Watts for Dinner: Authentic Haitian flavor in Golden Gate

Will Watts

In the mood for Haitian food? I certainly was. And I had never eaten it before. And per usual, Naples provides.

More:‘Watts for Dinner’: Zen Asian BBQ offers fun, fusion and fulfillment

This week’s dining adventure took me to a strip mall in Golden Gate for what I can only guess was a very authentic experience. What am I basing it upon? It appeared as if I might have been the only non-Haitian in the place. But you know what they say about assumptions.

Fried fish from Hi Lands, Golden Gate

It’s called Hi Lands. No, that’s not a typo. Hi Lands. Not Highlands.  

I ordered the Tasso Beouf or Haitian fried beef. This dish packs a robust flavor. Flank steak is marinated in garlic, peppers, scallions, citrus juices and spices before being fried. My entrée was served with fried plantains, a spicy slaw and Haitian black rice.

More:Looking for a place to eat in Naples?


More:Looking for a place to eat on Marco Island?

Haitian black rice should not be confused with the black rice grains. This black rice is a traditional Haitian rice dish that is made by using black mushrooms; native to the northern part of Haiti. Considered a delicacy, when boiled, they release a gray-black coloring, giving this recipe and many others a distinctive aroma, flavor and color. This rice is usually served with a meat or fish dish.

It was a huge bowl of rice and I ate every last grain. The dish features lima beans, garlic, onion and thyme sprigs.

Tasso Beouf (aka Haitian fried beef) from Hi Lands, Golden Gate.

My partner in dine had the same sides, but for his main entrée, he ordered the fried fish. As you can tell from the picture, it came to the table still looking like a fish. And the taste was incredible. Marinated in lime juice, salt, ground spices, peppers, garlic, thyme and parsley, every bite was taste filled.

If you want a mini-food vacation, filled with marinated goodness, head for the Hi Lands.

More:‘Watts for Dinner’: If you want great tacos – Taqueria San Julian

More:‘Watts for Dinner’: Dry-rubbed perfection at the Black Eyed Pig

This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food.

If you go

Hi Lands Restaurant

  • 4963 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples
  • 239-352-9771