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Monday, January 10, 2011

A Taste of Jamaica in Tampa Bay

As you know, it was a special meal in Jamaica, and the trip itself, that brought me to start this blog. I'll remember that day for years to come. It's been almost an entire year since I went to Jamaica, and unfortunately, I won't be able to make it down there anytime soon (and by "soon," I mean right now). However, I have found a place in Tampa that serves up some delicious, vegan-friendly Jamaican fare that isn't as good as what I had at Food Fa Life, but it's the next best thing.

It's a pretty unassuming place, too. (Lovers of Hole-in-the-Wall eateries, take notice!) Island Cuisine is nestled in a shopping plaza. If you didn't know just where to look, it'd be pretty easy to miss.

Can you spot it yet? Let's get a little closer.

Ah! There it is!

Island Cuisine serves meat, but they have a vegetarian menu (that is also vegan) of tofu, veggie chunks, and crazy mock meats, and all of the side dishes are vegan (except the macaroni & cheese and the potato salad).

I went with the tofu and peas & rice and collards. The portions at Island Cuisine are generous!

The tofu is awesome! It has a great, chewy texture, and it's stewed in a spicy (but not hot), tomato-based sauce. And let me say, those collards are THE BEST collards I've ever had. Perfectly tender and flavorful. You can't even see the peas & rice because it's buried under the other foods. You'll notice a few plantains thrown in there, too.

Island Cuisine has been at this location (2301 East Hillsborough Ave) for the last 10 years. The owner said that if you're interested in a specific vegetarian option, to call ahead. (For example, the first time I visited this place, they were out of tofu, so I called ahead the next time and - yay! - they had tofu.) Also, this is more of a take-out eatery, though there do have a couple of tables and chairs outside in the front.


  1. Oh my goodness! That is so much food. And it looks really good. I haven't eaten dinner yet, so I think I need to stop looking at that picture.

  2. Mmm, looks great!

  3. That seriously looks so good. Yummmmm!

  4. This looks like a great find - I'm not a hole in the wall lover, but I am always pleased to find a treasure tucked away in an unsuspecting shopping center.

    Also interesting to look back on the post you mentioned ... thanks for sharing!

  5. Vegan Jamaican food sounds so good I can't stand it. :-)