Find Your Caribbean Vibe in Dallas/Fort Worth

North Texas is painfully far from the turquoise blue waves of the Caribbean Sea, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t catch the vibe within the metroplex. If Jerk Chicken and Red Stripe beers are calling your name, check out these local restaurants that serve up Caribbean fare and a few even offer some live reggae.

Angie’s Bikkles Caribbean Restaurant

You’ll have to trek over to Tarrant County to find this hidden gem, but it will certainly be worth the drive, especially if uber’s behind the wheel. Across the street from John Peter Smith Hospital, you’ll find a little splash of paradise at Angie’s Bikkles Caribbean Restaurant. Angie’s homemade Jamaican cuisine is the perfect place to kick back and remember that awesome Caribbean vacation you took too long ago.

The menu contains all the favorites like Jerk Chicken, curried goat, fried fish, rice and peas, rotis, mac and cheese pie, and beef patties. Even the traditional Caribbean fruit juices like sorrel and pine ginger are available and you’ll need them to cool down after Angie’s spicy curry dishes.

Try to save room for desert as the Jamaican Fruitcake is nothing like the fruitcakes we kick around at Christmas time. This is a dark brown slice of currants, raisins, prunes and a lot of rum that is the perfect texture and sweetness to finish off a delicious meal. The service is very friendly, prices are reasonable, décor is vibrant, and the music lively.

Closed Sunday and Monday.

Jamaica Gates

Chef Barbara’s savory Caribbean cooking at Jamaican Gates in Arlington hits the spot when you’re in desperate need of some comfort food. Her jerk chicken is spot on with a kick that will whisk you back to halcyon days on a sandy beach. Branch out and try her stewed chicken, it is delicious with just the right amount of spices. There is a lunch buffet during the week if you are new to the cuisine and want to sample several things. Check out the full menu before you decide.

One of their specialties “mannish water,” is a true West Indian staple that is not easy to find outside of the islands. This flavorful goat meat soup is thick with scallions, green bananas, Scotch Bonnet peppers and yummy dumplings. It is a meal in itself and one of the best cures for a hangover. Wash it down with fresh lemonade or a Ting.

Friday and Saturday nights you’ll likely find a live band playing reggae or jazz and Sunday is for karaoke.

Caribbean Café

While most of the Caribbean restaurants in the area lean towards Jamaican flavors, this little spot in Carrolton is of authentic Cuban decent. You’ll still find shrimp, seafood, beef, chicken and pork, but the flavors are a little less atomic, yet still spicy and savory. Chef Ibet Becerra, the owner of the Caribbean Cafe passionately puts a spin on her familial Cuban recipes with melt in your mouth oxtail simmered in a tomato sauce, or the Vaca Frita which is shredded beef swimming in onion, garlic, and citrus juices.

The typical Cuban menu side dishes apply: plantain, yucca, and black beans and rice. The café has a full bar, prices are good, and service is friendly at this casual neighborhood café.

If you’re in a rush, call ahead and order “to- go” because Caribbean restaurants here are much like they are in the islands, they take their time and prepare everything fresh to order.