Friday, February 23, 2007

Lima's Café Haiti Celebrates Its 45th Birthday

While there are many cafés in Lima, perhaps none is as emblematic as the Café Haiti, which first opened its doors on February 23, 1962.

Overlooking the main park in Miraflores, the Café Haiti has welcomed politicians, writers, artists, tourists, and local residents who have been flocking there for almost half a century in search of quality coffee and good food and drinks, served in a welcoming atmosphere.

I'm sure it would be hard to find anyone who is someone in Lima who has not been to the Café Haiti at least once.

I have my own ritual related to the Café Haiti. During the last ten years I have been traveling regularly to Lima, my first stop after settling into my hotel is this cozy café, where I always eat my first meal in Peru: lomo saltado (which I wash down with one of their excellent pisco sours).

This is where I go to people watch and catch up on the latest local news.

The Café Haiti might not be the cheapest place in town, nor the most trendy or fashionable café, yet there is something familiar and inviting about the place. The service is always impeccable. The location is superb. Simply put, the Café Haiti is the grande dame of Lima cafés.

Most of the waiters have worked there a lifetime, and they've seen it all.

Discretion is a must in their profession.

During the the darkest of the Sendero Luminoso years, a bomb exploded in what had been a Chinese restaurant above the Café Haiti. And during the days of rampant street crime, a type of harness had to be installed on the chairs at the sidewalk tables so visitors could lock in their purses and backpacks.

Fortunately, those days are gone, and despite those difficult times, the Café Haiti survived, an oasis of sorts, welcoming visitors, and tempting them with their good food, good coffee, great service, and even better drinks.

The last time I was in Lima, I learned the current owner is Italian, and doing research for this post, I learned that Lima's Café Haiti was originally an off-shoot of a similarly-named café in Santiago.

Up till now, all I've needed to know about the Café Haiti is that it is always a place where I can simply relax, enjoy my food and drink, and watch the world go by. It is one of my favorite places in Lima.

Source: RPP.

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TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana


Charles C Stirk Jr said...

Thanks for the post Café Haiti has all ways been a favorite places in Lima .....

::Alejandro:: said...

Hey Chuck, you're absolutely right. Glad to see you around here!