Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Where a local eats in Cayo District

I have issues with guidebooks and sites like Tripadvisor that review local places to eat.  The guidebook writer probably ate one meal at the reviewed restaurant, and most online reviews are written by tourists who probably eat... one meal at the restaurant.  The highest rated places to eat around here pretty much cater strictly to tourists, and the prices and food quality reflect that.  If a restaurant only has to impress you once, they don't have to try very hard.  And $9 burritos?  You have got to be joking.  I wouldn't say you can expect gourmet cooking at any of the following places (if you are looking for gourmet restaurants you are in the wrong country), but you will get decent food at decent prices.

Benque and Succotz

1.     Benny’s kitchen
      We eat here a lot, because it is the only restaurant in Succotz.  The service and quality can be inconsistent, but when you hit a good day it’s well worth it. Stick with local specials such as rice and beans, or smaller items like tostitos and burritos.  The breakfast is serve all day, and is pretty consistently good.  Juices are freshly squeezed.  Avoid the pizza and burgers. 

2.     Xu’s chinese restaurant
Chinese restaurants are legion in Belize.  Randomly, the best thing to get at any one is probably a $5 plate of fried chicken.  This comes with large section of breast or thigh along with French fries and your yearly recommended dose of sodium.

3.     Panaderia la Gracias de Dios
Right up the street from the Catholic Church in Benque.  This has serve-yourself breads, pastries, and DONUTS.  My favorites are the spicy ham and cheese pastry and the custard-filled donut.  This place is seriously cheap too.  The only problem is the baking hours are kinda random.  I’ve gone in at 10am on a weekday, and they don’t have any stock because they haven’t started the day’s baking.  Well worth checking if you are in Benque.

4.     The BBQ stand across from the Catholic Church (no name as far as I know…)
They only BBQ on Friday, Sautrday and Sunday nights.  It is consistently  the best BBQ stand in the area.  A large piece of thigh or breast + a tortilla and beans = $5bz.

San Ignacio

1.     Sanny’s Grill
This place is hard to find, it is in a residential area outside of the center of town.  The menu is more varied than what you usually see, with interesting chicken and beef dishes.  The salad is good also.  Two caveats: it is only opened after 6pm, and it has a major mosquito problem.  Wear long pants.

2.     Hot Taco
A bit of a step up from the usual taco vendors, this place is clean with freshly made food and friendly service.  The food is more Americanized, but you get plenty for really cheap prices. The chocolate chip cookies are really good too.

3.     Mr Greedy’s
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this place.  It is pretty touristy, and has a sand floor (which ick, how do you clean it?)  But they have really good calzones.  For $12, you get a huge calzone with your choice of fillings.  The salads are pretty good too.


1.     Puccini’s
This place is pricey by local standards, but worth a splurge.  I’ve had their calzones and hot subs—really good.  My favorite is the chicken bacon ranch sub.  Also, sometimes they have root beer on tap (the only place in Belize I’ve found).

2.     The Calladium
Right across from the Bus station.  I usually stick with their chicken sandwich because the menu is a bit pricey.  But the food is good, and best of all there are CLEAN bathrooms.  If you are stuck at the bus station and desperate for a bathroom, go here instead of the absolutely filthy restrooms at the station.  You’ll have to buy something, but it’s well worth it.  Avoid the lunch hour if possible, lots of government workers eat here and it gets packed.  

Spanish Lookout

Midway gas station and diner
Ok, this is totally random.  The set up is downstairs is a gas station/ fast food bar/ convenience/ hardware store.  Upstairs is a variety store (with a pretty good selection of camping equipment and musical instruments—see what I mean about random?)  Separate and through glass doors upstairs (and AIRCONDITIONED) is the restaurant.  It is head and shoulders above any other place to eat in Spanish lookout (and actually better then most places in Cayo).  Large menu, reasonable prices, and CLEAN.  Last time we were there we split a massive chicken Caesar salad and a BBQ beef sandwich.  It can look a bit crowded, but there is more seating out of view around a corner.  

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