With Notting Hill Carnival on the horizon, all thoughts turn to the flavours of the Caribbean, with the streets of west London fragrant with jerk spices and rum cocktails. But it’s not just for carnival – there are brilliant Caribbean restaurants across the capital where you can enjoy chilli-heavy curries and soul-soothing stews all year round. From sleek Caribbean-European fusion spots in Notting Hill to Brixton Village favourites, these are the Caribbean restaurants in London you need to have on your radar.
When the legendary Mango Room – a firm favourite with the likes of Prince and Samuel L Jackson – closed down after nearly two decades, it left a Caribbean-shaped hole in the London dining scene that seemed almost impossible to fill. That is, until Roger’s Kitchen opened up in 2020 – helmed by the Mango Room’s former head chef Roger Shakes, it’s brought a fresh slice of Caribbean cool to Camden Road. On the menu you’ll find refined takes on old favourites like curry goat, jerk chicken and fried plantain, as well as dishes like pan fried snapper fillet with green pepper sauce and sea bass marinated with coconut milk. Naturally, the bar is well-stocked with a healthy selection of rums – tell the bartender what you’d like and they’ll knock something up to suit your mood.
71 Camden Road, Camden, London NW1 9EU
Brixton is known for being home to some of the finest Caribbean restaurants in the capital, and right near the top of that list is Negril, which has been dishing up traditional West Indian food for over a decade. Named after a town in western Jamaica famed for its miles of soft sand beaches and turquoise waters, Negril has brought those feel-good Caribbean vibes to south London, with reggae music playing over the speakers and a lively outdoor terrace. The menu is made up of Jamaican classics, from saltfish fritters and jerk wings to goat curry and oxtail and butterbean stew, washed down with Jamaican beer. They also do a great breakfast, with their award-winning jerk sausage the star of the show.
132 Brixton Hill, Brixton, London SW2 1RS
The first thing you need to know about this buzzy spot on the Southbank is that it’s pronounced ‘lime-in’, which is slang for hanging out and having a good time. The second thing you need to know is that this is probably to most fun place in London to come and try some truly authentic Caribbean food, thanks to the artificial beach out front – squint a little and you could almost be in the West Indies. Founded by chef-owner Sham Mahabir, who’s from Trinidad and Tobago, the menu is made up of all his favourite flavours and includes some lesser-known Caribbean dishes, like pholourie, fried balls of split peas and gram flour mixed with herbs, and lobster and crab dumplings served in a curry crab sauce.
Gabriel’s Wharf, 56 Upper Ground, Southbank, London SE1 9PP
Latin-Caribbean restaurant Guanabana is something of a Kentish Town landmark, having first opened its doors in 2007. Specialising in cuisine from all over South America and the Caribbean – from Jamaica and Colombia to Mexico and everywhere in between – it’s one of the few places in London you’ll find cactus fritos, cheese empanadas and curry lamb with plantain, rice and peas on the same menu. The space itself reflects this eclectic mix, with brightly coloured artworks lining the walls and a pretty palm-filled outdoor terrace. The restaurant is BYOB, but there’s a range of non-alcoholic cocktails on offer to tame the spice, including the Guana-Colada, made with Three Spirit Livener, coconut, lime and London Essence Roasted Pineapple Crafted Soda.
85 Kentish Town Road, Kentish Town, London NW1 8NY
With locations in Camden, Shoreditch, Vauxhall and Notting Hill, Cottons has become something of an institution in London’s Caribbean dining scene since first opening in 1985. This is the place to come for delicious Caribbean comfort food served in style – think curried mutton with rice and peas, creole grilled mahi mahi and sweet potato patties. But to be honest, much of the focus here is on rum – each restaurant serves more than 300 types of the spirit, with the Notting Hill location currently holding the world record for most varieties available in a bar, with an astonishing 372 different options. Try them in one of their fun and fruity cocktails, like the Ragga Muffin or Zombie Carnival.
Various locations across London
Wood & Water
After becoming a Brixton mainstay with her first restaurant, Three Little Birds, former Miss Jamaica and The Apprentice contestant April Jackson reinvented the Coldharbour Lane favourite at the end of 2021 to reopen as Wood & Water. While Three Little Birds had a laidback café vibe, Wood & Water is definitely a dinner and date night spot, with its low lighting, jungle print wallpaper and green velvet chairs. Instead of serving all-out Caribbean fare, the menu is described as “British food with Jamaican soul” – standout dishes include pepper prawns with cassava and curry goat sausage rolls with plantain ketchup. Pair whatever you order with one or two of their Pimento Old Fashioneds and you’re guaranteed a good night.
412 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8LF
Ma Petite Jamaica
Known for being London’s first Caribbean diner, Ma Petite Jamaica has been brightening up the streets of Camden for years and last year opened a second spot in Shoreditch, bringing their unique brand of good time vibes to east Londoners. With its lively reggae bar and booze-filled bottomless brunches served every weekend, a meal here is always a vibrant affair. The menu is made up of Caribbean classics like oxtail stew, curried goat with rice and peas and fiery jerk chicken, and there’s Red Stripe on tap as well as plenty of rum-heavy cocktails to get you in the mood. If you can’t manage a Jamaican jaunt this year, a visit to Ma Petite Jamaica might just be the next best thing.
4-6 Inverness Street, Camden, London NW1 7HJ
Hidden down a little alleyway off Deptford High Street and spread over two railway arches sits Buster Mantis, a local south London gem. A combination of a bar, restaurant and creative space, the small, family-run business is named after the first prime minister of Jamaica, Sir Alexander Bustamante, who was instrumental in establishing the country’s independence, and the food has been designed to reflect the best of the island’s cuisine. The focus here is on local ingredients, so you can expect the menu to change depending on what’s in season – recent highlights include pig’s cheeks with crushed yam and oxtail croquettes.
3-4 Resolution Way, Deptford, London SE8 4NT
If you’ve spent any time in Brixton Village, chances are you’ll know about Fish, Wings & Tings, the well-loved local staple which has been serving up jerk chicken and Caribbean fish stew since 2012. In 2021, the chef and owner Brian Danclair opened up a new venture a few doors down in Granville Arcade, Danclair’s Kitchen, which has quickly become known for its Caribbean fusion fare. Diners are watched over by a mural of Danclair’s beloved grandmother Valentina, his cooking inspiration, as they tuck into dishes that nod to Danclair’s Trinidadian childhood as well as his stint as a young chef cooking Provençal-style fine dining in Washington DC. Don’t miss out on Tina’s homemade chicken empanadas (named after that infamous grandmother herself) or the cod fish fritters with ginger and lime aioli.
3 Granville Arcade, Brixton, London SW9 8PR