A seafood Lovers Guide To Jamaica
Jamaica has so much seafood offerings as it is an island surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. Jamaicans love seafood and we have a variety of dishes worth exploring. Seafood is available everywhere from restaurants, beaches, seafood vendors and you also have the option to catch your own. On most menus throughout the island seafood is a staple. Figuring out where to start may be a bit overwhelming so here is a guide for Jamaica I created for all seafood lovers.
There are a number of seafood restaurants that are considered exceptional in Jamaica. Arguably the most famous of them all is Gloria’s at Port Royal. Gloria’s has a wonderful atmosphere and one of the best steamed fish ever. Whitebones located in the constant spring area, is also another poplar seafood restaurant that offers top quality seafood. Outside of the city of Kingston lies Little Ochi between Manchester & St. Elizabeth. They have one of the best jerk lobsters on the island. (Yes we jerk other things than chicken). Most hotels on the north coast offer seafood options but step out into the local atmosphere and enjoy the vibes of our people.
Fishlovers are spoilt on a holiday to Jamaica. Whether you like your fish escoviche, steamed, stewed, roasted, or barbecued you can find it in Jamaica. If a restaurant, even a casual one, seems too formal, then why not dine on the beach as close to the source of your dinner as possible? Hellshire is one of the most famous venues — the beach is filled with wooden shack-style restaurants serving fresh seafood and cool beer with a refreshing atmosphere and local vibe. Nearby Fort Clarence Beach is quieter and serves fantastic seafood. Go around 9/10 AM and watch the fishermen come ashore and prepare their catch. Their catch is often sold to the beach restaurants. Over to the west, the Pelican Bar just off Treasure Beach actually sits in the sea on stilts and must be reached by boat. Fresh fish is served on site at what is one of the most iconic Jamaican venues.
Street vendors in most parishes sell a variety of seafood. Conch soup is the most common, often served from a large metal pot. Conch soup is available in most seafood restaurant and beach eateries in Jamaica. The oyster bar in Port Royal has to be one of the few street vendors of oysters anywhere. A sign hangs above a roadside table stacked high with fresh oysters on a quiet backstreet not too far from Gloria’s.
Jamaican shrimp aren’t always available at market but are abundant after a good rainfall. MIDDLE QUARTERS is referred to as the home of peppered shrimp. It’s one of the most iconic stops on Jamaica’s South coast, ‘Middle Quarters’ is renown for its succulent Pepper Shrimp. Nestled between YS and Luana, about 15 minutes outside of the famous Bamboo Avenue or Holland Bamboo, is where you'll find "Shrimp Country".
You’ll know you’re in middle quarters when you see locals lining the road sides with their basins filled with bags of 'swims' in hand. You’ll see them signaling you, querying whether or not you're interested in making a purchase of their fine pepper shrimp.
Visitors and passersby can't help but stop for some peppered shrimp when driving through Middle Quarters. Caught in nearby rivers, boiled to perfection and seasoned with scotch bonnet pepper (look out for the seeds as you eat!), you can find all sizes of shrimp, all nicely peppered. If you don't have at least a decent tolerance for peppered food, then this may not be for you.
CATCH YOUR OWN
The freshness of Jamaican seafood isn’t in doubt, but some people might prefer the satisfaction of catching their own. The main tourist hub of Montego Bay has a number of operators offering deep-sea fishing excursions for mahi mahi, tuna, marlin and snappers. The best thing is knowing that on return to shore, you will be eating your catch at the Montego Bay Yacht Club restaurant. It is also possible to join fishermen of the north coast for a more intimate fishing experience — just be sure to agree to it with them first as they can be protective about their fishing areas.