Restaurant: Prendy’s on the Beach
Last visited: October 5, 2011
Location: Kingston, Jamaica
Address: 7 South Ave Kingston 10, Kingston
Price Range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Ambiance: 3 (for a weeknight)
- Authentic Jamaican seafood
- Local favourite
- Famous for seafood
- Catch their own fish
- Cheap eats/budget friendly
- Good for groups
- Beer available
- Some dance nights
- Covered outdoor seating
- Eat in/Take-out
- Mon – Thurs 9am-9pm
- Fri – Sat 9am-11pm
- Sunday 8am-2pm
**Recommendations: Fish Tea, Steamed Pumpkin & Conch, Escovitch, Roast Snapper, Garlic Shrimp
I was invited on a culinary tour of Jamaica and when the itinerary read “Prendy’s on the Beach” for dinner, this isn’t what I was thinking. We were advised to dress nicely, but not formally, so I was imagining some type of romantic atmosphere along the beach. I think I thought it was going to be like Bali, so this was not what I was expecting. Forget the all inclusive, expat favourites or resort dining choices, this was the real deal. Hello Jamaica!
From the outside it looked like a preschool, with the Crayola crayon like fence, and I’m actually not even sure if it was on the beach. We came at about 8pm and it was too dark to tell, but research shows that it is. Apparently they have dance hall nights and the place gets pretty lively on weekends, but for a Wednesday night dinner I unfortunately didn’t get to experience that atmosphere.
I definitely considered this a hole in the wall, but again, in Jamaica, this is not a hole in the wall. Their definition of a hole in the wall is literally a shack, or some hut along the roadside. Prendy’s on the Beach is an actual restaurant and despite the plastic lawn chairs, it’s considered kind of a “nice”restaurant for a nice seafood dinner.
This was my first dinner in Jamaica and they threw us in the cold water fast. It’s popular for seafood since they catch their own fish and prepare it in house. The prices will vary accordingly to seasonal fish.
In a way it reminded me of Chinese food and how they prepare fish. Everything was served whole, but after a while, just like many ethnic cuisines, everything started to taste the same. At times the seafood was overcooked, but traditionally I think it tends to be the Jamaican style. It was no doubt the most authentic Jamaican dinner I had for seafood. As for the meat it was probably my authentic Jerk chicken I had from Scotchies.
I was looking for the sign, so you would know what to look out for if you’re ever visiting Jamaica and want to try this place. And there it was! Exactly what I expected. Beat up, faded from the sun, and ghetto. In fact, I was surprised there was a sign at all and this is considered a “nice sign”. Most of the restaurant signage in Jamaica is non-existent or just written on a piece of wood.
To be honest, if you’re the average tourist in Jamaica, chances are you won’t come here. However, if you’re a foodie like me, and you crave what the locals eat and something not watered down for Western tastes, then I strongly recommend it. Compared to the other places I tried for dinner, this just felt the most legit.
What’s more is that when I spoke with other locals, they also recommended Prendy’s on the Beach for an authentic Jamaican experience. Perhaps it was because it was the only one they could direct me to since there was legit signage and a registered address, but the way the food was prepared and presented was reassuring as a local Jamaican favourite.
On the table:
- Almost every traditional Jamaican meal starts off with soup, which I found very Asian.
- They start it early in the morning and it just sits on the stove all day so the flavours are really intense.
- Fish tea is a local favourite and expected from a restaurant that specializes in seafood.
- It was very fishy, but not in a non-fresh way and it was almost like a semi-creamy fish stock soup.
- It’s not rich and I’m quite sure dairy free, and there’s no actual tea in it either.
- It’s made with fish heads and the entire fish to reach that fishy flavour.
- Usually the bones and skins would be included, but most of it was removed from this one and there were pieces of tender flaky white fish throughout.
- It almost tasted like a fishy vegetable and lentil soup, even though there were no lentils.
- It was starchy and thickened from potatoes and carrots that were so cooked down they almost melted into the soup.
- There were some eggplants that were so cooked that they became a bit slimy as well.
- The overcooking of vegetables almost makes it more authentic and it’s supposed to be like that, however usually the vegetables for fish tea are potatoes and plantains rather than eggplants and carrots.
- It was quite salty and spicy with a bit of scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, and thyme, so it carries a lemony tang and mild-medium heat.
- This is one of their signature dishes.
- They steam pumpkin with any fresh seafood and the lobster is a popular choice, but we had the conch.
- Pumpkins are really popular at this time since it’s Fall, and what they call a pumpkin is what we would call an Acorn Squash in Vancouver, BC.
- It was the sweetest dish we had which helped balance out some of the spicier things.
- It was conch (sea snail) which I’ve had numerous of times in Asian cuisine. It’s like firm chewy clam meat without the mushiness.
- The conch was steamed and cooked in a sweet, creamy and slimy pumpkin stew, and the okra made for the slimy texture.
- It had a nice seafood flavour throughout and it was an easy dish to warm up to even if you’re not an adventurous diner.
- This reminded me of a shrimp scampi with more spices, but it wasn’t spicy.
- The shrimps were a bit overcooked and didn’t have the shells which kind of surprised me.
- It was quite oily, but very aromatic with green onions, thyme, allspice and lots of nutty minced garlic which infused into everything.
- I was thinking it was going to be like a South East Asian creamy coconut milk curry meets a creamy Indian curry, but it was neither.
- It was a very thin sauce that was quite tangy with lemon juice and it had some garlic, scotch bonnet peppers for heat and some sweet onions and bell peppers.
- The shrimps were a bit overcooked again, but the flavours were there.
- The curry flavour almost seemed more tomato based and acidic than a traditional curry.
- This was so flavourful and pretty greasy, but I almost shut down after I accidentally ate a whole scotch bonnet pepper in it.
- The shrimps were a bit overcooked again, but the sauce was good, just like the other shrimp dishes.
- The initial bite of the dish is sweet and garlicky and it seemed to be cooked in jerk seasoning and jerk sauce and lots of scotch bonnet peppers.
- There was also some fried onions and bell peppers for a bit more sweetness to balance out the spice.
- This was a hot spicy and the spice gradually creeps up on you and lingers, but the pepper starts off sweet so it tricks you.
- Scotch Bonnet Peppers
- Remember my Follow Me Foodie to Jamaica post where I mentioned a scotch bonnet pepper experience that made me want to puke? This was it.
- Almost every dish had scotch bonnet peppers, but they didn’t include much of the seeds which is where the spice is. However this one had way more scotch bonnet peppers and the seeds!
- I thought the scotch bonnet pepper was a vegetable and I ate the whole thing with the seeds and all.
- At first it was sweet so I thought it was a bell pepper and didn’t panic, but it gradually started to get spicier and then my whole mouth was burning within 10 seconds.
- It took about 5 minutes before I started tearing uncontrollably and my nose started running. If you ever need to clear your sinuses, this will do it.
- The spice was in my lips, tongue, throat and face and I just couldn’t stop it. It sneaks up on you and it doesn’t go away and lasted about 30 minutes.
- I could feel the heat travel down to my stomach and then later on that night I could still feel it.
- If this ever happens to you, drink milk or eat sugar. Unfortunately they didn’t have either here so I had to eat the deep fried breads which helped a little bit.
- Do not drink water, that’s adding fuel to the fire.
- Do not eat this with your hands and do not touch your eyes. I’ve accidentally done that before too.
- I give this a 6/6 based on what it is, not on a scale of culinary enjoyment, although I did really like it.
- I had lots of Escovitch in Jamaica, but this was one of the best and most authentic ways I had it.
- Escovitch is a style of cooking with vinegar that was introduced to Jamaica by the Spanish and Portuguese.
- It’s almost always done with fried fish, and to have it served with the whole fish is a treat since most restaurants will serve boneless skinless fillets to appeal to the majority.
- Being Asian, I’m used to seeing fish being served whole, so I loved this.
- It was a roasted fully cooked red snapper marinated and cooked in vinegar and topped with chilled pickled onions and scotch bonnet peppers.
- There’s also a lot of whole allspice used so it lends an aromatic flavour of warm and sweet spices. The flavour is similar to cloves and it was quite strong.
- The fish was crispy, tangy and moist, and sour and spicy with a fresh crunch of chilled onions and scotch bonnet peppers for a nice contrast.
- This was basically the only fish that had a distinct flavour from the rest, the others just started to taste the same after a while and I found the Escovitch refreshing.
- My first time trying Escovitch was actually at Jamaican Pizza Jerk in Vancouver, BC – see Spicy Snapper.
- Again, the fish is caught in house and served whole which is great and the bones are long and easy to remove.
- It was crispy and roasted, but overcooked and dry so it was a bit like jerky and I couldn’t taste the flavour of this delicate tropical white fish.
- I actually found a few of their fishes overcooked, but I think that’s the authentic Jamaican style.
- This tasted like sweet and sour sauce to me and it was topped with a stew of vegetables including carrots, okra, onions and bell peppers.
- There was some whole allspice for that warm and sweet aromatic flavour and it wasn’t spicy.
- This was another Parrotfish cooked in a different way with a different sauce. It was lighter and seemed healthier.
- The sauce was more savoury than sweet and sour and it almost reminded me of the fish tea soup, but not spicy.
- The sauce was au natural with fishy flavour and it was sweetened with the natural vegetable juices and perhaps the zing of some lemon juice.
- It was topped with carrots, bell peppers and lots of tender slimy okra and it wasn’t spicy.
- I enjoyed the Parrotfish most this way because I could really taste the flavour of the fish, which is moist, delicate and tender with easy to remove bones.
- This was the third version of Parrotfish we had and it was sauceless.
- It was crispy and deep fried, but overcooked and dry so it was a bit like jerky.
- I couldn’t taste the flavour of the fish as much and it was quite firm and it’s supposed to be a delicate and tender fish, so I didn’t enjoy it as much.
- The crispy skin was good and the bones were easy to remove, but even if it wasn’t overcooked, it was a bit bland.
- This was one of my favourites.
- It was simple, not overcooked, and well flavoured.
- It was the biggest fish on the table and the meat was moist and flaky and the head was stuffed with carrots and onions to develop aromatics.
- It was funny because almost everyone ate the body of it and considered it finished… I happily ate the rest, which there is a lot of. Double fish cheeks for me!
- This was a rich and oily buttery fish and it was cooked in an okra and vegetable stew so the texture was all a bit slimy.
- The fish was roasted and the sauce was almost the same as the Steamed Parrotfish with Okra I mentioned above.
- At this point a lot of the fish and sauces started to taste the same.
- If the fish came with a sauce it was likely topped with okra, carrots and onions.
- I felt like I was eating Chinese seafood when almost all the sauces are some variation of soy sauce, or Indian food when all the curries start to taste similar.
- These are the most typical authentic Jamaican starches to serve with seafood.
- Festivals is deep fried bread that is similar to Hush Puppies. They reminded me of Johnnycakes, but they’re different and served as logs rather than round balls. These absorbed the sauces of the fish well and they’re often served with Jerk chicken. The best Jerk chicken I had in Jamaica was at Scotchies – see here.
- Bammys are another deep fried bread and it’s made out of cassava root, which is a starchier more fiberous potato, or yam. It was very crispy and almost like fries, but it’s an actual bread and not crunchy like a crouton. They didn’t come up as often as festivals, Johnnycakes and plantains.
- Plantains are in the same family as the banana, but they’re not sweet. These were deep fried once, creamy and obviously oily. I often had them like this, or at times deep fried twice like patacones or a patty, but most places do offer both. I also had them boiled for breakfast – see here.
- I actually have no idea what these were. It looked like dessert, but I think it’s meant to be a side.
- They were super dense chewy deep fried patties soaked in a sweet and savoury syrup, but more sweet.
- It was very doughy and tasted like heavy and hard perogie skins meets a stiff mochi made of cornmeal.
- The only flavour was from the sauce and I just didn’t understand them.
- I didn’t see them come up anywhere else in my trip.
- I actually had a boiled version of them at Jamaican Pizza Jerk in Vancouver, BC – see here.