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Jamaica Jamaica

Posted by MEZ 19 Jan 2010 16 Comments

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Jamaica Jamaica is a small, cafeteria-style restaurant that focuses, as evidenced by its name, on Jamaican specialties. Vibrant paintings hang on the walls, which gives the two seating rooms some character. Lively, island radio plays over the speakers.

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Jamaica Jamaica has a large menu, but I think that it’s not all available at all times. I was unable to order a jerk chicken or fish sandwich that comes on Coco bread, either because they could only serve from the platters at the time I went (2:30 PM) or they were out of the bread. Offerings include oxtail stew, Caribbean or curry shrimp, curry chicken, jerk chicken, jerk fish, and a number of different sides as well as salads and the MIA sandwiches. It would be easy for a vegetarian to find options. The Jamaican-style sodas are definitely a reason to come out, even if you are only thirsty. I had a ginger beer soda, which one of my Jamaican friends raves about.

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This is nothing like ginger ale, for those of you who haven’t had a true ginger soda. It’s so full of fiery ginger flavor that I could only drink half of it, but my tongue loved the adventure while it lasted.

I decided to go for a jerk chicken plate, which comes with a heaping dose of rice (either rice and beans or yellow rice) and two drumsticks, one breast, and a wing.

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Portions are obviously plentiful. I didn’t like the yellow rice, except for appreciating that it was quite spicy, which might have just been the jerk getting on the grains. It was greasy, clumped together, and ultimately flavorless. The jerk chicken was exactly as it should be, though: smoky, spicy, fall-off-the-bone tender. It was also greasy but for a good jerk, I don’t mind.

I also ordered a side of fried plantains.

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With the addition of salt, these were very good. The slices were thick, and they were crispy around the edges.

I would probably only go back to Jamaica Jamaica for the jerk chicken, or perhaps to try the fish or chicken curry. Has any had the Coco bread?

Jamaica Jamaica
4853 NC Highway 55
Intersection of highways 55 and 54, Durham
Lunch Entrees: $7-13, $1 more for Dinner
Sides: $2-6

Reviewed 1.15.10.

16 Comments »

  • matimus said:

    Coincidentally, I just ate lunch there yesterday. I was bummed they were out of bread, because I wanted to try the jerk fish sandwich. I was also a little annoyed that the person serving me didn’t appear to know what was in some of the platters and menu options.

    I had the vegetarian platter, and opted for the rice and beans, rather than the bright yellow rice. The rice was kind of bland. I enjoyed the plantains, sauteed cabbage, and the veggie pattie. I remember getting the jerk chicken there the 1st time I went, and liking it quite a bit.

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  • Ted said:

    Working near the 54/55 intersection I have eaten there several times, and while its always been good, they have NEVER had coco bread ready any time I have been there. This has been over the course of years too.

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  • vanessa said:

    I don’t suppose you noticed if they have roti on the menu? I haven’t been able to find it since I moved here, but I can only assume that if they’re always out of coco bread, they probably don’t make rotis on the regular either.

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    MEZ replies on January 20th, 2010 at 12:03 am:

    I don’t think I saw roti on the menu. Interesting that they usually seem out of the coco bread! I figured it was just a fluke on the day I went.

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    Sant replies on January 20th, 2010 at 10:48 am:

    Does Jamaican cuisine include roti? I thought that was more of a Trinidadian thing. But then again, I guess if there is the Indian influence of curries in Jamaica then rotis could be an influence as well.

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  • Stu said:

    Ahh, a tatse and flavor of the ol’, island of fun!

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  • Julie said:

    My husband gets these things there that are called Jamaican patties…they are kind of like Jamaican hot pockets and are filled with meat. They are super cheap if you order them by themselves.

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  • apathy said:

    We tried this on saturday. Waited for 1 hour and 45 minutes for our food, which wasn’t that great. We watched about 15 take-out orders leave the place before we even got our patties, which were ready in a warmer the whole time.

    I can see how this place might be good if you live in the area, and can go for lunch or something, but dinner was terrible. The Jerk chicken was just ok, as for the patties, I think I didn’t like them texturally rather than because of anything inherent in the patties.

    I was mostly disappointed because I love Jamaican food, and the positive reviews here made me hopeful. What can you do.

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    MEZ replies on January 27th, 2010 at 5:51 pm:

    Yikes! I did like the jerk but I don’t think I’d go back, especially after knowing the coco bread is always missing unless I had a huge hankering for some.

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  • Jenn said:

    I have eaten here on many occasions for dinner. The jerk chicken has always been wonderful. I order coco bread every time, and they’ve had it every time. With the beans, rice and plantains, I probably do not need another starch, but it tastes so good. I know Jamaica, Jamaica is usually slammed for lunch with the RTP crowd, so maybe you need to get there earlier if you want the bread with your lunch.

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  • STE said:

    I was lured into Jamaica, Jamaica looking for Roti the other day. Sadly there was none nor was there any coco bread. Has anyone been able to get this for lunch? I have to agree with the reviews so far, Jerk was great, sides were… well not that great. Does anyone know where to get Roti in Durham? I used to see a sign advertising Roti outside a Jamaican place off S. Miami, but last time I was in the neighborhood (admittedly not all that often) it was closed.

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    apathy replies on May 2nd, 2010 at 8:31 pm:

    There’s a new place over on angier and driver. I haven’t been, but it looks ok. I can’t remember the name, but its pretty much across the street from that new hot dog place people seem to like. I think if you’re in the neighborhood it could be worth a go.

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    Rick replies on May 12th, 2010 at 10:44 am:

    Jamaica Jamaica is okay… Lets not get too excited, they have had changes in management, and the cooks have changed. Not what it use to be years ago. And I will leave it at that…

    The Jamaican Restaurant you refer to is Caribbean Paradise 2022 Angier Avenue. I have been there a couple of times. I thought the food was flavorful, but what do I know. I am not from Jamacia. I am going to get my co-worker that is from the islands to try some of the food. It is authentic, but whether it is good on the Caribbean scale is a question only my co-worker can answer.

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    MoFood replies on July 16th, 2010 at 3:48 pm:

    Here’s a review of Caribbean Paradise (which also has photos of the menu and restaurant)- for some reason, it doesn’t come up in the regular search on Yelp…

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/caribbean-paradise-durham

    Tameeka replies on July 17th, 2010 at 4:01 pm:

    You can get roti at Golden Krust, located at 3600 N. Duke St. They are the only place in the Triangle area that sells roti (the person that did it at N. Miami now works there).

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    Sant replies on July 17th, 2010 at 8:16 pm:

    Uh…every Indian restaurant sells roti. It is an Indian dish that was brought to the Caribbean after all.

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