08 Jul 6 of the Best Restaurants Representing the Caribbean Diaspora
In their memories and their suitcases, Caribbean immigrants who spread throughout the Diaspora packed family recipes that trickled down from generation to generation.
Those recipes are now being used to re-imagine cuisines from other parts of the world, like the Caribbean chefs who have turned succulent stewed oxtails into savory pizza toppings.
But despite its regional and generational adaptations, the island roots remain in tact.
Read below for a list of some of our favorite Black-owned restaurants highlighting the diversity of the Caribbean food throughout the diaspora.
Boukan Restaurant – Toronto, Ontario
At Boukan, expressing the ancestry and richness of Haitian culture through food is the main attraction. From the gelatin-like cake Blanc-manger aux Coco, to the Djon Djon rice made with black mushrooms indigenous to Haiti, a majority of the menu’s items provide Torontonians with authentic Haitian meals. The restaurant’s name translates to campfire, which gives reverence to enslaved Africans that created spaces for communal activities, like cooking around the boukan, and took pride in togetherness through food.
48th Street Grille – Philadelphia, PA
If you’re looking for authentic Jamaican food in West Philadelphia, then 48th Street Grille is the place to be. Founded by executive chef Carl Lewis, the restaurant prides itself on recipes native to the country known for its everlasting natural resources. A first-class ticket to Jamaica can be found within the ingredients, specifically through entrees like Brown Stew Chicken with red beans, rice and braised cabbage, Ackee and Saltfish, the often imitated but never duplicated Jerk Chicken, and Curry Goat.
Seana’s – Orlando, FL
Seana’s genesis began at a birthday party where owner Joshua Johnson was inspired by the chef’s Caribbean and soul food fusion. He decided to bring the chef and her creations to his restaurant where the motto reads “Bringing Everyone Together.” Take a trip to the south with CJ’s Honey Hot Chicken or overseas to London’s Fish and Chips. The Big Steppa Rasta Pasta is served with not only a choice of chicken, shrimp or salmon, but a secret creamy sauce which is right up the ally of grandma’s top-secret ingredient.
Fireside Restaurant – Atlanta, GA
With three locations throughout Atlanta (Lithonia, Bouldercrest Blvd., and Tara Blvd.), Fireside Restaurant remains consistent in offering homemade Caribbean meals like Cowfoot Soup, Curried Goat, Mannish Water, or Ackee and Saltfish. The familial feeling doesn’t stop at the healthy food portions. Fireside fills its Instagram grid with motivational quotes to keep followers encouraged and make them feel like one big family. Walk in with a hungry appetite, leave feeling nourished with more than just food.
Kokomo – Brooklyn, NY
To learn about the history of colonization in the Caribbean, you might be directed to a textbook. At Kokomo, however, no trees were harmed in the making of its own lesson plan. From the Gochujang Wings (a spice known to be used in Asia) to the Jackfruit Tacos, the restaurant infuses spices from across the globe while elevating cuisines synonymous with the Caribbean. Check out their oxtail flatbread or the rum and raisin pastry in the form of bread pudding. Diversity isn’t only reserved for the colorful menu. The Brooklyn-based restaurant employs staff and chefs from over 29 countries, highlighting the various cultures and traditions found within the West Indies.
Cocobreeze – San Francisco, CA
Despite the nearly 4,100 miles distance between Trinidad & Tobago and Oakland, Calif., feasting on a meal from Cocobreeze still teleports you to the Land of the Hummingbird. Chef and owner Annabelle Goodridge kept her mother’s recipes intact to serve the Oakland community for over 35 years. With a healthy dosage of love mixed into her dishes, customers experience spices and fruits indigenous to South America, India, and the Caribbean like Bandania, Channa, and Jackfruit. If the curry goat with the Pelau rice dish is enticing, don’t neglect to wash it down with one of Cocobreeze’s many superfood drinks including the Blueberry Blue Matcha Tea with Lemonade Ice Cubes, or the Radiant Sun Superfood Juice.