The Houseboat Grill, Montego Bay, Jamaica – Trip Report

The Houseboat Grill in Montego Bay, Jamaica – Trip Review

If you every wanted to go out for dinner one evening, especially for a seafood meal, and don’t mind the drive, you will want to read on. We had dinner at the Houseboat Grill in Montego Bay in November 2015 and it was well worth the drive.

The House Boat Grill in Montego Bay Jamaica

The House Boat Grill in Montego Bay Jamaica. Credit: The HouseBoat Grill

The restaurant is actually a converted house boat, which in and of itself, is really cool. Built in the 1970s, it was originally a nightclub and bar. It has been moored in the Bogue Lagoon in Montego Bay’s marine park since the 1980s. There isn’t a nightclub anymore. In its place is a top ranking Montego Bay restaurant, especially for seafood.

A bunch of A-list celebs have dined there. Fergie, Duchess of York, has been there. So has acclaimed film director, Spike Lee. Check out the pictures on their website.

We made reservations for about 7pm one evening. Considering that we were coming from Discovery Bay, about an hour east of the restaurant, we wanted to be sure to have reservations in case they were crowded. On arrival, they seemed adequately busy, attesting to their popularity.

The Houseboat Grill in Montego Bay Jamaica

The Houseboat Grill in Montego Bay Jamaica     Photo Credit: The House Boat Grill

You take a “ferry” over to the House Boat; but, have no fear that it is some sort of boat that you will miss. The distance you are going is only a few yards from the shore. The Ferry is an interesting way to get to the restaurant. They sound a bell on arrival of guests at the restaurant, which was kind of neat.

We sat upstairs on their open balcony and had a lovely view of the lagoon. If you look in the surrounding waters you can see fish swimming by. The view across the lagoon of the hills or mountains is beautiful. The setting is very serene and really “sells” the restaurant.

There were three of us for dinner. We got two appetizers and three entrees. For appetizers, we had the hearty beef and black bean chili soup and the lobster cake. For the main course we had shrimp and lobster linguine, grilled snapper fillet, and curried shrimp.

Grilled snapper at the Houseboat Grill in Montego Bay Jamaica

Grilled snapper at the Houseboat Grill in Montego Bay Jamaica            Photo Credit: The House Boat Grill


Curried shrimp at the Houseboat Grill in Montego Bay Jamaica

Curried shrimp at the Houseboat Grill in Montego Bay Jamaica          Photo Credit: The House Boat Grill

The food was delicious and was not overcooked, which is fairly common with Jamaican cooking. The vegetables were very fresh and just perfect.

For lobster lovers, you will be happy to know that you get to pick your own live lobster from those kept swimming below the boat and accessed through a glass opening in the floor.

The staff was very friendly. The bartender made us limeades (Jamaican lemonade) with freshly squeezed limes. Service could be a little speedier but was good overall.

The biggest testament to the food was that not only were we successfully able to convince Dave to join us at the restaurant; but,  he actually enjoyed his dinner. He hates eating out and when he does he sticks to the simplest of all dishes. He is always paranoid about getting food that is not delicious. He was impressed so that says a lot.

You can see their menu and pricing on their website. Don’t let the prices frighten you. They are in Jamaican dollars and not in US dollars. When we went, the exchange rate was JA$115: US$1. Based on our bill, this translated to about US$40 per person for the meal described above including non-alcoholic beverages. We did not find the prices out of line with similar restaurants in big cities like New York, Las Vegas, or Chicago. One nice touch is that they swipe your credit card table-side so your card is never out of your sight.

Overall, the House Boat restaurant proved to be a great place to go for a nice evening out – good service, quality food, great ambiance, and excellent views.


Just so you know …

  • If you go, plan on getting there before sunset so you can watch the sun go down and the lights from the city come on.
Sunset at the Houseboat Grill in Montego Bay Jamaica

Sunset at the Houseboat Grill in Montego Bay Jamaica.  Photo credit: Restaurant Week Jamaica

  • Happy hour is from 5:30-7pm. Dinner service is from 6-11pm.
  • There isn’t much parking so make sure you have your transportation sorted out before you go. It appears that the restaurant will arrange for taxi service for you if you ask.
  • Dress is casual so no need for a tie. Their website even says, “Come casually elegant. Heels not recommended”. Like many other nice restaurants in Jamaica, muscle or other sleeveless shirts on men are not allowed.
  • The entire island of Jamaica observes the closure of lobster season from April 1-June 30th every year. It is illegal to buy lobster during this time. Please help us help the lobster population to remain vibrant.
  • This restaurant is about an hour’s drive from Discovery Bay. You could go there for a nice evening out. Or, you could spend most of the day exploring the Montego Bay area then end the day with dinner at the HouseBoat.
  • Reservations are recommended. Call 876-979-8845 to make reservations. I wouldn’t do so by email.

Have you been to the Houseboat Grill? What was your experience? We would like to know.

‘Til next time.

Think and dream Jamaica!

Sherry & Darrell

Considering a visit to Jamaica? Contact us today for more information about, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, our boutique 8-BR ocean view Jamaica villa rental experience in beautiful Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Perfect for multi-generational families and groups.

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About the Author Sherry

Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tenis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!

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