By From: Jamaica Adventure Guide
Posted Monday, January 1, 1996
After a day of watersports or beach fun, many travelers look forward to enjoying the island’s fine dining as the evening’s entertainment. In the restaurant department, Mo Bay has definitely got something for everyone, whether your tastes run toward fresh island seafood or cuisines from around the world. Some of Jamaica’s restaurants have received many accolades over the last few years and gained quite a following. Others are new on the scene. Certain places are especially well suited to couples looking for a romantic evening, while others welcome families with dishes that please even the pickiest eater in the group.
Expect to pay about US $35-55 per person for a three-course meal with wine in one of the finer restaurants. A casual lunch or dinner will run about US $6-10. Fast food lunches or snacks are about US $3-7 per person.
TIP: Most restaurants add a 15% gratuity to the bill, so make sure you don’t inadvertently tip twice.
Note that prices, unless otherwise noted, are in US dollars.
Restaurant prices indicate the price of a meal,
drink and gratuity for one person.
$ = up to $15 per person
$$ = $15 to $30 per person
$$$ = $30 to $45 per person
$$$$ = over $45 per person
MARGUERITAVILLE CARIBBEAN BAR AND GRILL
We visited Margueritaville one sunny afternoon and found it packed with partiers. Casual dining is the order of the day: American favorites like burgers and pizza top the list. But the food is just an excuse to come use the extensive facilities, which include giant TV screens and a waterslide that plummets from the upstairs bar right into the sea.
Sandals Montego Bay, Kent Avenue
Start with miso soup or dim sum (select from beef satay, crispy wonton, pork dumplings or shrimp) or create a specialty salad at the salad bar. Entrees are cooked to order. This dinner-only restaurant is closed on Fridays.
SAKURA JAPANESE RESTAURANT
Half Moon Village, North Coast Highway
The black and white decor of this restaurant, in keeping with that throughout Half Moon, hints at the elegance found inside. This restaurant features hibachi grill-top cooking right at your table. With his flying knives, the chef will prepare a meal of seafood, steak or chicken that’s as good as the show itself.
Round-trip transportation from your local hotel is provided free of charge. Reservations required.
THE ROYAL STOCKS ENGLISH PUB AND STEAKHOUSE
Half Moon Village, North Coast Highway
We recently enjoyed a lunch here while attending a Jamaican tourism convention held at the Half Moon Conference Centre, just steps away. Both indoor and outside seating are available in this traditional English pub that serves steaks, lobster and seafood as well as pub fare. The bar has a full selection of traditional ales. When you’re ready for fun, there’s a sports bar (with darts and skittles).
AUTHOR’S TIP: Call ahead for free transportation to the Royal Stocks if you’re not staying at Half Moon Village.
Half Moon Hotel, North Coast Highway
This open-air eatery sits right on the beach. Both buffet and à la carte service are available at lunch; dinner is à la carte only. In the evenings, the atmosphere is lively, with dancing and floor shows. A Jamaican beach barbecue is offered on Monday and Friday nights, when you can try local specialties, then dance to the sounds of a steel pan band.
Wyndham Rose Hall
Located at the golf club across the street from Wyndham Rose Hall, this elegant eatery features Mediterranean cuisine served in a beautiful garden setting. Set off with tiny white lights, the dining area is a good spot for a romantic meal. House specialties are lobster Provencale and lamb kebabs. Closed Wednesdays.
Barnett Estate. Granville Main Road
This elegant restaurant is set on the 3,000-acre Barnett Estate and is operated by Elegant Resorts International. The open-air restaurant features a view of the city and a menu that combines a taste of both Jamaica and the Caribbean. Menu selections include spicy ackee-tomato salsa on smoked marlin, plantation salad, jerk pork Belfield, steamed fish Port Royal and sweet potato pudding.
After your meal, enjoy a leisurely stroll over to the great house. The restored historic house is open to visitors; guided tours are available before or after dinner.
20 minutes west of Montego Bay, North Coast Highway
Gourmet dining on dishes that include many local ingredients. A relaxing meal here is the perfect end to a day at the Lethe Estate. Dress is casually elegant.New York Deli
Wide variety of sandwiches.Chicken,tuna fish,turkey.
Fruit juices & smoothies, coffee, cappuchino, etc.
33 Gloucester Ave.(Hip Strip) Montego Bay
For all the casualness of its next-door neighbor, Margueritaville, Marguerite’s offers something elegant and special. The two eateries may be only yards apart, but in atmosphere they are complete opposites. The specialty of the house at this seaside restaurant are the flambeed dishes, such as Tijuana shrimp flambeed in tequila and Grand Marnier. Reservations suggested.
NORMA’S AT THE WHARF HOUSE
Reading, west of Montego Bay
Norma’s (like the Kingston restaurant of the same name) is known for its nouvelle Jamaica cuisine, all served in an historic setting. The restaurant is the creation of Norma Shirley, one of Jamaica’s most noted chefs. The restaurant has been featured in Bon Appetit and Food & Wine magazines.
RICHMOND HILL INN
The view from this open-air restaurant alone makes the trip to Richmond Hill Inn worthwhile. Diners look out over the city lights and the bay. On offer is a variety of continental and Jamaican fare. Wear something dressy.
West of Montego Bay on North Coast Highway
Dining at Round Hill is an elegant experience in which you dine by candlelight under the stars. Dishes include such delights as grilled mahi mahi with fennel and orange salad, duck and sausage cassoulet, and crab salad with fresh coconut. Fresh seafood is featured nightly.
Saturday is the dressiest night at Round Hill; jacket and tie are required. Mondays are casual, with a beach barbecue and bonfire. On Wednesdays, dinner is à la carte, while on Friday it’s Jamaican, followed by a folkloric performance. After dinner on Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday nights, guests enjoy dancing to Billy Cook’s Jazz, the house band. Round Hill is one of the island’s dressiest establishments.
Sandals Royal Jamaican, North Coast Highway
We’ve dined several times at this restaurant, located on a small island off the beach from Sandals Royal Jamaica. At night, Bali Hai offers one of the best views of Montego Bay’s city lights. After a quick ride aboard the launch for one of the two nightly seatings, diners are treated to a fixed menu featuring spicy Indonesian dishes.
Appetizer offerings include lumpia goreng, a spring roll stuffed with cabbage, bamboo shoots and shrimp, and soto ajam dawa, a Javanese-style chicken broth with chicken and scallions. Multiple entrees are served on hot bricks and include tjap tjai (chicken with mixed vegetables), daging bali (spiced beef cooked in soya sauce), fkan kuning (trout fillet steamed in coconut milk), sambal goreng kentang (spicy potato sticks), babi ketjap (porkloin simmered in a ginger sauce) and tumis buncis (stringbean stewed in coconut milk). A dinner here is a memorable experience and one we highly recommend.
Sandals Montego Bay, Kent Avenue
This fine dining restaurant serves Italian cuisine in an Italian setting. Start with antipasti from the buffet, but save room for such entrees as pan-grilled swordfish steak, chicken roasted in olive oil, onion, rosemary, potatoes and red wine, and ossobuco Milanese (veal shank served with saffron rice).
One of Jamaica’s most lauded eateries, Julia’s is a favorite with the celebrity set. A taste of the offerings and it’s easy to see why. Italian dishes fill the menu and often the owner comes out to sing. Reservations are required and dressy clothing is recommended.
16 Church Street
Built in 1765, this restaurant and tavern features brick walls decorated with local artwork. You can dine inside or on the verandah. Offerings run the gamut from red snapper papillot, spare ribs and stuffed lobster to shrimp, steaks, pastas and Jamaican dishes, including many curried entrees. Open from Monday through Saturday for lunch and daily for dinner. Free round-trip transportation is offered from local hotels. Reservations are required.
Coyaba Beach Resort and Club
This restaurant, decorated like a trellised garden, features Caribbean and continental dishes for breakfast and dinner. Advance reservations recommended.
KIT KAT RESTAURANT
Verney’s Tropical Resort, Leader Avenue
This delightful restaurant offers wholesome home cooking. It is located in the modest Verney’s Tropical Resort, a small property with a hilltop view of the city. The open-air restaurant features genuine Jamaican dishes (with real amounts of Jamaican spice, not watered-down versions for tourist tastes).
Menu selections include curried goat, breadfruit and jerk chicken.
29 Gloucester Avenue
Tucked under a sprawling poinciana tree, this open-air eatery is a wonderful place to step away from the packaged fun of the resorts and watch Montego Bay life roll by. We came to The Native for a lunch buffet, an impressive spread of salads, rice and peas, jerk chicken, snapper and other island delights. Offered every Friday and Sunday, this noon buffet is popular with vacationers and locals alike. And if you can’t make it for the buffet, order up the Boonoonoonos Platter for a sample of lots of local specialties. Reservations are required for dinner here.
This popular restaurant has attracted diners for over three decades and many local business people start their workday with a traditional Jamaican breakfast right here. Lunch and dinner are also served.
THE PORK PIT
27 Gloucester Avenue
($)Jerk chicken, spare ribs, steam roast fish, sweet potatoes, roast yam, festival and cold coconut water star at this fast-food eatery that’s a favorite with locals. Located across from Walter Fletcher Beach. Order up a plate and then grab a place at one of the picnic tables on the patio. Like the menu here, seating is simple with no frills. This is the best place in Montego Bay for traditional island jerk.