Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Del-Mel Caribbean Restaurant - Savory Jamaican Food in Naples

Jamaican' us happy campers!

Del-Mel Caribbean Restaurant is worth a drive, to taste great Jamaican/Caribbean food and to chat with Del, Mel or Pauline!
My group of friends were promptly greeted by Del-she’s is warm, welcoming and we warmed up to her quickly, talking about some island dishes. It gets better; as Pauline’s quite a good cook.
The restaurant is intimate and quite comfortable. The walls are orange and yellow, with a back blue wall with painted underwater scenes. Over the counter are palm fronds for a tropical feeling.
 There’s seating for perhaps 25 people at four-top tables and along the counter. Island reggae music plays softly in the background. Two wide screen TVs are up to watch, if desired. Del is good at guiding you toward what you may best like from the evening’s selection. If you want some special things, just call in your order 30 minutes ahead of arrival and there it is. During our dinner, there was a steady stream of regular customers picking up their take out foods-a good sign. Nearly all were slender to average in weight-a very good sign!

We came to try some dishes, and ended up staying three hours! No rush to turn table here. We’ve know about the spot for almost 8 months-time for a visit! My friends and I. have visited Jamaica, so we went for unique Jamaican foods. Del told us in advance that the foods were not served as spicy hot as in Jamaica. If you want it, it’s there for the asking. She makes a delicious hot sauce with Scotch bonnet peppers that will please chili heads. We thought the food was fine as is, and were very happy that we could “heat it up” as desired.

We started with some glasses of very nice house red wine ($6), iced tea, and I had a glass of sorrel drink for $5. It’s a rich red punch made from dried sorrel, ginger, cinnamon stick, cloves, brown sugar and a touch of good Jamaican white rum that's boiled , then chilled. A “touch,” as the alcohol leaves during the processing. It’s often a Christmas drink, rich and on the sweet side. (Sorrel is actually dried swollen calyces of hibiscus flowers).  It can be served with rum and lime juice at home for a nice cocktail, as Del-Mel doesn’t have full liquor license. There’s beers like Budweiser and Negra Modelo for $3 and Corona for $4. Even ginger beer. Soft drinks include Ting, Sprite, Coca-Cola, Crush and other sodas. A big glass of fresh lemonade ($2) is home made and very good. Healthy-sized 20 ounce portions of fruit, carrot, apple and assorted vegetable juice combos are only $5. Nice and healthy choices- just might make your momma proud of you!

Call for breakfast from 9 am to 11 am. Lunch specials are $7, with classic ackee and saltfish, jerk chicken, jerk pork, and curry chicken. Side portions may include 1 piece of fried chicken ($1.50), yucca, 3 pieces ($2), and Jamaican beef patty ($2-3). There’s occasionally fried rabbit, cow foot, and brown stew chicken. Every day’s a different soup.

Dinners range from $8 to $12.  BBQ ribs ($12) are a good portion of tender ribs with a nice saucing.
Mildly spiced and meaty without any fattiness, I’d enjoy these ribs every week if I lived closer, and we may pick up a bunch of ribs for a party. The sides for this and all our dinners tonight are a large dollop of rice (or rice and peas) with a touch of coconut milk and herbs, a steamed cabbage and carrot salad, and slice of warm sweet fried plantain. The jerk chicken ($12) is tender and nicely spiced with generous sauce. Jerk means medium to close to nuclear hot in Jamaica; here it’s very mild.
My ox tails are wonderfully spiced-we nibbled every bit of tender meat from them. The order size on all our dinners is fine, plenty for an adult.
We like the curry goat!
     If you’re hesitant to try curried goat, you’d not know right off that it was goat, lamb or beef as it’s so tender and nicely spiced. Each item has its own unique sauce, making our sampling a delight. There wasn’t a clunker in the bunch. Even our diner who wasn’t crazy about trying oxtail (beef) or goat was happy she tried them, and would share ‘em again.

There’s also four seafood dinners for $12 each-Coconut shrimp, fried shrimp with Del’s secret sauce, fried grouper fingers, steamed or fried tilapia, and a 1 to 1 ¼ lb snapper is $18, and up for larger fish. Next time!

    Del was busy at one point in the kitchen, so some customer-friends awaiting their takeout packages jumped right in and helped serve us our drinks and dinners, so everything was hot and fresh. It doesn’t get more friendly and down to earth than that. True Jamaican hospitality. You won our hearts right there! As a dining partner emailed, ‘We'll be back there without a question!”.

Stop by for Reggae Night. Wail with the Wailers! On some Thursday nights, 9pm to 2 am is Reggae Night. Ladies have it good and get in free before 10 pm, otherwise it’s a $5 cover.  People dress nice casual. Call 404-5103 or 200-8968 for details and schedule.
By the way, both Google and MapQuest have the map location of the place wrong, on the wrong side of the shopping center. The restaurant is actually in the shopping center at Tamiami Trail East and Rattlesnake, only it’s on and facing US 41, and NOT on or facing Rattlesnake Hammock Road, as the address would otherwise indicate…Yes, It’s on US41, a block east of the intersection with Rattlesnake. It’s the last little shop in the shopping center. ‎

4961 Rattlesnake Hammock Road, Naples, 687-3434, 200-8968‎, naplesjamaicanrestaurant.com/

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My fiance and I stopped in for dinner.
She had the ox tail and I had the curry chicken.
the food was excellent. The atmosphere was quaint. The price was moderate. We would recommend it to anybody else out there looking for authentic jamaican food.

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