The Caribbean just brings up images of cool colors, relaxing music and a more carefree lifestyle. The tastes of the Caribbean are often infused with tropical fruits, coconuts and spices and is a nice change of pace for many people, whether they are foodies or not. If you’re looking for some island fun right here in Philadelphia, here are the top five places to enjoy Caribbean food.

Reef Restaurant And Lounge
605 S.3rd. St
Philadelphia, PA

The Reef Restaurant and Lounge is decorated in bright Caribbean colors and full of island music and tropical ambiance in an aquarium-like setting. The restaurant serves a lot of popular island themed food and drinks such as authentic ginger beer, Rum punch, ox tails, plantains, specialty mac-n-cheese and jerk chicken, of course. They are a mid-priced restaurant to appeal to more people. Reef Restaurant has weekly events including an open mic on Wednesdays and Margarita Mondays. Margarita Mondays offer up about five different margaritas for five bucks, or $6 for frozen. They also have an all-you-can-eat snow crab legs for $30 a person during different times of the month.

Ron’s Caribbean Cuisine
5726 N Broad St
Philadelphia PA 19141
(215) 924-3966

Ron’s Caribbean Cuisine is a casual simple spot for a quick bite, lunch or even dinner open 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. You can enjoy authentic and tasty Jamaican dishes such as beef patties, empanadas, oxtail and curry shrimp. Take-out is very popular, and you receive a pretty ample size container for $8. Ron’s place is always packed. This is where you go for no fuss Caribbean Cuisine.

Alma De Cuba
1623 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA.

For a fancy evening in the Caribbean you may wish to try Alma De Cuba.  This is a large three-level restaurant with large sized food portions and the entrees are on the high end at about $30-$60. You can also find plenty of options of authentic Jamaican foods to enjoy here, and can’t really go wrong with what you order. Some of their speciality items are their Mojitos and their oysters. Alma De Cuba also serves plenty of options for vegetarians.

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1141 Pine St
Philadelphia, PA.19107

Mixto serves up a lot of Caribbean and Latin flavors that match their decor. They also mix up some strong drinks. Some of the most popular item are their empanadas and jerk chicken. Mixto is also popular for their outstanding service and ability to appeal to so many people. This is also a good place to dine for vegetarian options. Prices are about $15-$35 for entrees and they also have outdoor dining.

Cuba Libre Restaurant And Bar
10 South 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA. 19106

This is an authentic Cuban restaurant where you can enjoy a wide variety Cuban food,  and also one of the largest selections of rum in Philly. Cuba Libre is very brightly colored and full of Caribbean flair to help warm you up even in the drabness of winter. The restaurant is named after the Cuban drink the Cuba Libre, which means Independent Cuba, and is a rum and coke. Cuba Libre also has nightly salsa dancing, which may be just what you need after all that rum.

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Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer in Philadelphia and the author of Little Squares with Colors: A Different way to look at autism. Her work on examiner can be found here