I will preface this post by saying, no matter where you go for a bite around town, you will not have a bad meal. Honestly! Placencia is too small of a place with too much competition for cooks to get complacent or for lousy restaurants to succeed. Anywhere you pick you will likely be happy with; from humble taco stands to fancy resort restaurants, the Placencia food scene is decidedly solid. That said, here are my top choices on where to eat in Placencia during your vacation.
I send all our guests here their first night. It is easy to find (just follow the sound of Reggae music up the beach’s sidewalk til you spot this colorful beach bar) and sets the perfect vacation vibes tone to ease you in to holiday mode while you sip a tropical cocktail and slip your toes in to the sand. The menu is the most extensive on the peninsula so there’s something for everyone. The staff is great and the crowd is an even mix of locals and vacationers. My favorite dish in the jalapeño chicken enchilada grande with a watermelon wind to wash it down.
Doyle’s Smoke Yaad
Belizean BBQ done right, every time. Top tour guide, Doyle Gardner, opened this little bbq joint in his yard during the country’s covid shutdown and it was an instant hit among locals. Truly a family affair, Doyle’s mom and aunties all help prepare food and serve here. Doyle is clearly from a long line of fantastic cooks and his smoked fish and meats are top notch. Bring your own beverages and claim a picnic table or hammock and spend awhile chatting with friends over smoked brisket, pulled pork, grilled lobster, and the best potato salad I’ve had in a long time.
Bet you didn’t except to find real Italian Gelato in a little Central American seaside village, but here it is! The best in Belize; people from elsewhere in the country make a pilgrimage to Placencia specifically to get this treat. Classic French vanilla is my favorite but try the Soursop or Tropical Mix from local ingredients.
Breakfast, lunch, or dinner- you’ll always eat well at Wendy’s. Big, comfortable seating inside and out. Menu standouts are the Belizean Breakfast (stew chicken, creamy refried beans, and fluffy fry jacks) and the Creole Lobster (rich but not too heavy, a slam dunk of a meal and always beautifully presented).
The place for seafood. Omar’s does all the seafood dishes and does them right. Whatever the catch is that day is what is cooked- snapper, conch, lobster, grouper, barracuda, crab, hogfish. My favorite is the snook fillet in lime butter sauce and the restraunt is BYOB.
Maya Beach Bistro
Not technically in Placencia but the Bistro HAS to make the list because it is arguably the best restaurant in the country- consistently great food, always good service and value, beachfront dining and relaxed ambience. If we’re picking last meals, I could die happy after their decadent lobster grilled cheese and the luscious peanut brittle ice-cream cake. The $9 ceviche during Happy Hour is a steal of a deal.
Hobbs Brewing is the peninsula’s own craft brewery and the Brew Barge is their flagship pub/ restaurant. Located just north of the airstrip, on a massive barge in the lagoon, they’ve converted this behemoth in to a hip and fun place to dine and hang out over a few of their original beer creations. Get your friends together for a game of volleyball or horseshoe then sling back an IPA and their stellar Charlie Noble Wings
SmoQiz BBQ Bistro
Cute new place right on the Tipsy Strip sidewalk. Finger-licking ribs, cornbread, and sometimes mac and cheese. Right in the action, this is a perfect spot for people watching too.
On the road, across from the soccer field and upstairs from Tutti Frutti, Rick’s is a popular spot for pizza, pasta, sandwiches and salads. They also make a mean margarita but what I love most about this place is Rick’s witty Facebook posts about what he and his dog, Sweetie, do on their down time from running the restaurant.
Little Wine Bar
The cutest little hangout in the village- I’m obsessed with this place! Fun, funky, comfy, cool. The Little Wine Bar is a must-visit when you come to Placencia. They have charcuterie plates on offer; choose from a rotating selection of Belizean meats, cheeses, and local accoutrements such as chutneys and dried tropical fruit. It’s the perfect place to pass an hour over a glass of wine and light nibbles. On occasion, this place draws a late-night crowd of revelers who will take turns wearing wigs and playing board games the bar provides.