Da Reggae Cafe - Casual Dining RestaurantsFood ★★★★ ☆ Ambiance ★★★☆ ☆ Service ★★★☆ ☆Creativity ★★★☆☆Value ★★★★☆meal for 2 $20-30 plus drinksSmall beer list
Da Reggae Cafe is a small Jamaican restaurant located in a small strip center off of Gate City Blvd / Lee Street about a mile north of the convention center. The strip is easy to miss as it is somewhat tucked back.
The majority of the business at Da Reggae Cafe appears to be a carryout, but they do have about 10 tables with a server. The restaurant is clean and bright with Jamaican Art on the walls and TVs with Reggae Bands playing. You have to have some Reggae in the Da Reggae Cafe!
De Reggae Cafe Service
The service at Da Reggae Cafe is slow to American Standards, but it is exactly what you would expect in Jamaica. Not rushed, island time and slow downed so you can enjoy your food. I find that to be VERY refreshing as too many restaurants slam the food down back to back or all at the same time and then place a bill on your table while you are still eating. Dining should be relaxing and the food should be enjoyed without being rushed and Da Reggae Cafe did an excellent job at this.
De Reggae Cafe Menu
The menu covers the majority of the essential Jamaican dishes. Beef Patties, Jerk, Pepper Pot, Fricasseed Chicken, Curries, Escoveitched Fish, and various other Jamaican Dishes. For those who have never experienced Jamaican dishes, the food is typically a stew type of meat served with rice and beans, cabbage and fried plantains. Most of the stews are a brown sauce that has rich brown notes. Many of the dishes traditionally have scotch bonnet peppers (Habaneros) and can have a bit of a kick. The dishes at Da Reggae Cafe were tamed down and there was a bottle of chili pepper sauce on the table. I wished they had a scotch bonnet pepper sauce though as it has a stronger kick and a distinct flavor that I associate with my business trips to Jamaica (I have 3 customers in Jamaica and I visit several times per year).
Tonight I had Da Reggae Cafe's Fricasseed Chicken. Fricassee basically means stewed so this is a very traditional Jamaican Stewed Chicken. The flavor was very authentic and reminded me of a dish I had up the mountain from Kingston about 6 months ago. The chicken was extremely tender and the sauce was a rich brown sauce.
Stewed Jamaican Dishes never photograph well, but trust me it was very tasty.
We have also had the Ox Tail here on a previous visit. This is another amazing dish that you should try if you have never had oxtails.
On previous visits, I had the Jerk Chicken. This dish is close to impossible to make authentic in the USA as it is grilled over a pimento wood fire. There Jerk Chicken was good, but for the real thing you have to get on a plane and visit Jamaica!
If you have a craving for some Caribbean flavor you should visit the Da Reggae Cafe.