Atlanta is already the Queen of The South, it has been for decades now. However, the city at large is making some serious moves. For its denizens the grind is hard, but worthwhile to make the A-Town as bustling a metropolis as Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. One family is doing just that by infusing a little Caribbean swag into the mix of the city’s restaurant and night life. Tonight, on behalf of Kontrol Magazine I visited one of Downtown Atlanta’s jewels in restaurant form–Negril Village! This amazing restaurant is located off of North Avenue, next door to North Avenue MARTA Train Station and across from The Bank of America skyscraper. Here, it serves as a nexus for true Atlanta city life. I laughed, I mingled, but most of all dined–FINE!
Many Southern city boys are find themselves comfortable and somewhat complacent with the restaurants they frequent. Fast food is convenient and familiar, and the only real foreign food you eat comes from a food court, Taco Bell, or China Cafeteria. Sad right? Well there’s an answer to this and all you have to do is turn your senses–all five of them to the islands–and try Caribbean food. Sure, when you think of the few Caribbean restaurants in Atlanta they all appear to be holes in the wall. I assure you Negril Village is anything but that. The restaurant is beautiful inside and out, decorated with art from the West Indies, has a professional and attentive staff, and has two floors. Downstairs is primarily the dining area with a motif of fancy castle meets the islands; meanwhile the upstairs is great for mingling and hosting events. In fact just a few weeks ago ABC hosted an advanced screening party for its new comedy “black-ish.” The mood is set with adjustable lighting and popular music with reggae remixes. Eclectic and inviting, the restaurant even serves brunch in addition to lunch and dinner.
The food at Negril Village has no words to describe it. Whereas I thought I would be trying a signature dish or two from the establishment, the owner, Sim Walker, actually sat down with me and explained the “bigger story” and history of the restaurant, while having me try numerous sample sizes of the restaurant’s many dishes. To drink I had two rich cocktails, a “Painkiller,” (composed of spiced rum, coconut cream, orange juice, pineapple juice, sorrel, and nutmeg) and a Pina Colada actually served in a coconut shell with a straw! I felt like I was sitting on a beach. The only thing richer and more impressive than the food was Negril Village’s history. The Atlanta location is the third venture for Sim and his partners. Two previous restaurants, SoCo and the original Negril Village are in New York. The Atlanta based location is only six months old. It is also their first out of state venture. The original Negril Village is located in New York City off Third Street. The establishment is one of the premiere restaurants in the city frequented by stars like Rihanna and Nikki Minaj. The latter even declared it on television as the greatest spot for Caribbean food in the city!
I tried at least a dozen different dishes and combinations, but my favorite was one of the more basic dishes; curried goat with rice. I explained to Sim a previous bad experience I had with trying goat meat and he assured me would like how they prepared theirs. He was right! The flavor was zestful and immediately had my taste buds popping like Reddenbaucher! Other delectable dishes you must try there include their Lobster Burger, Red Snapper, and the Carrot Coconut Ginger soup. This last dish is exquisite. You would never imagine those three ingredients could make such a rich and addictive treat. My meal was topped off with an amazing bread pudding yet another wonderful thing I had never tried before. Needless to say I left full, happy, and planning to come back with friends in tow.
Negril Village is definitely one of the most happening spots in the city. It differs from other restaurants in the area in that it is not a club. There, you can really mingle and enjoy your night life. You control how much you turn up and turn down. Whether you just want a good meal or cocktail, or even want to have a momentous event this is where you should be. Sophisticated, chic, worldly, and cosmopolitan? Then welcome to your new favorite spot! You can learn more about Negril Village’s Atlanta location at www.negrilvillageatl.com. Be sure to park directly across the street in The Bank of America building’s parking deck!
Address: 30 North Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30308
Hours of Operation:
Lunch- Tue thru Fri 11am to 3:30pm
Brunch- Sat and Sun 11am to 4pm
Dinner- Tue thru Thur 5pm to 10pm, Fri and Sat 5pm to 11pm, Sun 4pm to 10pm