I don't think I would be alone in saying La Coquille is one my favorite lunch restaurants in all of Haiti. It was Pascale Monnin who first suggested i go there maybe 9 years ago. I was visiting her gallery and starving and she said just walk down there. What a treat it was to discover this little gem. I like to get there early around noon and have a glass of fresh Cherry juice. It is brought out frothy and tart. They serve the juice with a hand painted sugar bowl with raw sugar that doesn't dissolve it sinks to the bottom. When you sip your drink you have to put the straw to the bottom and sip in a few grains of crunchy sugar that plays with the tart sour of the cherries beautifully in your mouth. I like to sit around and make a few calls in their open air courtyard while I wait for the food to come out. The ambiance is really nice with little hut like structures and hand painted murals, chairs, and tableware. On a nice day its a great place to sit in the shade and enjoy the caribbean air.
La Coquille is a lunch buffet, so when the food comes out everyone gets up from their table and heads to the dining area inside where they have about 20 tubs of food fresh out of the cooker. They have fresh griot, poul ak saus, deri, saus pwa, banan pezi, akra, lam frit, fresh steamed legum, and these delicately shredded picklies that are perfectly spiced. If you bring a big appetite you can go back for seconds but don't be surprised if you find new tubs now with cabrit, rice and beans, pwason, and other amazing little treats. If you are a vegetarian like Bee is, this is also a great place to go. You don't have to fill your plate with meat, but if you are a carnivore like me no one will judge you if you fill your plate up with healthy portions of griot fresh out the fryer.
I rarely miss a chance to dine at La Coquille. The food is fresh and authentically Haitian. In Petionville there is a fair amount of variety in food popping up everywhere. Haitians are getting into wings and pizza, hamburgers, steaks, and pastas, but there is nothing like the traditional Haitian food. I've been a fan of Anthony Bourdain for a long time, and I saw one visit to Haiti he did for his show where he kind of bashed Haitian food, calling it not that interesting or complex. Then I do recall seeing him eating said food off a street vendor in a Styrofoam box. I eat like that a lot in Haiti, breakfast spaghetti, beans and rice with saus, and banan pezi, and that is authentic Haitian food, but there is no comparing that kind of "authentic Haitian cooking" to sitting down in La Coquille to eat a bottomless pit of some of the finest examples of the country's dietary delights. I can't help but think if Anthony had only eaten here, he would spoken very differently about my favorite food on earth. Next time you are in town, don't miss it.