Scarborough’s taste of the Caribbean

With so many Caribbean restaurants around Scarborough, it’s hard to differentiate between the cream of the crop, and the rest of the lot.  The Observer visited a few Caribbean restaurants and this is what we found.

Regardless of whatever else can be said about Windies Restaurant and Sports Bar, the price is right.

Windies is a decent sized West Indian and Caribbean restaurant located just west of Markham Road and Lawrence Avenue.  A small, average looking sign and a highly non-descript building can make Windies a little difficult to spot at its location at 3330 Lawrence Ave. East.

Being one of the few sit down and dine-in Caribbean restaurants in the area, Windies is fairly unique in its attempt to bring a dining and bar experience to Caribbean food.  With its modest décor and standard looking bar and pool tables, it does only a decent job.

With daily lunch specials and a fairly cheap menu, Windies does deliver on a value basis.  Nearly every item on the menu is under 10 dollars and contains a generous portion.  The menu is fairly extensive and contains a wide variety of Caribbean and West Indian dishes, including your staples like jerk or curry chicken with rice.

The food is good, but nothing too special or interesting.  For the price, it makes a filling meal and gives a spicy taste of the foods of the Caribbean.

The service was both fast and friendly, and the restaurant was clean and everything appeared to be in good order.

Overall, Windies is nothing special, but it provides a good, cheap meal for people looking to sit down in a casual environment and enjoy some food from the islands.

Caribbean Wave Restaurant, tucked into the corner of a plaza right off Highway 401, at 875 Milner Ave., is a pleasant little secret.

“The Wave” is a neat establishment with booths along the walls, chairs in the centre and a bar at the back. The relaxed decor suits the family restaurant.

The prices are moderate but justified by large portions. I ordered the jerk chicken with fried rice for $8 and I was not able to finish the huge dish, despite having built a strong appetite during the evening.

The jerk chicken was well seasoned and extremely succulent. The skin felt slimy at times but the smoky flavour overruled the texture. Unfortunately, the way jerk chicken is sliced requires a careful excavation of bones and cartilage, but that is expected. The chicken rested upon a tasty bed of fried rice.

I have no complaints with the meal itself — however the service was another matter. The waitress, friendly as she was, took her time to deliver my dish.  Once I was eating she rarely came by to ask if anything was needed. I would have also liked it if she left a jug of water on the table, as the meal was quite salty. At the time the restaurant was not very busy, so there was no excuse for the shoddy service.

Overall, I enjoyed my Caribbean Wave experience.

The food was so alluring that I probably wouldn’t have noticed if the waitress came by anyway.