Having grown up in Arlington, TX I know just how hard it is for a new restaurant to survive. Arlington not only has more places to eat than just about any other city in the metroplex but it is dominated by popular chains. So when I heard about a new Jamaican restaurant I couldn’t wait to try it.

Jamaica Gates is already a hit with local residents and is drawing a large crowd on a regular basis. It’s easy to see why with great prices and traditional Jamaican cuisine. Lunch specials are under $10 and most dinner items are under $15.

Upon arriving I was quickly greeted and asked if this was my first visit. I said it was and the greeter immediately made me feel welcome. The atmosphere was pleasant and I enjoyed the Bob Marley music that was playing in the background. My waitress was very friendly as was the entire staff. Several employees stopped by to chat or ask me how my meal was.

Speaking of the meal, I started with fried plantains as an appetizer. At only $3.92 it was a steal. The plantains were savory and had a pleasant meaty texture to them.

My waitress made an excellent suggestion for my main course. I had the Kingston Trio. It came with my choice of three of the following meats: Rude Boy Jerk Chicken, Boston Jerk Pork, Curry Goat or Oxtails. I chose the first three. It also comes with your choice of two sides. I chose fries and the rice and peas. When it came as rice and beans it occurred to me that Jamaican’s refer to beans as peas. My waitress confirmed this for me when I asked. She brought me some gravy to try on my rice. It was really more of a sweet chicken sauce which was an excellent addition.

The jerk chicken and jerk pork were both amazing. I’m not a huge fan of curry so I didn’t enjoy the goat as much. It was cooked very well though and if you like goat and curry you will probably love this. The fries were just average.

I also found a new favorite soda. It is a popular soda from Jamaica called Ting. It is a carbonated grapefruit juice concoction. Now you may be thinking that it can’t be very good if it tastes like grapefruit juice. I was worried about that too. But I am adventurous when it comes to trying new things and it paid off big time. Now I am searching for local stores where I can buy a case or two.

Here are my tips for when you go. You have to try a bottle of Ting. If you get rice and beans (or should I say rice and peas) make sure to ask for gravy. Don’t go for the fries. Finally, ask about the coco bread. I have no idea what that is but as I was leaving I overheard some people talking about how great it was and how it always sells out really quickly. I was sad that I didn’t know about that sooner. But hey, it gives me something to look forward to the next time I go. Oh yes, there will definitely be a next time.

Location: Jamaica Gates