Jamaica Plain is full of excellent food, as anyone who lives in the neighborhood can attest. The Cuban sandwich at El Oriental de Cuba is the best in the city, while the juicy roast chicken tucked in sandwiches or soups at Dominican spot El Embajador is reason alone to plan a day trip. The broad range of restaurants — including top-notch Indian, Mexican, Lebanese, and Ethiopian stops — means there are practically endless options to explore, but here are 14 top picks to get started.Read More
Where to Eat in the Dynamic Dining Neighborhood of Jamaica Plain in Boston
Cuban sandwiches for lunch, haggis for dinner
Jamaica Mi Hungry
This Jamaican food truck-turned-permanent restaurant deserves every accolade it has scooped up in its years of serving jerk chicken, sweet plantains, and tender oxtail to the masses. Located steps away from the Jackson Square stop on the Orange Line, Jamaica Mi Hungry is a popular spot for plates piled high with expertly seasoned meats, seafood, and sides like creamy mac and cheese and curried vegetable stew. And of course, no order is complete without adding a beef patty or three on the side.
At Alex’s Chimis, there is no wrong order. This Dominican mainstay is a local favorite for its namesake chimis (burgers), orejita (fried pig’s ears), chicharrón (fried pork rinds), flaky pastelitos stuffed with beef or chicken, and a slew of other options. Load up with one of the hefty combo plates for a belly-warming Dominican feast any night of the week.
Blue Nile Restaurant
At Blue Nile, there will be rolls and rolls of injera — use it to scoop up deliriously tasty bites of misir wet, which consists of red lentils cooked in a bebere-spiced sauce with ginger, garlic, and cardamom. Also worth trying at this Ethiopian hot spot: the firfir with shredded injera, and anything with lamb.
El Oriental De Cuba
The pork sandwich at El Oriental de Cuba is the best one in the city. The exterior is crispy, and it’s filled with savory pork, tangy pickles, and mustard. For a supersized rendition, try the specialty Cuban with both pork and roast beef, slicked with a special sauce, on top of all the regular ingredients.
Books, records, tapas, and paella? Tres Gatos is definitely the right place for anyone interested in living deliciously. Tres Gatos’ sibling spot in the neighborhood — taqueria Casa Verde — is also worth a visit.
The Chilacates team also runs the Joint, a rebranded restaurant that was formerly known as a burger spot called Grass Fed. You can still find solid burgers and fries here for dinner, but the ideal time to stop by for those in the know is breakfast. A small menu of pancakes, waffles, breakfast burritos, and huevos rancheros may read as run of the mill, but the expert execution is what keeps the place buzzing before noon every day of the week.
The Haven is Boston’s Scottish headquarters — now in new, larger digs on Armory Street. Go for the haggis, the deep-fried Mars bars, and, as one might imagine, the very decent scotch selection. Start with something floral and slightly salty from the Highlands, and finish with something sweet and malty from Speyside.
At Lebanese spot Cafe Beirut, start with a feast of dips and spreads that includes the fool moudammas (confited fava beans doused in lemon and garlic), then plow onwards through a variety of kebabs and shawarma wrapped up with veggies and a light, garlicky sauce. If you’re looking to skip meat, the vegetarian mixed grill with smoky grilled eggplant, fluffy pilaf, and halloumi is an excellent choice.
Vietnamese and Thai fare collides at Noodle Barn, which, true to its name, is stocked with a bevy of Southeast Asian noodle dishes. Find over a dozen noodle soups, thick and chewy udon, Vietnamese barbecue plates with grilled meats and vermicelli, and some non-noodle standouts like a crispy, crunchy banh xeo, or Vietnamese crepe stuffed with shrimp and bean sprouts.
JP Seafood Cafe
JP Seafood Cafe has been holding it down on Centre Street since the mid 1990s. The menu is stacked with excellent Japanese and Korean food, so it’s difficult to say where to start. Good bets, though, are the katsu don (fried pork cutlet served with rice, sautéed onions, and sweet-savory Japanese-style eggs), an assortment of sushi and maki, an order of kimchi, an order of mandoo kuk (Korean-style beef dumpling soup), some beef gyoza, and the spicy basil pad thai. And bring, like, 10 friends.
El Embajador Restaurant
Follow your nose (and what fellow diners are picking up at the counter) and put in an order for the juicy roast chicken with delightfully crispy, salty skin at El Embajador, a Dominican stalwart on Washington Street. The portions are huge, but the leftovers are just as tasty the following day.
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Tikki Masala serves mostly North Indian fare done very well, from flavorful paneer and curries to blistered naan stuffed with garlic, onion, or chicken. Ordering for two? Go for one of the pre-set dinners designed for two people with a choice of two soups, three entrees, and rice on the side for under $40.
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Brassica Kitchen + Cafe
Not a secret: Brassica’s fried chicken is among the best in Boston. Maybe more of a secret: Brassica also has an outstanding brunch lineup on the weekends. Try the French toast with cornflakes and black apple syrup, or the cheesy eggs and rice with chili sauce.