Authentic Jamaican food in Chattanooga
Yes, that’s right. We said it. You can experience the sounds and flavors of the Irie Nation right here in Chattanoooga. “Let’s get together and feel alright.”
One visit to Mrs. B’s Reggae Cafe and you’ll be humming some reggae too. No waiting in vain. Native Jamaicans Chef Neville and his wife Mrs. B have been stirring it up since 2014 in their South Broad Street location all the while serving up irie classics.
Peruse the menu and you’ll find a number of Chattanooga restaurant staples like chicken salad and pork sandwiches with Jamaican jerk spice for added kick. Sounds good, but let’s jump into the authentic eats!
We wanted the goods, and Mrs. B delivered with classic dishes such as Braised Oxtails, Roti, Spicy Curry Goat and Saltfish & Ackee. Try them, and expand your palette. No passport necessary.
The soup selection varies daily so you never know if they’ll have Jamaican beef stew, black bean vegetarian, red bean, pig’s tail, pepper pot or some other scratch-made creation you’ve never heard of. Try it. Try them all.
Coconut water–from a can? That’s not the Jamaican way. Go native and order one. You’ll get a bowling ball-sized island nut with the husk lopped off and a big straw. Irie mon!
The restaurant also houses a Jamaican bakery. When we arrived they were all sold out of rum cakes. Bummer. Pro tip: get there early if you want rum cake.
Now get up, stand up. Stand up for your culinary right. Don’t give up the fight…to find authentic ethnic cuisine here in Chattanooga. Mrs. B’s Reggae Cafe pays near perfect tribute to the Island of Jamaica. Let’s dive in…
Succulent Braised Oxtail
If you order only one thing here, get this. Cooked to near perfection, the meat is tender and fall-off the bone. Keep track of those bones though while enjoying the rich and meaty flavor accompanying every bite. You’ll be the envy of the table so be sure and declare a “no fly zone” around your plate in case dining companions try to sneak their fork on to your plate. Served with peas & rice plus Fiestas (think Jamaican style hush puppies) both of which paired well as sides.
Saltfish & Ackee
This dish is a staple of Jamaican cuisine, but difficult to reproduce off the Island for one reason. You can’t get fresh ackee around here so they resort to using the canned variety. It’s not their fault, but it does impact the quality of the dish. Everyone should try this at least once though. And those dumplings. Delicious!
Not a regular menu item, the roti was a special of the day. If offered, get it! They don’t fool around with the roti. It’s a big portion generously filled with shrimp and rice and wrapped loosely in roti (flat bread) like a burrito. Lip smacking good. Be sure and tell your server how much heat you’d like.
They’ll ask if you want it mild or hot. We say go hot, or go home. Jerk is about spice–spice you can’t fully experience unless you turn up the heat. Juicy and tender. It’s good. About those sides….the plantains were sweet and delicious. The slaw was standard fare.
Not your standard fare in these parts, the curried goat is prepared in the traditional way. Lean and tender combined with intense flavor that the uninitiated may find slightly gamey, this dish is the real deal. A true native pleaser.
Jamaican Beef Patties
Flaky dough pockets filled with jerk-seasoned meat. We could eat these every day. It reminded us more of an empanada, but who cares when it tastes so good. We like a little heat, but you may prefer them mild. Go try one and let us know which side these fall on.
Pepper Pot Soup
A real crowd pleaser. We witnessed kids (who are picky about everything) devour this soup. When this one pops up on menu don’t even think twice — order it. Pssst…it’s got callaloo and kale that packs a punch. Sometimes they spike it with Scott Bonnet Peppers so be sure and ask about the heat level.
Lollipop Jerk Wings
Chicken wings with convenient handles! Juicy, tender and seasoned with jerk. A real crowd pleaser.
Blueberry Bread Pudding
While bread pudding is a common Jamaican dessert, blueberries are not found on the island. Yes, we’ve been raving about only getting the authentic stuff, but this is worth suspending the rule. In plain English, we don’t care because this is freaking delicious. Reminiscent of French toast, this dessert is amazing. Even if the rum cake is available, get this. You can always come back for the cake. The rum glaze was heavenly. Incredible!
Mrs. B’s Reggae Cafe
A gem located on S. Broad Street featuring authentic Jamaican cuisine with a few twists on Southern classics. Mrs. B’s Reggae Cafe pays near perfect tribute to the Island of Jamaica.