If you’ve ever found yourself at a loss as to which restaurant to visit for good food in San Ignacio Belize, we’ve got you covered!
San Ignacio, the other half of the “Twin Town” duo, separated from Santa Elena by a river and connected by two bridges has become somewhat of the culinary capital of the district and infact of Belize, boasting some of the best and high rated restaurants in the area. The diversity and styles of cuisine are almost enough to make your head spin, and for those of you who need a little guidance, in no particular order, are the best places to grab a good bite to eat in San Ignacio Belize.
Pops, open between 6:30 am and 3:00pm has been a breakfast lover’s paradise for the better part of the last two decades. The newly renovated Pops sits on the far end of West Street aptly named Far West Street and has itself become a landmark of San Ignacio, the praise given to Pops isn’t given (nor taken) lightly as their all day breakfast menu and killer coffee and OJ attract tourists and keep locals returning over and over again.
The menu here can’t be described as anything other than perfect, not only the composition but the execution; Pops serves Waffles, pancakes, eggs, sausage, fruit, oats, burritos, all breakfast themed with the freshest ingredients and a precise attention to detail. The combination of American style breakfasts made with Belizean flair is always done expertly and having your meal delivered to you by Pops himself (for whom the restaurant has its name) is a real treat in the morning, or afternoon because they serve breakfast all day. One cannot say “we stayed in San Ignacio” without having made a stop at Pops for fry jacks and beans.
For those of you who want pancakes at night rumor has it that Pop’s may start opening their doors at night – Anonymous source (Don’t quote us on that…)
Nestled near the heart of town, a hop and skip away from the center intersection and hidden behind a curve rests Erva’s. Some would describe it as unassuming, or “no frills” but the best term would be homely, Erva’s is known and loved for their down home cooking style meals. If Belizean dishes weren’t all already comfort food, Erva’s has ensured it now all is. If you’re going to be praised for your mastery as Belizean food you’d better know what’s up when it comes to Rice and Beans, and Erva’s with the stewed pork is top notch and an undeniable favorite there.
Some may think, “Good Rice and Beans… okay then”, and to you who say that fear not for this place has your fix; Erva’s burritos are palette-pleasingly massive and the coconut rice with shrimp bolsters their menu with that classic Caribbean taste we’ve all grown to love from them. Even though Erva’s is hidden away it lies among enough San Ignacio landmarks which make it surprisingly easy to find, and find them you should.
Kicking it off as the new kid on the block, Crave House of Flavors. Brain child and creation of Chef Alejandro, Crave is food art’s home in San Ignacio, the close personal feel of the seating is well punctuated by Alejandro’s kitchen being a part of the visual experience, situated in the front, seen as one enters it’s a delight to see your order being prepared with a smile by the Chef and his staff. Situated around the corner or down the street from everything that we call “downtown” and being beside The Ice-cream Shoppe makes getting lost on your way here a situational impossibility.
The day to day menu has a select number of dishes, and there’s always a new special to try all with unique names and an emphasis on fresh grown, picked and prepared ingredients. The interior furnishings are well thought out and creatively presented, from the picnic bench out front to the solid wood family dining table inside made from a singular cut of tree-trunk leave no room to doubt the attention to detail put in by the proprietor of this cozy little kitchen. There isn’t much more to say about Crave other than try it, there will be no regrets.
In case you haven’t noticed, you don’t need to leave downtown to get your foodie fix, Cenaidas is another wonderful San Ignacio eatery that specializes in really good food, exactly that, great food. Situated around the corner from Ervas, a little up the way from pops this street side dining hall is sure to be quite the delight if you decide to stop by. While the day to day menu might not be anything radical or remarkably different, the real call of this place is their daily special; with dishes like parmesan chicken, which is breaded chicken breast lightly fried and smothered ina creamy cheesy parmesan sauce and served with a green salad and their Smokey grilled pork chops served with your choice of sides every day can be a treat.
The holiday themed meals served there are amazing and well thought out, if you in town on November 1 the holiday themed meals served there are amazing and well thought out, if you in town on November 1st their Finados (Belizean Dia de los Muertos) their mestizo buffet sampler is one for the books, serving up tamales, maja blanca (a rice based dessert) ixpaxa (a traditional mayan corn porridge), candied pumpkins and more is a definite treat and something that not many would experience otherwise.
A veritable new-comer to the culinary scene of San Ignacio, Caoba makes its home on the intersection of two of the most trafficked motorways in town. Sporting itself as a Bar and Grill, Caoba specializes in ribs, steaks, wings and drinks; this is a nice place for a casual meal with friends or after a long day out and about and want to take it easy and watch traffic roll by. Caoba, in earnest struggled with its image and reviews near its inception but has since then refined itself and is worth another try for anyone who had been there before.
Their signature Caoba steak and rack of ribs are two of the outstanding favorites of this remarkably chill restaurant. The establishment has gone through a number of face-lifts as of late and now their outdoor patio is a wonderful option for night time dining to watch the world pass you by.
The Guava Limb Restaurant Café (Restaurant of the Year 2015)
The Guava Limb Restaurant & Café on the outskirts of downtown San Ignacio is a gardened oasis cleverly masked as an old style colonial age wooden house. Walking through the gate opens up into a beautifully kept and thoughtfully decorated lawn and seating area which gently leads into a branched path upstairs to the veranda seating or down into the recently added Dug-out lounge and bar area slightly further in. The Limb as it’s endearingly known specializes in organic international cuisine borrowing influence from Asian, Middle Eastern, North American and of course Caribbean flavors, the key word is borrowed, as the chefs in the kitchen at The Limb are talented individuals with wonderfully wild imaginations.
This little café has earned the local residents’ and international seals of approval time and time again even being crowned Best Restaurant of 2015 by the Belize Tourism Board. Their daily specials ranging from Vegan Lasagna all the way to braised lamb and rabbit dishes, prompting visitors from all corners of Belize sometimes driving for the day cross country just to eat there. Guava Limb has an impressively expansive menu from home grown salads (most of the greens and veggies used by the restaurant are grown at Chaa Creek’s Maya Farm) to Italian style thin crust pizzas, decadent burgers, and Lebanese hummus platters to Asian Gado Gado there’s a taste of everywhere all here making Guava Limb an unmissable culinary experience.
If we may add one more accolade for this “green” restaurant, it is ranked as #1 restaurant on TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Restaurant in San Ignacio Belize.
Ko’ox Han Nah Restaurant
Another iconic San Ignacio establishment, the name Ko’ox Han Nah literally means “let’s go eat”, and when your plate is set in front of you, boy will you want to! The menu at Hanna’s (for short) is an interesting mix of Indian dishes and Belizean staples, how many other places can you get a plate of Indian curry and Belizean rice and beans on the same bill? The face of Hannah’s, the physical building face is rather unassuming, and would be easily missed as an establishment if not for the bright blue sign, inside the ambience is as well, simple and quaint but the no-frills look of this place lull you into comfort only to have you dazzled by the flavors packed in their food.
Like most of the entrees on this list, Hannah’s is centrally located, just down from the police station and banks on Burns avenue, a street still considered to be the “main” road in and through town, Hannah’s is one of the main-stays of San Ignacio cuisine and is, as everything on this list, a total must try.
Honorable San Ignacio mentions:
Mincho’s & Mickey’s
While not the same business and certainly not full-service restaurants, Mincho’s and Mickey’s seem to be two sides of the same coin, both fast food joints and adjacent to one another. Many would be inclined to wonder how one survives over the other or how loyalties aren’t developed to one. Even though they share the same space, and in a couple cases the same dishes they both have their signature items exclusive to each that set them apart from one another, and make it indeed unfair to compare them. Mincho’s serves Latin American fast food (think salbutes, empanadas, burritos, fried tacos and the like), all made to order and served hot off the stove for your enjoyment with the option to accompany it with one of their many fresh juices (the coconut water or watermelon juice is a must try!).
Mickeys on the other hand try their hands, and succeed well, at Belizean style breakfast foods; they serve journey cakes (johhny cakes? No one knows at this point anymore) cut in half while hot and lined with butter, beans, ham and cheese. Their indian tacos are an interesting take on what can only be imagined as a flour based Mexican Sope, served as a single, topped with beans, chicken cheese, some veggies, cream and salsas, utterly unique in town and their breakfast burrito is a behemoth stuffed with scrambled eggs, beans, cheese and bacon. One can truly see why no one or the other can be disregarded as a fast food staple in San Ignacio and could even be called defining in terms of breakfast culture in town.
If you think we missed more Best Restaurants in San Ignacio Belize, please leave your comment below with your suggestions and we will review them for possible additions to this blog! 🙂
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