Five Great Places to Dine in Negril

PHOTO: Yum! Jerk chicken at the Rockhouse Restaurant in Negril. (Courtesy Flickr/Crl Mikoy)

Jamaica is well-known as a tropical paradise thanks to its miles of pristine white beaches, crystal blue waters and striking cliffs. In recent years, great hotels have established resorts along its beaches, such as Couples Resorts, that provide just about anything a person could want from leisure activities to fine dining.

Given the options, vacationers may find it hard to tear themselves away from the host of restaurants available on-site, but those who do venture past the confines of the resort will be rewarded with delicious, local cuisine and warm hospitality. Next time you’re in Negril, here are five spots you can’t afford to miss:

Zimbali’s Mountain Cooking Studio. A short drive from Negril, Zimbali’s Mountain Cooking Studio is a must-visit for foodies. This restaurant is a part of the Zimbali Retreats, a small hotel that is located on an organic farm. As such, the restaurant’s menu draws heavily from the fruits and vegetables the farm produces. Guests are greeted with a glass of fresh-pressed juice and are taken on a tour of the farm before heading back to the studio for a cooking demonstration and a meal they won’t soon forget.

Niah’s Patties. Experience some Jamaican street food at its finest at Niah’s Patties. These made-to-order meat pies (think empanada with a flaky crust) take this local delicacy to new heights with fillings such as lobster, Italian, red bean and the traditional beef. But don’t go expecting a sit-down meal with a tablecloth—Niah’s is a walkup stand just off the beach. And don’t forget to bring your own drinks.

Fireman’s Lobster Pit. Located in the Boardwalk Village, the Fireman’s Lobster Pit is known, not surprisingly, for having some of the best lobster (and crab) around. Diners can select their lobster from the traps that float just offshore and relax with a cocktail at a nearby bar or with a walk on the beach while their dinner simmers. Head back about an hour later and be bowled over by a generous portion with Fireman’s unique garlic and ginger butter sauce for dipping. Don’t want to leave your spot on the beach? You’re in luck, because Fireman delivers anywhere along Negril’s Seven Mile Beach.

Ivan’s Bar and Restaurant. Perched on Negril’s limestone cliffs, Ivan’s offers its guests a spectacular and romantic oceanfront dinner setting. Prior to 5 p.m., the restaurant offers only private dining but it opens to the public after 5 p.m., providing dinner guests with fresh international and Jamaican cuisine and a stunning view of the crashing waves down below. It should be noted that children under 15 are not allowed with the exception of special occasions.

Rockhouse Restaurant. Known for its new Caribbean cuisine, which melds local, tropical flavors into lighter fare than its more traditional cousin, Rockhouse is one of Negril’s top fine-dining options. Guests can enjoy coconut chicken, crispy whole snapper and sorrel marinated pork from their perch on the volcanic rocks above Pristine Cove.