well as a slew of other dishes including curried and honey jerk shrimp or lobster. The wait on a Friday evening is worth it for the chance to see the small town come alive with street vendors. Make sure to visit the oyster man on your way in, serving up local Jamaican oysters with a variety of sweet and spicy sauces. A sister location downtown at Victoria Pier also serves up seafood specialties in a more central locale. ($$)

A giant cooked lobster covered in other shellfish and lemons.
A lobster feast at Gloria’s.
Gloria’s Seafood / Facebook

Summerhouse

a peek through palm fronds at a table set up for a meal with wine and plates.
A meal at Summer House
Michael Condran

Vintage blue and white dinnerware is the perfect canvas for the creations envisioned by the talented sister duo of Suzanne and Michelle Rousseau. Located at Harmony Hall — a former estate and national monument that dates back to the late 19th century — Summerhouse redefines modern heritage Caribbean dining in a picturesque setting. The building is a stunning marriage of Georgian and Jamaican architecture, with fretwork interwoven with the original stone walls. Dishes are a similarly delicate combination of recipes from Jamaica’s culinary traditions and the broader Caribbean region. An East Indian mezze platter features baigan (roasted eggplant) and pumpkin and coconut choka (both from Trinidad) served with roti and raita, alongside a redefined pickled herring flambeed in rum. Local sausages and a fancified version of pan chicken — a street corner staple that features chicken grilled in a steel drum pan — are notable proteins, alongside the citrus-infused catch of the day. Sunday brunch at Summerhouse is a celebratory affair, with well-dressed guests sipping on bubbly and sharing Scotch bonnet cornbread, chevre crusted with cassava, and creamy seafood risotto. There’s also a riff on lox with locally-smoked marlin, while fluffy crab cakes get a hit of sweetness from the accompanying plantain salsa. ($$$)

a peek through palm fronds at a table set up for a meal with wine and plates.
A meal at Summer House
Michael Condran

Stush in the Bush

At Stush in the Bush, hidden in the hills of St. Ann, owners Lisa and Christopher Binns have brought magic to the local vegan landscape with thoughtful menus inspired by the seasons and a passion for sustainability. Vegetables, the bounty of Jamaica’s rich soil, are the main protagonists here. Lisa and Chris are as much storytellers as they are restaurateurs. Guests are welcomed with a personalized menu starting with hors d’oeuvres that can include crispy plantain with almond hummus, yam and pineapple croquettes, and a watermelon tartare. Lunch is a melody of in-season flavors: spicy arrabbiata with almond ricotta, black linguine and “meatballs,” open-flame grilled “Fyah” pizza, or nasturtium flowers stuffed with cashew ricotta, accompanied by a spread of homemade pepper sauces and dressings. Lisa passionately describes each dish to guests, while after lunch, Christopher leads them on an “Earth walk” through the farm, inviting visitors to establish an intimate connection with the food, and perhaps even plant a tree. Coffee, cinnamon rolls, rum raisin ice cream, and beignets with lemon curd are just some of the dessert options that may meet you after your walk; the only way to end an experience that may forever change the way you eat. ($$$$)

Majestic Japanese Restaurant

Following his love for reggae music, Kazumi Utoguchi, affectionately known as “Taka,” came to Jamaica in the 1990s. He has since built an empire of restaurants under the East Japanese umbrella, including East New Kingston, Annex East, and the most high-end concept, Majestic Sushi & Grill. At this chic location, you’ll find everything from sashimi and sushi platters, nigiri, sashimi, and hand rolls; to steaming ramen bowls, teppanyaki-style dishes, and more. It’s all situated within the intimate and lush surroundings of Stony Hill. Music is as integral a part of the East Japanese experience as the freshness of the seafood, whether it’s Beres Hammond playing through the speakers, or the crowd-favorite DJ Marie playing live on Friday nights. ($$$)

Chateau 7 Jerk Centre

a pile of cooked chicken on tinfoil.
Jerk chicken at Chateau 7.
Chateau 7 / Facebook

This unassuming roadside eatery, perched precariously on a busy hairpin corner in Stony Hill (also known as Red Gal Ring), serves the most innovative jerk in the city. Traditional jerk pork and chicken are cooked over pimento wood in the back, but it’s dishes like curry pork, jerk wild hog, and cow cod soup that draw fans here weekly. ($$)

a pile of cooked chicken on tinfoil.
Jerk chicken at Chateau 7.
Chateau 7 / Facebook

Eits Cafe

The plates that emerge from the tiny kitchen at EITS Café are helping define modern farm-to-table dining in Kingston. Run by the charismatic father-daughter team of Robyn and Michael Fox, the restaurant specializes in dishes like plump barrel-roasted chicken (literally chicken cooked slowly in an aged rum barrel) and savory crepes with coconut curry conch and mountain mango chutney. Then there’s that dreamy Goddess dressing, house-baked bread with Scotch bonnet butter — I can go on. ($$$)

Café Blue - Irish Town

If you are going to enjoy Jamaica’s Blue Mountain coffee, there is no better place to do it than the source. Café Blue, in Irish Town, is perched on the mountain’s edge, and offers coffees picked at their nearby Clifton Mountain Estate. Keep it simple with a cup of 100 percent Blue Mountain coffee, or if you’re game, order the Misty Blue, which calls on a shot of rum for an extra kick. There’s also a wide breakfast, sandwich, and pastries menu if you want to grab a cup and stay a while. Head to the outdoor deck, drink in the view, and indulge in the full bean-to-cup experience. ($-$$)

Kingston Dub Club

a crowd of people dancing in front of colorful speakers.
Kingston Dub Club
Kingston Dub Club / Facebook

Situated in the hills overlooking Kingston, this hideaway is a sanctuary for roots, rockers, reggae, and dub music. Each Sunday, with a “stubby” Red Stripe in hand, lovers of Jamaica’s music celebrate the past, present, and future of reggae music. Wednesdays are for live sessions, when up-and-coming Kingston talent takes the stage for live shows. ($-$$)

a crowd of people dancing in front of colorful speakers.
Kingston Dub Club
Kingston Dub Club / Facebook

The Cheffing Don Catering

Plant-based diets are integral to Jamaican culture, thanks to the practices of Rastafarians, who adhere to a vegetarian-based diet (also known as ital) which is believed to bring you closer to the universal and natural life force. Food should be natural, organic, and from the earth — such is the guiding philosophy of Davion Edwards, the chef behind this vegan restaurant where daily specials are inspired by produce sourced directly from farms in Clarendon. Pumpkin takari (pumpkin stewed with coconut milk), lentil stew, and Pastafari (a creamy, dairy-free pasta) are among the frequent favorites. ($$)

Uncorked

What began as a simple wine bar has, over the last 10 years, led the charge in shifting the island’s appreciation and accessibility of wine. While the menu was initially intended as a collection of small snacks to accompany the vast selection of wines, it has morphed into a fully fledged restaurant, with impressive cheese and charcuterie platters, weekly specials, and innovative breakfast and brunch menus that feel both locally and internationally inspired. Still, this is first and foremost a wine bar, with one of the largest selections on the island. A second Kingston location on Constant Spring Road continues the mission of bringing great cheese, wine, and gourmet food to its neighborhood fans.  ($$$)

Eleni's Bakery Jamaica

When Eleni Daperis and her husband Dmitri came to Jamaica from Montreal, it was not to open a bakery. But lack of access to fresh, minimally processed bread pushed the couple to open Eleni’s Bakery. It was an instant hit, and today the bake shop has expanded into a full restaurant, with an extensive breakfast and lunch menu, and a large selection of freshly baked sourdough breads, French pastries, and other desserts. This might be the best croissant in Jamaica, and the crowds that congregate early in the morning are a testament to this. Grab one with a cup of premium Marley brand coffee and while away the morning at one of the outdoor tables. ($-$$)

Fromage Brasserie

For a vibe reminiscent of a Parisian sidewalk café, Fromage Brasserie (and its sister restaurant Fromage Bistro) is the place. While the chic people-watching may be hard to replicate, the steak frites with bacon and onion truffle butter transports you halfway to Rue Cler. There are also less Francophile dishes on the menu, like sticky Korean BBQ pork ribs and spicy snapper Creole stew, that are equally worth a trip. ($$$)

Marianna’s Kitchen

Marianna Farag, known as Nana, forges elaborate, creative vegan dishes that reflect her personal journey from the Middle East to the Caribbean, and the flavors and traditions she picked up along the way. Stepping into Miss Marianna’s Kitchen feels like stepping into her home, a place where the culinary-curious come to feast upon whatever local ingredients inspired her that morning, or even what soundtrack was playing the night before. Daily specials are described in detail — gluten-free, peanut-free, kelp-quinoa protein, summer rolls with sea minerals; daikon radishes, carrots, zucchini, purple cabbage, with a special sesame-based dipping sauce —  and are surrounded by a host of delicious supporting acts like stuffed grape leaves, gluten-free mujadara with mango-cucumber salsa, or fried “chicken” with salad. ($$)

Chilitos Jamexican Food

A liter of margaritas is just the thing to go along with your JaMexican elote or jerk chicken tacos. This seamless melding of Mexican and Jamaican ingredients comes together in a laid back location — part repurposed container, part backyard bash — defined by easy-going service and relaxed vibes. ($$)

Tamarind Continental

White dishes with bright orange food and garnishes.
Dishes at Tamarind
Tamarind official

A menu that’s too broad can be a bad sign, but not at Tamarind Continental. A spin-off of its sister restaurant, Tamarind Indian, the Continental features three distinct menus — Indian, pan-Asian fusion, and French-Italian — offering something to suit all cravings. The result is a sophisticated smorgasbord of flavors. Spicy mughlai mutton with a side of buttery naan appears on the table alongside a meaty fillet of snapper brightened with herb-citrus butter. The butter chicken pizza is comforting and spicy, a surprisingly satisfying combination of two disparate traditions. ($$$)

White dishes with bright orange food and garnishes.
Dishes at Tamarind
Tamarind official

Regency Bar & Lounge

candles on tables on a covered patio with foliage at night.
The patio at the Regency Bar & Lounge.
Terra Nova Jamaica Official

Regency Bar & Lounge is old-world Jamaica — the kind of place where bartenders wear bow ties and white suits while mixing some of the most creative cocktails in the city. When James Bond creator Ian Fleming was in Kingston in the 1950s, you can imagine that this is where he would have had a gin and tonic. Today, you can come for curried goat rice balls, mac and cheese with lobster and specks of Scotch bonnet pepper, and other delicious reasons to pause and refuel between cocktails. ($$$)

candles on tables on a covered patio with foliage at night.
The patio at the Regency Bar & Lounge.
Terra Nova Jamaica Official

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Broken Plate Restaurant

Mediterranean vibes abound at this rooftop restaurant. Led by the young and talented chef Damion Stewart, his fresh approach to food is a welcome addition to the Kingston culinary scene. Small plates include grilled sprat skewers finished with a spicy Scotch bonnet chimichurri drizzle, seared sliced ahi tuna served with fresh greens, and duck breast bruschetta; larger plates showcase specialties from the land and sea. Craft cocktails also feature local flavors, like the lychee mule; a local take on the caipirinha  with fresh mango and gin; and a Jamaican riff on Long Island iced tea that features local ginger beer as the base. ($$$)

Kaya Pizzeria and Herb House

a loungey patio with many couches and a mural.
Kaya Herb House and Pizzeria
Kaya Herb House / Facebook

A pizzeria at a cannabis house just makes sense. Kaya Pizzeria doles out some of the island’s best wood-fired, thin-crust pizza, showcasing local ingredients as well as traditional Italian recipes. Whether cannabis is part of your meal or not, the deck at Kaya is a welcoming, open-air space perfect for all, complete with murals and retro artwork fitting for this Kingston location, which joins the Kaya family as the third outpost, following the success of its original location in Drax Hall (the first medical cannabis house in the Caribbean). ($$)

a loungey patio with many couches and a mural.
Kaya Herb House and Pizzeria
Kaya Herb House / Facebook

Cru Bar and Kitchen

A fancy bar under a high wood roof.
Cru Bar and Kitchen
Cru Bar and Kitchen / Facebook

Rooftop views and a sophisticated lounge atmosphere draw the city’s beautiful people for weekend brunch. All-day prosecco and cocktail specials accompany bar menu options like BBQ pigtail, shrimp, and bacon tacos, and loaded fries with jerk chicken. With beats provided by a live DJ, it’s an ideal way to spend your Saturday. ($$$)

A fancy bar under a high wood roof.
Cru Bar and Kitchen
Cru Bar and Kitchen / Facebook

Tea Tree Crêperie

This simple creperie and tea shop began as a partnership between Carrie “Quizz ‘’ Sigurdson and her mother Maree, two Canadian expats with a dream to open a tea house. Today the café turns out beautifully light crêpes overflowing with a fun variety of fillings. There’s beef in béarnaise sauce;  the Big Blue, with more tenderloin and a handful of blue cheese and cheddar; and the bestseller, smoked marlin with cream cheese topped with pepper jelly. There are sweet crêpes, too, filled with Nutella, apple crumble, lemon curd, and s’mores filling. The menu now also includes one of the best eggs Benedicts on the island served on house-made English muffins. And yes, they do have tea, but for something stronger, there’s the potent Magic Mint Lemonade. ($$)

Nirvanna Restaurant Lady Musgrave

Indian and pan-Asian cooking are the focus of this elegant Kingston refuge. The team in the kitchen hails from Mumbai, and prepares a varied lineup of traditional Indian curries and juicy tandoor specialties, each artfully presented. It is one of a trio of restaurants run by restaurateur Jaya Chatani, who is deftly helping to diversify the island’s culinary scene. ($$$)

Devon House Bakery and Ice Cream

a hand holds a fried patty.
The ultimate patty from Devon House.
Devon House Bakery / Facebook

The linchpin in the Jamaican gastronomic center that is Devon House, Devon House Bakery makes Kingston’s most perfect patties. A cheffed-up version of Jamaica’s signature hand pies, these golden puff pastry creations encase unique fillings like curry goat or chicken, lobster, and shrimp. Sweet options include traditional pastries such as sweet potato pudding, bread pudding, and rum cake. And the only thing to follow up a patty from Devon House? A cone from the treasured Devon House Ice Cream. Locals gather on the Devon House lawn each Sunday for popular flavors like Grapenut, Devon Stout, and rum raisin. There are toppings, but these cones are best enjoyed on their own in their natural surroundings.

a hand holds a fried patty.
The ultimate patty from Devon House.
Devon House Bakery / Facebook

The Steak House on The Verandah

a bowl with pasta on a tile table.
Grilled chicken pasta at the Steak House
Steakhouseja / Facebook

With her trademark head scarves, feisty kitchen manner, and mastery of local flavors, the late Jamaican culinary maven Norma Shirley helped redefine Jamaican gourmet cuisine. The Terrace at Devon House played host to her talents for most of her career, and since Shirley’s passing in 2010, the restaurant has worked hard to maintain her legacy. The late great chef Colin Hylton made it his own under the name Guilt Trip, a flamboyant and daring celebration of Caribbean ingredients. The latest to take the torch is Christian Sweeney, who delivers light, fresh, and modern renditions like local lobster and an unexpected take on steamed water crackers, served with a bold creamed herring sauce and topped with shrimp. While many still gather for the wide selection of steaks and chops, it is the locally inspired Scotch bonnet tuna tartare, garlic-infused mussels, and jerk sausage that are rewriting this sophisticated experience. ($$$)

a bowl with pasta on a tile table.
Grilled chicken pasta at the Steak House
Steakhouseja / Facebook

The Commissary

Christina Simonitsch is behind this self-described “little kiosk” takeout operation. What it lacks in size, it makes up for with an everchanging treasure trove of goodies like croissant-donuts (these sell out within hours), chocolate mousse, tiramisu, chicken liver pate, smoked marlin dip, vegan kale walnut pesto, ackee hummus, sorbetto, prosciutto pizza, and more, all made by Simonitsch, as well as a selection of other local vendors and artisans. You’ll want to try one of everything on this menu. ($$)

District 5