If you’re not regularly indulging in the staples of Caribbean cuisine, you’re seriously missing out. Full of unique, complex, and delicious foods, Caribbean food satisfies the soul. You simply can’t go wrong with a plate of jerk chicken, spicy seafood, or rice and peas.
Decades ago, you’d have to travel to Jamaica, the Bahamas, or elsewhere in the Caribbean for some spicy dishes and fresh and healthy seafood like lobster, red snapper, crab, and the beloved Bahamian conch. Now, you can just step outside your front door and head to one of these great Caribbean restaurants:
The Real Jerk Restaurant
For several decades, The Real Jerk has been serving up quality homestyle Caribbean cuisine, with a Jamaican focus. They serve plenty of traditional Jamaican fare such as ackee (the national fruit of Jamaica), callaloo, rundown sauce, snapper, oxtail, and plantains. Entrees, appetizers, and even side orders typically range from $12 to $20 here. The Real Jerk has two locations: one on Gerrard Street (their main location) and one on Kingston Road.
Simone’s Caribbean Restaurant
Located on Danforth Avenue, the bright and colorful decor of Simone’s Caribbean Restaurant will make you feel like you’re actually in the Caribbean instead of Toronto. The food is often just as colorful, with fresh greens and spiced veggies. Simone’s serves traditional Jamaican fare like Johnny cakes, codfish fritters, fried plantains, curries, ackee and saltfish, red snapper, jerk chicken, and stewed meats and vegetables. Prices are pretty reasonable for the quality, and range from about $10 to $20 for a meal.
Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen
If you want to feel like you’re in a Caribbean resort without hopping on a plane, head to Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen. Although you can still find traditional Jamaican food on the menu, Chubby’s mainly focuses on more experimental versions of beloved classics, like mac and cheese with cod, saltfish and ackee bites, grilled shrimp wraps, quinoa and peas, and kale and pomegranate salads. The restaurant also features a large selection of classic Jamaican drinks, in addition to signature and seasonal cocktails, wine, beer, and liquor. They also have a popular weekend brunch which includes popular items like avocado toast, eggs benedict, and frittatas — all with a Jamaican twist. Despite their more trendy atmosphere and menu, prices are still reasonable at about $5 to $25.
You can find La Cubana locations on Roncesvalles Avenue, Ossington Avenue, and Gerrard Street. La Cubana might be a chain, but don’t let the word “chain” turn you off — this is one of the best Cuban restaurants outside of Cuba (or even Miami, for that matter). Although the menu varies from location to location, it generally features a mixture of traditional and experimental Cuban fare (with some French influences) like empanadas, an updated take on the cubano sandwich, traditional medianoche, grilled fish, and plenty of pork. From appetizers to entrees and dessert, prices typically range from about $5 to $20.
This innovative restaurant on Kensington Avenue combines Jamaican and Italian cuisine to give you a truly unforgettable take on Caribbean food. They still feature traditional Jamaican fare like jerk chicken, rice and peas, saltfish with ackee, and oxtail. Some of the most popular fusion options include paninis with jerk chicken, reggae lasagne (which has cataloo and a spicy tomato sauce), jerk lasagne, and dutch pot oxtail. Prices for a meal tend to be about $7 to $15 depending on the size.
Located on Dundas Street, Rhum Corner is a cozy restaurant and cocktail bar. The menu features a mix of Caribbean favorites and popular snacks and meals. Some of the most popular Caribbean items on the menu include Haitian fried chicken, grilled plantains, and oxtail and bean sauce. And if you couldn’t guess by the name of the restaurant, Rhum Corner is big on rum cocktails. Unless you opt for the whole fried fish (which is $40), you can get a meal here for under $20.