Where to Find Some of the Best Jamaican Food in Boston Right Now
Satisfy tropical tastes with heat-seeking spices, warm hospitality, and cooling, creative flavors of ice cream.
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If the spring-like weather has you pining for even hotter climes, seek out tropical tastes from some of the best Jamaican restaurants in Boston. You’ll find heat-seeking spices, warm hospitality—and at one spot, some delicious and creative ice cream flavors to cool things down.
One of Boston’s newest Jamaican restaurants is already among its best: Blue Mountain. The standout Mattapan spot is named for the island’s longest range of cloud-brushing peaks, and it’s open from sunrise to sunset. That means we can start the day with a breakfast of ackee fruit and salt fish, Jamaica’s national dish, then move on to dinners of stewed beef, curry goat, barbecue chicken, and more, all nicely spiced with scorpion pepper, ginger, and other Jamaican-grown ingredients from the all-natural High Noon brand. Need to douse the flames? Turn to a tall, tangy drink of sorrel (Jamaican hibiscus) and ginger.
884 Morton St., Boston, 617-533-7255, bluemountainjamaicanrestaurant.com.
Get your claws into a box of “Drunken Crab” at this Dorchester destination, where the popular crustacean legs are served swimming in a peppery gravy on select days of the week (and are known to sell out). That said, there’s plenty of other friendly-feeling, home-style cookery to satisfy, including rich and aromatic brown stew chicken and a delicious whole red snapper cooked escovitch: fried, then soaked in pickling sauce.
838 Blue Hill Ave., Boston, 617-822-0500, bostoncountrykitchen.com.
It’s usually hard to find sequels that live up to the original. But somehow Flames, a Boston-born mini-chain of Jamaican fast-casual restaurants, has managed to expand while keeping quality consistent. You can now find its vibrant curry stews, jerk chicken, roti, and other menu standards in three parts of Boston (Mattapan, Mission Hill, and Dorchester), plus Brockton, Mass. and Providence, Rhode Island. Here’s an exciting, soon-to-be bonus: Flames’ latest location is right down the street from the Brockton Beer Company’s future taproom—so now you’ll know where to eat after you’ve picked up a few four-packs from the exciting craft beer-maker, one of the few Black-owned breweries in Massachusetts.
663 Morton St., Boston, 617-296-4972; 764 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-734-1911; 469 Blue Hill Ave., Boston, 617-989-0000, 806 Main St., Brockton, 508-510-5608, flamesjamaicanrestaurants.com.
Irie Jamaican Style Restaurant
Its name nods to a patois term for feelin’ happy and fine—and that’s exactly the vibe this Dorchester stalwart delivers. The counter-service space will probably have some reggae playing when you stroll in to try the jerk-style ribs and fish patties, Rasta Pasta in a creamy sauce with shrimp, and plates of tender oxtail with plantains, rice, and steamed veggies. There’s quite a bit of seafood here, including a couple options options for conch: sea snails served either curried or sautéed.
855 Washington St., Boston (Dorchester), 617-929-3866; iriejamaicanstylerestaurant.net.
Jamaica Mi Hungry
Jamaica Mi Hungry might have won last year’s Best of Boston award for its food truck, but chef Ernie Campbell’s tasty operation certainly delivers the goods at its brick-and-mortar restaurants in Jamaica Plain and Allston, where it opened last year as a long-term popup at Zone 3. That Harvard-launched cluster of retail spaces, public art installations, and (in non-pandemic times) outdoor event space is a fine place to wander while noshing on Campbell’s sandwiches of jerk-style pulled pork or chopped chicken, spicy ribs, and stellar sides, including thick and creamy mounds of mac ‘n’ cheese.
225 Centre St., Boston, 617-708-0465; 128 Western Ave., Boston, 617-903-4559, jamaicamihungry.com.
Only One Jamaican Restaurant
Not to nitpick, but the name isn’t entirely accurate: There’s actually more than one Only One restaurant. Somehow, we don’t think you’l be stuck on this detail once you’ve tried the singular stew peas, pineapple chicken, and Jamaican beef patties wrapped into soft coco bread. The portions being particularly generous isn’t the only reason the place stands out—but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
160 Norfolk St., Boston (Dorchester), 617-822-0444; 310 Bowdoin St., Boston (Dorchester); 1345 Hyde Park Ave., Boston (Hyde Park), 617-360-7387; 192 Warren Ave., Brockton, 508-587-8770, onlyonerestaurant.com.
You’ll find a pretty wide variety of Jamaican-inspired cuisine here, from lighter options—say, a super-fresh jerk chicken salad with avocado—to heavier fare: fried chicken wings with waffles and fried Oreos have shared menu space here. What really sets the place apart, though, is its ice cream selection. Cake batter, bubble gum, and butter pecan are among the indulgent flavors ready to be scooped on a hot summer day (or any other time, for that matter).
1284 Blue Hill Ave., Boston (Mattapan), 617-296-0922; 208 Dudley St., Boston (Roxbury), 617-442-2020, eatpandr.com.
Taste of Eden
Heavenly flavors abound here, whether you come for breakfast (try the generously spiced callaloo of steamed leafy veggies), lunch, or dinner; the plantain dumplings, fried codfish, and jerk chicken specialties taste great anytime. But Eden earns special note for its generous vegetarian selection—see the tofu-based orange ginger “chicken”—and juice bar churning smoothies made with mango, cantaloupe, sorrel, sea moss, and more.
38 Norfolk St., Boston, 617-282-0077, tasteofedenjamaican.net.