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Belize Restaurants

Near San Pedro
Tel: 501 226 2809

A seaside restaurant with an open patio about three miles north of San Pedro (take a water taxi), Capricorn is one of Belize's most famous eateries. Signature offerings include rosemary focaccia, medallion of filet mignon in a red wine and mushroom sauce, peel-and-eat shrimp, stone crab claws with a creamy garlic and dill dip, fresh seviche, sautéed conch, seafood crepes, and Key lime pie. There are also three air-conditioned cabanas on the beach if you'd like to stay the night. Reservations for the restaurant are a must.

Open daily 8 am to 9 pm, September through mid-June; Thursdays through Tuesdays mid-June through August.

Elvi's Kitchen
Pescador Drive
San Pedro , Ambergris Caye
Tel: 501 226 2176

Elvia Staines has come a long way since she started slinging burgers out of her home in 1974. With the help of daughter Jennie, this Ambergris native now runs one of the island's most popular restaurants: a screened-in, sandy-floored outpost with a tree growing right through the thatched roof. The dishes are local, the ingredients fresh, and the tastes tremendous. Stop by on a Friday night for the famed Mayan buffet. Aside from winning raves, dishes such as chicken mole and toro pinto (boiled corn bread with beans inside) reflect Staines's effort to keep Mayan traditions alive.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 11 am to 2 pm and 5:30 to 10 pm.

La Ceiba
Ka'ana Boutique Resort & Spa
Benque Viejo Road
San Ignacio
Tel: 501 824 3350

Overseen by a Guatemalan gourmet known as chef Manolo Castillo, this pan–Central American restaurant (where you can also get pasta and steak) relies on Ka'ana's own organic garden for produce and well-stocked cellar for accompanying wines. (The selection should already be familiar to overnight guests, all of whom are treated to an in-cellar tasting after check-in.) Whatever you eat and drink, save room for dessert: an excellent homemade gelato available in Mayan chocolate, coconut, and other local flavors.

Open daily 7 am to 9:30 pm.

Mata Chica Beach Resort
North Beach
San Pedro , Ambergris Caye
Tel: 501 220 5010

It's just as well most of the seating here is indoors, as it would be a shame to lose such good food to a stiff Caribbean breeze (a regular occurrence on this part of the island). Some of the humblest dishes at the Mata Chica hotel's restaurant are the best: The gazpacho, for example, warrants seconds. Then there are the chocolate-chip cookies, which—though unlisted on the menu—are unequivocally some of the finest in existence. Of course, the more expected seafood dishes don't disappoint either, hence the boatloads of diners who arrive from all over the island.

Open daily 6:30 to 10 pm.

Azul Resort
North Beach
San Pedro , Ambergris Caye
Tel: 501 226 4012

The appetizers at this open-air, beachside restaurant are so addictive—and so generously sized—that there's a serious risk of not getting to your main course. Two of particular note: the hummus and pita plate, which (perhaps thanks to the extra-kicky, imported zaatar) rivals anything you'd get in the Middle East; and the fried plantains taste as if they were prepared by an old Cuban woman who has spent her entire life perfecting them. Though in truth, they—like all dishes here—were prepared by the proprietor of Azul Resort: a 38-year-old ex–punk-band manager from San Francisco. Guests from across the island gladly make the boat trip over to experience the improbable alchemy for themselves.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays 12 to 2 pm and 6 to 9 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.