You might dismiss San Jose when it comes to exploring the diversity of Caribbean cuisine. But, if you take a closer look, there is still a vibrant Caribbean food scene worth exploring. You will find influences from everywhere from African, Cajun, and Creole cuisines all the way to Latin American, European, and even South Asian cuisines. The best part is that you will always find a unique blend of Caribbean food, with a special touch added depending on the region you find yourself in.
Here are the best places in San Jose to enjoy authentic Caribbean food.
If you’re around, you might just be in the mood for something a little different than the usual this time. Caribbean food might be what you need. But dining out in a big city like San Jose can be expensive. GiftYa understands the struggle and they have come up with a way to help you find restaurants near you and offer a virtual gift card to help take off part of your budget. Order yours today for something you think needs some Caribbean food!
840 N First St, San Jose, CA 95112 jackiesplacesj.com
Enjoy soul food and Texan-style grilled meat served in a contemporary dining room with a cool vibe!
Caribbean culture has always been consistent when it comes to their love for unique food. That is exactly what you get at Jackie’s Place. This family-owned nook is known for serving San Jose and neighboring areas soul food and incredible BBQ.
Customer rave about JP’s chicken, Uncle Greg’s Ribs, Laverne’s Sweet Potato Pie, as well as chicken and waffles. Everything is served as big as Texas and you can enjoy other options such as smoked pulled pork, jumbo fried chicken wings, and even smothered chicken served with rice and gravy.
If you’re feeling a little meaty, then you will like the two meat combos that include fried, BBQ, or even the best of both worlds. If you come with a squad, you should try the shareable such as the popular Scoop’s “Not-Yo” Nacho and you can choose to have the brisket, pulled pork, or vegetarian. All of them are served with fries topped with cheese sauce, BBQ meat, green onions, pico de gallo, and the house’s spicy “set it off’ sauce.
Don’t forget to throw in a side, a la carte, and even one of their signature drinks!
1011 E Capitol Expy, San Jose, CA 95121
Casual counter-service eatery serving a hybrid of American and Caribbean cuisines in a colorful space!
When you come to Back A Yard Caribbean Grill you will not only witness a colorful space, but you will also have fun digging into mountains of the authentic Caribbean and American dishes in the area. What’s in the name, you might ask? Well, “Back A Yard,” is a popular Caribbean term that represents the culture, lifestyle, food, spirit, and vibe of welcoming guests to your home. It simply means the way things are done back home.
Go ahead and try their signature beef oxtail and jerk chicken which is among the most popular combination in this restaurant. They also have daily specials but we love the Jamaican curried chicken on Tuesday and Jamaica’s national dish ackee and codfish on Saturday, but there is a unique option every day of the week.
Other favorites include barbeque spareribs, coconut curried tofu, curried goat, vegetarian jerk tofu, and fresh Jamaican Cobb salad served with salmon and jerk chicken. Sandwiches and jerk wrap with ranch dressing are also available and you can even order some collard greens or fried plantains as a side to enjoy with your meal.
Make sure you also try the soup of the day, and of course grab freshly Jamaican-made juices to wash it down!
15495 Los Gatos Blvd D, Los Gatos, CA 95032 reggaepot.com
No-frills counter-serve spot known for delicious Jamaican fare including jerk chicken, beef patties, and fritters!
A quick glance at the industrial-style interior of this counter-serve spot might not seem like the kind of place that would offer some mouthwatering Caribbean dishes, but they have plenty to offer.
The menu at Reggae Pot is written in the Jamaican vernacular with unique dishes. Enjoy favorites such as Full Mi Belly a popular dish that comes with steamed vegetables, plantain, and your choice of rice and peas. Customers can sample the jerk chicken plate, Reggaepot oxtail stew, curried goat plate, or ackee and saltfish, Jamaica’s national dish made from the seeds of rare ackee fruit that must be of perfect ripeness.
You can also try the finger-licking Calaloo fritter, Stamp and Go, or even Reggae Pot patties that is a choice of Jamaican style spicy beef, chicken, or veggie patties. Vegetarians can enjoy some jerk tofu plate, curry garbanzo, or rasta ackee – Jamaican national fruit with sweet peppers and onions to spice it up.
Make sure you also order the Jamaican sorrel drink that is spicy, tangy, sweet, and quite refreshing. It will be fun!
2616 Union Ave, San Jose, CA 95124 mayas-cafe.cafes-city.com
Enjoy traditional Honduran entrees and imported craft beer, serving in a small space!
Not all Caribbean restaurants need to use 100% Caribbean recipes to serve up some flavorful fare. At Maya’s Café, they have taken a unique twist on the cuisine to include traditional Honduran classics.
Honduran specialties are the main draw and diners can enjoy options such as include baleada regular, pupusas mixta, chile Verde, pollo frito pierna, and Arroz.
For dinner, you can try either chicken flautas, shrimp fajitas, or even carne asada, all served with white rice and a choice of homemade flour or corn tortillas.
Seafood lovers have something to enjoy especially the shrimp cocktail and fish corn tostada with a choice of corn tortillas or flour, beans, and rice. If you come with kids, make sure you order the mini burrito Frijoles with beans and cheese or the cheese quesadilla.
Don’t forget to try their savory desserts and grab a drink to enjoy along with your main meal!
1683 Branham Ln, San Jose, CA 95118 mybige.com
Casual strip-mall coffee shop serving South American sweet and savory empanadas and espresso drinks!
Established in 2005, Big E Café is a family-owned coffee shop and empanada café with over eight years of experience producing, distributing, and selling empanadas. Their goal is to make their pastry the most preferred snack or meal of the food industry.
Empanadas are the main draw here and you can have the bacon empanada, sausage empanada, or ham empanada for breakfast. Lunch is served with the popular traditional Peruvian beef empanada that comes with sautéed onions, beef, olives, garlic, salt, spices, and pepper, or the Philly cheesesteak empanada with beef, bell peppers, garlic, Monterey Jack cheese, and spices.
They also serve hand-crafted espressos and lattes that are sure to get you going through the day. Make sure you also order a side dish to complement your main meal and a smoothie to keep you nice and cool.
314 Linden Ave, South San Francisco, CA 94080 flavasjamaicangrillsf.com
Jamaican favorites like jerk chicken and oxtail await you at this compact, unassuming eatery!
Flavas Jamaican Grill is a compact, mid-scale establishment that serves authentic Jamaican cuisine in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Chef Leroy Douglas has turned his passion in cooking to satisfy the taste buds of all Jamaican food lovers. If you have never tasted some of the best cuisines from the Island, then you should try the customized Jamaican selection at this spot.
Get started with marinated jerk chicken wings, codfish fritters, or even some fried corn-crusted shrimp to kick start your day in style. If you want something heavy, try their sandwiches and salad served with French fries as a side dish.
Daily specials are served throughout the week and if you’re here on Wednesday, you will enjoy some sautéed shrimp coconut curry sauce served with beans, rice, plantains, and sautéed veggies. Don’t hesitate to order one of their savory desserts, a side dish, and one of their signature drinks. They are totally worth it!
387 S 1st St #109, San Jose, CA 95113 998cuba.com
Festive spot serving traditional Cuban fare and Spanish wire in a colorful setting with patio seating!
Located in downtown San Jose, Habana Cuba Restaurant has been serving a generous portion of Cuban fare for over 20 years. Diners can come in any time of the day and enjoy the daily specials. Mondays are for Pechuga empanizada sandwich that includes breaded chicken marinated in olive oil and fried to perfection then served with sweet plantains. If you’re here on the weekend, you will enjoy the seafood paella with saffron rice cooked in shrimp, lobster, and clams, and served with plantains.
If you want something small, they offer delicious small plates and appetizers. Most diners will love the Camarones that include prawns sautéed in a wine garlic sauce with parsley and green olives. Order some white rice, or black beans as an accompaniment and grab one of their imported soft drinks like Malta Cuba to wash it down!
Sometimes we all crave some delicious Caribbean food! In San Jose, there are plenty of options for you to choose from no matter what you want. So, which is your favorite restaurant in San Jose to enjoy some authentic Caribbean food? Let us know in the comments!