EATING OUT IN JAMAICA
Situated by the sea in Runaway Bay and next door to the fisherman’s beach.
Flavors Restaurant by the sea
A very reasonably priced restaurant in Runaway Bay offering anything from burgers and fries to more exotic dishes shush as Garlic Shrimp and lobster
Local and international dishes fill the menu at this indoor restaurant, which serves seafood, steaks, salads and vintage wines. As a training institute, the restaurant offers classic European table service. This hotel is directly opposite the villa. Cardiff Hotel and Spa, Runaway Bay 876-973-2671
The menu at this popular eatery reflects both Jamaican and continental tastes. Diners enjoy spectacular views from their table al fresco. The menu is extensive. Live music entertains diners three times weekly. 83 Main Street 876-974-2813
This restaurant is open nightly except Friday and serves gourmet French cuisine in a casually elegant setting. Casanova menu selections include nut-crushed snapper, fillet of salmon served with saffron and champagne sauce, baked sea trout topped with basil-hollandaise sauce, pot-roasted guinea fowl with port game sauce, seared duck stuffed with goose liver and nuts, jerk chicken roulade stuffed with callaloo and tournedos of pork. Grand Lido Sans Souci, North Coast Highway, 2 miles east of Ocho Rios 876-974-2353
Chef Wilbert Matheson conjures up varied fare in this al fresco restaurant. Some of the most tempting entrées are grilled beef tenderloin topped with chicken liver compote; poached yellowtail tuna with steamed mussels and tomato concasse; and porkloin with a pineapple and honey glaze. Two miles east of Ocho Rios, North Coast Highway 876-974-2514, fax 876-974-2449 Jacket and tie are required after 7 pm in all but the summer season. No children under age 14 are permitted to dine here, as the restaurant strives for an elegant atmosphere. Reservations are required.
If you’re ready for a break from Caribbean dishes, try some authentic Cantonese and Szechwan cooking. Located in the South Tower Lobby adjoining the Dragons Lounge, this delightful restaurant is open 6 to 11 pm for dinner. Dragons menu selections include: sweet and sour pork, Szechwan-style chicken and nuts, chow mein, duck in plum sauce, lemon fish and fried rice. Renaissance Jamaica Grande Main Street, Ocho Rios 876-974-2201
This restaurant is perched right beside a waterfall, its tables at the base of a 40-foot cascade. The menu here is diverse, with Oriental specialties such as lotus lily lobster and Far Eastern chicken, Jamaican dishes and some vegetarian choices. DaCosta Drive 876-974-2442
A Ruined Romance
The site of the restaurant has an interesting history. In 1831, Englishman Robert Rutherford built a sugar factory near these falls, using their energy to grind the cane. Allegedly, he married a local girl named Rose Dale and they moved into a great house near the falls. Later, while Rutherford was in England on business, Rose fell in love with one of the plantation’s overseers. When her husband returned home, he learned of his wife’s indiscretions and began spending time with Annie Palmer, better known as the White Witch of Rose Hall in Montego Bay. One night, after finding his wife with her lover, he took Rose and the lover to a cave between the falls, chained the couple to the walls, and sealed the cave with a boulder. Later Rutherford married Annie Palmer and the plantation became, literally, ruins.
This restaurant is a longtime favorite visited by travelers and locals alike for good Italian food. Perched high over the city in a house more than a century old, Evita’s is especially noted for its numerous pasta and seafood dishes. Menu selections include homemade fettuccini with meat sauce; fettuccini Alfredo; and red snapper fillet stuffed with crabmeat and jumbo shrimp sautéed in garlic butter, white wine and tomatoes. Operated by Eva Myers from Venice, Italy. Mantalent Inn, Eden Bower Road 876-974-2333
When you’re ready to take a break from shopping at Harmony Hall, refuel with a stop at this authentic Italian restaurant open for lunch and dinner. The menu offers many classic Italian dishes supplemented by ever-changing specials, dependent upon available fresh produce. The carefully selected wine list features vintages from around the world, while the fully stocked bar caters to all tastes. Toscanini is popular with visitors and local residents. Its delightful setting makes it an ideal spot for lunch, light or long, and for a romantic candlelit dinner. Harmony Hall, Tower Isle 876-975 4785
All Inclusive Resorts
After working an appetite, take your choice: dine under the stars by the Almond Tree, feast casually on the open-air Beach Terrace or how about an elegant evening at Martino’s to dine Italian style? Breezes is only ten to fifteen minutes walk from the villa and will cost around US$70 for the whole day, this includes food, drinks and access to all facilities. http://www.superclubs.com/brand_breezes/resort_runawaybay/index.asp
If there are any rules at a Hedonism resort, they are these: eat the kind of food you dream about on a diet, leave inhibitions on the doorstep – and never, ever, wonder how things are going back at the office. Hedonism III is for couples and singles, adults 18 years and over, and will cost US$50 per day for Sevilla Villa guests.
Club Ambiance is located in Runaway Bay, close to where the beauty of Jamaica was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. This is particularly good value for money at US$40 per person per day, eat and drink as much as you like and relax to the sound of live jazz/reggae/ska music overlooking the sea. http://www.clubambiance.com/about.htm
Still, the richest Jamaican cultural history lesson is in the food Jamaicans eat. To conceal their whereabouts, the Maroons devised “jerking”, a method of spicing and cooking pork underground so that smoke would not be seen. Today, jerk pork, jerk chicken and jerk fish are everywhere. To feed slaves cheaply in the 1600s, the ackee fruit was brought from Africa, as were a variety of yams, roots, vegetables and the breadfruity. To preserve meat and fish, spices and pepper were added, and unique seasonings, like our famous Pickapeppa sauce, were devised. Cassava, a root tuber, was cultivated by the Tainos and is used today to make bammie, a flat, toasted wafer eaten with fried fish.
Another traditional bread, “festival”, is frequently served with jerk. The national dish is gently spiced ackee and saltfish.
Indian and Chinese influence have made curries and chow meins part of the national menu.
Jamaica is also home to some of the finest rums and exotic blends, including the award-winning Tia Maria coffee liqueur. Blue Mountain coffee, Jamaica’s own, is considered one of the finest in the world.