A taste of a Caribbean Island exists in Montgomery, AL.
Aside from the humidity and heat in the summer, there are not many things that remind you of the Caribbean in Montgomery. The entrance to Maxwell Air force base is certainly not giving me an island feel but it happens to be the best (and the only) place to get a home cooked Jamaican meal in this town, unless know someone who is nice enough to cook it for you. Island Delight’s tall, bright yellow sign shines like a beacon for all those seeking an alternative to the “meat and three” lunches in the Gump.
I had wanted to try Island Delight for a long time, but like so many other restaurants in Montgomery, they close early and they are not open on the weekends. I imagine that the lunch traffic from Maxwell air force base is enough to sustain the business, but I am positive that this place would be a hot spot if they would be open for dinner and maybe offer live music. Current business hours are Mon-Fri 11 am to 4 pm.
Island delight is a family owned, small restaurant with modest decor. The first thing you will notice is the stark contrast between the cold, grey industrial surroundings outside and the warm welcoming feel inside Island Delight. The vibrant green and yellow on the walls brighten up the space and immediately puts you in a good mood, at least I feel that way when I walk in here. There is of course a picture of Bob Marley on one of the walls, and a plastic banana tree in the corner. I might get one of those in my apartment, just to cheer things up. The atmosphere in here is relaxed, no frills and everyone who comes in here is vastly different, the only common denominator being a love of Jamaican food.
You order in the back of the restaurant where the menu is posted and the staff will plate up your oxtail, jerk chicken, curry goat or beef patty. Choose your sides and a Jamaican soda (ginger beer is my favorite) and proceed to check out. You can eat there or take it to go.
A lot of the customers I saw just picked up their food so it doesn’t seem very hard to get a seat. If you are apprehensive about restaurant with this kind of cafeteria style system and the cleanliness, rest assured that this place scored 100 from the health department’s latest inspection. I like this system because even though I liked that Yehman took his time preparing my meal, I do appreciate the fact that all dishes are already prepared at Island Delight, making it possible to enjoy your meal at lunch, rather than spending it waiting for it to be cooked. This also eliminates the need to call your order in and ensure your dish is piping hot when you pick it up.
Most dishes come in regular or large portion, your choice. You don’t need the large unless you want to save it for later or you can put it away like that, I don’t know your life ;). I know I was nice and full after my regular size curry goat, festival and potato salad. The potato salad is so creamy and you can tell that it is home made by the potato chunks. It also had peas in it, which was really good.
Since this is the only Caribbean cuisine option available in Montgomery, I don’t know that it serves a purpose to give it a score from one to ten or to compare it to other Caribbean food I have had. Considering the time and energy I would have to spend making these dishes at home, I say this is well worth it. The food is flavorful and obviously made with love, the people are nice, the atmosphere is unique and cozy, the clientele is diverse and the price is right. What’s not to love?
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