Reggae Shack Cafe, Mon!


It’s been a while since my last post, but the restaurant sampling did not stop during my hiatus. I have for you now a review of a place with catchy radio spots and a reputation for Jamaican-style cuisine – Reggae Shack Cafe.

Located at 619 West University Avenue, Reggae Shack Cafe is at about the midpoint between UF’s campus and downtown. It’s within walking distance from both, though I wouldn’t recommend walking there during the Gainesville summer with the high temps. I was able to find good parking right in front of the place.

We passed the bar and sat at one of the tables at the back of the restaurant, seeing what the whole place looked like, and walking inside, I could imagine myself at a restaurant on one of the Caribbean islands – reggae’s playing in the background, and the walls are painted of a color reminiscent of the shell shops near the beach.

Looking at the menu, I really felt like I was in a completely new and unfamiliar place – I had never had Jamaican food, so none of the things on the menu sounded familiar. I ultimately picked the oxtail per the recommendation of my friend who joined me. For sides, it brought platains and rice and “peas”, which were beans. And to drink, I’d opted for iced tea or something generic like that, until I saw the smoothies page! There were a lot of appealing choices, but one stood out – again, as something completely different – strawberry coconut. I picked that instead.

And when it came – oh, man. I have never seen so massive a smoothie. It was so large that I drank half of it and took the other half to go (when have you ever heard of taking a drink to go?) in a large cup, which I FILLED. And that was not a bad thing – the smoothie was one of the best I’ve ever had. I could already imagine myself on a beach on a Caribbean island.

The smoothie comprised a large part of the final bill, which came out at a little over $20. But, it was very much worth it. Overall, Reggae Shack Cafe is a pretty good place to feel like you’re getting out of north central Florida and taking a quick trip to the islands. Smile, mon!

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