Dotted throughout the Southland are wonderful restaurants dedicated to Caribbean cooking. Caribbean food is a broad term that encompasses dishes from more than two dozen island nations that make up the region; each country’s cuisine is a unique blend of indigenous ingredients, along with the influences from centuries of navigating — and combatting — the forces of colonialism, slavery, and trade. From Jamaican jerk chicken to Cuban vaca frita, here now are 15 stellar Caribbean restaurants to try in Los Angeles.Read More
15 Exceptional Caribbean Restaurants to Explore in Los Angeles
Get a taste of Trinidadian, Cuban, Jamaican, Belizean cooking, and more
Cha Cha Chicken
Cha Cha Chicken is a Santa Monica icon, a restaurant that has been a colorful beacon for jerk chicken–seeking diners from all corners of town (there’s also a location in Northridge for Valley residents craving pan-Caribbean dishes). The jerk chicken here is comforting and consistent, as are most of the sides you can eat with it, like fried sweet plantains, “dirty rice” and black beans, and tangy red cabbage slaw. Menu items that are vegetarian and/or gluten-free are clearly denoted, with ropa vieja, salmon marinated in curry and garlic, black bean soup, and jerk veggie wraps rounding out the options. —Nicole Adlman
Warm hospitality and solid cooking keep the crowds coming to San Fernando’s Mojitos. Regulars swear by the vaca frita, grilled flank steak marinated in plenty of garlic and lime. And the best part about dining at a place called Mojitos is that it’s nearly a given that everyone orders one of the restaurant’s namesake cocktails. —Cathy Chaplin
Karuba's Yardy Kitchen
In addition to its classic Jamaican entrees (think: escovitch snapper, curry goat or chicken, ackee and saltfish), Inglewood mainstay Karuba’s Yardy Kitchen also filters hearty, often hard-to-find soups like fish tea and a full slate of vegan plates into its menu. Vegan-friendly items include a Beyond Meat bowl and jackfruit platter served with rice and peas, plantains, and cabbage; meat eaters, meanwhile, can enjoy ripe-for-takeout twists on staple dishes like jerk chicken tacos or wraps.
Little Kingston Jamaican Restaurant
Tucked into a mini-mall on the stretch of Slauson that borders View Park-Windsor Hills, Little Kingston is a Jamaican restaurant that offers true comfort in the form of classic Afro-Caribbean dishes: pimento-spiced rice and peas (aka Jamaican “pimento,” or allspice), meat and seafood stews and curries (the oxtails and curry goat are particularly good), ackee and saltfish, and jerk chicken that makes your forehead sweat as you dip it into its accompanying sauce (always ask for an extra sauce). The small outdoor patio makes the idea of island time in Los Angeles feel more remotely possible. —Nicole Adlman
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Country Style Jamaican Restaurant
Inglewood’s Country Style Jamaican Restaurant has quickly risen to prominence in Los Angeles’s concentrated Jamaican food scene for its simple, home-style cooking: here, you’ll find large-format and “mini” plates of jiggly braised oxtails, curry chicken, brown stew chicken, and curry goat, all served with heaping piles of pimento-spiced rice and peas, plantains, and steamed cabbage. Starters like sweet potato pudding and beef or chicken patties never hurt; nor does washing it all down with the restaurant’s pineapple ginger or sorrel juice.
Little Belize Restaurant
This Inglewood gem prides itself on serving the best oxtails in town, but before diving into all that richness, start with a few appetizers like the garnaches with black beans, diced onion, and dusted with queso fresco atop light and bubbly fried masa tortillas; and the panades stuffed with ground tuna and served with a fiery sauce on the side. —Cathy Chaplin
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Belizean Paradise Cuisine
Diverse Belizean food served from the front of a small independent hotel in the middle of Mid-City? Sure, that’s just how LA rolls. This destination stop offers garnaches snacks to start, conch soup to get the meal rolling, and entrees from Belizean tamales to stewed pig tails for main courses. —Farley Elliott
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Started as a street food stand/catering company, and now a strip mall restaurant in South LA, Trinistyle from Merlin Garcia serves fantastic doubles, stewed oxtails, corn soup, and goat rotis to represent the varied and deeply delicious food of Trinidad. —Matthew Kang
Tracey’s Belizean Restaurant
There’s a reason why the regulars keep coming back to this South LA stalwart. It starts with the Belizean specials for breakfast including fry jacks served with eggs and beans. Once lunch and dinnertime hit, it’s all about the stew chicken and oxtails. Don’t miss the weekends-only sweets like cassava pudding, caramel cake, and more. —Cathy Chaplin
Los Angeles’s only Garifuna restaurant has migrated from its roving truck format (located in Gardena with plans to expand to Exposition Park in Los Angeles) to a stand in South LA’s Mercado La Paloma, where it has been serving customers since July 2022. At Saraba, you’ll find antojitos (smaller bites) like panades, garnaches, and salbutes, as well as bigger dine-in or carryout plates like beefy oxtails, steamed rice, and vegetables, among others.
Silver Lake stalwart El Conchinito remains a staple for Angelenos looking to satisfy cravings for well-made but undeniably homey Cuban food. Bigger plates like lechon or pollo asado anchor the menu, which also includes sandwiches like the never-fail Cubano and pan con bistec, as well as sides like caramelized maduros, ham and pollo croquetas, and papas rellenas — best drizzled or dipped in its verdant mojo de ajo.
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A Beautiful Life Jamaican Cafe
Founded in 2013, A Beautiful Life serves up “traditional Jamaican cuisine with California vibes” in Downtown LA. From lighter bites to hefty platefuls, the menu has enough variety for all. Hungrier folks will do well with the jerk chicken and oxtail plate that comes with rice and peas, sauteed cabbage, and fried plantains. For something lighter, try the jerk salmon bowl served over rice and peas. —Cathy Chaplin
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The patties at Bridgetown, which pull from chef-owner Rashida Holmes’ Barbadian heritage, are about as close as one can get to a cultural phenomenon right now. Add in Holmes’ flaky roti and stewed meats, and it’s easy to see why this Smorgasburg pop-up is one of Los Angeles’s hottest places to dine right now. —Farley Elliott
Rashida Holmes is related to Eater LA’s Mona Holmes, who has no business connection to Bridgetown Roti; this relationship does not impact coverage.
Pasadena Fish Market
Look beyond the shop’s fresh seafood display and hone in on the small but superb Jamaican menu that includes goat curry, stewed oxtails, beef-stuffed patties, and plantains. But since you’re at a fish market, go ahead and throw in a side of deep-fried oysters or sand dabs, too. —Cathy Chaplin
Located at Blossom Market Hall in the San Gabriel Valley, Guyanese-owned stand Caribbean Gourmet is thrilling its customers with meat and vegan curries, flaky roti, and a rotating selection of patties (both Jamaican style and a more traditionally Guyanese rendition, too). The menu includes island staples like smoky, grilled jerk chicken, baked macaroni pie, and slow-braised oxtail stew.