Compiled By NAN Lifestyle Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Dec. 23, 2015: Christmas is a time for family, gifts and most of all FOOD. There is no denying Caribbean food is among the best in the world – mainly because of its spice and flavor! But you don’t have to travel all the way to the Caribbean for the best Caribbean eats. This year, News Americas Now decided to compile the best Caribbean restaurants in the 10 most populated cities across the U.S.A. based on Yelp and TripAdvisor diners: Here are the top 10:
1: New York: The Food Sermon Kitchen took the top spot with five stars for best Caribbean food in New York. This Crown Heights, Brooklyn restaurant at 355 Rogers Ave. b/t Sullivan Pl & Montgomery street is owned by St. Vincent and the Grenadines-born chef Rawlston Williams, a 38-year-old theology-school dropout. He offers up various “Island Bowls” including rice and beans served with lamb shank, panko, chickpeas and coconut ginger as well as the more traditional oxtail and stew chicken. All can be washed down with sorrel drink.
2: Los Angeles: In LA, Taste of the Caribbean located at 1642 N Cahuenga Blvd. gets the most stars from diners, who also include some Hollywood stars. Grenada-born Chef Bernard James expanded from a food truck offering up Lobster, curry chicken, Jerk Chicken, Short Ribs and Ackee and Saltfish Tacos a with Teriyaki to a real restaurant offering up a vast menu with many options including jerk chicken, fried shark, thyme infused chicken and waffles, plantains, curry chicken, ox tail baked and more. Hip-hop artist Akon has even expressed his love by saying it was “the best jerk chicken (he’s) ever had.”
3: Chicago: Garifuna Flava at 2518 W 63rd Street in Chicago got the most stars and Yelps for best Caribbean joint in the Windy City. Diners rave about its ox tail, conch soup, potato salad, rice beans and its conch fritters and panades – a type of fish empanadas. It is billed as “A Taste of Belize” on Chicago’s southwest side and has been featured on many TV shows including the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives.” Belize-born owner and Chef Yolanda Castillo also offers up homemade hudut baruru, or mashed plantains, with tikini, a peppery cabbage and fish stew.
4: Houston: In Houston, Reggae Hut at 4814 Almeda Road and owned by Marcus Davis, a native Houstonian, gets the diners stars from both Yelp and Trip Advisor, for best Caribbean food in the Texas city. They specialize in spicy dishes such as wood smoked jerk chicken and shrimp, curried goat and shrimp, oxtails and, of course, Jamaican patties, cocoa bread and plantains. Each dish comes with pigeon peas, rice and a veggie medley.
5: Philadelphia: Jamaican D’s at 1700 Spring Garden Street gets the thumbs up in Philly for the best Caribbean food. Its fusion of Caribbean cuisine with American soul food gets rave reviews especially its curry shrimp, plantains, sweet potatoes, Mac and cheese and collard greens. Owner Dave Dawes also runs four food trucks in Philadelphia. He started in the food business after moving to the US in 2002 from Jamaica.
6: Phoenix: Love Cuisine at 3633 W Camelback Road in Phoenix serves up a fusion of Caribbean and African food in this Arizona city. The restaurant has also been featured on the Food Network for its award-winning “Pof Pofs,” or Nigerian doughnuts. The Love Cuisine also serves up Yassa Chicken, Goat Curry, and whole Deep-Fried Tilapia. Nigerian-born Esther Agaba blended her life experiences to bring ethnic food to Phoenix. She grew up in her Nigeria but attended high school in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
7: San Antonio: In San Antonio, Texas Jamaica Jamaica Cuisine located at 2011 Austin Hwy takes the prize for number one Caribbean food in the City with Yelp diners. This small establishment offers up jerk chicken, tofu and salmon as well as Caribbean brisket soaked in a Myers rum sauce and oxtail which can all be washed down with ginger beer and Peach-Mango tea. This restaurant is owned by Chefs Albert Rose and Debbie Knott.
8: San Diego: In San Diego, the Embargo Grill at 3960 W Point Loma Blvd offers up Caribbean, Cuban and Latin American delights that pleased the palettes of many Yelp diners, leading to its top ratings and listing as one of the top eight in San Diego. Chunks of pulled pork with pink beans and yellow rice as well as Roasted Beef with Caribbean BBQ and Black Beans are some of the favorites. You can also choose Mahi Mahi and Churassco as well as Mofongo and Tostones as well as Caribbean bread pudding to add a sweet touch. The restaurant is owned by Hudi Eshel, an Israeli-born entrepreneur who moved to Miami in his early 20s and then travelled throughout the Caribbean where he fell in love with the sights and sounds of the region.
9: Dallas: In Dallas, satisfy your Caribbean food cravings at Elaine’s Kitchen at 2717 Martin Luther King Junior Blvd. This is a Jamaican meet American soul food restaurant offering up jerk chicken and ox tail, curry goat, cabbage, rice and peas as well as Mac and Cheese. Elaine’s Kitchen also hosts fish fries and serves up live music and owner, Miss Elaine is from Jamaica.
10: San Jose: Back A Yard Caribbean American Grill at 1189 Willow Rd in Menlo Park, San Jose gets the thumbs up for best Caribbean food in this part of California. Diners on Yelp and Trip Advisor all rave about the special jerk chicken, corn festivals, fried plantains, curry goat and stewed piece of oxtail at this hole-in-the-wall, casual counter-service spot that offers a hybrid of American and Caribbean dishes in a colorful space. Chef/owner Robert Simpson began cooking in his native Jamaica and later worked in Belgium. He was also the chef at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Burlingame and before that cooked in various hotels and restaurants in Chicago. Tired of the corporate setting and long hours working for someone else, Simpson opened Back A Yard to cook the food that he loves.