Belize’s rich cultural diversity gives our country a unique position in the culinary market. New flavors arise from the infusion of all these different spices and great ingredients from the different cultures. Discovering these new flavors is what makes us so attractive to visitors who come to experience Belize. With so much influence from all these cultural groups, there is never a shortage of “UnBelizeable” food in our great country.
Ambergris Today has given me the great opportunity to sample some of the best eateries on the island. I’ve been around the block when it comes to dining and sampling great Belizean cuisine here in San Pedro, yet there is still a whole lot more exploring to do. After going through all the great food we have enjoyed so far, here is Ambergris Today’s Top 10 Island Dishes in San Pedro. Make sure you make dates to go try them out. I promise, you will not be disappointed.
Ambergris Today's Top 10 Island Dishes
1. Mayan Buffet – Elvi’s Kitchen
Dine like Mayan Royalty at Elvi’s Kitchen at their Mayan Buffet. Quite inarguably it is the best and only of its kind on Ambergris Caye. Not one dish, but the entire buffet highlights the top of our list. “Feasting” on the buffet, I was reminded why Elvi’s Kitchen is top notch when it comes to culinary excellence. The Mayan Buffet is just that – a Feast, fit for a king. The taste is simply amazing and out of this world.
In an effort to keep the Mayan cuisine and dishes alive, the management of Eivi’s Kitchen has devised a Mayan Feast, consisting of numerous traditional Mayan dishes. Let’s begin - On the buffet table is Pork Pibil, Tamales, Shrimp Tostadas, Chaya Rice, Steamed Vegetables, Fruit Salad, Pollo Tikin Xic (marinated with sour orange & Mayan spices, grilled to perfection), Fish Fillet, Sopa de Lima (Lime Soup), Pico de Gallo and Guacamole.
And the Mayan Buffet is never the same every week. It continues to evolve as the food is prepared in different ways, the soups vary and even the desserts change. Explore Elvi’s Mayan Buffet every Friday for dinner!
2. Stuffed Pork Tenderloin – The Aquarium, Tranquility Bay Resort
The Aquarium Restaurant at Tranquility Bay is a pleasant surprise! Located over the water and superbly close to the Great Barrier Reef, you can enjoy the tranquil surroundings of the resort amongst the wild and untamed marine life as you dine. Topping my picks was the Stuffed Pork Tenderloin: totally juicy tenderloin filled with flavors and slowly roasted. The robust flavor of the filling gives your taste buds some tickling.
3. Budin Azteca – Wild Mango’s
Endlessly creative is the perfect way to describe Chef Amy Knox’s menu. Wild Mango’s innovative flavors are a true testament of the diverse flavors in Belize. She has dreamt of food that is uniquely fantastic definitely not ‘Mexican’, but Mexican influenced. The menu’s dishes reflect Amy’s distinctive Caribbean and Latin Influences as well as her classic culinary training.
The Budin Azteca is a superb Mexican version of lasagna with layers of tortillas, beans, sautéed veggies, mole negro, cheese and garlic white sauce. This was served with a side salad with chile-raisin vinaigrette. WOW; a vegetarian dish, but nothing short of flavorful and delicious.
4. Char-Grilled Peppercorn Filet Mignon – Mambo, Matachica
Mambo Restaurant is definitely one of the top restaurants on Ambergris Caye. The chef at Mambo prepares daily exquisite contemporary dishes for a menu that is influenced with an Italian and Mediterranean flare. It’s an international menu that contains a variety of homemade pastas, breads and fresh spices and herbs that come from their own organic garden.
One taste of their Char-grilled Peppercorn Filet Mignon and you are in heaven. It's a thick juicy cut of meat, perfectly char-grilled, that is served with potato and roast garlic puree and caramelized balsamic onions, drizzled with red pepper coulis and basil oil.
5. Red Ginger Combo – Red Ginger, The Phoenix
Dinner at Red Ginger is highlighted with pastas, seafood, and excellent chicken, pork and beef platters. Try the Red Ginger Combo with includes a grilled shrimp skewer and grouper fillet in a citrus beurre blanc with mashed potatoes and gingered broccoli. The mashed potatoes are some of the best I’ve had and both the shrimp and grouper are very tender in the citrus sauce.
6. 14oz Angus New York Strip – La Palmilla, Victoria House
La Palmilla Restaurant that is renowned to be one of the best in the region. Ironically, we see it as a casual dining experience in a classy restaurant. We find it best to say that the food is definitely first rate, the décor is simple, but classy and comfortably sophisticated; and the staff is superb and nothing short of exceptional.
Ask for the 14oz Angus New York Strip; it’s char-grilled and served with cauliflower puree, sautéed julienne vegetables and blue cheese butter. Who does not like a perfectly cooked piece of meat – tender, juicy and perfect!
7. Pineapple Boat – Pineapples, Ramon’s Village
Ramon’s Village boasts its own superb restaurant and the Pineapple Boat is its signature dish! Scrumptious Oriental fried rice loaded with chunks of sweet and delicious fresh pineapple and succulent grilled shrimp served in an authentic pineapple boat, topped with crispy fried rice noodles. Complimenting it perfectly, this dish is served with our spicy Pineapple Explosion salad. After just one bite, you’ll understand how this exceptional combination got its name!
8. Shrimp and Lobster Stuffed Chicken – Aji
Have you ever had chicken breast stuffed with lobster and shrimp? If you have not, then you have to try this menu item at Aji. The stuffed chicken is breaded and then baked, drizzled with a rich pesto, served with homemade mashed potatoes and a side of garden salad. The mashed potatoes rock in this dish!
9. Bar-B-Que Ribs - Estel’s Dine by the Sea
YEAH! BBQ Ribs! Over the years Charles has perfected his meat tenderizing and grilling techniques, making for one GREAT BBQ platter. Estel’s has just about everything on the grill – Ribs, Spicy BBQ Wings, Italian Sausage, Pork Chops and Chicken - Juicy, Tender, Finger-licking, mouth-watering, eye-rolling, lip-smacking, toe-curling delicious. Yes, it’s that good! These came with potato salad, fries, onion rings and rice with beans. Not your typical platter, but you can always ask for what you are craving for and combine it into one plate.
10. Burrito – Waruguma Restaurant
A burrito, made for two (or for ‘one’ up to the challenge) lay smothered with perfectly stewed (lobster, shrimp, beef, chicken, pork) chucks and drizzled with juices from the stew. Inside, even more of your favorite ingredient mixed with rice. Totally delightful, best burritos!