Since its construction began about two years ago, the opening of Tropical Flava on Ingleside Avenue has been much anticipated. Now that’s it’s open, customers who enjoy Caribbean food will find it was worth the wait.
We had a party of six, so we asked if we could order a few different entrees and sides and just share.
While we waited for the food, we tried the handmade juices in cucumber and watermelon. The watermelon was fantastic -- sweet and refreshing. The cucumber was equally refreshing but a little too sweet for our tasters. At $5.75 and $5.25 each, respectively, they were a little expensive unless you know you like them, so ask for a taste first. Other flavors include pineapple and fruit punch.
Our host brought us Jamaican beef patties, little empanadas with spicy ground beef inside. All of us wanted to eat the last one but were too polite, so we split the last piece into enough for all of us to share. We also had plantains, both green and ripe. I prefer the texture of the ripe ones that caramelize when they are fried, but it’s just a personal preference.
As much as we enjoyed our appetizers, we were ready for the main event. Our first dishes were braised oxtail and curried goat. Both were tender with no chewiness at all, and had obviously been marinated for at least a few hours. They each cost about $14.
Our next entree was my favorite new Jamaican dish: escovitched fish. This whole red snapper is pan fried -- tail, teeth and all -- and topped with marinated red bell peppers, carrots and onions. The sweet vinegar of the vegetables balances perfectly with the light frying of the fish and makes for a surprisingly light dish.
Finally, we had chicken, both jerked and curried, at about $10 each. Just like the other dishes, we had plenty to share. The jerked was not too hot but could be made hotter on request. The curried chicken was similar to the curried goat, with enough sauce to keep it moist and flavorful.
Our sides of stir fried veggies and red beans and rice were fine, but the flavor served as more of a counter for the main dishes rather than standing on their own.
They also have homemade cakes for dessert, but we were too stuffed to even think about those.
Our dinner for five wasn’t cheap, but neither was it exorbitant. We had wonderful service, great company and a relaxing atmosphere, with great food to boot. Tropical Flava will be a popular place once the crowds realize it’s now open.
Address: 2396 Ingleside Ave., Macon
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: Yes
Noise Level: Low
Health Rating: 100
Price range: $7.25-$23.95
Rating: 3.5 stars