Even though I was staying on the beach side of Negril, I knew I couldn’t let this trip pass without visiting the cliff side of town at least once. After a short rest on my second day, I hailed a cab to go on the twenty-minute ride to Rick’s Cafe, where Negril’s most beautiful sunsets are reputed to be at.
It turns out the sunset was just as nice as those at the beach, but I finally learned where all the Americans were hanging out at. Red Stripe in one hand, “hang loose” gesture in the other, my compatriots were dude!-ing and bro!-ing it up. Rick’s Cafe turned out to be a concentrated pocket of a stereotypical spring break in Negril. I have to admit though, the cliffs are gorgeous and the water is a deeper, brighter blue than that at the beach side of town.
After half an hour of watching cliff divers jump from the 35 feet-high platform and into the ocean, I left the scene and walked down West End Road towards the Hungry Lion, Negril’s famed restaurant specializing in Ital vegetarian and seafood fare. I started with a Lion Heart, a blended drink of juice, rum, sugar, lime juice and ginger. My pumpkin soup soon arrived, which was absolutely delicious despite the hot, humid weather.
I also ordered an order of baked crab backs to share.
The crab wasn’t as fresh-tasting as I would have hoped, though it was spicy enough to be satisfying. Perhaps I’m too accustomed to San Francisco’s Dungeness crabs.
For my main dish, I ordered the grilled red snapper fillet in foil with rice and peas, callaloo and spicy vegetable stew.
If I’m ordering seafood at a restaurant, I usually don’t choose fish because I greatly prefer shellfish instead. But this snapper was juicy, succulent and practically melted in my mouth. The menu item said that my dish would come with plantains, which I love, so I was disappointed to not see them on my plate. Otherwise, I was more than happy with my entree.
I took my time at the Hungry Lion, enjoying a breathtaking sunset that put Rick’s Cafe to shame and savoring each course on the restaurant’s rooftop patio. Usually when I travel, I start to crave local Bay Area food after the first day or two, but not this time. Jamaican cuisine was keeping me sated and happy.