Jamaica villa specialists
Ocho Rios Restaurants
Evita's - A 5-minute drive south of the heart of Ocho Rios, in a hillside residential neighborhood that enjoys a panoramic view over the harbor and beachfronts, this is one of the most fun restaurants along the north coast of Jamaica. Its soul and artistic flair come from Eva Myers, the convivial former owner of some of the most legendary bars of Montego Bay, who established her culinary headquarters in this green and white gingerbread Jamaican house in 1990. An outdoor terrace adds additional seating and enhanced views. More than half the menu is devoted to pastas, including almost every variety known to northern and southern Italy. The fish dishes are excellent-especially the snapper stuffed with crabmeat and the lobster and scampi in a buttery white cream sauce. Italian (or other) wines by the bottle might accompany your main course.
Toscanini - The three partners behind this place all hail from Parma, Italy. Coming from a long line of restaurateurs, they bring style and a Continental sophistication to their food service and preparation. The restaurant is set in an art gallery on the coast. The menu offers many classic Italian dishes, supplemented by ever-changing specials, depending on what's fresh at the market. The best specialties include marinated marlin, various homemade pastas, carpaccio, gnocchi, and a strong emphasis on fresh lobster and seafood. The chef also caters to vegetarians. All this good food is backed up by a fine wine list. Expensive.
Scotchies Too - Probably the best jerk pork and chicken, steamed fish and other local dishes in Ocho Rios area. Outdoor dining at picnic tables in a hibiscus garden. On the west side of town right near the St. Ann's Polo Club.
Passage to India - This is the most visible and most desirable Indian restaurant in northern Jamaica, one of the preferred favorites of the expatriate British and American communities living along Jamaica's North Coast. Set on the second floor of a busy shopping mall in the center of Ocho Rios, it's airy, cosmopolitan, and sophisticated, featuring some of the most creative and interesting Indian dishes we've ever seen. Menu items are surprisingly imaginative: shrimp prepared either in the spicy Szechuan style or with ginger; tandoori-style filet mignon; a "Passage to India" sizzler, where chunks of your choice of meats are prepared on a hot griddle set directly on your table; Goanese-style shrimp or chicken curry; Punjabi-style chicken Pakora (accompanied with split peas and tamarind sauce); Goanese chicken curry; boneless chicken with garlic, ginger, capiscum (an Indian form of cayenne pepper), and spices; mutton roasted with spices and hot pepper, and lobster vindaloo. 876-795-3182
Almond Tree - The Almond Tree is a two-tiered patio restaurant with a tree growing through the roof. Lobster thermidor is the tastiest item on the menu, but we also like the bouillabaisse (made with conch and lobster). Other excellent choices are the roast suckling pig, medallions of beef, and a fondue bourguignon. Jamaican plantation rice is a local specialty. The wine list offers a variety of vintages, including Spanish and Jamaican. Have a cocktail in the unique "swinging bar"-with swinging chairs, that is.
Marguerite's - This two-in-one restaurant across from the Coral Cliff Hotel specializes in seafood served on a breeze-swept terrace overlooking the sea. There's also an air-conditioned lounge with an adjoining "Secret Garden." The chef specializes in exhibition cookery at a flambé grill. The menu is mainly devoted to seafood and fresh fish, but there are also numerous innovative pastas and rather standard meat dishes. The changing dessert options are homemade, and a reasonable selection of wines is served. The sports bar and grill features a 34m (110-ft.) water slide, live music, satellite TV, watersports, a sun deck, and a straightforward menu of seafood, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, salads, and snacks-nothing fussy. Naturally, the bartenders specialize in margaritas. Both open daily from 10 am. Reservations suggested for dinner at Marguerite's. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. Gloucester Avenue. Phone 876/952-4777.
Wharfside - Norma's at the Wharfhouse is one of the favorite places in Montego Bay for seafood. Enjoy a drink at the saloon filled with antiques, or savor the finest seafood inside this 300-year-old warehouse building. Menu changes daily. Closed Monday - Wednesday. (876.979.2745)
Scotchies - Jerk may have been invented in the mountainous northeast coast, but the traditional pimento-wood-grilled, lip-stinging-spicy flavor reaches a sublime peak at Scotchies. There’s nothing the least bit fancy about this thatched-roof joint beside the coast highway where food is served in aluminum foil and everyone eats with their fingers, but the jerk chicken, pork, and fish are the best you’ll find anywhere. Wash it all down with a Red Stripe. Tip: Save room for the traditional side dishes, like sliced, roasted breadfruit and yam; and festival (deep-fried cornmeal dumplings). Coral Gardens, across the street from the Holiday Inn on the east side of town. (876) 953-3301
The SunVillas Collection, representing only quality Jamaica villa accommodations for Montego Bay (including Spring Farm, Tryall and Round Hill, Great River), Silver Sands, Discovery Bay, Runaway Bay, Ocho Rios, Oracabessa, Port Antonio, Whitehouse, Bluefields Bay, Negril and Treasure Beach. All Jamaican villas are fully staffed and rates include local taxes except where noted.