The idea behind Palatino Jamaican Restaurant is to unite Miami through island-style food. With Bob Marley on the soundtrack and inspirational quotes on the wall, this seems possible when you bite into a patty enveloped in soft golden pastry or gnaw a jerk chicken wing to the bone.
Haitian-born owner Nadine Patrice came to Miami from Port-au-Prince as a child with her family (her dad was a government administrator), and went on to Saarland University in Germany, where she had a brother-in-law.
She hoped to become a translator for the United Nations, but became involved with Operation Green Leaves, a nonprofit dedicated to reforesting Haiti. At a local event, she met the man who became her husband, chef Ian “Slim” Curti, who is originally from Kingston, Jamaica. They took over a former Latin restaurant in Wynwood a few months ago made it Caribbean.
Start the day here with ackee (a fruit resembling scrambled eggs) sautéed with bits of salt fish or cheese grits with sausage.
Meals are mains. Try Montego Bay shrimp in jerk spices with sprigs of thyme on a bed of bell peppers and onions or the veggie plate that includes rice and beans, stewed callaloo (the elephant-ear-shaped greens of the taro plant) and salad with puffy coco bread.
There’s also slow-cooked oxtails, curry goat, brown stew chicken, jerk pork crusted in a mixture of allspice and hot peppers and Trinidadian roti for wrapping around Caribbean curries with a side of fried plantain or yuca.
To satisfy a sweet tooth, get frozen hot chocolate or ice cream in flavors such as rum raisin, coconut joy or mango.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who can be reached at email@example.com.