Irie Jamaican Restaurant vs. The Breadfruit Authentic Jamaican Grill
We're no expert when it comes to Jamaican patties, but we love, love, love them anyway. We're talking about the crispy little meat pies filled with goodies like spicy ground beef, fish or vegetables. Jamaican patties are found in Jamaica, of course, and throughout parts of the Caribbean as well as at a few extra special restaurants here in the Valley of the Sun.
In One Corner: Irie Jamaican Restaurant
2010 E. Broadway Road
You could almost drive by Irie Jamaican Restaurant without realizing there's a business there. It's an unassuming building on Broadway in South Phoenix. Inside, the lights are off and there's a row of unplugged video games in the back of the dining room. Reggae music is playing a little too loud and a few Jamaican flags are on the wall. The vibe is ultra-laid back and the spot feels like a hang-out more than a restaurant.
There's a hand-written menu on a wipe board next to the cash-only counter. The Jamaican beef patties are pre-made and sitting under warming lights. They're two bucks a pop and served in a brown paper bag.
"It's got a slow burn," said our dining companion a few bites into his patty. Orange flakes of crust dusted his chin. "It's spicy but not too spicy. It doesn't bring me to my knees in tears."
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The patties were delicious. The meat stuffing was gooey and flavored with curries and other spices. They were a little bit greasy but that made them taste even better. All that was lacking was a Red Stripe. In the Other Corner: The Breadfruit
108 E. Pierce Street
The Breadfruit is an adorable newish restaurant downtown with interiors painted in bright greens and yellows and local art on the walls. The reggae music there isn't as loud as at Irie Jamaican Restaurant which is more conducive to dining conversation.
They serve two styles of Jamaican patties, spiced tilapia and seasoned spinach. They're made to order, and the menu warns the wait will be 15 minutes. For our two patties, we waited more like twenty minutes, which seemed a little excessive. The upside is that you know the patties are fresh.
"That's good stuff," our friend said, when he finally bit into the patties. They were certainly lighter than the patties at Irie Jamaican Restaurant. The tilapia had a lovely peppery spice and the spinach tasted wholesome but good at the same time.
The patties at Breadfruit were excellent and undoubtedly healthier, but something was lost along the way. They were almost too precious for their own good and we longed for the greasy flakes from the other place.
The Verdict: Irie Jamaican Restaurant
If you're looking for a relaxed meal over a glass of wine, then by all means head to The Breadfruit (they're BYOB). But if you want a yummy, greasy Jamaican beef patty that you can grab to-go during a lunch hour, go to Irie Jamaican Restaurant.