>> Hilltop's Jamaican Market & Restaurant | Eat the World Los Angeles

Thursday 27 February 2020

Hilltop's Jamaican Market & Restaurant


EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (12 January 2024) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here: 
On the off chance you actually come in through the front door, stepping inside feels like stepping straight into island time. The green and yellow of the Jamaican flag adorn the walls, a thatched roof service area is built at the back. A collage of Bob Marley and some beach scenes set the mood. A tourism stand, set up by VisitJamaica.com is ready to handle your vacation curiosity.

More likely than not you have entered from the parking lot in the back, past the converted metal drum used to grill jerk chicken, and through the attached market. Here you will pass hot sauces from around the Caribbean, jars of Jamaican jerk sauce, plantain chips and other packaged snacks from back home, and a few refrigerators full of ginger beer and other sweet sodas.

Hilltop's has had quite a makeover since the beginning and is now humming along in its 27th year of business. Beloved by its neighbors in Pomona, you might also find that your fellow customers have driven from parts of Los Angeles because they prefer the food here to those located nearer to their homes.

The menu is full of all the favorites, which can be purchased as meals that include Jamaican rice and peas, cabbage or spinach, festival and plantains. The "small" portion is probably already large enough for two people when it arrives, the large is more fit for a family. If this is not enough meat, they also sell 32 ounce "cups" of each.

A smaller option is a meat-only portion that is labeled as a "side." This is a bit backwards though as it comes without any sides, but regardless of the terminology is a good way to try a bit more without filling up on carbs. The side of curry goat ($8.50, above) was a good start, tender hunks that melt off the bone easily when touched.

Like most curries and stews made here, they all take time and are prepared beforehand, requiring little to no wait when ordered.

Rather than arriving dry with a squeeze bottle of jerk sauce, the side of jerk chicken ($8.50, above) comes slathered in sauce already. A puddle forms at the bottom of the bowl, ready to be dipped and dragged through for more. While this presentation may not be the preferred way for everyone, the chicken itself is undeniably delicious and well prepared.

Do not pass up the chance to grab at least one of their homemade patties, all on display in a case at the service area. They have jerk and curry flavors, but the standard beef patty ($3, below) is a traditional delight. These are probably as thin as you will find, but flaky and delicious, just the right portions of each flavor and texture.

Like any self-respecting Jamaican restaurant should, they also offer a full line of fresh juices and smoothies, as well as plenty of breakfast options even though they do not open until 11am each morning.

No big deal, we are on island time after all.

POMONA Pomona Valley
1061 E. Holt Avenue

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