Road Trip to Treasure Beach, Jamaica: Little Ochie

Little OchieContinuing our road trip, our next stop was Little Ochie. A big sign announcing the oceanside restaurant greeted us when we got there. We parked in the dirt lot as one of two cars around. By the time we left an hour later, the lot was full.

When we walked in, we were met by Dennis, the chef, who showed us what he had in the cooler. We asked if everything was fresh caught. “You don’t use Rainforest, do you?” Rainforest is a local seafood company, and we heard that beach restaurants like to pass off prepackaged frozen fish as fresh catch. Dennis laughed and told Blackie, the owner of Little Ochie, to come over. “This is a first,” he said to Blackie, telling him about our Rainforest quip. Blackie was just as amused and asked us what we know about Rainforest. I told him we’re locals, so we know the low down. We ordered a crab, snapper, and smashed, fried plantains from Dennis, then chatted with Blackie, telling him about our road trip. He eagerly gave us pointers on our map.

We sat at one of the booths outside, which, at Little Ochie, are made from fishing boats fitted with a roof and raised on stilts. The view isn’t great–the ocean looks brown and murky, and there’s a failed makeshift seawall very near the shore–but the food was excellent. The huge crab came out still in its shell, and the meat doused in the garlic sauce was delicious. The best crab dish I’ve ever had. The snapper was big, and it was cooked Helshire style; steamed and surrounded by a stew of okra, pumpkin and carrot, with a side of bammy. We took our time and ate until we were more than full. At that point, it was already 2 p.m.  There was no way we could drive to Treasure Beach, enjoy the place, and drive back home before dark. So, it was decided: We would continue our drive and spend the night. We thanked Dennis and drove off to the next leg of our adventure.