Jamaican Beach-side Dining
By Ruby Reis
There is something incredibly magical about dining right beside the ocean at sunset. Everything seems to slow down around you, troubles melt away, and the world seems so beautiful and serene. Life needs more moments like this.
I recently experienced one of my most memorable beachside dining experiences on my last trip to Jamaica. We wanted to go exploring, and hired a wonderful driver to show us around the island. My girlfriends and I weren’t really interested in seeing the popular “tourist traps” and were VERY enthusiastic about eating delicious Jamaican food. We literally could not get enough. Our driver Tyrone delivered in every possible way. We toured small settlements, ate sugar cane and coconut water at the side of the road, tasted wonderful fresh Jamaican patties in a small local shop, and had another delicious meal of Jerk Chicken at a roadside stop called Best in the West in Negril. We couldn’t have been happier.
After a long day of exploring (and eating!) we were whisked away, to what ended up being our favourite portion of a fantastic vacation. We found ourselves at a small beachside restaurant by the name of Canoe in the west end of Negril. From the outside it looked like a small beach cottage, nothing too fancy. We walked in, and were immediately greeted by some of the loveliest people I have ever encountered. After chatting with the owners, we realized that it truly is a small world and they happened to be from Canada! They had fallen in love with Jamaica, and decided to open up shop. I can’t blame them- it really is a tropical paradise.
We settled in on the back verandah which was directly on the beach and ordered 2 for 1 Rum Punches (they were amazing!) and began pouring over the menu. Everything looked so delicious, and everyone agonized over the choice they were about to make. My friend Krystel and I happen to have the same taste in almost everything- from bathing suits to food- and we both decided on the Chili Coconut Shrimp, and Rose ordered the highly recommended Escovich style Kingfish. We were told that everything was made fresh to order, and if we wanted, we could take our drinks and explore the beach. And we did just that. We wandered around the beach, and I spotted a familiar childhood favourite- a Sea Grape tree. I insisted everyone try one-even though they weren’t as ripe as I would have liked- and we just soaked in our beautiful surroundings. We were given a wave by our waitress who was letting us know that dinner was ready, and we all eagerly headed back anticipating the scrumptious meal we were about to have.
I honestly have to say that this was the best seafood I have ever eaten. Seriously.
Words really can’t describe how delectable this meal was. The shrimp was cooked to perfection, and had the perfect balance of spice from the chili, and sweetness from the coconut. The meal was served with fresh grilled vegetables, and a side of delicious pasta salad. The Kingfish was equally scrumptious, and had just enough heat from the spicy marinade.
While we were dining, we had font row seats to one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever experienced. The wonderful food, combined with the amazing atmosphere, and home style feeling truly made for a delightful evening that I will never forget.