Given its size, I was somewhat surprised to discover just how many food and drink options there were on the tiny island of Caye Caulker. On an island where the motto is “go slow”, you can spend a week straight just experimenting and appreciating the many beachside grills and street side food kiosks this island hosts. Although we tried out many places (and trust me, I could write an entire book on it all), brevity is the soul of wit; so, in turn, I bring to you my “you have to eat here” list on Caye Caulker.
Jenny’s Fry Jacks
I feel like I would be doing this article an injustice if I didn’t start with my favorite spot that I visited literally every… single… morning.
Fry Jacks are a huge thing in Belize, and for good reason. They are deep fried dough, typically served with breakfast, but you can get them stuffed with any and everything; honey, ham, bacon, BEANS (there’s nothing I love more than refried beans, also a traditional Belizean breakfast side dish, to my jubilant discovery) . There is nowhere on the island that does these better than Jenny’s, this petite wheeled cart placed not so strategically on an unassuming little side road.
Coming in at a very reasonable price, for around 3.50 BZ you can enjoy a wide array of pre-concocted combinations, or build your own. Add on some Marie Sharpe’s Belizean Heat Habanero Pepper sauce and you have yourself the breakfast you never knew you needed in your life. I won’t lie… I think about these fry jacks at least once a day.
Il Pellicano Cucina Italiana
One night, we were really craving pizza; but not just a slice from a beach shack (although, needless to say, was also good here), like REAL pizza. A quick google search generated this cucina, and we headed on our way.
Note: this is not the place you roll into off of the beach. This hidden gem was absolutely stunning – the place date nights are made of. Candles lit on every table, wine service, waterfalls; I was in love.
Coming in at still a very fair price, this place has all the makings of a classic and authentic Italian ristorante. Lavish and delicious pizzas, lobster bisque, chef plates, pastas and dolci’s, oh mio! They also have a live band come out at night and place on a small stage in front of the waterfall and plant wall. I could have spent the entire night basking in its ambiance and hospitality. Bacio!
Tip: Due to its location on the center of the island, surrounded by a lot of trees and plants, bring bug spray, or cover yourself thoroughly beforehand.
This place was an absolute riot and I am so happy we discovered it. It has all the workings of a Caribbean backyard merrymaking. Classic picnic benches line the patio with string lights hanging above, the smell of barbecue pirouetting melodiously through the air, and a cooler full of beer and ice you can help yourself to whenever you please. It`s all an honor system here – when then bill comes around, they ask how many beers you grabbed throughout the night and charge accordingly. Jerk chicken is a big thing in Belize, and with so much competition, I think it deserves my badge of honor as the top of its class on the island.
A fun fact about the name – Wish Willy’s are the Kriol name for Belizean Iguanas that you`re sure to see running just about wherever.
Roy’s Blue Water Grill
Roy`s is a place that also brings a vigor of Belizean cuisine and honest hospitality. Here you will find an open air patio, fresh seafood and poultry, all infused with that classic Caribbean zest and allure. The special of the day was the Stone Crab, so understandably I had to jump on board. I was not disappointed. Complimented by roasted, rosemary potatoes, a side salad and some tangy dressing, this had to be one of my favorite, most palatable meals during my stay. Roy`s is a great option for a hearty meal in a relaxed setting, just steps from the split.
Rainbows Grill and Bar
I visited Belize in late April, which unfortunately brings about the offset of some seasonal dishes. It gets difficult to find conch, which was one thing I was very stoked about trying. Low and behold, we discovered Rainbows Grill. You can`t miss it; one because it’s right on the strip, and two well… because its rainbow.
The inside décor is charming, with high top tables and swings for seats. It also has a colorful dock that leads to a set of arches (perfect location to set up a romantic dinner for two).
The ceviche was bright, cool, fresh, and filling; a perfect mid-day pick me up from the scorching Belize sun.
Fran’s Beachside Grill
Oh Fran… Fran`s Beachside Grill is owned by a local woman named Fran and located right on the strip in a pint-size green palapa/hut type deal. There are a couple of specials each night you have to choose from. With a fair amount of tables, Fran and her girls do an impressive job to cook, serve, and clean for their patrons. A unique feature to Fran’s is the unlimited rum punch you get with every meal.
Some essential points to mention: don’t pour your own rum, do not complain about the wait time, and do not try and make substitutions, or you’ll feel Fran’s wrath. She runs a tight ship here, and she needs to with the amount of people she serves in an evening. Head over (not too hungry, as there is a wait), kick back and enjoy some rum punch to the sounds of the crashing ocean waves.
This joint is further away from the strip, so we didn’t discover it until our last day unfortunately. Bondi Bar has an airy 50/50 indoor/outdoor setting with daily specials throughout the week. We went for taco Tuesday on our last night and were not disappointed. Discounted margaritas, bottomless tacos in a cozy setting, and good music? Where do I sign?! They also have sushi Fridays which we did not get the chance to discover, although wish we had. Out of this world cocktails, friendly owners and a great atmosphere make Bondi a must-go on your Belize food bucket list.
There are just so many more places worth checking out on this island, but these had to be my personal favorites. Be daring, try places you normally wouldn’t. Even if the style of food doesn’t draw you in off the bat, the unbeatable Belizean hospitality, live music and ambiance certainly will. One thing that is indisputable on this island: you will never go hungry.