Ambergris Cay Restaurant Tips by Bwana_Brown Top 5 Page for this destination
Ambergris Cay Restaurants: 53 reviews and 63 photos
Snapped by an American customer
On our final evening in San Pedro, we rode our rented bicycles to the mid-town area to drop them off at Joe's before his 6 PM deadline, then continued on foot to the Water Taxi office, where I bought our tickets for the morning ride to Belize City. Next up was a stop at an internet cafe next to the Jambel Jerk Pit before we decided that we had better start looking for a place to eat.
Our first stop was at Mango's (closed on a Monday) then the ever-popular BCs on the beach (no food seemed to be available there and the bar was packed with people). We continued to head south now, past the airport where we noticed Ali Baba's, a Lebanese type restaurant. This had possibilities but we continued onward to the Jade Garden Chinese restaurant we had biked past during the afternoon (did not like their menu selections), kept going south toward a Thai restaurant and stopped in at Crazy Canucks Beach Bar along the way. It too was very busy but no sign of a restaurant and there were people sitting under tents as if a function of some sort was underway. It was fully dark when we finally reached the Tastes of Thai, but we were greeted by a large sign that said FULL. Oh well, we began the slog north again, heading for Ali Baba's, but had not gone too far when a passing American on a golf cart kindly offered us a drive! It was 7 PM by the time we were ushered into Ali Baba's dining room, and it was a relief to finally sit down to order something.
Favorite Dish: We had two dishes to share - big full-sized Chicken kebabs (US$9) and a Vegetarian dish of Homus, falaful & cilantro (US$10) as well as a couple of Belikin beers (US$5 for two) and a glass of white wine (US$6). Wow, this was really great food with a lovely flavour and cooked to perfection! Both before and during the meal we enjoyed interesting conversations with an American couple from New Hampshire (not far from where we live in Canada) and a guy sitting by himself, from Texas. This guy was a character, sleeping in the most basic of shelters even though he was in Belize looking to invest US$100,000 in some property he was interested in. Later in our travels on mainland Belize, we ran into other Americans also looking for investment opportunities - it seems that Belize is starting to be 'noticed'!
As we left, we congratulated the chef on our meal, one of the best we had so far had in Belize, and this place was not even mentioned in our guide book. With a tip, the total bill came to US$35 cash, No Credit Cards accepted.
Comparison: about average
Directions: Close to the Airport, just down the street from the Tropic Air office
Theme: Middle Eastern
Caramba - on one of the few paved streets!
After our intial foray into downtown San Pedro, we were returning to our hotel along Middle Street when we walked past the 'Cocina' Caramba restaurant, with a lively 'caller' out on the sidewalk (it reminded me of Lisbon, Portugal), trying to entice customers in for a meal at 3 PM in the afternoon! We went over for a look at the menu and spoke to the man, who (we later found out) happened to be the owner, Rene Reyes. A Belizian who had moved to the island 15 years earlier from the mainland, Rene was very enthusiastic about his restaurant, so we mentioned that we liked the looks of the menu, and might be back for an evening meal in his Mexican/Caribbean speciality restaurant.
As it turned out, we spent the rest of the afternoon talking to the local woman who looked after our Hotel del Rio, and when we asked for her dinner recommendation, she mentioned the Caramba as one of her favourites. That settled it, when darkness fell, we made the short stroll back the few blocks to the Caramba, which was now really alive with people. Rene was still there greeting customers and he gave us a big smile and personally ushered us into the almost packed dining area!
Favorite Dish: Showing his flair for keeping customers happy, Rene supplied us a free Snapper Cerviche (tasty and spicy) to go with our Lighthouse Lager (US$2.50) and glass of Chardonnay (US$6) while we looked the menu over. In the end we decided to go 'Mexican', with a Grilled Veggie Fajita (US$6) and a Chicken Fajita (US$7.50), and both were excellent! It was great fun watching the busy activity as customers came and went in the warm evening air as the waiters rushed around with a huge lobster display trying to entice the customers into ordering a seafood 'special'. I get enough fresh lobster from my native Atlantic Ocean waters off Canada's east coast, so I did not have to try hard to resist that!
Address: Pescador Drive (Middle Street), San Pedro Town
Comparison: about average
Directions: Just south of the Police and Fire stations
Other Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
View of Jerry's Outdoor & Indoor seating areas
Bicycling back in the hot early afternoon sun from our unsuccessful attempt to get value out of the Banyan Bay Resort's 'time share' attack on us (see my 'Tourist Trap' tip), we soon discovered a restaurant that looked like it had something to offer us - Jerry's Crab Shack. After chaining our bicycles to a tree beside their front door, we only made it just in time, because the restaurant closes at 2 PM for an afternoon siesta, like many other restaurants on Ambergris Cay. Operated by a retired American entrepreneur for over 20 years, Jerry's was a great find for us!
Favorite Dish: To recover from the 'heat exhaustion' (hey, it works for me), we ordered two cold rum drinks, one with Lime and the other with Fruit Cocktail (US$2.50 each) while we had a closer look at the menu. This is a seafood restaurant, so we decided to continue with that theme: I had a Crab Cake Sandwich while Sue tried their Shrimp Sandwich, both served with French Fries and Coleslaw at US$6.50 apiece. It was quite an enjoyable meal, combined with a brief respite from the sun. However, with the staff waiting to close-up, we did not linger long, settling up the total bill of US$23, including a beer or two with the meal and a tip.
Address: Coconut Drive, San Pedro
Comparison: about average
Directions: The south end of San Pedro, across the street from Ramon's Village
Other Contact: email@example.com
Papi's & the Street at upper end of San Pedro
Ruth, our hotel host, had given us a lot of advice the previous afternoon on good restaurants, including Papi's Diner as a good bet for breakfast. Maybe she was just supporting the local businesses, but my 'Moon Handbook' on Belize agreed: "Papi's Diner offers cheap breakfasts and lunches, and is popular with locals. This is one of the better locally owned Caribbean joints in San Pedro, and the hike up to the north end of town is worth it..." We had not gone wrong with the Caramba the evening before, so we thought we may as well give it a try.
It was a bit after 8 AM when we arrived, and there was only one other young couple in attendance. However, the good word must have got out because it was not long before a group of older Americans arrived, and they seem to have been 'regulars', judging from their interactions with Papi.
Favorite Dish: Stephen 'Papi' Manuel is a gentleman who takes his good old time taking orders and eventually retrieving the food from the kitchen but, after all, this is the island life in Belize! We were not into eating anything major, so I ordered the 'Belizian Breakfast' of scrambled eggs & veggies, bacon, whole wheat toast and black coffee while Sue decided to have French toast and a Pineapple juice. I used the standard table bottle of Marie Sharp's Habanero Hot Sauce to liven things up a bit, and the meal was quite good and a lot cheaper than the Herbal Tribe on Caye Caulker!
Address: Along the right side of Middle Street - head north
Comparison: less expensive than average
Directions: Behind the South Seas Resort on the North side of town, A block off the water
Price: less than US$10
Lunch is Served
Our first day on Ambergris Cay took us until past 1 PM by the time we had lugged our backpacks to our hotel, checked-in and strolled back into central San Pedro for a closer look around. By then, we were starting to feel hungry and it so happened that the Jambel Jerk Pit was right at hand, directly across the street from where we had come ashore from the Water Taxi.
The inside was bright and spacious with large windows allowing a good view out onto the street, and they were also playing some great Reggae music by Bob Marley and the Wailers, so we decided this was the place for us!
Favorite Dish: I wanted something with a bit of zip to it, so ordered the Jamaican-style Coconut Curry Chicken served with coleslaw and white rice (US$7.50) while Sue kept things more conventional with a simple Grilled Cheese on Whole Wheat (US$5). A couple of Belikin beers (US$2 each) helped to set the mood as we finally began to settle in on this second leg of our Belize trip. The curry had a lot of bones in it and quite a bit of dark meat too, so I rate it as only average. With a tip, the meal came to US$24.
Address: On Front Street near central park
Comparison: about average
Directions: Directly across the street from the Water Taxi dock.
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