Nestled quietly in Northwest Detroit is an enclave of West Indian immigrants who like many others were attracted to the city, historically, for jobs in the auto industry. While not commonly known for a large Jamaican population, there is a rich and vibrant community which offers its unique flavor to the tapestry of the city. As palates change and more and more people are becoming vegetarians, the unique flavor of Jamaican food is growing increasingly popular.
From allspice to scotch bonnet pepper, the flavor of Jamaican food is unique. Jerk Chicken and Oxtails are local favorites, but curry goat, cabbage dishes, and patties are also delicious menu items at most of Detroit’s Jamaican restaurants. The food served in most of these restaurants is commonly found in big cities in Jamaica which are teeming with tourists. The flavors are authentic, but some are also Americanized to cater to the customer’s palate.
Now that your mouth is watering, head to the northwest side of town to find these great Jamaican tastes. You can practically smell the curry in the air.
Jamaican Food in Detroit
The oldest of Detroit’s Jamaican restaurants, the curry chicken is the go-to dish at Jamaica Jamaica. Cooked to tender perfection, the dish is served with vegetables in a thick, aromatic curry sauce with a mild heat. Owner Richard Lawrence is known for his friendly demeanor and will welcome you with a smile to try his delicious offering of cakes for dessert.
The Jamaican Pot
The vegetarian dishes are among the most popular at Mama Rose’s Eight Mile location. The “Bob Marley” features a savory serving of root vegetables, butter beans, and red beans dripping in a delicious ginger sauce over white rice.
A Westside classic, Caribbean Citchen is known for being the spiciest Jamaican food in the area thanks to their liberal, but delicious use of scotch bonnet pepper. Their jerk chicken is sure to heat up the palate but is accompanied by rice and beans and sweet plantains. Their fall-off-the-bone oxtails complimented by mixed vegetables are highly recommended.
Rono’s Caribbean Family Dining
Currently a carry-out business as the family completes renovations, Rono’s is a Detroit classic that’s been open for over 35 years. They serve all the classics and are also known for their desserts and home-bottled pink lemonade.
Jamaican Fenton’s Jerk Chicken
Just outside the city in Southfield, Fenton’s offers most of the Caribbean classics as well as more seafood. The stuffed salmon is a favorite. Fenton’s also does a brisk catering business which is a great way to spice up your next office lunch.
Biba Adams is a Detroit-native culture lover and foodie. Follow her adventures on Instagram @BibatheDiva
Read more about restaurants in Detroit.
1Jamaica Jamaica Restaurant, West 7 Mile Road, Detroit, MI, USA313-534-3226
2The Jamaican Pot, Eight Mile Road, Detroit, MI, USA313-659-6033
3Caribbean Citchen, West McNichols Road, Detroit, MI, USA313-345-3746
4Rono's Caribbean Family Dining, West McNichols Road, Detroit, MI, USA313-342-4073
5Jamaican Fenton's Jerk Chicken, Northwestern Highway, Southfield, MI, USA248-739-2558