In Philly, most Caribbean restaurants fall into one of two camps: Jamaican or Puerto Rican, bring your own Red Stripe or Medalla as most are mom-and-pop BYOBs. These tiny restaurants sit on the fringes of Philly's mainstream dining landscape, run by Caribbean natives longing for a taste of home. And its because of their heartfelt foods that Philadelphians can enjoy the bubbling stews and jerk-spiced goodies that make our scene that much more exotic.Read More
11 Sizzling Caribbean Restaurants in Philadelphia
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El Coqui Panaderia
For people who spend a lot of time in Puerto Rico, it's often the warm baked bread they miss most, and the argument over which is better -- pan subado or pan de agua -- inspires fierce loyalties. The good news is at this Puerto Rican bakery, you can satisfy everyone by buying both. But don't stop there, those in-the-know rave about their delicious cakes and pastries.
There's absolutely nothing quite like a fresh-fried fritura (a class of fried doughy snacks eaten by hand) and the cooks here have the technique down with their "papas rellenas," "pastelillos," and "sorrullos." Seafood abounds, as do Cubano sandwiches for those who prefer a more familiar hot ham sandwich.
Ron's Caribbean Cuisine
Curry chicken, ox tail and fried fish are de rigeur at this Jamaican joint. Exceptional recipes plus huge portions means lines can get very long. So relax, take in the aromas wafting from the kitchen, and before you know it, you'll be elbow-deep in curry and callaloo.
48th Street Grille
Jamaican-born executive chef Carl Lewis has made some turns around the city's restaurant scene, stopping at some of the bold-faced hotels and eateries. Because of this, his is a somewhat more refined experience than some of his competitors offer. Desserts rotate frequently, with regulars coming back for Oreo mousse cake, sweet potato cheesecake and signature bread pudding.
Reggae Reggae Vibes
Patrons rave about the sweetness of the fried plantains here but they also warn that their scrumptious reputation can make for some long lines can be long on weekend nights. A signature jerk chicken cheesesteak goes nicely with housemade ginger beer.
Can't decide between two Dominican dishes? Owners may just give you samples of both. Some good places to start: humongous lunch combo specials, ceviche, goat and Cuban ropa vieja. Wash it down with a papaya milkshake.
Arrive early for Jamaican-style plantains as they sell out quick! A fresh tropical juice bar makes the wait a little easier to take (try the watermelon juice) while you salivate over the ackee and salt fish with dumplings and banana you're about to order.
Keith's Red Snapper Restaurant
Keith has reopened his legendary Jamaican spot after a hiatus, and his old regulars are ecstatic. It's no longer a free-for-all after-hours club but the oxtail and dumplings and peppers keeps his old friends coming back.
Home Style Caribbean and American Restaurant
Home Style caters to those hankering for a taste of exactly that: home. Cornmeal porridge, fresh squeezed juices, curries, and an expert heavy-handedness when it comes to seasoning draws in a loyal fanbase in search of regional authenticity.
Come for the colorful floor-through-ceiling murals and stay for the smoky jerk chicken, beefy patties, and spicy peas and rice. Consider calling ahead because service can be slow.
Jamaican Jerk Hut
When the weather is nice, Jamaican Jerk Hut is everything. Have yourself some jerk chicken (grilled in a real charcoal jerk pit!) and hang out in the open-air garden, full of fake palms and colorful picnic tables. Live music is always a plus, and this summer, the PHS Beer Garden returns, meaning it's only BYOB if you want it to be.
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