Rasta Pasta derived its name from fusing traditional Italian and Caribbean dishes but it's the Jamaican side of the restaurant that has taken off as Kensington Market locals know to come here for their fill of homemade jerk chicken and pork.
The restaurant spans two side-by-side take-out spaces on Kensington Avenue. Though the menu (and name) boasts a variety of pasta, due to time constraints and the overriding popularity of the Jamaican dishes, both sides serve up mainly Jamaican dishes, with the Italian side showing only in the form of panini and the occasional meat or veggie lasagna.
The most popular grilled panini, The Vatican ($6), comes filled with homemade jerk chicken and coleslaw. The sandwich tastes fresh and full of flavour, probably because the chicken marinates for 2 full days.
The 'Jamaican Mi Crazy Chicken' ($6-10) is jerk chicken served with rice, beans and coleslaw, and I'm surprised how generous the portions are considering how cheap the price is.
The Portland jerk pork ($6-10) is served with rice, beans and steamed veggies. While my allegiances will always lie with the chicken, the pork is very flavourful and perfectly tender.
Also on the menu is Dutch pot oxtail ($10-12), goat curry ($8-10) and ackee and codfish ($10-12).
Both sides of the restaurant have a relaxed atmosphere. You can often find the owners working on either side of the restaurant, scooping out food from the storefront counters.
With only two small tables, Rasta Pasta is definitely made for quick take-out, but expect a line if you're dropping in during a lunch rush.
Photos by Hector Vasquez.