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Popville recommendations for some fine Jamaican

by Eric Nuzum May 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm 44 Comments

city jerk, lefferts garden brooklyn, jerked chicken, jamaican food brooklyn

Okay, okay, okay.

When I ask for recommendation for some fine Jamaican, I’m not talking about that.

Or that either.

Here is a bit of trivia about the Lord of Petworth: I was in an exchange program in high school and lived in Jamaica for a bit.

Knowing this, you’d probably think that I would be in culinary heaven when I moved from Ohio to DC seven years ago. You may be surprised to learn that the number of times I’ve eaten Jamaican since moving here.

That number would be zero.

What? You must be thinking. Why wouldn’t you? There is Jamaican everywhere in DC.

See, that is exactly the problem. It’s kind of all overwhelming–and I have no idea what is good and what isn’t. There is just so much to pick from that I never seem to be able to figure out a starting point.

So on this last day of my reign as Lord of Petworth, I implore you, dear Popvillians, to steer me in the right direction.

What Jamaican place in town (or nearby) makes you want to stomp your foot on the ground every time you taste it?

  • elizqueenmama

    Jam Doung Style (http://www.yelp.com/biz/jam-doung-style-cuisine-washington) – North Cap and Randolph Streets, NW corner. Carry out only, hole in the wall place. Be prepared to wait (they’re slow and chatty), but DAMN it is tasty: Jerk Chicken, Brown Stew, Curry Goat, Oxtail Stew, Fish Stew, Mac and Cheese, Rice and Peas, Cabbage, that Jamaican bread that I can’t remember the name of, Plaintains, Patties, oh and so much more.

    • Cocoa bread.

      • Masked Avenger

        I’ve spent plenty of time around Jamaicans in the Bronx and I believe the bread is Coco bread (I think b/c of the use of coconut milk, not cocoa).

    • Bloomie Res

      Definitely, good rec.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed about Jam Doung Style. Fantastic and a medium plate is enough grub to share (especially if you grab a couple pieces of cocoa bread). Try some of thier homemade juce. The sorrel juice will keep you comming back. I also enjoy the jerk at the place on H and 6th NE (forget the name), but damn is it spicy.

    • Bloomingdude

      I’m glad to hear people like this place. I’m going to try it soon because I saw that a lot of people on Yelp rated it well. However, several people gave it horrible reviews, which makes me wonder which to trust.

    • Anonymous

      randolph st doesn’t intersect with north capitol.

  • Sleepy

    Jam Down on Georgia avenue near Lamont is quite good and the people are friendly. One thing I’ve noticed though about any Jamaican place I’ve been to in the city is that they are really skimpy with the meat.

  • Pimento Grill in Southeast. Best jerk chicken in DC. Just Jerk in Lanham is the best Jamaican outside the Beltway.

  • RD

    what do people think about Pink Snapper v. Sweet Mango in the lower Petworth Jamaican battle?

  • Pennyworth

    Island Cafe in Petworth has great food! I’m not sure if its Jamaican though.

    • NotHere

      Where is that?

      • anon

        Upshur and Georgia Ave.

        • NotHere

          OH! that place.. I knew it sounded familiar. It has good food? I once try to go in.. and it was empty and it looked more like a bar/latenight place than a restaurant.

          • Pennyworth

            Yeh the hours are odd, but the food is good. they also have a lot of African dishes. The portions are HUGE!

  • Anonymous

    It’s all in the flavor the Pimento wood imparts:

    Pimento Grill
    4405 Bowen Road, SE
    Washington, D.C. 20019


    For all things Jamaican:


    • Chris in Eckington


  • caballero

    I prefer the Pink Snapper. It’s cheaper and I think it tastes better (I always get the jerk chicken).

    • caballero

      That was in response to RD.

    • NotHere

      Pink Snapper is cheaper.. but the times I ate there – the food was just blah! Mango has gotten better since they started their new set up. Somehow with the food not in display, it seems that the quality has improved as well.

    • RD

      sweet mango jerk chicken meal is huge, though. definitely get more food for your money there. i like the sauce at pink snapper, however.

      • PetHeights

        +10,000. Sweet Mango has the best Jamaican in DC (verified by Jamaican friend who visited last summer). I also have a friend from Trinidad and one from Barbados that love the food and drive from Maryland and Virginia to get it. They make the jerk rub and sauce, and the curry sauce from scratch like you are supposed to :-)

  • gusano
    • Josh

      This place is my jam.

  • Jo
    • AA

      My (Jamaican) family tried Island Hut this past weekend. It’s worth the drive. The sauce for the jerk pork has some heat.

  • Joe

    Now hold on. What about Taste of Jamaica on 6th and H St. NE? Great food, run by friendly people, and some of the best bang for your buck in town. I’m a regular if you can’t tell.

  • The Real Jason

    My mother is Jamaican. I grew up with curried chicken, oxtail, rice and peas and ackee and saltfish on the weekends. I’ve tried several Jamaican eateries around DC have been relatively nonplussed. The best “west indian” cuisine I’ve had is at Ritas on Georgia. Their curried goat is to die for.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, it is best to limit your saltfish intake to weekends only. Gotta watch that high blood pressure.

  • saf

    I like Brown’s.

    • djdc

      Just noticed “building for sale” sign there as we scooted by on the bus.

  • MK

    Spicy Delight near the Takoma metro. Carryout only but the food will make you smack your momma. Only downside is they stopped offering fish ever since the Gulf oil spill.

  • Jamaican living in DC

    Caribbean Sea on New Hampshire – very authentic.

  • Artie Schparkler

    My favorite is Ya Mi Cookin’ Up Sumptin Real Good in Hyattsville.

    • Bloomingdude

      Never been there, but love that name.

  • Bloomingdale Renter

    It is Trinidadi food, but Zee’s at 6th and Florida NW is tasty.

  • Jerk Store

    Tropicana on Georgia Ave just outside of DC in Silver Spring has jerk chicken and beef patties that never dissapoint. There is also a location on FL Aver but haven’t checked that out yet.

  • Anonymous

    The best jamaican in DC is Ms. Morgan! Sean at Zee’s is the boss! NQAI

  • alkebulan

    Pimento Grill in SE. Their jerk yurkey and avocado sandwich is incredible!!

    • alkebulan


  • Allison

    Try Junction on the corner of Riggs and Chillum if you want an authentic Jamaican meal experience. Yes there is the usual jerk but also brown stew fish, escoveitched snapper, curries, soups and unusual for Jamaican restaurants in this area, they serve a good yardie breakfast – ackee and saltfish, dumpling, festival, liver and banana, callaloo and porridge. Whenever I need a homesick “fix” that’s the spot I head to.

  • Allison

    BTW, Rita’s on Georgia is excellent but it is Trinidadian not Jamaican. The curries from the two islands have completely different flavours.


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