We have been going to Ambergris Caye every year except 1 since '92. We don't go in for adventure travel anymore, mostly we just hang around the condo and relax and eat in some really good restaurants. I see people asking about the places to eat in AC, so I thought I would do a quick review of the ones I got to visit this time down (Jan 23-Feb 13, especially because I have watched (tasted) the restaurants in AC go from functional and good,in '92, to in some cases spectacular. In no particular order:
Estels: This was one of the first places we found when we went looking for lunch the second time we went down. The fishburger is our standard lunch, chased by a Belikin or two. Great service, nice place to sit out on the patio and watch the kids run by to and fro at lunch.
Reef Restaurant: We had the special:Lobster tail, conch,shrimp,fish fillet, rice and slaw. $50BZ and we shared it. With an appetizer, the one plate was enough for the two of us. Great service, great ambiance.
Casa Picasso: I ate here by myself as my husband had a cold. I sat in a screened in dining room and watched the last flights of the evening take off over a huge canna in the yard behind the building. As darkness fell ghekos appeared on the screens. Three tapas were enough for my meal, and with two glasses of excellent wine, coffee and a brandy my bill came to $100BZ. Excellent and unobtrusive service. You won't eat here every night, but it is sure worth the trip for a real treat.
Mangos: I had two lunches and took one dinner home from here. A small restaurant, right on the beach, the food is spectacular, great blending of flavours. The taste of the Cuban bean soup I had for lunch still lingers in my mind.This restaurant begs Belikin Beer to be served with every meal. First Class service.
Elvi's Kitchen: This restaurant was in San Pedro when we first got there in '92. We had dinner there, but had not returned until this year. We stopped in for the Mayan Feast on Friday night. All I can say is to make sure you go to this dinner with a big appetite. It was delicious, expecially the Pipil Pork. This will definitely be a Friday night stop next year. Good Service.
Taste of Thailand: The first Thai restaurant I have been to where they actually mean it when they say "mild". I am used to being given a choice of"heat"with my spices, and I love the taste of Thai food, but my northern tongue cannot take the heat or fully enjoy the spices when "mild" leaves me gasping for a beer. You really can pick your level of heat here. This food I really enjoyed and there was plenty left over for breakfast. Small room, excellent service.
Naked Fish: Really nice place to sit and watch the fellows clean fish, and the pelicans pick at the scraps. Lovely wood. We had a nice lunch there,but would somebody please explain to the wait staff that you put the fries on the plate just before you take it out to the customer, not before you start building the sandwich. Cold French Fries just don't make it. However I will definitely give them another chance because it is a beautiful place to sit and watch the world go by.
Wine Devine: not really a restaurant, more and upscale deli. But oh, what a deli. European Cheese, Pates, crackers, salamis, and really good wines. Not inexpensive, but a good place to buy a few treats to keep in the fridge at home.
Ali Baba: I used to buy a chicken and cook it at home if we wanted to stay in. But why bother when you have Ali just down the alley, and the chicken is $15BZ. Great chicken, beautifully seasoned, take it home and eat with fingers. He also has Vegetarian, Shrimp, Lamb Kabobs, hummous and tabouli. The lamb was tender and delicious, the salads home made, a change from the boxed ones we get here. Take a look at lunch time, there is a traffic jam in the alley, people picking up lunch. Eat in or take out.
Blue Waters Grill:We live fairly close to this establishment. Great value for your money, I think. Quite often I order two appys and my husband orders a main. This is plenty for the two of us. Sometimes even enough for leftovers to take home. Well run, excellent service.
And if you want to give your wallet a rest and your soul a boost, Friday and/or Saturday night the Lions serve 1/4 larger chicken, slaw, beans, tortilla for $7.00BZ. You can buy a drink while you wait for your dinner from their bar, or eat in the patio. It is kitty corner from Fidos. All profits to the Lions good works.
A note about costs. If you like wine with dinner as we do since some really good wines started showing up in San Pedro, you will double (at least) your cost of your meal. If you stick with Belikin Beer, or water, and keep your drinking to home or a bar, you can save a few bucks. These restaurants are all worth a visit.
And one more point: If you are staying in a hotel and have a maid to clean up your room: many of these ladies are paying up to $600 BZ to keep their kids in school(this is the cost for private school as there is not enough room in the public school for all the kids.) Please keep this in mind when you leave your tip at the end of your stay.