Let’s Go, South Florida: Find one of the best-kept secrets of the Caribbean – a Haitian martini – at Alberte’s in Oakland Park

South Florida Sun Sentinel

May 20, 2021 10:23 AM

This week Let’s Go, South Florida host Arlene Borenstein experiences the soul-soothing Haitian food of Alberte’s Restaurant in Oakland Park.

We are lucky in South Florida, the flavors of the Caribbean often come to us.

It’s as easy as setting your GPS to Oakland Park where Alberte’s restaurant will take your taste buds to Haiti as quickly as you can say pikliz (Haiti’s spicy, pickled vegetable relish).

“We specialize in Haitian food and every single meal we have has a Haitian touch whether it’s from Jamaica, or even from over here, like the oxtail or the jerk chicken,” said Alberte’s manager Evenel St-vil.

St-vil has worked his way up the ranks, joining the restaurant in 2017, one year after arriving in the United States from Haiti where he was born.

“The taste of the food is something that customers who come here, they will never forget it,” said St-vil. “Once they come here and they taste our food they can go to other restaurants, but they still remember, there is an image that’s in their mind: I’ve been to Alberte’s and I tasted that food and I have to go back to get it.”

Alberte’s has been located next door to Funky Buddha Brewery for five years and the restaurant carries their beer. Sometimes people hop over to Alberte’s, curious to try their Haitian food and drinks. There’s a second location in Lake Worth.

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The eatery serves national favorites including griot: a citrus marinated fried pork served crunchy on the outside, but tender on the inside. Fried goat (goat fritalle), grilled conch and epinards (island spinach) can also be selected from a hot bar of Caribbean-style food that can be served to you from behind the counter for to-go orders. Dine-in is also available. A full liquor bar offers specialty cocktails including a Haitian martini with Barbancourt, the island’s rum ($10).

This May, Haitians around the world celebrate their National Flag Day and Haitian Heritage month honoring the country’s independence from France.

Miramar is hosting a free Haitian Cultural Celebration on Saturday, May 22, at Shirley Branca Park Bandshell, 6900 Miramar Parkway. The event from 6 to 10 p.m. will feature live performances by popular Haitian band Harmonik, hip-hop cultural group We Dem Zoes, drummers Patrick Dorce & The Rara Rock Roots Band and Haitian folkloric dancer Manoucheka Luma. The event will be hosted by poet Mecca “Grimo” Marcelin. You can register here.

Together, Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties are home to the largest community of foreign-born Haitians in the United States, according to the Migration Policy Institute, many fleeing decades of political turmoil and violence, as well as the devastating earthquake that hit the country in 2010.

St-vil says for these Haitians, Alberte’s brings a sense of comfort and peace. “It’s not only a restaurant, it brings hope to what the Haitian community can do, in a beautiful country like this,” he said.

Alberte’s restaurant is at 1201 NE 38th St. in Oakland Park. Hours are 8 a.m.-9 p.m. (9:30 on Friday and Saturday). A second location is at 4595 Hypoluxo Rd #7, Lake Worth. You can also visit albertesrestaurant.com.

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