Today, Noelsaint prides itself on being one of a small but growing number of Metro Atlanta restaurants that specialize in Haitian cuisine.
He is quick to point out that since Haiti has lost some of the tourism enjoyed by its neighbors such as Jamaica and the Bahamas, many are unaware of its food. his goal? To “build something for Haitian society” while also introducing the kitchen for beginners.
Looking to experience Haitian food in Metro Atlanta? Check out one of these sites:
E-Long Taste the Difference. Despite debuting only a month before the pandemic stopped the world, ILounge has managed to build loyal customers who come for traditional dishes like djon djon, black rice that gets its color from mushroom mash, and joumou, a stew containing pumpkin and vegetables eaten in celebration of independence. Haiti. Osse Lessage, owner of Ilounge, said that while most of his customers are Haitian, he’s starting to see more guests trying Haitian food for the first time. “I usually ask them what kind of meat they like best,” he said, “and I can recommend their dishes that way.”
40 Dodd St. SE, Marietta. 770-627-5288, ilongetaste.com.
Jojo Freetay. A family business through and through, Jojo Fritay is run by Francois and Edith Nau and their daughter Jo. While there’s plenty on the restaurant’s extensive menu for fans of traditional Haitian food, Joe also points out a few dishes that are easy entry points for beginners, including baked pasta, cheese made with Caribbean spices, red peppers, onions and boletus, and fried meatballs that have a “flavoured” flavour. It can’t be compared to anything.”
1200 Ernest W. Barrett Parkway, Kennesaw. 678-540-2341, jojofritay.com.
Lakai Kitchen. When developing Lakai’s menu, owner Dave Noelsen—who gets help from his mother in the kitchen—wanted to give young Haitian expats a taste of what they missed from home. The result is a curated menu that serves entrées such as bull’s tail or red snapper with plantain along with the Accra dumplings made with Malanga, a root vegetable native to the tropics. The restaurant, which also has a full bar, recently began serving baked goods, including pancakes stuffed with chicken, beef or fish, and traditional Haitian cakes.
5439 Riverdale Road, Atlanta. 678-960-8700, lakayexperience.com.
Zik Kitchen & Bar. Serving “Haitian food with an American touch,” according to general manager Rudi Joseph, Zeke’s is the creation of Zeke’s Jean-Louis, a Queens, New York, Haitian native who opened his restaurant in late 2021. The menu marries traditional Caribbean ingredients With more American preparations in dishes such as plantain nachos and grout tacos, while also featuring an array of traditional offerings such as the taso dish with a choice of goat, beef or pork served with pickles, a Haitian condiment made with cabbage and carrots. Because Haitian food is already a fusion of several different types of food, Joseph said, “the Haitian public really understands fusion.” thirsty? Try a cocktail made with Barbancourt, a Haitian-made drink.
4454 S Cobb Drive, Smyrna. 678-293-5176, zekeskitchenandbar.com.
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