"There are no palm trees. It looks like a typical Caribbean restaurant. Like home, not the beach," says Petra Laptiste, a Canadian of Caribbean descent, describing her favorite Caribbean restaurant in Tokyo, JamRock (1-21-15 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-3478-2364; www.jamrockcafeonline.com).

JamRock doesn't peddle hackneyed images of Caribbean life (no Bob Marley posters on the wall); it specializes in authentic, home-style Jamaican cooking. Case in point: The most popular item on the menu isn't that tourist favorite, jerk chicken; it's oxtail and butter beans.

Jamaican expat Yvonne Goldson opened JamRock in 2010, after retiring from her job as a legal secretary (she's been in Tokyo for 17 years). The menu, she explains, is a list of "all the things I eat." It includes ackee and salt fish (ackee is Jamaica's national fruit; the salt fish is dried codfish) and ital stew (a rich and creamy vegetarian stew made with coconut milk). Her personal favorite — if she absolutely has to choose — is escoveitch fish (fried fish pickled in vinegar and spices).