The Best Jerk Chicken In LA guide image


The Best Jerk Chicken In LA

10 spots for great jerk chicken in LA.

Whether you’re seeking some cold weather comfort or planning a beach day with friends in the middle of the summer, jerk chicken is the ultimate year-round food. This classic Jamaican dish can be sweet, smoky, or pungent—with a huge punch of heat courtesy of Scotch bonnet peppers. Many of LA’s best and oldest Jamaican and Caribbean restaurants are centered around South La Brea Ave. in Inglewood, but the fact is, you can find good versions of jerk chicken all over town. Here are the spots to check out first.


Blessed Tropical Jamaican Cuisine

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 (especially their weekly lunch specials: Wednesday is jerk chicken), and the sauce itself has that perfect balance between sweet and spicy.

The jerk chicken at Karuba’s Yardy in Inglewood has a unique sweet-smokiness that frankly keeps us up at night. But unlike the many other factors that contribute to our chronic insomnia, this is one we highly recommend getting involved with. You’re definitely going to want to get the combo, which is easily good for two meals. Be sure to throw in a few curry chicken patties on the side as well.

Serving the Mid-City area for over 35 years, Natraliart is one of the oldest Jamaican restaurants in LA - and also one of the very best. The menu is stacked with tremendous dishes like oxtails, saltfish, and curry shrimp, 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.

Pasadena Fish Market doesn't just serve fresh seafood from its fully-stocked deli counter. They've also got an excellent variety of Jamaican dishes, including some notably succulent jerk chicken. Each enormous piece has crispy, smoky skin with moist dark meat. If you’re looking for a jerk marinade with a little more heat, you'll love that the chicken here is slathered in a punchy, vinegar-forward sauce that'll make you sweat. Ask for extra sauce on the side to pour over your rice and peas, plantains, and collard greens.

Ackee Bamboo is one of our all-around favorite Jamaican restaurants in LA. Located in downtown Leimert Park, we recommend getting both their jerk chicken and brown stew chicken combos to-go (trust us, you need both in your life), picnicking at Leimert Park Plaza around the corner, and then spending the rest of the afternoon exploring the downtown Leimert Park and the tree-lined neighborhood that surrounds it.

Country Style is one of the newer Jamaican restaurants in Inglewood, and is already a local favorite. The jerk chicken itself 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 and curry chicken are also excellent.

If you’re like us and prefer your jerk chicken unabashedly spicy, then Little Kingston is the place for you. Located just north of Inglewood in Windsor Hills, Little Kingston has converted its strip-mall space into a to-go window, allowing for easy, contactless pick-up—and even more time for you to sit in your car and take down an entire plate of wings on your lunch hour. If you aren’t feeling a full combo plate though, you can also just get a side of jerk chicken for $7, which by the way, is still a very good-sized portion.

Hungry Joe’s has been around for decades and is a classic Jamaican restaurant in the heart of Inglewood. We love the uniquely tangy bite that the jerk chicken has here, but frankly, it’s the rice that takes Hungry Joe’s version to a completely new level. With a sweet, coconut-y profile and a plump texture, it balances out the intensity of the chicken without taking away any of the flavors.

The Jerk Spot is a Culver City standby and an excellent option if you’re in the neighborhood, short on time, and craving some very solid Jamaican food. The standout element of their jerk chicken is the spicy sauce that comes on the side with every order. Honestly, if they sold it by the bottle, we’d buy it in bulk. And yes, we’ve asked. They also give you the option of ordering their jerk chicken with just white meat or dark meat. Whatever route you end up going, make sure you order some reggae bread, too.

Cha Cha Chicken is probably best known for its tropical patio and having one of the best BYOB policies in all of LA, but the fact is, the food at this order-at-the-counter spot in Santa Monica is good, too. We love their classic jerk wings, which come coconut battered and smothered in sweet and spicy pineapple jerk sauce, but if you’re hungry (or looking for leftovers to carry you through the week), just get a whole roast jerk chicken instead.

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