Moca Café & Lounge is known for its signature taste of Haitian Creole cuisine, however it offers an array of dishes such as burgers and sirloin steaks. It’s name was cultivated by its proximity to a very cultured neighbor the North Miami Museum of Contemporary Art.
I had passed by Moca an obscene amount of times yet never bothered to give it a try. Shame on me! This time was different, I glided through the back doors and was greeted warmly by the hostess standing by the fully stocked bar. As she directed me through the room I was amazed at how spacious and functional the space is. Moca comes equip with two full bars each stocked with two flat screen tv’s—one at both the front and back entrances— a stage, and extra large booths to accommodate larger parties. The decor of Moca Café & Lounge is best described as harmonized, the earth tones used on the walls were complemented beautifully by the dark oak and black leather seating.
Being new to the world of Creole cuisine, my choice of dish could have gone safe, a choice burger or maybe chicken would’ve done the trick but that would’ve have been a serious drag! Thankfully, the team over at Moca was very gracious and made a suggestion that would make any seafood lover’s taste buds scream for joy. Chef George enlightened me with a dish called “Lambi.”
Once the dish arrived I immediately knew it was fish but at the first bite the texture felt familiar yet made me uncertain of what I was eating, but frankly it didn’t matter it was delicious! The flavor of the mystery grilled fish entangled in red and yellow peppers made me wonder and appreciate the entire dish. After trying to determine the type of sea creature being digested and failing miserably the suspense was unbearable. I had to know what this oddity was so one quick question to the waitress revealed, “It’s grilled conch,” my eyes widen, I was surprised. She informed me that everyone reacts that way, it’s one of Moca’s favored dishes served with rice and beans, gravy, fried plantains and pikliz, a spicy Haitian slaw. The portions of the dish is enough to revisit this gem, but one taste will seal the deal. The pikliz was a new yummy discovery for me the spicy slaw was refreshing and tangy and then sucker punched you with its spice. Definitely, something you’ll want to recreate at home.
Even if Creole cuisine isn’t something you have a taste for I highly suggest this restaurant, it’s worth the splurge. It’s been known to host some pretty intimate poetry readings and of course has a great dance floor.
Moca Café & Lounge
738 NE 125th St.
North Miami, FL 33161