If you love good hearty food, then you’ve probably noticed that Caribbean and Cuban restaurants are starting to take over the Liverpool food scene.
The vibrant variety and versatility that these exotic cuisines have to offer make it one of the most exciting food crazes to date.
Featuring trendy pop ups, colourful cantinas, converted churches and a Smithdown Road institution, it’s safe to say Liverpool has got a fabulous choice of Caribbean and Cuban restaurants.
Here at Signatures Liverpool, we’re passionate about food and as summer approaches we’ve put together a list of the best places to experience this exotic culture and what dishes to sink your teeth into!
Revolution de Cuba
Where: Albert Dock
What to eat: Beef Fillet Skewer
For a true taste of Cuba, head down to the Albert Dock and discover the vibrant Cantina menu in Revolution de Cuba.
Taking you straight to the heart of Cuban life, this authentic menu features a fusion of flavours from Spain, Mexico and South America cooked up in dishes inspired by the backstreet bars of Havana.
The menu includes freshly prepared cuisine that ranges from light lunchtime Tapas to the classic paella or tasty beef skewers. Or why not tuck into a traditional Hamburguesas topped with de Cuba’s speciality guacamole.
Expect a relaxed daytime food and drink atmosphere with a more traditional Cuban celebration, including live music and dancing when the sun goes down.
Plus, you can wash it all down with a range of different varieties of rum, what more could you want.
Where: Smithdown Road
What to eat: Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Saltfish fritters
Perhaps one of the most authentic Caribbean restaurants in Liverpool, Raggas is a firm favourite for anyone that lives near Smithdown Road.
You may recognise the name from the restaurant that sits vacant on Bold Street, sadly Raggas were forced to close this restaurant and the one on Lark Lane, however the original Smithdown Road premise is still going strong.
A family run business that was founded in 2006 by brothers Gareth and Verdain Griffin with chef Ragga, their menus include Caribbean specialities such as brown stew chops, ackee and saltfish, Jamaican jerk chicken and curried goat.
Ragga himself was from Port Antonio which is the capital parish of Portland and is situated in the North-East of the island. It is only about 60 miles from Kingston and is the islands 3rd largest port, famous for its fish and seafood dishes.
For all your Jamaican food needs, Raggas is number one.
Alma de Cuba
Where: Seel Street
What to eat: Hanging chicken
One of the most unique restaurants in Liverpool, Alma de Cuba is situated in the trendy Ropewalks quarter and offers a stunning mixture of Caribbean, Cuban and Central American inspired dishes.
This beautiful converted church is the perfect setting to enjoy an exotic infused menu featuring everything from oven roasted okra and coconut curry to delicious pork fillets wrapped in Cuban style ham served with sautéed garlic potatoes and greens with a piquillo pepper sauce.
Ideal for global travellers with a cultured palette, Alma de Cuba’s eclectic food choices have become a favourite in the city.
Try the hanging chicken for a truly unique dining experience with the tender and juicy, delicately spiced meat standing seemingly free, surrounded by coconut rice or yam fries.
With Salsa Classes every Tuesday, Sunday Service Gospel Brunch with a live gospel choir on Sundays, live music on a Thursday and its outstanding range of rum cocktails, this is the number one destination for an unforgettable carnival experience.
What to eat: The Finca Cubano with Croquettas
One of the new trendy pop up restaurants that has burst onto the scene in Liverpool, FINCA is a unique al fresco food joint that has had residency in the Botanical Gin Garden and the Merchant on Slater Street.
However, this summer it has found a new home at Constellations in the Baltic Triangle and we’re sure it’ll fit right in.
The menu, although continuously changing, mainly revolves around Cubanos, a traditional hearty Cuban sandwich, and slow cooked marinated meats that are cooked on open-barrel barbecues on site.
Choose from delicious creamy croquettas and sweet potato fries to sandwiches filled with mojo marinated pork shoulder, horseshoe gammon, pickles, mustard, and Gouda cheese, the menu is packed with flavour.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, FINCA also serve sugary Bunuelos which are a doughnut like dessert and too good to miss.
Where: Victoria Street or Hanover Street
What to eat: Goat Curry
Everyone knows Turtle Bay for its brilliant cocktail choice and happy hour prices, but delicious, exotic food is also at the heart of the Turtle Bay experience.
The menu features cuisine that really brings out the soul of Caribbean culture with an eclectic choice influenced by a rich tapestry of ethnicities, from Creole to South Asian.
The signature aromatic dish of jerk chicken has become a firm favourite with diners. The meat is marinated for 24 hours and slowly grilled over the jerk pit with sour orange chutney and coconut shavings.
But our favourite dish has got to be the rich and uniquely Caribbean goat curry, marinated in curry spices, scotch bonnet, sweet potatoes, citrus juices, ginger and served with rice ‘N’ peas, it’s one of the most vibrant flavours you’ll come across.
Where: Baltic Triangle
What to eat: Wings n Tings with Kingston Fries
Ital-Fresh is one of the most exciting new pop-ups, serving Caribbean vegan street food using locally sourced ingredients.
Pronounced ‘eye-tal’, Ital is a way of cooking synonymous with Rastafari, using ingredients from the earth and grown naturally.
Offering dishes from plantain to sweet potato fries, Ital Fresh is sure to challenge your preconceptions that Caribbean food is all jerk-chicken and curried goat.
Creators Poppy and Dan have travelled extensively around Jamaica to bring the true taste of the Caribbean to the Baltic Triangle and spread the message about Rasta culture and its ancient links to veganism. Historically, Rastas would live in the hills of Jamaica and eat what grew from the earth around them, this is Ital.
Said to increase positive life energy, Ital Fresh’s menu is packed with colourful meals like their healthy i-tal superfood salad. It features sweet potato in paprika, avocado, mixed seeds and spinach dressed in a balsamic mango drizzle, caramelised plantains and coconut quinoa.
Ital Fresh are definitely proving that vegan and vegetarian food is far from boring.
If like us you love this type of food, check out our handy guide to the best places to eat if you’re vegetarian or vegan in Liverpool.