Where To Find The Best Jamaican Food In Miami

Jerk Chicken at Clive's Cafe

Jerk Chicken at Clive's Cafe

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By: Jennifer Agress

There are more than 50,000 Jamaicans living in South Florida, and to keep them (and Miami foodies!) satisfied, there are a handful of restaurants where you can find an authentic taste of the island nation’s most popular flavors. Much like it’s surrounding Caribbean identity, Jamaican cooking actually incorporates cooking styles and ingredients from all over the world. So if you’re in the mood for a Jamaican plates with an Asian flare, haute Mediterranean seafood with Jamaican spices, an authentic curried chicken patty, a strong cup of Blue Mountain coffee or, yes—even traditional ackee and saltfish—head to these Miami restaurants and find Jamaican cuisine exactly how you like it.

Jamaica Kitchen

With just one two-seat table and eight barstools, Jamaica Kitchen isn’t much to look at. But grab an aloe juice and a pint of its house-made curry goat, and you’ll be counting down the days until you get to go back. Opened by Chinese-Jamaican husband and wife, Cheryl and Anson Chin, Jamaica Kitchen is where you go to eat authentic island dishes with a Chinese twist (like Suey Mein, stew oxtail and pepper pot soup), listen to good Caribbean music and find rare Jamaican groceries. The hole-in-the-wall’s motto is "Wi ah di bess!" and if you talk to its steady stream of regulars, they’re not likely to disagree. 8736 SW 72 St., Miami, FL 33173.

Sonia’s Patties

Jamaican patties are the island’s most-loved fast food, and once you’ve had one there, you just can’t settle for anything else. Lucky for Miamians, they can get the real deal without ever leaving the city. For almost 30 years now, Sonia’s Patties has been whipping up a small menu of beef, curried chicken or lobster patties, along with Jamaican favorites like grapefruit soda and “coco bread.” All patties are made with all-natural, no-filler-added proteins, and can be bought cooked right-to-order, at room temperature, fully cooked and frozen, or unbaked and ready for you to pop in the oven at home. With a full meal costing less than $10, a taste of Jamaica is cheap. But with so many people clamoring to get one there, the wait times might be long. 10852 SW 104 St., Miami, FL 33176.

Clive's Cafe

When you’re craving the Jamaican staples you won’t typically find outside of, well, Jamaica, Clive’s Cafe is where you want to go. Opened by Pearline Murray and her sister Joan Chin more than 40 years ago, this hole-in-the-wall spot in Little Haiti serves mile-high plates of curry goat, oxtail, cow foot, jerk chicken, ackee and saltfish (Jamaica’s national dish), stew peas and more. Every dish comes with two sides—like rice and beans, plantains or macaroni and cheese—and the vibe is laid back. You’ll find nothing but a few tables and chairs and reggae music pumping out of an old-school radio. 5890 NW 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33127.

Ortanique On The Mile

If you want a haute night of hot Caribbean fare, book a table at Ortanique on the Mile, in chic Coral Gables. Opened in 1999 by husband-and-wife duo Cindy Hutson and Delius Shirley, this elegant restaurant serves well-heeled foodies Hutson’s signature “Cuisine of the Sun”—dishes infused with island flavors. Try the West Indian cornish game hens with Jamaican peas and rice, ahi tuna marinated in sesame oil and Caribbean spices, a decadent double pork chop with a guava Bacardi spiced rum sauce and Mediterranean mussels steamed in Red Stripe beer. 278 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134.

Pasion Del Cielo

Blue Mountain Coffee is both a revered brew and a household name in Jamaica, and here in Miami, you can get it at any of Pasion del Cielo’s eight locations. Considered one of the finest coffees around the world, and only grown and produced at select estates on the eastern side of Jamaica, this isn’t your average bag of beans. A pound of Blue Mountain runs at around $50, but at Pasion del Cielo, you can get a large, piping-hot cup for just $2.60. Multiple locations.

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