There are a few restaurants that come to mind when I’m asked to suggest a restaurant that offers authentic local cuisine in Montego Bay—one of those few happens to be The Pelican Grill. One of the most recognizable restaurants in Montego Bay that sits on the “Hip Strip” and has been serving local & international dishes for nearly 50 years. The Pelican Grill has easily become a staple place for both locals and tourist alike to visit. It boasts a warm & inviting atmosphere, marked by a picturesque interior with retro-style, padded seating and an old-school soda fountain, offering handmade milk shakes & banana splits, that can only be fitting of a scene from any 60’s diner.
When I was a child, I always looked forward to the weekend because they meant a day of playing with my younger sister, watching cartoons and then a trip out to brunch with my mom and dad. More often than not, our destination was the Pelican Grill. I have fond memories sitting on the padded chairs in our own little booth enjoying malts, sundaes and their famous fruit Melba dessert. As I grew older my visits to Pelican Grill lessened more and more, and somehow it has been quite a few years since my last visit. Luckily for me Restaurant Week presented the perfect opportunity for me to check them out.
Walking into the restaurant was a huge rush of nostalgia; the furnishings have been updated (just a bit), but the restaurant still has the same look and feel I remember from my childhood. The feel of the 1960s is definitely still present. I was happy to see that the restaurant was pretty busy, especially for a Tuesday evening, thankfully we didn’t wait long for a seat and as remembered the service was great and the menu had plentiful options.For starters I had the ‘Too-Hot-For-You Seafood Martini’ and man oh man, it was certainly ‘Too-Hot-For-Me’ to enjoy! I love spicy food, especially when one part of the dish is light in flavor, a little heat is always a plus for me. Unfortunately the seafood martini is a cold appetizer and I just didn’t enjoy the mix of cold-very spicy seafood. The contrasting textures and flavors could have been a winner but the spiciness overpowered any flavors from the mix of seafood and all I could pay attention to was the heat trapped in my mouth. Nonetheless the presentation of the overall dish was lovely.
Although I was so happy to see that this fond childhood memory of mine was still well preserved I do believe there is room for improvement. I love the 1960’s diner feel that you get when entering the restaurant however the restaurant could do with a little updating without losing that ‘old charm’ that it’s known for. Additionally, the food was pretty hit and miss. The menu had several good authentic options but some dishes were good while others were unappetizing and not as flavorful as either of us would have liked. This was surprising since Pelican happens to be an all time favorite, as evidenced by the bustling dining room but I’ve decided to give the restaurant the benefit of the doubt…perhaps my girlfriend and I hit it on an off night. That said, I will be returning because I really did have a great time enjoying the atmosphere and each other’s company.
If you’re looking for an authentic Jamaican culinary experience, combined with a calm, casual atmosphere in Montego Bay this is definitely one of the best places to find it. Talk Soon. Nuff Love, Natasha ♥