6 American restaurants that will transport you to the Caribbean

You don’t have to travel outside of the US to experience authentic Caribbean cuisine

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Food brings people together from all walks of life. It’s the one common ground that many can agree on — a safe space to enjoy your company and indulge in foods seasoned to perfection.

Food has an innate ability to connect us to our own history and culture, and to offer a glimpse into others as well. Caribbean food fuses West African, Indigenous and European cuisines — a delicious window into the history of the people who now call the region home.

Luckily, an international trip is no longer necessary to experience authentic Caribbean cuisine. Restaurants across the country proudly serve some of the best island food anywhere around.

Put these on your must-try lists next time you visit one of the cities below — or even when you’re staying right here at home.

90 Miles Cuban Café, Chicago

2540 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60647, 90milescubancafe.com

This Cuban hotspot offers amazing food and live entertainment to help transport you to Havana. Chef Alberto Gonzalez left Cuba behind, but he still cooks according to his grandmother’s recipes.

Featured multiple times on Food Network, 90 Miles Cuban Café is best known for its signature fricase de pollo and slow-roasted porkon. And while Cuban cuisine can be a bit meat-forward, this restaurant’s all-inclusive menu includes plenty of vegan options too.

Highland Creole Cuisine, Sommerville, MA

2 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143, highlandcreolecuisine.com

Sommerville is one of the most ethnically-diverse cities in the U.S., with more than 50 languages spoken. The town is home to large Salvadoran, Brazilian and Haitian communities. So it’s no surprise that it’s home to one of the country’s best Haitian restaurants.

Highland Creole Cuisine is laid back and friendly, and the focus of the menu is authenticity. Specialties include Tassot Cabrit (fried goat) and a crispy whole-fried red snapper.

Made in Puerto Rico, New York

26 Bruckner Blvd., The Bronx, NY 10454, madeinpuertoricosobro.com

This South Bronx favorite prides itself on serving authentic and modern dishes that have been inspired by the tropics of Puerto Rico. Entering the restaurant, you’ll be transported to the island. Once you get your food, you’ll be a fan for life.

Made in Puerto Rico serves all of the island’s most popular traditional dishes, including Trifongo — slow-roasted pork shoulder with mashed cassava, plantains and pernil asado — and Paella Puerto Rico.

Picadera, Dallas

Restaurant is a popup, so locations vary. picaderadfw.com

Picadera Latin Street Food is a popup concept from #iamnotachef Michael Conrad Tavarez. With ever changing locations, it’s a good idea to plan ahead if you want this homestyle Dominican food known for packing a ton of flavor in every bite.

The ever-changing menu includes local favorites like Dominican-style empanadas. And Tavarez isn’t afraid to mix Dominican flavors with classic American dishes — which explains why his burger and fried chicken were rated the best in town by the Dallas Observer.

Joan and Sisters, Los Angeles

3709 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90018, joanandsisters.com

This South Los Angeles hot spot is best known for its Belizean and creole food. Here, you can have oxtails for breakfast or dinner.

Joan and Sisters has been a staple in the community since 1986. On Saturdays they fire things up with live music, dancing and a true celebration of Joan and Sisters and the community. Don’t miss the traditional boil-up on the weekends: pig tail, fish and hard-boiled eggs, blended with a vinegary tomato sauce.

Tastee Spoon - Atlanta, GA

4745 Ashford Dunwoody Rd., Atlanta, GA 30338, tasteespoon.com

You don’t have to go far at all for great Caribbean food. Atlanta’s own Tastee Spoon is a must-try example of modern Caribbean fusion cuisine.

Tastee Spoon serves the “bold and distinct flavors of the Caribbean with a twist,” employing flavors and other ingredients from Western and Eastern traditions. Signature dishes include the Jamaican-style ackee and saltfish platter. Throw in some craft cocktails and some music, and you can see why this Dunwoody gem has so many dedicated fans.