Negril is famous for its beaches, nightlife and casual vibe, but this gorgeous little resort town on Jamaica’s far west coast also has a secret: it’s a culinary paradise. Most establishments reflect Negril’s laid-back atmosphere and the cuisine is worthy of some serious foodie attention.
Jamaicans have been eating fusion-style since long before it was trendy—the island itself is a mélange of multi-cultural influences. Negril’s bounty of fresh seafood provides the perfect canvas for the traditional flavors and cooking styles of Africa, China, Spain, Britain and East India—it’s not uncommon to see dishes like fish tacos, curry goat, ackee, and bammies on most tables.
Dinner with a View
Start your gastronomic tour of Negril high on a cliff at Pristine Cove. Jamaica’s premiere fine dining destination, Rockhouse Restaurant, sits perfectly perched on the cliff attached to Rockhouse Hotel. The menu features locally-sourced, organic ingredients that elevate and transform tropical mainstays like Grilled Jerk Lobster, Oxtail Patties, Callaloo, Ackee and Saltfish and Old Time Synting—a mix of seafood simmered in “run down sauce.”
Swim, snorkel or dive straight from the patio pré- or apré-meal when you eat at Xtabi. This thrilling eatery sits on the edge of a limestone cliff with a small kitchen and cooked-to-order meals, earning regular accolades for its Conch Burger, Curried Conch, Lobster Eggs Benedict and Lobster Thermidor.
An order of Red Stripe comes with magnificent cliff-side views and glorious sunsets at Sir D’s Firewater Love Nest. This ultra-casual roadside pub is a favorite local hangout with a romantic vibe. The bar is well stocked with spirits and you can order infused wine, cake, candy and more from the extensive ganja menu.
Local Color, Local Flavor
Rasta culture embraces nature and that love for mother earth is the essence of a unique cooking style known as Ital. Just outside of Negril you’ll find an eco-retreat where diners can not only indulge in genuine Ital but learn how it’s made. Zimbali’s Mountain Cooking Studio celebrates organic, farm-to-table ingredients cooked without fuss over an open wood fire. After a tour of the farm, guests gather in the open-air kitchen to watch the chef make use of whatever is in season. The multi-course meal might include pumpkin soup or fish steamed in banana leaves, bean cakes or plantain patties—all featuring home-grown fruits, vegetables and herbs.
The Height of Romance – Deep Below
An intimate dinner for two at The Caves may be the most sensual dining adventure Negril offers. Reservations are a must for this once-in-a-lifetime, over-the-top experience. It’s not cheap, but for foodies and lovers, there’s no better indulgence than sumptuous five-course feast in a private, candle-lit cave, served with a bottle of wine and incomparable sea-front view.