Cheesesteaks, hoagies and soft pretzels make the list when iconic Philadelphia food is the topic of conversation. However, these three foods are not the only stand-out dishes in the city. Caribbean food in particular blends a variety of spices that satisfy tastebuds. Here are five Caribbean restaurants in West Philadelphia that offer a flavorful meal and a comforting family element to the experience.
Ibis Lounge sits at 5420 Lancaster Ave. The food here has Trinidadian influences, and unlike other places that make the list, Ibis Lounge houses a full bar. People who dine at the lounge and prefer non-alcoholic beverages should try the passion fruit juice. It is a popular item.
Stationed at 41 N. 52nd St. is Sunday Best. While popular foods like oxtail (above) and jerk chicken are available, other options like snapper and jerk salmon are also offered here. Sunday Best prides itself on authentic and traditional Jamaican cuisine.
Located just down the street from the 52nd Street elevated train stop, Top Taste, a Caribbean-American restaurant, offers a variety of meats ranging from jerk chicken to curry goat. The best-sellers are the oxtail platters, in which you can choose two different side dishes, including rice and peas or macaroni and cheese.
At the edge of 61st Street and Baltimore Avenue is Caribbean Cuisine. The family-run business has been open for 15 years. Wade Murray, the owner, prides himself on the authentic Jamaican food his establishment cooks.
“We use ingredients like pimiento, thyme, bay leaf,” said Murray. “If you don’t put those in your food, it’s not real Jamaican. The food is a process. It takes time.”
On the corner of 55th and Vine streets is Monica Restaurant. As a Dominican restaurant, Monica’s smells of stew chicken. Most of the customers who eat at the restaurant appreciate the to-go option. Many orders are taken over the phone and the people who come in to pick up food are from all ethnicities.
– Text and images by Tonii Mackie and Valerie Vaincoeur