16 Great Caribbean Restaurants In LA guide image

LAGuide

16 Great Caribbean Restaurants In LA

All of our favorite spots to get Trinidadian, Jamaican, Belizean food, and more.

It’s a common misconception that great Caribbean food is tough to find in LA. But that’s far from the truth. If you know where to look, there are excellent Jamaican, Belizean, and Trinidadian restaurants spread across the city, from Santa Monica to Pasadena. And that’s precisely why we wrote this guide, a tried and true mix of decades-old establishments and new-generation pop-ups serving incredible stews, spicy curries, and, and lots of fried plantains. Whether you’ve been eating jerk chicken all your life or plan to try roti for the first time, use this list to find the most impressive Caribbean cooking in LA.


THE SPOTS

photo credit: Krystal Thompson

Blessed Tropical Jamaican Cuisine review image
8.3

Blessed Tropical Jamaican Cuisine

$$$$

901 S. Prairie Ave, Inglewood
Earn 3X Points

Located directly across the street from SoFi Stadium, Blessed Tropical is a family-run Jamaican restaurant that serves jerk chicken worth scheduling your day around. The portions are massive, prices are affordable ($12-14 for combo plates), and even if you order several different things, you can be in and out in under 20 minutes. And despite how good the jerk chicken is, you should definitely be ordering other things on the menu, too. Whether it’s marinated oxtail that falls off the bone or a spicy goat curry we’ll happily eat in our car before going back to work, this is some of the best food in Inglewood.

If you’re looking for Trinidadian food in Los Angeles, Trinistyle is your best bet. Located in a strip mall in Inglewood, this counter-service spot specializes in doubles, roti, and oxtails. Our favorite dish here is the bake n’ shark, a puffy fried flatbread sandwich stuffed with deep-fried shark, chutneys, and creamy avocado that is served exclusively on Fridays. Trini Style Is only open on weekends, and the chalkboard menu next to the counter will look different depending on which day you visit, but the good news is you will eat very well no matter when you show up.

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A legendary Black woman-owned Jamaican spot, Ackee Bamboo is a restaurant staple for the Leimert Park community. You can always count on this counter-service spot for excellent jerk chicken and fluffy festival bread, but they have plenty of options for vegan and vegetarians. Our favorite dish here centers around ackee—the starchy national fruit of Jamaica—stir-fried with chunks of saltfish, onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers, then served over a mound of rice and peas. The flavor from the well-seasoned saltfish soaks into the ackee, giving each bite a savory, sweet pop.

The first thing you notice walking into this family-run Belizean restaurant is that it’s a party. Whether you’re here for a quick lunch, a family dinner, or a karaoke event, expect Little Belize to be crowded, festive, and always a great time. As far as the food goes, start with the panades (fried masa stuffed with fish hash) and garnaches (crispy tortillas topped with fried beans, tomatoes, and onions), and end with either chicken or oxtail stew. Both are immensely savory, but it’s the fried plantains on the side that you’ll be talking about–and eating–on the way home.

This Jamaican restaurant in Inglewood is one of the neighborhood’s most popular spots, known for tangy escovitch red snapper and curry goat that comes in a thick and fragrant gravy. But it’s the jerk chicken at Karuba’s Yardy Kitchen that keeps us up at night. The meat has a smokiness that you won’t find at most other spots, plus the jerk sauce has a spicy kick and a hint of sweetness. You can order a side by itself or go with a small combo for $13, which heaps on a scoop of rice and beans, veggies, and fried plantains. With portions this large, you’ll easily be good for two meals.

Tracey’s is our go-to Belizean spot when we’re in the mood for tender oxtails. It’s a small space on Western Avenue a few blocks west of USC, where the guy working behind the counter greets every customer like they're a regular. We usually order a half-and-half plate with stewed beef and rich braised oxtail, which ensures a maximum amount of meaty gravy to spread over the accompanying rice and beans. Ignore the hours listed online—Tracey’s is the kind of place that closes up after they sell out (which can happen as early as 4pm on Sundays). So be sure to call ahead and ask what they have available before making the journey.

It’s all in the name at Pasadena Fish Market, a tiny seafood joint a few blocks north of Old Town Pasadena. In addition to fresh seafood sold by the pound, you can order excellent Jamaican dishes here over the deli counter. This place is best known for tender, garlicky oxtails, which slip right off the bone, and spicy jerk chicken. But they also serve tons of fried fish specials and soul food side dishes, like yams, fresh mac and cheese, and crispy fried okra. Keep it in mind for takeout the next time you’re on your way to a show at the Rose Bowl.

Full-on BYOB restaurants are hard to find in LA, let alone in Santa Monica. So part of the allure at Cha Cha Chicken is that you can bring a six-pack (or a whole handle of tequila) to sip after soaking up some rays down by the ocean. This beach-y shack serves Caribbean dishes with a Latin twist, like ropa vieja, coconut fried chicken, and jerk salmon taco in a tropical setting that's especially great for big group dinners. You can also keep it in mind for early-in-the-game dates or lunches near the Promenade that won't make you cringe when the bill arrives.

Formerly a roving pop-up, Caribbean Gourmet is now serving excellent Caribbean food and pastries at San Gabriel’s Blossom Market Hall. Guyanese chef Yonette Alleyne and her staff bake fresh currant rolls and buttery Jamaican-style patties stuffed with spiced beef every week. But you should drop by over the weekend if you want to catch specials like doubles, cheddar cheese scones, or baked mac and cheese. While it’s almost impossible to pick favorites, we always find ourselves coming back to the crab soup and the hearty oxtail platter.

Of all the Jamaican restaurants in the city, DTLA's A Beautiful Life is the best option for a sit-down meal that feels like a party. There’s a bass-heavy playlist thumping as people sip tropical drinks on the patio while music videos play on multiple screens inside. And if you swing by after 5pm, you’ll discover a hookah lounge tucked in the back corner. Dishes like oxtail mac and cheese, jerk shrimp, and rasta pasta take a while to come out from the kitchen, but they also have a takeout-only location on Spring Street if you’re looking for something quick.

Bridgetown Roti is a pop-up run by chef Rashida Holmes that specializes in Caribbean street food highlighting her Bajan heritage. Currently operating out of Crafted Kitchen in the Arts District (a commissary space used by various restaurants), Bridgetown offers a rotating list of dishes from Barbados for pickup and delivery on weekends. That might mean flaky patties stuffed with oxtail, red pepper goat curry roti, and deep-fried codfish cakes topped with a squiggle of garlic aioli. Even the vegan versions of classic Caribbean dishes——think channa and sweet potato roti or spicy plantains—have tons of flavor here. Check their Instagram ahead of time for weekly menu drops, or just show up and order something exciting from one of the city’s all-around best Caribbean restaurants.

Brown stew chicken, escovitch red snapper, and cow foot simmered in Jamaican curry—this tiny Mid City restaurant serves it all. Located in a bright yellow building on Pico, Wi Jammin is a complete neighborhood staple, a place where you’ll eat among families who have been coming here for years. On the weekends, they serve crab legs, spiced and seasoned in a signature herb rub.

Picture a small diner with big leather booths serving bacon and eggs right alongside stew beef and oxtail—that’s essentially the deal at Belizean Paradise Cuisine. It’s possible you’ve never grabbed a meal at this Mid-City spot, since it’s tucked off of La Brea Avenue and closes at 3:30pm. The dining room is always calm, but know that the mixed bag of dishes on their menu are worth driving out of your way for. Their weekend-only breakfast menu in particular features a dizzying array of standouts, from meat pies and coconut tarts to cheesy garnaches and chicken tamales wrapped in banana leaves.

For a casual Belizean meal, you can’t go wrong with Gusina Saraba. After years of operating out of a food truck, this family-run operation opened a permanent restaurant at Mercado La Paloma in the summer of 2022. Drop by their colorful stall for Belizean specialties like deep-fried panades, and fish-filled hudut with a sweet coconut broth. Each order comes with a choice of two sides, like fluffy rice and beans and creamy potato salad. If you can, call ahead to place your order ahead of time to avoid long waits around dinner.

Serving the Mid-City area for over 35 years, Natraliart is one of the oldest Jamaican restaurants in LA and still one of its best. The menu is stacked with tremendous dishes like oxtails, saltfish, curry shrimp, and flaky beef patties, but for us, the jerk chicken will always be the star of the show. Unlike many spots on this list, Natraliart doesn’t lean on a heavy marinade or sauce to carry the dish. It’s the chicken itself that does the talking here. Tender, perfectly cooked meat with a smoky-spice flavor that’ll stay on your lips for hours, the jerk chicken at Natraliart should be on everyone’s priority list.

Country Style might be one of the newer Jamaican restaurants in Inglewood, but it's developed a strong following for good reason. Their jerk chicken is a perfect blend of spicy and salty, but it’s the balance of the whole combo plate together that sticks out most. The sweetness of the plantains cuts through the heat of the chicken, while the potato salad and festival bread on the side are among the best you’ll find in the neighborhood. If you’re looking to truly feast, the oxtail, curry chicken, and stewed callaloo greens are also excellent. Don't forget to grab one of their housemade sorrel or pineapple and ginger drinks, too.

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