If you can’t get to the islands, bring the islands to you…

There’s been a gathering chorus of Caribbean restaurants opening up on Abu Dhabi’s own patchwork stretch of islands recently. And with the news that Ting Irie Pon Di Beach will be hitting Saadiyat’s shores in the not too distant future, it’s a trend with exciting momentum.

But if you’re craving a mouth carnival right now, those big jerk spice flavours, plantains, rice and peas, patties, and salted-seafood — these are the capital’s current curry G.O.A.T.s of Caribbean cuisine.

Where is the best Caribbean food in Abu Dhabi

Kingston 21


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Welcome to Jamrock. Ok, not quite, but the next best thing. Welcome to JamRaha. This waterfront restaurant serves up some all-day island dining fire, with breakfast dishes such as their full Jamaican Breakfast (Dhs70) — ackee and salt fish, Johnny cakes, steamed callaloo and roasted tomatoes; starters like peppered shrimp (Dhs85); and massive mains including mento oxtail (Dhs135); jerk T-Bone steak (Dhs250); Portland grilled lobster (Dhs200); and Jamdown jerk beetroot (Dhs55). There are also clever fusion dishes, of which the Jamaican burrito (pictured, Dhs55) and pappardelle con oxtail ragú (Dhs110) are enticing examples.

Al Raha Beach Tower, Al Raha, Mon to Sat 9am to 11pm. Tel: (02) 546 8500, kingston21.ae

West to West kitchen

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Deserved winners of the What’s On Abu Dhabi Indie Restaurant of the Year, this bijou bistro serves up a rhythmic mix of both West African and West Indies cuisine. We tried and highly approve the curry goat, saltfish, Jamaican patties and jerk chicken. ‘Lickle Bites’ start at just Dhs17 and there are mains from Dhs30. Open for dine-in, and delivery via Zomato, Deliveroo, Talabat, but, pro-tip, they promise their best prices when you order from them direct.

Near First Flight Couriers, Behind ADNOC Head Office, Salam Street, Najda, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 671 9119, @westtowestkitchen

Joe’s Crab Shack

This Marina Mall seafood specialist is dedicated to the mission of sharing spicy seafood with the masses. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a red herring on this list, because it’s not a Caribbean restaurant (it’s actually part of a US chain) — but we have a get out ‘claws’. Their buckets of steamed crab (from Dhs179), crawfish and lobster come with a wild, flavour-loaded range of sauces and marinades, some of which carry some big Caribbean coast inspiration.

Marina Mall, Marina Village, 10am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 705 9747, @joescrabshack_uae

Images: What’s On Archive/Instagram