Eat the Strip

Caribbean Flavours Resto-Bar

956 Merivale Rd, Ottawa, ON K1Z 7S1

August 27, 2023 5:43 PM

By: Danielle Jeffery


Caribbean Flavours Resto-Bar is a new delight in our neighbourhood, having opened less than three months ago. If you’re driving south on Merivale Road from Carling Avenue, you could blink and miss it, but the colourful sign will hopefully catch your eye.

Having lived with a lovely Haitian woman in the recent past, we had experienced some amazing home-made Haitian food, while learning about distinct Caribbean spices used to jazz up meals. This experience really grew our desire to find food of a similar calibre now that we no longer have roommate leftovers.

Naturally, when Caribbean Flavours Resto-Bar opened in our neighbourhood, we were delighted. We decided to walk over to try out their island offerings on a recent Saturday afternoon.

We were greeted by a kind gentleman with a welcoming smile who offers a seat near the window. Having some idea about what we want based on past run-ins with Haitian cuisine, we were surprised to see the menu mostly in English and needed help translating to the original Creole names. Our host, also the owne, was helpful in explaining the dishes and their original names.

Before our food came, we were served simple, yet delicious garden salads. Craving vegetables, this was a pleasant surprise.

The balsamic vinaigrette of the complimentary garden salad really hit the spot, but we had no idea what we were in store for with the main course
The balsamic vinaigrette of the complimentary garden salad really hit the spot, but we had no idea what we were in store for with the main course

I would never have known what to order with limited personal experience and, while I had had Jamaican oxtail before in my life, and must say, I was not a huge fan. But this oxtail, recommended by our host, was the most delicious meat dish I’ve had since the lamb at Chahaya Malaysia.

The Jamaican oxtail arrived with a Haitian twist
The Jamaican oxtail arrived with a Haitian twist

This dish came with rice and beans that made me feel like I was back in the Caribbean islands and the plantain was as good as when I had first tasted it 15 years ago. (I’ve had some disagreeable plantain since then.)

The oxtail came with rice, pinto beans, fried plantains and pikliz
The oxtail came with rice, pinto beans, fried plantains and pikliz

The pikliz was delicious and a little spicy and helped to round out every bite.

Pikliz is a spicy condiment in Haitian cuisine of pickled cabbage, carrots, bell peppers and Scotch bonnet peppers, often seasoned with garlic and onion and pickled in white vinegar
Pikliz is a spicy condiment in Haitian cuisine of pickled cabbage, carrots, bell peppers and Scotch bonnet peppers, often seasoned with garlic and onion and pickled in white vinegar

Ameya ordered the fried pork, also known as griot. This mouth-watering dish came with a delicious broth to dip the crisp chunks of fried meat in, a healthy amount of white rice, fried plantain and pikliz. The owner even threw in a little bit of off-menu sos pwa, a black bean gravy famous in Haiti, for us to taste as it had been one of our favourite dishes prepared by our former roommate.

Griot along with diri ak pwa wouj (red beans and rice) is considered by some to be Haiti's national dish
Griot along with diri ak pwa wouj (red beans and rice) is considered by some to be Haiti's national dish

I don’t think one bite was unsatisfying.

This was a great place to spend our lunch hour. For the two of us, before tip, we spent just over $50.

For a meal I will be thinking about for days to come—along with some leftovers to satisfy my palate—we think that’s an exceptional price.