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A stack of filled Jamaican patties cut open to reveal their filling on a wooden counter
Jamaican patties at Simply Wholesome in Windsor Hills.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

7 delicious Jamaican patties for a taste of the island in L.A.

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The Jamaican patty, a cherished comfort food, offers savory and spicy island flavors in every bite. The pastry is most commonly enjoyed as a quick pick-me-up or light meal and eaten directly from a paper bag. The best patties are bursting with flavor and served hot from the oven. Traditionally, turmeric and/or curry powder give the crust its signature golden hue, a flaky texture is a must, and the filling is an aromatic mix of beef (or other preferred option) that’s enhanced by Scotch bonnet pepper, thyme and other herbs.

The delicious fusion of spices and flavor lead back to Cornwall, England’s signature dish: the pasty, a pocket of dough filled with diced beef and vegetables. Thanks to the influences of African and East Indian communities in Jamaica during the 17th century, the English dish was reimagined into the savory baked good we know today. Fast-forward hundreds of years and the patties remain deeply rooted in Jamaican heritage — and an assertion of cultural pride for many Jamaican bakers who’ve left the island and created a life abroad.

Your best bet when craving a patty in Los Angeles is to start in the neighborhoods with the largest populations of Jamaican people — Baldwin Hills, Leimert Park, Inglewood, Long Beach. Jamaican restaurants that serve patties and other cultural staples such as jerk chicken, curry goat with rice and peas, and ackee and salt fish, are important sites of community gathering. They connect Jamaican people to one another, offer a thoughtful entry point into Black Caribbean cuisines and for decades have provided a lifeline to Jamaicans in L.A. seeking a connection to back home through familiar cultural fare.

What’s available here won’t be identical to the same glorious, flaky pastries that are plentiful on the island from places like Juici Patties, Tastee Patties, Mothers and Devon House Bakery — and that’s OK. In South L.A. and beyond, you’ll find a variety of options: wheat-crusted, soy-free vegan patties, the tried-and-true classic beef patty, remixed soft-crust patties with a famous vegan dipping sauce. Over in Sherman Oaks you’ll find a lengthy menu from a chef who’s been serving the community for more than 40 years.

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Here, we’ve rounded up seven of our favorite places to enjoy a patty in Los Angeles — for meat eaters, pescatarians and vegans. This is how Los Angeles is doing the Jamaican patty.

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A Jamaican patty from Natraliart Jamaican Restaurant.
(Natraliart Jamaican Restaurant)

Natraliart Jamaican Restaurant & Market

Arlington Heights Jamaican $
For more than three decades, Natraliart Jamaican Restaurant & Market, known casually as “Jucys,” has been a go-to destination for Jamaican food in Los Angeles. The patties are reliably delicious: golden, flaky (expect crumbs if you’re eating in the car) and packed with a flavorful mix of meat (beef, chicken) or veggies — and with just the right amount of spice. You can dine in or get takeout as many regulars do. Elevate your patty experience by ordering a Jamaican ginger beer or cream soda to go with it. While waiting for your food, do some exploring in the adjoining grocery store. It offers a selection of meats and snacks sure to liven up any kitchen and help you feel connected to the island on your next cooking adventure. Think dried red herring, Scotch bonnet peppers, preseasoned goat and oxtail, Buss Me Jaw candies, water crackers and Shirley biscuits.
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Jamaican patties from the Original Coley's.
(The Original Coley’s)

The Original Coley's

Sherman Oaks Jamaican $
The Original Coley’s, and its various locations over the years, has been a popular gathering space for Jamaicans in Los Angeles since head chef and founder Don Coley opened the restaurant in 1982. The menu includes patties with beef, cheesy beef, veggies, jerk chicken and curry chicken — all baked in-house daily. The meat fillings are seasoned and marinated for 24 hours for maximum tastiness, coco bread is offered and cheese can be added to any filling when ordering. Enjoy the patty with a homemade soursop, sorrel, Irish Moss or pineapple ginger drink in the casual dining space, in the outdoor seating area or with takeout service. Bonus: If you want to enjoy a Coley’s patty whenever a craving strikes, frozen patties are sold by the dozen. Holiday jerk turkeys are offered in November.
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Jamaican patties from Blessed Tropical Jamaican Cuisine.
(Blessed Tropical Jamaican Cuisine)

Blessed Tropical Jamaican Cuisine

Inglewood Jamaican $
This cafeteria-style gem, owned by Robert Smith and helmed by head chef Shawn Weir, quickly demonstrates why it’s amassed a loyal rotation of returning customers. The lived-in exterior, scattered photos of beloved Jamaican artists like Bob Marley and vibrant Rasta-colored walls carry a familiar charm: less emphasis on aesthetics but all the right attentiveness to consistently serving up delicious classics. As you work your way through the menu, the beef and curried chicken patties are a must-try. Seating is available inside, although most patrons opt for takeout.
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Exterior of Baba's Vegan Cafe.
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles Times)

Baba's Vegan Cafe

Chesterfield Square Pan African Vegan $
For more than a decade, Baba Wo’se Kofi, or “the Patty Man,” has served the Leimert Park community and the broader L.A. area plant-based food that’s equal parts nutritious and delicious. At the bricks-and-mortar location in South L.A., Kofi’s signature patties shine among the selection of soy-free homestyle-cooked vegan meals. The popular plant-based patties have a wheat crust and come in options such as purple cabbage, mixed veggies, potato, sweet yams and walnut beef. A welcoming vibe and artistic flair flows through the space, which includes indoor and outdoor seating. You may stop by for a patty but don’t be surprised if the appetizing selection entices you to try a couple of additional things from the menu. The cafe also hosts open mic performances on Saturdays, Monday cooking classes and occasionally Saturday yoga and jewelry-making workshops.
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Three Jamaican patties -- filled with spinach, jerk chicken and curry chicken -- from Simply Wholesome.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Simply Wholesome

View Park-Windsor Hills Health food Caribbean Vegetarian $$
Certain experiences in the city are like an L.A. christening or rite of passage, and visiting Simply Wholesome is definitely on that list. The restaurant and health food store has been a beloved community staple and social space since its opening in 1984 and remains a shining star of Black L.A. Rather than focusing on re-creating “the most authentic Jamaican patty,” the restaurant inside the neighborhood market prioritizes taste and nutrition, creating a remixed version of the pastry. There’s a nice variety of fillings to choose from, but the jerk chicken, shrimp and crab, and spinach patties are popular standouts — especially when paired with the spicy vegan dipping sauce. A visit is the perfect opportunity to slow down, soak in the atmosphere, and enjoy a drink from the extensive smoothie and juice menu. Indoor dining or outside patio seating are both great options.
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Jamaican patties from Hungry Joe's Burgers & Jamaican Restaurant.
(Hungry Joe’s Burgers & Jamaican Restaurant)

Hungry Joe's Burgers & Jamaican Restaurant

Inglewood Jamaican $
It’s not often you see Jamaican food and burgers offered in the same spot, but it’s all part of the culinary journey of head chef and owner Wilton Distin, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Pamela. What started as an Inglewood burger joint in June 2000 (its jerk burgers were a smash hit and regularly used for Inglewood School District catering) has since evolved into a go-to destination for Jamaican cuisine. Visitors can choose from an extensive range of patties: beef is the fan favorite, but there’s also cheesy beef, chicken, curry chicken, jerk chicken, curry shrimp, fish, cabbage and spinach.

Hungry Joe’s prides itself on friendly service and a fully stocked menu from opening to closing in an effort to push back against the stereotype of the “unfriendly Jamaican restaurant that’s out of everything.” Whether you’re the first customer at opening or coming in shortly before closing, you can enjoy a patty or other menu mainstays like the widely popular oxtail, fried chicken, stew peas and the porridge and soup of the day.
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Country Style Jamaican Restaurant

Inglewood Jamaican $
What you see is what you get: a no-frills restaurant serving up a harmonious blend of Jamaican spices and flavors. And the portions are generous! The patties come filled with chicken, vegetables or beef and pair perfectly with a pineapple-ginger juice or sorrel (a sweet hibiscus drink). The restaurant offers only carry-out service currently.
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