imageOne of the best things about travelling is getting tips from locals that really pay off. Dave always asks our taxi drivers what their favourite restaurants are. One of those drivers tipped us off on the Blue Mahoe restaurant in The Spa Retreat on the cliffs, and we decided to check it out.

It is a fairly new resort, and we learned later that it is owned and operated by Canadians from Ottawa (you can also tell it is run by Canadians with a “Canadian Caesar” drink on the menu). It seems to hit the “top restaurants in Negril” lists, but we probably wouldn’t have gone if we hadn’t received the recommendation from our driver.

The experience was wonderful! Hands down, the best dining experience either of us has had in Negril – and that is saying a lot considering Dave has been to Negril five times.

When you walk into the stone entrance-way, you are immediately dazzled by the pretty circular open air restaurant right along the cliffs. There is nothing like dining under the stars and the moon and hearing waves crashing into the cliffs right beneath you. We also heard some really bad karaoke from the place next door, but even that was entertaining!

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The food and service at Blue Mahoe was out of this world. We made reservations with the restaurant and they offered a free pick up service to our hotel – a great bonus. The driver was very friendly and helpful, and walked us right into the restaurant to our hostess. The service from everyone was impeccable throughout the evening.

We started with two appetizers. The jerk chicken skewers were tasty, spicy and tangy, thanks to a very flavourful dipping sauce. Dave thought the chicken was a bit overdone, but I thought they were perfect (I also tend to like meat a little overdone in general)!

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The coconut shrimp turned out to be the star of our dining experience for the night. The shrimp where huge – how often do you need to cut your shrimp with a knife to fit it all in your mouth? The fresh shaved coconut fried on the outside held its shape nicely and had a great crunch. The sauce was what made this dish really special. It was a ginger-based sauce that provided a nice savoury balance to the sweet coconut shrimp. Delicious! If I go back, I will likely order the entree version of this dish.

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Our entrees were next, and the portion sizes were large (but not too large). I totally enjoyed my Blue Mahoe stuffed chicken. Three large and fried chicken breasts, almost over-stuffed with cream cheese and callallo (a bitter green like Kale or Spinach that I am totally loving here). It sat on a delicious grilled pineapple and mixed vegetables. Wonderful.

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Dave chose a Jamaican platter for his entree, to try as much diverse local fare as possible. His platter had curried goat, brown chicken stew, rice and peas and bammy (a traditional Jamaican dense flatbread). Dave loved the intense and rich flavour of the brown stew, and found the curried goat to be tender with just the right amount of spice.

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Dave and I can’t say enough about the Blue Mahoe! It was a fantastic experience (we paid our compliments directly to the chef – his team deserved it). I think it must be Negril’s best-kept dining secret, because the restaurant was fairly quiet and empty when we arrived just before 7 p.m. That’s a real shame, because this place deserves to be packed each night!

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