Where to find Caribbean food in Jersey City + Hoboken

The Caribbean Islands have a distinct and vibrant culture and culinary tradition. Due to colonization and immigration, the food in this region incorporated influences from cuisines around the world, such as West Africa, Europe, India, and China – all places where people originated and ended up in the Caribbean. Traditional dishes from different island countries share many common traits, but each country also has its own set of flavors.

Over the past decades, people from these island countries have brought their vibrant dining scene to our local community, allowing us to enjoy authentic Caribbean food without a plane ticket. Below, we’ve put together a list of must-try Caribbean food in Hoboken and Jersey City. Keep reading to learn more about Caribbean cuisine in Hudson County – what it is and where to get it locally.

that of nicole {521 Jersey Ave # 2720, Jersey City}

This restaurant prepares some of the most typical Caribbean dishes, but meat curries are the stars of the menu. The curry sauce here is less heated than the dish’s Indian counterpart but is just as complex in taste. A staple is goat curry – the meat is a bony cut and it is raised until it melts in the mouth, but the area around the bones still has a pleasant chew. All of the curries here come with generous sides of plantains, potatoes, as well as rice and peas.

Henry’s Caribbean Cuisine and Bakery{475 Martin Luther King Drive, Jersey City}

This is a small family run restaurant and bakery with a full Caribbean menu. One of the most popular items here is roti – a popular street food in Trinidad and Tobago. The meat or vegetable curry is spread out on a large sheet of {a roti} flatbread and folded into a greasy, wobbly pocket. Tear up the soft, stretchy flatbread and grab a quick bite of the juicy meat before the sauce runs out. Your hands and face can get messy with the sauce, but it’s worth it.

Taste Of The Caribbean Roti Shop {800 Communipaw Ave, Jersey City}

Another place to enjoy excellent rotis, made with freshly rolled roti wraps. The other very popular menu item is ‘double’, a popular street food in Trinidad and Tobago. Essentially, it’s chickpea curry and crunchy chutneys sandwiched between fried pasta. The sticky and flavorful curry completes the consistent paste, slightly crispy on its edges.

Read more: A Guide to Tacos in Hoboken + Jersey City

Trinidad Grocery & Deli {98 Mallory Ave, Jersey City}

The corner store looks small from the outside, but the inside has almost all of the essentials for Caribbean and Hispanic cuisine. If you’re looking for special Caribbean seasonings {like authentic jerk sauce marinade}, for example, this store may be a good bet. The hot food section also has a small selection of Trinidadian comfort food such as yellow rice, beans, pernil {roast pork}, baked chicken and oxtail. Nothing special. Just be honest, home cooking is done the right way.

Jerkin chicken {234 West Side Avenue, Jersey City}

The restaurant itself is located in the West Bergen neighborhood of Jersey City, but food trucks regularly visit Hoboken Waterfront and Jersey City Grand Street. Around lunchtime, when the trucks are at work, the scent of the fiery sauce {a heady mix of allspice and scotch bonnet, one of the hottest peppers in the world!} Can be smelled. at least two blocks away. The chicken is cooked through a combination of grilling and smoking, making it crispy on the skin and juicy in the flesh. Other protein options, such as pork and shrimp, are also available from the truck.

Golden Krust Caribbean Restaurant {2860 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City}

Another place to try some of the best jerk chicken wings in town. The fiery heat that seeps well into wet meat will set your tongue on fire. Eaters love the jerk chicken patti too. The buttered crust crumbles to the touch and smooths the spiciness of the filling.

Tropix Latin Food {733A West Side Ave, Jersey City}

This is one of the few authentic Guyanese restaurants in Jersey City. Regulars swear by its Guyanese fried rice. Loaded with chopped vegetables, the dish has a pleasant crunch. The use of soy sauce and Chinese five-spice seasonings also gives the dish a full-bodied and well-balanced flavor. It’s excellent as a side dish, and also quite substantial as a stand-alone main course.

El Sabroso {414 Central Avenue, Jersey City}

El Sabroso is the perfect place to taste unique and delicious Puerto Rican cuisine. Start with a hearty alcapurria, a donut made with green bananas and taro root, and stuffed with seasoned ground meat. Try the mofongo for the main course – a traditional Puerto Rican dish made with fried green plantains, mashed, generously seasoned and mixed with pieces of crispy pork. On the meat side, there is the pernil, or slow roasted pork. Be sure to ask for the crispy skin – it’s full of flavor! Oh, and make sure you have the tomato and avocado salad on the side. Creamy, pleasantly acidic and refreshing, it will undoubtedly be a good addition to the most generous dishes.

Freetown Road Project {640 Newark Ave, Jersey City}

The restaurant offers a creative and contemporary interpretation of traditional Antiguan cuisine. Chef Claude Lewis, champion of the Food Network Chopped cooking show, combined French and Italian cooking techniques with ingredients and flavors from the West Indies to “bring a modern and focused representation of West Indian cuisine.” The menu includes Caribbean classics such as roti and meat curry, as well as more unique Antiguan specialties such as cooked red snapper and salted cod patties. Check out the restaurant’s Instagram account for periodic specialties, such as mussels – similar to French marinière mussels but lightly seasoned with West Indian spices.

Restaurant Pio Pio{449 Central Avenue, Jersey City}

This is a no-frills counter restaurant serving classic Cuban dishes. The menu is high in protein, consisting of everyday Cuban fare such as garlic chicken, fried steak, and grilled red snapper, all served with yellow rice and sweet plantain. For a quick bite, the Cubano sandwich or the pan con bistec {steak sandwich} are both satisfying. Make sure you have the tres leches for dessert – a buttery sponge cake soaked in a milky sauce made from condensed milk, evaporated milk and regular milk, and topped with a light frosting.

See more: Must-See Latin Restaurants in Hoboken + Jersey City

La Isla {104 Washington Street, Hoboken + 25 12th Street, Hoboken}

There are so many splendid choices {including excellent brunch} at this beloved Cuban restaurant. For a more sumptuous upgrade to your squeezed sandwiches and pan-seared steak, keep an eye out for the daily special for a lechon asado. The pork is roasted slowly and pulled, and the meat, bathed in its own juices and fat, is so tender that the texture becomes almost creamy. For a “fusion” touch, get the truffle yucca fries on the side. And don’t forget to end the meal with a very strong espresso.

Quisqueya Restaurant {214 Bright Street, Jersey City}

Come to this little restaurant for simple and delicious Dominican dishes. One of the most popular is bistec de palomilla encebollado, or steak cooked with onion. The meat is generously spicy and tender to the bite. Serve it with a creamy bollitos de yuca, coarsely crushed yuca and rolled in a donut filled with cheese and meat. Don’t forget to pack an empanadas or two. Puff pastry, buttered, stuffed with minced meat, it is best to eat it when it is very hot.

El Sol Del Caribe {150 Sterling Avenue, Jersey City}

This is another place for tasty and homemade Dominican food. Stews {the chicken is great, the okra even better!} Are soothing, flavorful and comforting. Make sure you have an extremely creamy serving of beans on the side. Or try their buttery mangu, smooth mango, or mashed plantain, a staple that can be eaten with any Dominican meal.

O’LaLa Empanadas {600 Communipaw Avenue, Jersey City}

This cheerful cafe offers fusion-style empanadas. The flavors are inspired by cuisines from around the world such as Cajun Chicken, Basil Mozzarella and Philly Steak. Of course, traditionalists can get classic flavors like beef, chicken, and cheese as well. For the sweet tooth, try the empanada dessert with guava juice and cream cheese, a hearty tropical treat.

Have you been to any of these restaurants? What was your favorite menu item? Let us know in the comments!


Written by: Yiwei Gu

Yiwei was born and raised in China. She lived a lot in Beijing and Hong Kong, before settling permanently in New York. She moved to Hoboken after a few years in Westchester and immediately felt at home here. Two years ago, she quit her job at an investment bank to travel the world and explore her interests. When not wandering wildly through the streets of Europe, Asia or Latin America, she can be found sipping espresso in one of Hoboken’s cafes or trying out restaurants in the city. Hoboken and Jersey City area.

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Michael M. Tomlin