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Image: Alice Levitt

The cuisine of the region is way more diverse than rum and Scotch bonnet peppers. Here are 7 spots to get you started on a culinary cruise right here in Houston.

Donafe’s Café

It’s a bit of a surprise to find a Trinidadian bakery and café in plush Vintage Park, but this eatery is cute and cozy enough to fit right in. The stand-out is pholourie, an Indo-Caribbean snack of fried dough balls doused in spicy green-mango chutney and sweet-and-sour tamarind sauce. Desserts include both Caribbean standards like pone and Euro-style sweets.

Café Piquet

Cubans favor this stalwart when they’re craving their native home-cooking, served in a charming setting. Whether you order garlicky pork pernil, the uncommonly complex version of beefy ropa vieja, or one of the many seafood dishes, get it with chewy, sweet maduros (plantains) and congri, rice flavored with black beans and ham.

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Image: Alice Levitt

Haitian Caribbean

Like your flesh marinated, then fried? It may take a while to get your food at this tiny restaurant, but for goat or chicken that’s tender and moist inside and crispy outside, there are few better options than driving out to Mission Bend. Selection is inconsistent, so call ahead to make sure there are pâtes, the puff-pastry-wrapped, French-accented Haitian equivalent of Jamaican patties.

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Image: Alice Levitt

Island Sizzler Jamaican Rum Bar & Grill

To many, Jamaican food is defined by heat. This restaurant proves that it can be well-spiced without being overwhelming. Take, for example, the brown stew chicken, a rich dish awash with spices, but just a firm pat of fire. You can split your order here; we suggest getting that chicken alongside sweet, sticky oxtails, on a plate that comes with rice-and-peas, fried plantains and stewed cabbage.

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Image: Alice Levitt

Punta Cana Caribbean Restaurant

It would be a mistake not to start with the quipes, a full-flavored Dominican take on the bulgur-and-beef fried kibbeh brought by Lebanese immigrants. But we love everything at this homey strip mall destination. Bite-sized segments of bone-in, marinated-then-fried chicken will disappear too quickly to bring home leftovers, and mounds of oily mofongo, whether paired with fried cheese or garlicky pork, shouldn’t be missed.

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Image: Alice Levitt

Reggae Hut

Murals by Houston artist Tierney Malone create island vibes even on days when there’s no live music. Upon tasting the food, it’s no surprise the Breakfast Klub owner Marcus Davis holds the reins here. Jamaican beef patties are sweet and just spicy enough to prepare the palate for the curried whole snapper. The fried fish, covered in a multi-dimensional sauce with peppers and onions, can easily feed two or even three.

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Tex-Chick Puerto Rican Restaurant

The trifongo (mashed sweet and green plantains with yucca) is studded with crisp chicharrones, the pork carne frita bursts with flavor, and the rice and beans are seasoned just right. This tiny, bare-bones restaurant offers everything your abuela does, in a way that even she wouldn’t argue with. 

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In this Article

Tex-Chick Puertorrican Restaurant

$ Puerto Rican 712 1/2 Fairview St.

It’s difficult to miss what is likely the city’s tiniest restaurant—the place seats a dozen or so comfortably. Look for the bright blue exterior with the wor...

Reggae Hut

$$ Caribbean, Jamaican 4814 Almeda Road

Murals by Houston artist Tierney Malone create island vibes even on days when there’s no live music. Upon tasting the food, it’s no surprise Breakfast Klub o...

Punta Cana Caribbean Restaurant

$$ Caribbean 17776 Tomball Pkwy.

It would be a mistake not to start with the quipes, a full-flavored Dominican take on the bulgur-and-beef fried kibbeh brought by Lebanese immigrants. But we...

Island Sizzler Jamaican Rum Bar & Grill

$ Caribbean, Jamaican 2114 Holly Hall St.

To many, Jamaican food is defined by heat. This restaurant proves that lots of spice doesn’t have mean a dish must be powerfully spicy. Take for example, the...

Haitian Caribbean

$ Caribbean 6271 Hwy. 6 S

Chances are, not everything on the menu above the counter will be available at every visit to this Haitian restaurant off Highway 6 near George Bush Park, bu...

Editor’s Pick

Cafe Piquet

$$ Cuban 5757 Bissonnet St.

Billing itself as “the Cuban restaurant where Cubans eat,” Café Piquet is popular among Houston’s expat community and it’s not hard to see why; eating here f...

Donafe's Café Closed

$ Caribbean 126 Vintage Park Blvd., Bldg. D, Suite F

In plush Vintage Park it’s a bit of a surprise to find this tiny Trinidadian bakery and café, but the eatery is cute and cozy enough to fit right in. The sta...