Dining on a budget in Negril (Jamaica): Chicken Lavish – West End Road

After posting a photo of the fried chicken I had at Seaview Bar and Grill on my Instagram account, I received some comments from someone from New York who regularly visits Negril. He told me to keep an eye out for Chicken Lavish, a restaurant on West End Road with a fantastic reputation for its fried chicken. 
I kept my eye out for Chicken Lavish and eventually found it sitting towards the start of the West End Road, just a little further up from Seaview Bar and Grill.
Established in the 1960s, Chicken Lavish has been serving cheap Jamaican food for over 50 years. Almost everything on the menu is priced below $8, but expect to pay around $20-28 for lobster. The chicken is raised free range by the restaurant owner and available curried, fried, jerked, in brown stew or sweet and sour. Many other popular local dishes are also available including curried goat, conch soup and fresh fish.
The dining area is a modest, open concrete patio with no air conditioning besides fans, furnished with basic tables and chairs. There is quite a lot of seating space and I don’t think you would need to place a booking before coming here.
As we waited for our food we drank an ice cold Red Stripe, $4 each. Red Stripe is Jamaica’s lager/beer of choice, brewed by Desnoes and Geddes.
As we came to Chicken Lavish on a recommendation to try the fried chicken, we didn’t really need to look at the menu. We each ordered two pieces of fried chicken ($5.50) served with fries and homemade coleslaw for no extra charge. Like the fried chicken we’d had at Seaview Bar and Grill, the batter tasted fantastic, but it wasn’t as crispy as I’d hoped. It wasn’t bad, it was just a bit tough and chewy in places. 
The fries were pretty average. The coleslaw was great, although it didn’t taste the same as coleslaw as I know it in the UK; it didn’t contain much (if any) mayonnaise, consisting of shredded white cabbage and carrots in a light vinaigrette.
Our waiter was friendly and helpful, and he popped over to check that everything was okay with our meals. We were more than happy to leave him a tip, which is a customary tradition when dining out in Jamaica.
I was a little disappointed about the fried chicken. I really enjoyed the experience of finding out about Chicken Lavish on Instagram, and then hunting it down and finally getting to go there and see what all the fuss was about – I guess I had pretty high expectations – but the chicken just wasn’t anywhere near as good as it was at Seaview Bar and Grill. 
However, I would definitely return to Chicken Lavish if I was in Negril again – the meals are so cheap, I’d be tempted to work my way through the menu! 
Chicken Lavish
West End Road
(1 876) 957-4410 

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