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!
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.
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!
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
St James Parish
(1 876) 953-8791