I’ve been coming to Jamaica for going on 20 years now. Always to Negril. It’s cool to see the place grow and change. One thing that’s stayed the same from the very first time I came here is Chicken Lavish. The food is exactly as I remembered it. Other than a fresh coat of paint the place looks just like it did 20 years ago. It’s probably looked the same since the day it opened.
My friend Ronda introduced me to the wonders of the 3 piece fried chicken meal on my first trip. We stayed at a place that was right around the corner and it was easy stroll down the hill to get to the restaurant. The second time I came with my friend Tim. Tim’s a picky eater and I was worried that he was gonna starve in Jamaica. We ate at Chicken Lavish almost every night. Tim and I came to Jamaica together again a number of years later. The hotel we stayed at didn’t fare as well as Chicken Lavish and was closed so we got a place on the beach. That didn’t stop us from walking the 5 miles from our new place to Chicken Lavish.
The third time Julianne and I stayed at a place further up on the cliffs. It was still about a 5 mile (maybe more now that I think about it) walk from Villas Sur Mer to the restaurant. It was a hot day and Julianne wasn’t thrilled about the heat, the long walk and the narrow winding West End road with no sidewalks. Not thrilled is a little bit of an understatement. Jamaican’s drive fast and close. I feel safe walking down the street but Julianne was terrified. She was having serious trouble understanding why this place was worth the death march I was putting her through. We had a fantastic meal of fried chicken and some cold Red Stripe to wash it down. She declared the place worth the death march, but we took a cab back to our hotel just the same. Pretty sure we took a cab to the restaurant every other time after that. No more blazing hot walking for miles drama.
We came back to Chicken Lavish again on this trip too. Not much of a surprise there. Equally unsurprising was our choice for the meal. Fried chicken. These guys just do it right. If you like the Colonel’s version you’re outta luck here. This is simple fried chicken without all the grease and sloppy breading that other guy is famous for. Crispy tasty fried chicken. It’s so good. You can order your chicken with fries or rice and peas. I’ve never had the fries but I’m sure they’re fantastic. I’ve always had the rice and peas. Now, we’ve ordered rice and peas with most of our meals here in Jamaica but Chicken Lavish makes the best tasting rice and peas that we’ve had at any restaurant. Not kidding. They’re better than all the others so far. Besides fried chicken and rice and peas you also get a generous helping of coleslaw.
There are always dogs looking to score a tasty treat from the tourists. They know not to try to come in to the restaurant but always to wait patiently outside for someone to throw them some scraps. The dogs always look the same here too. No fancy pure bred show dogs here. These are the standard Jamaican mongrel that seem to thrive in this country. We couldn’t help but give this cute little guy our leftovers!