Check out these 10 street stands, fancy hotel bistros and bakeries to get your grub on across this tropical Belizean peninsula.
For a small village with essentially one main road and a boardwalk, the food scene in Placencia, Belize is nothing to sniff at.
From cheap roadside bites to lauded eateries, there is plenty to peruse, starting with these ten highlights:
Maya Beach Bistro
One of the country’s most well-known restaurants, this eatery, housed at Maya Beach Hotel, is about a 30-minute cab ride from the village’s center, but worth the trek. If you’ve got heavy pockets, you should just stay here. It’s beautiful and quaint; a lux experience without opting for a cheesy, corporate high rise. If you’re a little closer to my brand of travel, consider a day trip here as a splurge. Brunch is superb, and as long as the hotel isn’t too busy, the staff will let you use the facilities (pool, beach, hammocks on the pier) for the price of your meal.
Find Maya Beach Bistro here.
This humble outdoor stand with a handful of picnic tables for seating and styrofoam containers standing in for plates might boast some of the village’s best grub. The fried chicken — marinated overnight and cooked to crispy perfection — is not to be missed. The housemate bitters, served at room temperature, by the ounce, are also excellent.
Find Mr. Que here.
This Placencia Rd. stand serves up simple but good food, such as salutes, and sits at the center of a solid hub for affordable street food.
Find Carmen’s Kitchen here.
Above Ground Coffee House
Operating kind of like a town square, the lower deck of this coffee shop is the place to run into your neighbors or meet newcomers in town. The coffee, sourced from Guatemala, is excellent, as are the fresh juices and the New York-style bagels. If you’ve got your laptop, this is the ideal spot to get some work done, with a host of nooks and crannies to tuck into, and strong WiFi.
Find Above Ground here.
One of the village’s best restaurants, and a local favorite, this is a must-stop for seafood dishes and curries. They offer a handful of cocktails that extend beyond the typical rum-and-coke, too.
Find Dawn’s Grill here.
Looking for the cheapest lunch in town? This nameless stand, along Placencia road near Driftwood Cafe and Dawn’s Grill offers huge, meaty, flavorful tamales for just $1.50 USD. Take them to the beach at your own risk. These rich, banana leaf-wrapped treats filled featuring an entire leg of chicken meat are a force to be reckoned with.
Find the Tamale stand just beyond Dawn’s grill here.
The Little Wine Bar
Yes, your motivations for hitting this loft-like space might understandably be the village’s best selection of vino. But don’t underestimate the food options, including freshly baked bread, roasted garlic and delightful accompaniments such as red pepper spread and tapenade to go along with the array of meats and cheeses. Dinner, done. The blasted AC is swell, but the owner Jana is the true breath of fresh air.
Find The Little Wine Bar here.
Omar’s Creole Grub
There is no doubt that for the prices, the portion sizes are among the smallest in town. But the staff at Omar’s certainly knows what they’re doing, expertly whipping up coconut broths and curries for fish and shrimp.
Find Omar’s here.
If it’s something sweet you’re craving, journey down back roads to this little cafe that touts lemon pie, cupcakes, brownies and more, depending on the day and the pastry chef’s mood. Don’t get there too late — they run out. A lovely spot for breakfast, also.
Find Merl’s Cafe here.
If you’re bound here in the morning, expect a line; half the village comes here to java up. But this shop is equally worth a mid-afternoon visit for an iced coffee or one of their famous seaweed shakes, featuring almost two dozen flavors, the likes of malted chocolate and “Spicy Toad” (tamarind and lime with Mayan Red Burn Pepper) among them.
Find Brewed Awakenings here.