A meal to remember – Restaurant review: Memorabilia – Montego Bay, Jamaica

Entrance to Memorabilia Bar and Restaurant

The entrance to Memorabilia: Montego Bay, Jamaica

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I visited Jamaica. I have so many happy memories from the time I spent in Montego Bay and Negril and while I was looking through my photos recently, I found some pictures from my visit to Memorabilia Bar and Restaurant in Mahoe Bay, Montego Bay. Just as the name of the restaurant would imply, this meal is definitely one that I will always remember – it was amazing!

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Memorabilia: a restaurant and a beach bar

According to the Exploring Jamaica blog, Memorabilia was opened over 15 years ago by Hanson Barnett, who noticed that his friends and family enjoyed relaxing on his beach-front property (I’m not surprised!) and decided to open a bar and restaurant.

As soon as you step inside Memorabilia, you can tell that the atmosphere is very relaxed and informal. In line with its name, the bar and restaurant is decked out in an endless array of memorabilia from all around the world including flags, tankards, vehicle registration plates, photos, paintings, ornaments and even stuffed animals, presumably donated by visiting tourists.

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The bar at Memorabilia, decorated with souvenirs

The dining area is fairly spacious, with mismatched tabled and chairs. I begin to wonder whether the entire venue has been crafted from items donated by tourists; it seems plausible!

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The dining area

Memorabilia also has another room that houses a pool table and a few chairs. I can imagine this being a popular place to socialise during the evening, when the bar runs a lively entertainment program popular with both locals and tourists, including a karaoke night, movie nights (screened on the beach) and ‘oldies’ nights (featuring local reggae and popular international hits).

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I guess you could call this the games room…

We visited Memorabilia for an early lunch at around 12pm and we were the only guests in the restaurant at the time, although I can imagine it gets a lot busier later on.

As soon as we arrived, we were greeted at the bar by a friendly man who turned out to be the owner. We ordered our food and drinks (just some cokes) and headed to the beach, where we found the ideal place to sit at the end of a concrete jetty stretching out into the sea, fitted with a wooden roof, balcony and plastic dining furniture.

Okay, so the tables and chairs could probably do with an upgrade, but I think Memorabilia pulls off the shabby chic-look really well! It actually injects character into the bar/restaurant and there is something quite charming about a venue that appears to be fashioned almost entirely from bric-a-brac and souvenirs.

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The ideal dining spot

The far end of the hut we are sitting in is centered by an elaborate, wooden frame which I can only assume to be from an old mirror. It makes for a lovely viewing point over the the sea, though!

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Old mirror frame or not, the view is stunning

Located on the beach, right at the water’s edge, Memorabilia offers breathtaking views over the bright blue Caribbean sea. If we stayed quiet and kept our eyes peeled, we could even spot a few blue marlin swimming around us in the water below.

Given Memorabilia’s seafront setting, it’s no surprise that the menu features a lot of seafood including lobster, crab, shrimp (that’s what Jamaicans call prawns) and conch (very popular in Jamaica), alongside a range of fresh fish.

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I could never get tired of this view

We knew exactly what we wanted to order – garlic shrimps! We had been craving them all day and I had a feeling they were going to taste really good here.

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Garlic shrimps

The garlic shrimps were served with three scoops of mashed potato and a serving of steamed veg – callaloo, onion and carrot, if I remember rightly.

The shrimps were plump and juicy and there was plenty of them, served in a delicious, buttery sauce with just the right amount of garlic in it. However, the mashed potato tasted bland and the texture was somewhat dry; I wouldn’t be surprised if it was made using instant mashed potato mix (if that wasn’t it, I think it needed a drop of milk or butter to bind it together more). I think two scoops of mashed potato would be enough for one person, although we could have done with slightly more veg. Our meals only cost around $12 each, which was pretty reasonable for shrimp.

Although there was room for improvement where the food was concerned, we had a truly unforgettable time at Memorabilia and if I was to visit Montego Bay ever again, it would be one of my first ports of call for either food or drinks. I highly recommend it to all tourists visiting Montego Bay; don’t be afraid to venture away from your resort from time-to-time, or you will miss out on the best-kept local secrets like Memorabilia. Reservations are not required, so if you’re passing by feel free to just pop in (although if you’re travelling to Memorabilia from a long distance or if you’re dining with a group, you may wish to call ahead just to be on the safe side!)

I spent almost two months in Jamaica last year, in Negril and Montego Bay. Feel free to leave a comment below if you’re planning a visit and looking for advice on things to do/the local area in general! I’d be happy to help 🙂

Memorabilia Beach Bar and Restaurant
27 Mahoe Bay
Montego Bay
St James Parish
Jamaica
(1 876) 953-8791

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21 Comments

  1. August 22, 2015 / 12:52 pm

    Wow! What a gorgeous setting for a meal. I’m not surprised it was memorable 🙂 I love the shabby chic as well xx

    • August 23, 2015 / 4:15 pm

      Thanks, glad you like it! I definitely think they manage to pull it off well 🙂

  2. August 22, 2015 / 12:56 pm

    WOW! the view from where you were sitting were amazing, so jealous, the restaurant can definitely pull of the shabby shic, shame about the potatoes

    • August 23, 2015 / 4:14 pm

      It was a shame about the mash, but didn’t ruin the meal overall. It was just so beautiful and laid back 🙂

  3. August 22, 2015 / 1:39 pm

    The mashed potato reminds me of the creamy mash we used to get at school 🙂

    What a fabulous setting for a meal, I wouldn’t have wanted to leave.

    • August 23, 2015 / 4:15 pm

      Haha yes, that’s a very good point! I know, I would’ve loved to have spent longer there.

  4. hannah
    August 22, 2015 / 5:26 pm

    I’ve never been to Jamaica, quite fancy it, looks amazing. The food looks great in the restaurant too x

    • August 23, 2015 / 4:16 pm

      I definitely recommend visiting Jamaica if you ever get the chance 🙂

  5. india
    August 22, 2015 / 7:38 pm

    Looks amazing! What a beautiful setting to enjoy a lovely meal! My mum actually loves conch chowder – We have visted the Bahamas quite a few times and they love it there too! X

    • August 23, 2015 / 4:11 pm

      Oh wow, I’d love to visit the Bahamas 🙂 I wasn’t brave enough to try conch… I’m ridiculously squeamish about seafood, lol! x

  6. August 22, 2015 / 6:56 pm

    I love relaxed dining atmospheres with an old school nostalgic feel! Did you get to try anything with jerk seasoning? Jamaican food I have had in U.S and Canada do not shy away from using jerk ! The shrimps do look delicious, it’s a shame that the potatoes didn’t work out.

    • August 22, 2015 / 7:16 pm

      It was a lovely bar/ restaurant, had a certain charm about it.

      Yes, I tried a few different jerk dishes while I was there, if you look in my posts on Jamaica you will find a post or two on jerk I think. I have also attempted making my own jerk marinade since I got back from Jamaica, also documented on the blog 🙂

  7. August 26, 2015 / 12:26 pm

    Love the seating right on the beach front. My parents had their honeymoon in Jamaica and went back for their 25th anniversary. I’d love to go sometime.

    M xx

    The CSI Girls

  8. September 2, 2015 / 11:50 am

    What an amazing place to sit and eat although like you I’m not sure whether I would have enjoyed the mash x

  9. September 2, 2015 / 12:07 pm

    What a place! The scoops if mash remind me of primary school 🙂

  10. September 2, 2015 / 12:21 pm

    Janaica is my ultimate dream holiday destination! I’d love to go one day and I’m actually mostly excited about the food! Lol.

    • September 3, 2015 / 3:45 pm

      Indeed, I’d love to go back there one day! 🙂

  11. September 4, 2015 / 9:25 am

    Great review, it looks so yummy! I love garlic shrimp and this just looks like perfection to me!

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