From the same owners as Mystic India, Mystic Thai (noon-9:45pm daily, US$10-25) takes care with the food’s presentation and with the delectable fusion of fresh aromatic flavors from basil, lemongrass, spicy chili paste, and tangy dips. Staples like pad thai (US$10-14) are complemented with more adventurous entrées like the maple chili pork ribs with wilted spinach and kidney bean mash. A foray into Japanese cuisine fills a gap in Mobay’s culinary scene with rolls, sushi, and tempura.
China House Restaurant (32 Jimmy Cliff Blvd., tel. 876/979-0056, 10am-10pm daily, US$3-23) serves Chinese, Mongolian, Thai, and Jamaican cuisine, as does its neighbor, Golden Dynasty Chinese Restaurant (39 Jimmy Cliff Blvd., tel. 876/971-0459, 11am- 10pm Mon.-Sat., noon-10pm Sun., US$2-20). China House serves dim sum on Sunday.
Some of Montego Bay’s best Chinese food and great-value buffet combo lunch specials (US$5) are at King Palace Chinese Restaurant (11:30am-9:30pm Mon.-Sat., 1pm-9:30pm Sun., US$9-15).
Steakhouse on the Bay (10am-10pm daily, US$6-25) serves the best steak in Jamaica's second city with al fresco seating on the waterfront just a few feet from the boat dock. The kitchen expertly prepares a range of items in addition to the signature flank steak, from burgers, sandwiches and salads to entrées like lobster and shrimp thermidor, snapper, lamb chops, seafood pasta, coconut curry chicken and zucchini pasta. A popular buffet dinner (US$14) with a rotating menu is served on Fridays.
Sugar Mill Restaurant (6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. daily) located across the highway from Half Moon Shopping Village, is one of the area's high-end establishments with upscale decor and atmosphere. The restaurant specializes in Caribbean fusion cuisine with openers like pumpkin or conch soup (US$7.50), spring rolls, smoked marlin or conch in fritters, salad, or jerked (US$13-15). Entrèes range from coconut-crusted or escovitch fish to lobster tail (US$35-50).
The HouseBoat Grill (6-11 p.m Tues.-Sun., bar open from 4:30 p.m, happy hour 5:30-7 p.m, US$12-26) on Montego Bay's Marine Park is an unparalleled setting for a romantic dinner, and the food is excellent. Dishes include chicken, fish, and lobster. The HouseBoat Grill is owned by Scott Stanley. Reservations are recommended.
Day-O Plantation (US$16-35) was formerly part of the Fairfield Estate, which at one time encompassed much of Mobay. It is perhaps the most laid-back and classy place to enjoy a delicious dinner. Entrèes range from typical chicken dishes to lobster. A beer costs US$3\5. Day-O is a favorite for weddings and other events that require the finest setting around a gorgeous pool. Owners Jennifer and Paul Hurlock are the most gracious hosts, and on a good day Paul will bring out his guitar and bless diners with his talent.
The Pelican (7 a.m.-11 p.m daily, US$10-40) serves a mix of local and international dishes at international prices. Jamaican favorites like stewed peas (US$8), curry goat (US$12), steamed or brown stew fish (US$11), and lobster (US$40) complement international staples like cordon bleu (US$17) and hamburgers (US$9).
Scotchie's (11 a.m.\11 p.m daily, US$4\11) is easily the best jerk in Jamaica, serving pork, chicken, and steamed fish. Sides include breadfruit, festival, and yam. Scotchie's was forced to move back from the expanded highway and took the opportunity to redesign the dining area, adding a nice bar in the open-air courtyard. Scotchie's founder Tony Rerrie used to have parties where he would bring a master jerk chef from Boston Bay in Portland, where locals claim jerk originated, and patrons would beg him to make the jerk offering a regular thing.
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