My friend from Toronto and I have regular cravings for Jamaican food and we are willing to travel to try new spots even if it means a bit of a drive. Kingston 11 is a new Jamaican spot located in North Vancouver on Lonsdale. I assume the 11 in the name is based on the postal code from where the owner or his family is from. For reference Bob Marley's studio Tuff Gong was in Kingston 11.
The restaurant was large in size but only a few tables occupied the floor. There was a heater sitting on the ground beside our table to provide some additional warmth for the customers but it looked very much out of place. The atmosphere for a Jamaican restaurant was standard, keep in mind this is the country that invented ugliest fashion piece in the world, the mesh tank top.
I looked at the menu that was sitting on the table and I got excited about what I was going to order but then the man behind the counter named Prince told me he only had four items to choose from (Jerk chicken, jerk pork, ox tail and one other item that was crossed out on the chalkboard). We ordered the jerk chicken ($12.00) and the oxtail ($12.00). The beverage selection was also minimal (Ting, pineapple drink, ginger beer and water). Prince continued to big up the food saying "people say this food tastes better than Jamaica".
The food arrived quick and the portions were large. Actually, the food arrived too quick for, I can understand that oxtail is stewing in a pot but the Jerk came in less than 5 mins, it tasted too good to be coming out of a microwave.
The oxtail was interesting. It had a different taste than traditional ox tail. It was sweet, like someone added some sweet BBQ sauce to it. It tasted decent but I wasn't really into the sweet taste. The jerk chicken was tasty and I would say best in the city. The skin was nice and crispy and you could actually taste the pimento in the flavor.
Overall, based on the nice portions and decent taste, if you are in the hood give this place a try. I recommend the jerk over the oxtail.
Kingston 11 Reggae Cafe
232 Lonsdale Ave,