Belize’s culinary scene is burgeoning and Itz’ana Resort’s latest dining experience, Nadü, is a prime example of this. Our local chefs, keeping pace with global trends but remaining true to our cultural roots, are showcasing traditional offerings in innovative ways and I’m here for it! The cooking at Nadü is uber conscientious; careful planning, preparation, and presentation are cornerstones of this new sustainable dining experience. Sustainability, in fact, is the hallmark of Nadü which features a 4-course set menu that changes each night depending on what the chefs have been able to locally source that day.
I can’t call Nadü a restaurant per se, it is really a dining experience. And WHAT an experience! The name, Nadü, is a nod to the Garifuna culture of the region and in the local dialect is the word for “tree.” Set on the sand under the canopy of littoral forest and mere feet from the Caribbean Sea, Nadü is a glamorous, open-air affair with exclusive seating for a dozen or so guests at a time. It is Boho Chic with an emphasis on the chic. The menu is decided by the availability of ingredients and the chef’s creativity each day, so no two 4-course meals are ever the same. Using the traditional method of cooking, the woody scent of smoke from the fire hearth mingles in the fresh salt air with night-blooming jasmine and roasting herbs. Soft lighting and the rhythmic lapping of the sea upon the shore complete the effect for a whimsical and romantic setting.
Nadü is meeting the demands of discerning diners while being gentle on the environment. Sustainability is at the forefront of the restaurant’s ethos. Hyper-local ingredients are spotlighted and seafood features heavily on the rotating menu. Working with local fishermen from the immediate surrounding areas, Nadü’s chefs are not simply plating dinners, they’re promoting equality and uplifting communities. Sustainability in our food chain is directly linked to social responsibility as well as environmental wellness. By sourcing small batch, ethically caught seafood at fair market value from trusted local fishermen, our restaurants can have a tremendous impact on the community and a soft effect on the ecosystem.
Okay, without further ado, let’s look at what we had to eat! Remember, the menu changes daily but is always four courses and while they might theoretically be able to sustainably source a meat option (I’d guess poultry or perhaps local lamb?), it is pretty much always going to feature seafood.
The 1st Course was a flash fried Calamari that was OMG-good. Definitely not the generic, deep-fried, chewy onion-ring-like O’s that I’ve unequivocally come to think of as ‘calamari.’ No, this was delicate little slabs of squid with a fresh ocean-y taste and nice chew. The tomato and pesto sauces were a surprising accompaniment.
Next was a Chef’s Salad. Local produce dressed in a house-made citrus and berry vinaigrette. Of course! Central Belize is solidly in the Citrus Belt; I bet the oranges used to make this dressing came from no further than Alta Vista.
Our Mains! Wooooboy. Choices were shrimp or snook fillet (or lobster we were told on the down low, as there was limited quantity of lobster that day) so we chose one of each and wooow! This was the biggest and best dang snook I’ve ever had! Seriously, I love snook, its probably my favorite fish and this was the greatest plate I’ve ever eaten. The tangy butter sauce was equal parts acidic yet deep and rich (I could have sipped a whole bowl of it!). Phil’s shrimps were HUGE and so succulent. The meat was buttery all on its own, like lobster but more tender.
Dessert was either cheesecake or chocolate cake. Lovely and airy, not too sweet. Just the right finish for a delectable meal.
This is truly a special dining experience that will not disappoint. If you’re vacationing on the Peninsula and want a stunning and unique dinner showcasing local seafood- you have to try this! If you live here and are celebrating a birthday or anniversary or simply a special date-night that is sure to deliver on the romance vibes- you have to try this! If you just love gourmet food, spectacular service and beautiful settings then… you have to try this! Make a reservation through their website here or call +(501) 523-3250