As a newbie for Haitian food, my verdict after a visit to Agrikol was I loved it! Agrikol is a fairly new restaurant and bar locating in the Gay Village area, which serves some Haitian food with interesting cocktails. It’s also one of the few restaurants in Montreal that people start to line up outside before its opening time. If you’ve never had Haitian cuisine, I suggest that you do!
From the outside, Agrikol is like any regular households, except it’s painted in all white. The restaurant is divided into two sections: indoor and outdoor. Does it matter where you choose? Yes, because the menu is different!
My mom and I opted for indoor, because she wanted to try the plates. The menu outdoor focuses more on BBQ and I feel like it’s better for a group of 4 or more. The decor is so tropical, painted with baby blue and light orange.
There’s also a wall of alcohol for those of you who likes to grab a drink or two. I don’t drink, but as I saw from the other tables, their cocktails are the go-to!
The menu is divided into two parts: small plates, and big plates. Since it was my first time, I had absolutely no clue about Haitian food, therefore I asked for some recommendations. My mom and I started off with a small plate: griot. The pork are first fried, then braised. It kept the juice in meat, which made the meat quite tender. However, it’s a bit salty, hence the plantains on the side are perfect to tone down the flavors. I love their plantains. It’s crispy yet not greasy. It’s a bit thicker than the ones I had before, which doesn’t make it hollow after frying.
The other small plates that we had was the ceviches, which was totally different than I expected. Unlike the South American type of ceviches that I had at Ceviches, which the seafood are served in big chunks, the ceviche at Agrikol is quite small in portion, and not as many seafood as I was expected. There was a lot of onions. Nonetheless, I liked the acidity of the flavoring.
The last small bite on the table was the pate chaud, which looked like calzone or fried dumplings. The wrap was golden brown, and just like the plantains, it wasn’t oily at all. I could totally eat it with my hand.
For the fillings, there are cheese, fish, and some vegetables. It was crisp on the outside, and tongue-burning hot in the inside! The subtle cheese flavor perfectly balanced with the fishy taste.
If you sit inside, there are five big plates on the menu. Before the visit, I already had my eye on the cornbread with vegetables, but I was informed by the waitress that there’s beef in there. I was recommended to try the lambi and rice. Initially, I thought it’s lamb, due to its name, but the waitress said that it’s braised seafood. She added that if I like seafood, I’ll like it, therefore I said yes without hesitation! Verdict? I loved it! It was very flavorful as there are squid, white fish, and mussels in there. The best part (to me) was that the bell peppers weren’t too overwhelming. It looked heavy, but in fact, it was light.
The other big plate that we ordered was the cajun chicken and beans rice. I loved the rice!! It’s cooked with cashews and black beans. I thought it was the star of the dish. The chicken was tender, but I had better ones.
The ambiance is very tropical-like, and the cheerful background music made me feel like having a mini getaway.
Not only the good ambiance, the waitress was attentive and friendly too. The service was quick too. I would definitely go back to try the outdoor menu with bigger group of people!
1844 rue Amherst, Montreal