Lobster Dave, how do I love thee? You gave me one of the best days of my life.
Lobster Dave is the name of the restaurant…well, shack with a kitchen, run by well, Dave, located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. My friend Lynn and I had the good fortune to be able to visit Lobster Dave on a cruise last year. I had read some great things about this local restaurant, mostly on cruise message boards from people looking for a non-touristy experience, and Lobster Dave did not disappoint. He lived up to the hype and then some.
Just getting to Lobster Dave is an adventure. If you’re ever in Ocho Rios, go to the Margaritaville in the tourist jail…I mean, shopping area closest to the port. Head down to the beach through the restaurant, then go to the left. You’ll see a broken down fence and some rocks in the surf. Climb over those fences and rocks and surf. There will probably be some locals around to help you out (yes they will be trying to sell you things, but tell them you’re looking for Lobster Dave and they will treat you well). It’s just a few steps from the back wall of Margaritaville.
Once you actually get there, take a seat and talk to Dave or whoever else is working the kitchen at the time. There’s no menu, you just ask — or look — to see what’s fresh (everything is, they catch it that morning). We had our hearts set on lobster, so that’s all we asked for. What we got is the photo at the top of the post: 3-4 small Caribbean lobsters (different than Maine), split, grilled and topped with garlic sauce. Plus a piece of traditional breadfruit on the side. It was one of the most delicious meals ever.
Besides seafood, Jamaica is also known for a special kind of plant…well, a weed, actually. And if you’re at all uncomfortable with a certain type of weed, then I suggest you don’t go to Lobster Dave (let alone Jamaica). We ended up getting a contact high just from sitting in the shack for an hour. Perhaps that helped make this experience so good…?
Regardless, if you’re wanting to be the next Anthony Bourdain and you’re cruising to Ocho Rios, I would highly suggest you take the time to find Lobster Dave. He was extremely hospitable. He sat down with us while we were eating and wanted to know where we were from, what we did, etc. Apparently, his young daughter lives in Milwaukee with her mother, and for a while we thought she went to the same school that Lynn’s mother teaches at. So Dave gave us some souvenirs to take back to his daughter. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same school, so we never connected with her. But if you’re reading this, Lobster Dave, we still have the shirt! E-mail me and we’ll get it to the right school!
As far as cost goes at this place, we have no idea. He didn’t want to charge us since we were doing him a favor for his daughter. We each still gave him $20 though, which was more than worth it. Once we were finished, Lobster Dave gave us a little tour of his fishing boats and nets, the shark he had caught that morning, and walked us back to the pier (so as to keep the beggar children away as we went through a non-tourist area…Sad fact of life there.)
To sum up, Lynn and I made a pact to go back to Lobster Dave’s at some point. It’s worth a special trip (and the rest of Jamaica is pretty nice, too!). Ya, mon!