Contrary to most opinions on Haiti, in particular Port-au-Prince, it is not a land of contrasts. Instead, Haiti’s capital is a mélange (mixture). It’s a city of overcrowded storefronts and industrious people. The streets are often filthy, and the churches grandiose and immaculate. While priceless artwork spills out of galleries for want of adequate space to display its value, countless vendors occupy the streets selling everything you never needed. None of these are actually opposites or contrasts, but they do represent the mixture of elements that one finds in the capital, defining the particular flavor of Port-au-Prince.
Quartier Latin is set within that Port-au-Prince mélange style. It’s a moderately high-end restaurant that once sat squarely across from a sprawling tent city. It’s a Dutch-owned Latin-infused establishment that serves the best Bloody Marys in the country. Most importantly, it is the place to go to for Sunday brunch.
While Quartier Latin is an ideal restaurant any day and for any meal (I also recommend stopping by for their Indonesian dinner buffets), Sunday brunch is a favorite. Perhaps this is cheating a bit, as that Sunday brunch anywhere is always pursued with fond memory. It is perhaps the most relaxing way to begin the end of the weekend. In truth, one does not ask for much during brunch. Good service, a few staple menu items such as hearty omelettes, and an excess amount of natural lighting. Quartier Latin delivers all that and more. The outdoor portion of the restaurant is shaded beautifully by trees tall and inconspicuous enough that they seem to be part of the walls, allowing ample sunlight to splash amongst the tables. The service is as friendly as you’ll find in Haiti, with waiters and waitresses patient enough to sit through your stumbling Kreyol or French, or who will simply smile and read you the day’s specials in English. All of these facets are mere bonuses compared to the food on offer.
Brunch at Quartier Latin is not just what you’d expect, it’s what you’d want. The daily menu offers a variety of egg dishes (benedict seems to be the kitchen favorite, but any style is available) along with a refreshing selection of crepes, bagels, fruits, and smoked salmon. Of course, this being brunch, the menu also offers heavier fare, including burgers and sandwiches (salads for the vegetarians), all plated with enough substance to satiate any appetite. If these options are not enough, brunch includes a a set of daily specials, invitingly written on a chalkboard, carried from table to table. My suggestion? Try the soupe de giraumon (pumpkin soup).
As for drinks, the most necessary of accompaniments to any brunch endeavor, the Bloody Mary has no peers. I, myself, go for the more subtle rum sour, though a traditional mimosa is also available.
Truthfully, it doesn’t matter what you order for brunch. Quartier Latin centers itself on being a gathering place for good friends, and it is with good friends I suggest you enjoy the meal.