Jerk chicken, catfish and pork dinners delight at this hip, lovely Jamaican restaurant in the heart of Lincoln Park. Yummy plantains, a heapin' helping of rice and beans, cabbage and carrots accompany the hearty entrees like jerk chicken, which arrived nicely tenderized and cut in conveniently small portions. Curry chicken, pork and more also fill the menu; most entrees cost between $10 and $12.
Shimmery copper-toned tables and stylish booths create a relaxing atmosphere, and service is friendly and attentive. A giant, colorful mural of Bob Marley looks over the room as reggae music fills the air. Customers can also linger over Red Stripe beer or get boozed-up on rum punch at the bar in the back, where a couple of flat-screen TVs show sports highlights. Mosey downstairs, and—surprise—another bar awaits. The cozy confines of the low-ceilinged basement feel so hidden from the busy foot traffic on Armitage Avenue, it's easy to imagine the room being a happenin' little speakeasy back in the day. So, whether it's flavorful Jamaican food or a funky-fun atmosphere that you're after, Ja' Grill has ja' needs covered.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Mary Susan Littlepage