First off, if you are staying downtown and don't have a car, take light rail south to Columbia City station. Walk about 4 blocks east to Rainier Ave, turn right and about mid block is Island Soul. So... no excuses.
I've gotten to know the family that owns and runs Island Soul over the last few years and come as much for them as the food, though don't get me wrong the food is fantastic. The restaurant is not big and gets crowded around Happy Hour and early dinner particularly on Friday and Sat. They do not take reservations. This is a local neighborhood restaurant so you'll see lots of regulars at the bar (if you can get a seat).
Their fare is a combo of Louisianian and Jamaican, Theo, the owner grew up in Alexandria LA. The best thing for me to do is offer my favorites in no particular order though I almost always order the seafood fritters. My other favorites are the catfish, seafood gumbo, jerk chicken or ribs, cornbread, hush puppies and oxtail stew. They have quite a number of other menu items and from all accounts they are all great.
Now for the bar! If you go later in the week, Marcus should be holding forth, behind the bar. He takes great pride in his creativity and will gladly concoct something for you so be sure to ask. They have a great rum selection.
So their you have it. If you can plan ahead and be there on Fat Tuesday you,ll get music and a parade.