6 Great Haitian Restaurants In NYCWhere to get griot, lalo, patties, and more.
If fried chunks of meat and pastries filled with smoked fish sound like things you’re interested in, make your way through every Haitian restaurant on this list. (Most of them are in Brooklyn.) One of these spots feels like a party and serves plump mussels in a garlic-and-rum broth, and another has one of the best soups we've had. No matter where you go or what you order, always ask for extra pikliz.
Most of the Haitian restaurants in NYC are in Brooklyn, and one of the best in the borough is Zanmi. (There’s a location in Soho too.) This spot in Prospect Lefferts Gardens has a lot of seating, lamps hanging from the ceiling, and colorful paintings. The must-order dish here is the lobey fritay, which comes with plump beef sausage and fried goat that tastes like it’s been marinating in a pool of onions and lime juice for weeks. If you’re looking for something unique, get the plantain tower layered with cod and remoulade. This place is BYOB, and they serve brunch every day from 11am-4pm.
Things happen at a relaxing pace at Joenise, a Haitian restaurant in Crown Heights. People drop in, order some fried turkey with black rice along with a house-made juice, and decide to hang around for a while just to socialize. This place has a different menu every day, so be sure to check to see what’s available. Two of our favorite dishes are the creamed spinach-like lalo and the cow feet soup with shredded beef and dumplings. You’ll see multiple folks order a literal tub of the soup to go, and you should do the same the next time you’re in the neighborhood.
Bonbon Lakay is a cozy Park Slope spot with dance-y music that will get your blood pumping, and it’s the kind of place you really want to have in your neighborhood. It’s incredibly charming, and the food will make you want to walk back to the kitchen and personally thank the chef. The menu has nine different types of Haitian patties (oxtail, herring, and spinach, for example) as well as several riffs on griot. Go for the sandwich. It’s a pile of BBQ sauce-smothered fried pork with sweet plantains, spicy pikliz, and white sauce that’s all barely contained by a soft potato roll.
When you walk into Rebel on the corner of Stanton and Clinton, you might do one of two things: turn around immediately because you're not sure if you're in a restaurant, or start looking for someone to charge you a cover. On any given night, there's either a live band or a DJ with rainbow globe lights going every which way. It feels like a party, but that isn't the only reason why you come here. The griot is fatty and tender like it should be, and the Barbancourt mussels (our favorite dish) come in a pool of slightly spicy and garlicky broth made with Haitian rum and other secret ingredients that we couldn’t pry out of our server.
Lakou Cafe is a vegan-friendly all-day spot in Crown Heights that’s equal parts coffee shop, bakery, and Haitian restaurant. The diner-like space has a long cushioned bench and boho basket lamps, and it’s a good place to hang out for a couple of hours with your laptop and order a Haitian-spiced latte or a kava drink spiked with ginger. Get the jackfruit griot with sos pwa or the roasted chicken and onion confit sandwich on grilled bread. No matter what, order at least one patty—their version is flakier than most, and you can’t go wrong with whatever filling you choose.
Grandchamps is where you go in Bed-Stuy when you want Haitian food. We never leave here without getting the sandwich with fried pork, sweet plantains, pikliz, and remoulade. It’s sweet, fatty, spicy, and creamy. For a complete meal, order one of their plates. They come with things like fried goat, grilled whole snapper, or vegetable stew along with two sides. (One of them should be black mushroom rice.) The plant-filled casual space has art on the walls for sale, so maybe bring a painting home along with some beef and herring patties.