Rastafoodians

The 16 restaurants that are redefining Jamaican cuisine

I grew up eating Jamaican food, having lived here most of my life, so it always reminds me of home. I truly miss it when I am away: There is nothing like the bold flavors and incredible seasoning found on the island. I always felt that Jamaican food was on par with its music scene and its world-class athletics, which is why I am keen on NyamJam, a culinary festival highlighting Jamaican food, music and culture.

These are the places that I think are defining and redefining Jamaican cuisine.

Stush in the Bush

Free Hill, Arterial Rd., Saint Ann; +1-876-562-9760

I love that they are doing their own thing up in the bush: All ital (a Rastafarian diet that adheres to similar rules as vegetarianism) with food that they grow. Their sauces are also incredible, especially their blow fyah pepper sauce.

Yam Man in Trelawny

Trelawny

As you enter Trelawney from Saint Ann, there is a guy who does yellow yam on the side of the road, sometimes with ackee and saltfish. It is great. Yellow yam is an important staple in Jamaica and is even credited as a reason behind the speed of athletes like Usain Bolt.

Peanut Soup

Junction Rd.

On the road from my hotel GoldenEye to Kingston is an incredible peanut soup stand on the left side, midway on Junction Road. There is no website or even an address, but you know it when you see it. Soup is an important part of Jamaican food culture, but this one always hits the spot as a little break on my drive.

Scotchies

North Coast Hwy. (across from Holiday Inn SunSpree), Montego Bay; +1-876-953–3301

You can't go wrong with jerk chicken in Jamaica, but Scotchies has a great vibe. I love spicy food, and the sauce they use has an incredible kick.

EITS Cafe

17 Mile Post on Newcastle Rd., Kingston;+1-876-489-5671

A fun little spot tucked away in the Blue Mountains where the view is incredible and the food is delicious. They grow most everything right there, which means the food is about as local as it gets.

Strawberry Hill

New Castle Rd. B1, Crooked River; +1-800-232-4972

This may be another one of my properties, but there is no place more magical for a special meal in Kingston. It is 3,300 feet up the Blue Mountains with an incredible view of the mountains, Kingston, and the sea.

Chris's Cook Shop

Main St. (across from Maxine's Hot Spot), Oracabessa; 1-876-861-1611

Our guests at GoldenEye love to walk into town and visit Chris's Cook Shop. It is a typical roadside restaurant: The menu might change and there are only a few options, but it is always delicious and a great thing to do when hanging out in Oracabessa.

Susie's Restaurant

Main St., Oracabessa; +1-876-844-1621

Another roadside spot that is nice to wander to from GoldenEye.

Toscanini Italian Restaurant

A3 Highway, Tower Isle, Ocho Rios; +1-876-975-4785

It's not Jamaican food, but it's nice to mix things up every once in a while. The seafood is always fresh and the pasta is delicious.

The Strawberry Patch Café & Grill

Robin's Bay, St. Mary; +1-876-337-6127

Really wonderful fried chicken, and that's all there is to it.

Miss T's Kitchen

65 Main St., Ocho Rios; +1-876-795-0099

Jamaican classics in an inviting spot and wonderful setting about 20 minutes down the road from GoldenEye.

Lobster Trapp

Sawyer's Beach Rd., Hopewell; +1-876-783-5046

A great family-run spot just outside Montego Bay, where the lobster is kept alive until you order it.

Guilt

Devon House, 26 Hope Rd., Kingston; +1-876-968-5488

Chef and owner Colin Hylton does an amazing job putting a bold spin on authentic Jamaican dishes. The desserts are also spectacular, proof that Hylton got his start as a pastry chef. Devon House is also beautiful: Guests can dine on the lovely terrace or in the vault.

Devon House I-Scream

26 Hope Rd., Kingston; +1-876-929-7028

There are so many great restaurants and places to eat in Kingston, but Devon House I-Scream is always a nice treat after dinner or really just anytime.

Norma's at the Marina

Errol Flynn Marina (near the lighthouse), Port Antonio; +1-876-993-9510.

This is the creation of three of Jamaica's most critically acclaimed restaurateurs: Norma Shirley, Colin Hylton and Gariel Ferguson. They use both local and international ingredients to create truly special Caribbean fusion dishes.

G's BBQ

#16-19 Market Place, 67 Constant Spring Rd, Kingston; +1-876-906-4393

Gariel Fergusons's crispy chicken wings, wood-smoked chicken and baby-back ribs are killer. The seafood is outstanding too, especially the grilled jumbo shrimp and cedar plank grilled salmon filet.

This story was originally published on Fathom.