If you’re craving some soul food from the islands, there is no other place than Eva’s Caribbean Kitchen. The place is on PCH, but if you blink, you’ll miss it. I know because I’ve done it on more than one occasion! The restaurant is vibrantly hued, reminiscent of the islands and its tropical vibe. It is warm, inviting and filled with enticing aromas wafting through the entire dining room.
Add to that your hostess, Eva Madray, a beautiful Guyanese lady with the warmth and heart to fill your soul, and that is even before you taste her cocktails and her incredible home-made cuisine.
The menu consists of many choices, even for those who are not apt in consuming mouth-burning spices, but it is those dishes which hurt my mouth, that I love the most.
A piping hot bowl of Callaloo Soup ($5.50 cup/$8 bowl) is exactly the way to start your meal. Here, spinach is used together with okra, and coconut milk from Trinidad. Using a clam and lobster base, the soup is seasoned with thyme, garlic, shallot and is packed with flavor. Absolutely delicious!
If you’re seriously into spicy food then Cajun Prawns ($11.75) is a must. These black tiger shrimp are marinated in lime, then dredged in a house-blended Cajun spice mix, then cooked to perfection. Even my high tolerance for heat found these a tad too much, but oh aren’t they so addicting. Even my son kept eating more. Take a bite of the accompanying grilled pineapple, roasted peppers, and passionfruit relish to cool your mouth down.
For those of you less adventurous, there is Punani Shrimp ($11.75), Eva’s version of coconut shrimp. Jumbo shrimp are seasoned and breaded with coconut, then fried to perfection. Crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Served with a sweet mango chutney, this dish is definitely reminiscent of the islands.
Aubergine Choka ($11) is right up my alley since I love eggplant in any shape or form. Here, they are flame roasted after being stuffed with garlic, then sauteed with shallots, chiles, onions and seasonings. It is served on top of toasted pita bread. So flavorful!
When it came time for entrees, we all had our choices, but allow Eva to surprise us with a special not on the menu. Secret menu Chilean Seabass ($36) is tender and topped with a tomato-based sauce. Like everything Eva does, it is so piquant but not at all spicy. Flavors pop in your mouth and makes you want for more.
If you’ve ever had anything prepared with jerk seasoning, then you are in for a surprise. I have never had anything prepared with jerk that isn’t spicy. Jerk Pork Loin ($25) is a boneless cut of pork loin marinated in dark Puerto Rican rum, garlic, and the other secret stuff, then grilled. The pork is tender and the best part is that the seasonings are infused all the way into the loin. The jerk here is not spicy at all but perfectly savory. Served with garlic mashed potatoes.
Creole Stewed Fish ($24) was another pleaser. A generous New Zealand Orange Roughy fillet is marinated in Caribbean seasonings and stewed in Eva’s Creole Voodoo sauce. It sounds spicy but it isn’t. I love how there is always enough sauce to eat with the side of rice!
You will always have a good time at Eva’s. If you love good food and enjoy a sip of something with rum, this is the place for you. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Eva’s Caribbean Kitchen
31732 Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651