Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fuego bar and grill, San Ignacio

In Cayo, there are two main categories of restaurant.  You have the places that cater mostly to locals, and your plate of rice and beans is $5.  Then you have the places that cater mostly to tourists, where your plate of rice and beans is $10 but it  has a garnish so it looks a bit fancier.  When I heard about a new restaurant scheduled to open in the Cayo welcome center, I got a bit excited.  This restaurant seemed more current then most  Belizean businesses:  they built hype using a facebook page, and they promised new adaptations of Belizean favorites with a focus on using fresh local produce.

excuse the low quality pics.  I was in stealth mode, trying not to embarrass my husband too much

For my birthday last week we decided to check it out.  We made reservations for 6:30, and of course were running late (Belizean time, anyone?).  Surprisingly we got a very polite phone call at promptly 6:31 asking if we were still coming.  When we walked in, the host greeted us by name (I guess no one else was late?) and escorted us to our table on the deck.  We dressed up a little, and most of the other customers also were nicely dressed. The night was absolutely lovely, and the view of the park was perfect.

The restaurant gave me some decorating ideas.  Instead of importing everything, it looks like they took materials readily available in Belize and used them in new ways.  There is a lot of zinc and colored lights, and along with the white walls and bright macro photos of the farmers market, the overall feeling was modern and fun.  The space is small but they fit a lot in.  The grill is in full view, as are the drink making stations, which is amusing to watch.

we were seated outside, so this is a wonky through-the-window pic
My husband was impressed because the waitresses use an ipod touch to take the orders :) The waitstaff was very attentive and friendly, and even though it was fairly busy service was not slow.  Anyone who has eaten at places in Belize knows how unusual this tends to be, and we really appreciated the service.

The menu definitely was adventurous.  Starters included pigtail wonton, and a dessert option was curry chocolate cake.  Everything really did include some common Belizean element though.  I started off with a cocnutz cocktail, which was a combo of coconut milk, coconut, and rum.  It was amazing.  Since I love getting corn on the stick in Chetumal, I went for the market elote for a starter.  Also really, really good.  The corn had an interesting salsa/ cheese garnish which I fully intend to try and recreate at home.

For my main course I got the special, picanha steak.  Um, wow.  The steak was grilled perfectly, with a crispy-sweet outside glaze and melt-in-your-mouth tender center.

As I'm typing this, I know that readers who have never been to Belize are a little puzzled as to why I am sooo excited about a steak dinner.  Let's just say that when you go outside the rice and beans/ bbq box, you never know what you are going to get.  I can't count the number of times I have gone to a highly recommended restaurant and been so disappointed in the quality of food.  Then I swear we aren't going to waste more money eating out, cause I could cook better at home.  Fuego exceded my expectations.   I  can't speak for touristy areas like the Cayes, but there is no other restaurant in San Ignacio that compares.  The best part is that the prices were extremely reasonable.  It wasn't all perfect-- my husband had a pasta dish, and while the pasta was freshly made, the sauce was overwhelming.   But the rest of the experience was totally worth going back for.  I'm excited to try the short-rib lasagna... and maybe the curry chocolate cake.  Highly recommended!

hours--closed mondays, 4-11pm
parking-- right behind the restaurant is the new parking lot, $2/ hour.  It is centrally located and easily walkable from downtown Cayo.
reservations-- probably a good idea.  There were a few tables open at 6:30 pm on a Saturday, but it was pretty busy
dress code-- men were wearing polos and khakis, women were wearing casual dresses or nice tops
children--  not good for those who can't sit still on their own.  Some of the tables have high stools, and it is a small space so wanderers would not be appreciated.  No children's menu.
price range-- $5-45 Bz

1 comment:

  1. that sounds great! Very impressive! You might want to go to TripAdvisor and give them a big up---people really do use that site for recommendations.


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