Though Washington may be dismissed when it comes to Caribbean cuisine, it still has quite a number of notable Caribbean food scenes.
Caribbean food is a delightful fusion of several unique cuisines with influences from across the world from Creole, African, and Cajun cuisines all the way to Latin American, European, and even South Asian cuisines. In short, the food you will find across the Caribbean is a unique blend of lots of travelers’ favorite dishes, normally with a special touch based on the region you are in.
The best part is, the top Caribbean spots in DC have mastered the craft and borrows unique flavors from the islands to prepare awesome dishes just like they do at home. Here are the best Caribbean and Cajun restaurants in Washington, DC.
If you want to treat yourself or a close friend to a special Cajun meal, then you should consider purchasing a virtual GiftYa gift card. These cards can be used in many different restaurants including the ones on this list. They are easy to upload right onto your debit card and you can customize them based on what you need. You can even add a personalized message to spice up the experience. Get a GiftYa gift card and try the Caribbean food you have been wishing for today!
308 Kennedy St NW, Washington, DC 20011 andrenescafe.com
Relaxed neighborhood counter-serve restaurant known for popular soul food and the Caribbean takes, including coco bread!
Ask any Jamaican living in DC where you can find the best Caribbean food and most will tell point you Adrene’s. Located in the Petworth neighborhood of DC, this bistro is a go-to place for anyone craving the best traditional southern dishes and Caribbean favorites in town. With a quaint done-in seating, bright island colors and an ultra-smooth laid-back atmosphere, Adrene’s offers an ideal relaxing spot from the daily grind.
When it comes to the menu, they have taken a different approach with the fusion of Southern and Caribbean favorites to satisfy a lot of dinners. Go ahead and try the on-demand takes such as savory collard greens, creamy macaroni and cheese, tasty BBQ wings, slow-cooked tender barbecue rib, and home-style potato salad.
The Caribbean-inspired favorites to include a perfectly seasoned escoveitched red snapper and a succulent shrimp and lobster dish. Diners can choose from either the curried or brown stewed options of these delicious dishes, served with either white rice or rice and peas. Make sure you grab a side of either coca bread, beef patties, jerk wings, plantains, or cabbages.
End the day on a high note with their delicious desserts especially the cheesecake and chocolate cake, and grab a drink to wash it down. It will be a memorable experience.
2651 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008 hotnjuicycrawfish.com
Casual spot serving Cajun shrimp, crawfish, and lobster with a choice of spices and seasonings!
Caribbean food isn’t the Caribbean until there are some seafood options on the list. And the selection at Hot N Juicy Crawfish won’t disappoint. Whether you want your selection not spicy, a little spicy, and spicy hot, then you will have something to enjoy at this laidback restaurant.
Curious about what’s on the menu? Well, there is plenty to enjoy. You can either choose to enjoy a combo, fried briskets, by-the-pound options, desserts, and the two-handed Po'Boys.
Get your feet wet with their popular combo that comes with shrimp, crawfish, dozen andouille sausages, and two corns and potatoes. You can also get the Drool with everything from the “Get Your Feet Wet” plus a snow crab and a choice of regular or Cajun calamari.
If you have some temptations to try out the pound, then the blue crab, snow crab legs, and crawfish are great options to try with the seasoning and spice levels of your liking. Fried briskets served with Cajun fries or sweet potato fries are a must-try too.
Don’t forget to try their savory desserts too!
4809 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20011 sandovanrestaurantandlounge.com
Cozy Cajun eatery with a full bar dishing out Jamaican classics in a cool-hued space!
Perhaps you have been looking for the perfect spot to enjoy burgers this time cooked Caribbean style. If this is you, then you should try the selection at Sandovan Restaurant & Lounge. This family-owned Jamaican spot offers tropical Caribbean dishes including juicy jerk wings and sizzling oxtail. Here you get to enjoy the awesome ambiance, excellent customer service, and most of all tasty food.
You know a Caribbean menu is never complete without Jamaican jerk chicken and Jamaican saltfish and ackee. At Sandovan Restaurant & Lounge they serve delicious specials including some popular takes such as tender pieces of perfectly seasoned goat meat, slowly simmered in thick pimento and curry puree and Sandavan salmon either curry, grilled, stewed or jerked.
The ackee and saltfish is a traditional Jamaican dish served here and you can choose between a slice of yam, green banana, and two boiled dumplings. Pasta is also available and you can cure your taste buds with jerk chicken pasta, grilled chicken pasta, or vegetarian pasta.
Vegans will have a great time enjoying the Sandavon vegetarian dish, a healthy meal that is served with peas steamed cabbages, rice, plantains, and spinach. Don’t forget to try the Sandovan signature sandwiches and burgers. They are worth every penny!
1715 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103 pams-kitchen.com
Laid-back Trinidadian –Caribbean spot serving curries, jerk chicken, juices, and cocktails!
With roots in Trinidad, master chef Pam does a great job at serving Caribbean cuisines and doing so with a unique blend of flavors you can’t find anywhere else. The food here is not only rich in flavor and spices, but it’s also shaped by the unique ingredients and traditions of the Caribbean.
Not sure what to order, you should definitely sample the Callaloo, a traditional Caribbean dish of stewed greens that came to the islands in the seventeenth century. Other options such as the spicy jerk pork ribs served with fried mixed lettuce cabbage tomato salad, and pelau a boneless dark and white chicken coconut milk white rice beans butter are great to try. If you’re in the mood for some juice and punches, be sure to try the popular sorrel rim served ice cold and combined with dark rum and diluted with water to form a drink that is fragrant, quenching, and refreshing.
5329 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20011 iamsunrise.com
Classic Caribbean fare including dope vegan entrees and other classics await you at this classic family-owned eatery!
Diners rave about the best vegan entrees in DC – and there is no other place to be than in Sunrise Caribbean Restaurant. They have plenty of vegan options cooked Caribbean style with fresh ingredients which are locally sourced and crafted with love.
Get things started with a pastry stuffed with delicious chicken and baked to golden perfection or the veggie patty as an appetizer. If you want a little meat in it, try the beef patty that comes stuffed with seasoned ground beef and baked to perfection. The vegan curry chicken cooked with mixed vegetables in signature curry sauce and the vegan stew chicken are ideal options for folks who want something a little heavy to keep you full throughout the afternoon.
If you want something lighter, try their traditional Trinidadian split peas base soup cooked with a variety of veggies and an exotic blend of herbs and spices. Throw in a side either callaloo, cabbages, collard greens, fried plantains, or vegan mac and cheese and you will have a great meal to enjoy every time you come to Sunrise Caribbean Restaurant.
1428 Park Rd NW, Washington, DC 20010 loshermanosfordc.com
Small, counter-serve Dominican spot offering an extensive menu of traditional dishes and imported soda!
When you tour Los Hermanos, you will be blown away by the extensive traditional dishes on the menu where Spanish, African, and indigenous Taino food merge into a unique cuisine that satisfies the appetite of many folks. Step into the comfortable and relaxing atmosphere of Cajun home-cooked food and enjoy lots of flavors all together.
So, what is on the menu? Well, enjoy breakfast Dominican style with the popular Lo Tre Golpe a platter full of salami, mangu, a fried egg, fried cheese, and glazed with marinated red onions. It’s served all day. They also serve savory bites like the chicken empanada, chicken empanada and veggie empanada. If you want something a bit lighter, try the Sancocho, a hearty bowl of classic Dominican served together with chicken, beef, plantains, carrots, potatoes, yucca and yautia.
You can even make your own platter of protein, rice, and a side – what they call Bandera mimicking the colors of the Dominican flag. They also serve savory desserts such as flan and Dominican Cake – a sponge cake served with pineapple filling and merengue icing. Grab a fresh juice or the Dominican smoothie to enjoy along with your home-cooked meal!
4405 Bowen Rd SE, Washington, DC 20019 pimento-grill.com
Compact counter-serve eatery serving a range of classic Jamaican treats in a modest setting!
Craving some Jamaican fare with the right portions and spice level? Then you should head down to the Pimento Grill. Need to get going in the morning? You will get delicious sandwiches such as the double egg turkey sausage platter, callaloo greens and codfish platter, as well as ackee and codfish platter. You can also try the jerk turkey avocado sandwich or jerk shrimp sandwich. Add an appetizer from either the chicken, beef, or spinach patty to make the experience even better.
Desserts are also available and you will have lots of fun enjoying the rum cake, cheesecake, carrot cake, mango muse, or bread pudding. Don’t forget to grab a drink especially the cherry lemonade, sorrel, or pink grapefruit lemonade.
If you’ve been searching for the Caribbean whether creole traditional meal, Cajun-inspired dishes with Mexicana and Dominican twists or vegetarian, then you will find a perfect spot to enjoy that in DC. So, which is your next favorite Caribbean spot in Washington? Let us know in the comments!