San Ignacio, Cayo’s Best Food Spots (2017)

san ignacio cayo

San Ignacio town, or as it’s colloquially known “Cayo“, is the ideal place to go in Belize if you are seeking adventure. This small and quaint town acts a hub for travelers in search of jungle expeditions, tours to ancient Maya cities, caves, and countless other eco-activities that get you up close to nature. What I love about San Ignacio is that you are treated to a glimpse of how diverse Belizean culture is. A great way to experience this is by strolling down Burns Avenue (the main street) and seeing how locals interact with each other, visiting the farmers’ market on Saturdays, and eating at the local restaurants and bars. Yes, food is the best way to learn a culture, and fortunately, this post is a guide to the eight best restaurants in San Ignacio, Cayo.

Related: Top things to do in San Ignacio


KO-OX HAN-NAH

My first recollection of this restaurant is passing nearby as a child and curiously looking at all the ‘Gringos’ as my stomach growled as I smelled the tantalizing food. At that time the restaurant was known as Hannah’s, it was a tourist hotspot and since my parents never ate out, I couldn’t wait to grow up and go try it! I grew up, they changed names and in high school, I finally went there for dinner – and I fell in love. Until this day it is considered the best restaurant in Cayo, however, Guava Limb Cafe, which I mention later in this article is contesting that title! Go try both and let me know your preference! www.kooxhannah.com


Mincho’s

Minchos is probably the closest thing Belize has to fast food! This hole-in-the-wall restaurant is able to sell you delicious food at ridiculously cheap prices. Their menu consists of common Belizean dishes like garnaches, panades, salbutes, and fried tacos. With $2 USD and a 5-minute wait, you can get a fresh natural juice (½ papaya ½ lime is my favourite) and food baskets filled with 3 garnaches, 3 panades and 2 salbutes. Seating is limited so try and secure a seat before ordering your food, unless you’re like most locals and don’t mind eating while standing up. www.minchosbelize.com


Erva’s Restaurant

I love that Erva’s has an open kitchen design and you can personally see Mrs. Erva cooking your meal from scratch! Since this is my hometown I might be a little biased when I say that she cooks the best rice and beans (Belize’s national dish) in Belize. My favourite thing to order is the rice and beans with fried fish (red snapper) and chunky garden salad. The meal itself isn’t anything fancy but with every bite, you can taste how fresh all the ingredients are and that ultimately pleases me in ways I can’t describe. www.ervasbelize.com


Guava Limb Cafe

San Ignacio has received a lot of new restaurants lately, leading in this scene is the Guava Limb Cafe. This restaurant is located at the end of Burns Avenue in an old colonial house that has been converted into a cool space. The restaurant is known for trying innovative recipes that are made entirely of local organic products and it seems to be working for them since they are quickly being recognized locally and internationally as one of the best restaurants in Belize. Their products are sourced from Chaa Creek’s Maya organic farm or from the Cayo farmers’ market. www.guavalimb.com


Cenaida’s Belizean Food

When I worked in downtown San Ignacio I ate lunch at this restaurant almost every day. The food is cheap, tasty and they offer large portions. This spot has a very “homey” vibe; Mrs. Cenaida and her daughter are very friendly and happily converse with you whenever possible. But to me what sticks out the most about this place is that it reminds me of my mom’s home cooking, and thus why I recommend this place. www.cenaidasbelizeanfood.com


Tollaca Smoke House

Located a bit off-the-beaten path from the normal San Ignacio food-seeking adventure, finding this place is well worth the trip. Phillip, a Belizean Canadian chef is my friend and worked in Canada for several years before being able to afford to go back to Belize and open a restaurant. While he was in Canada he perfected the art of summer barbecues and boy-oh-boy can he do some GOOD grilling. For the best steak in Belize, visit Tollaca in Santa Elena and tell him I sent you! www.tollacasmokehouse.com


Restaurante Tipico Salvadoreno

This is another restaurant that is not in downtown San Ignacio but it’s well worth the trip to Santa Elena. In fact, it is just a few minutes away from Tollaca, so maybe you can try both at the same time! Haha. Restaurante Tipico Salvadoreno specializes in Salvadorean food and does an excellent job at that. Their pupusas are really amazing and their fruit and milkshakes are beyond superb. BTW, don’t let the restaurant’s outside features deter you from trying this local food spot. www.tipicosalvadoreno.com


Pop’s Restaurant

Think American diner meets Belize. This all-day breakfast cafe has been serving American classics such as eggs and toast, pancakes, waffles and hash browns for over a decade. However, the truly best breakfast experience comes from trying Belizean favourites such as fry jacks, refried beans and Chaya (mayan spinach) eggs. If you go on the weekends you will run into local families that have been going there for years. www.pops-restaurant.com


This post is part of my How to eat like a local in Belize recommendations. Expect a series of top restaurants from each location in Belize.

 

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About Lorenzo Gonzalez

Lorenzo Gonzalez is the founder of Belizeadventure.ca, a resource for travel information on Belize. He enjoys traveling, social media and Paranda music. Contact him at lorenzo [at] belizeadventure.ca. Learn more...

13 Responses to San Ignacio, Cayo’s Best Food Spots (2017)

  1. lifeagain November 1, 2013 at 1:14 PM #

    Thanks…….i will be sure to visit each and everyone…….

  2. Pete January 31, 2014 at 11:15 AM #

    Minchos sounds perfect!

  3. camille June 30, 2015 at 10:23 AM #

    You forgot Martha’s guest house and kitchen! Wholesome and organic and all hormone free meat!

  4. Deb Wayland-Smith Garlock October 6, 2015 at 10:04 PM #

    Hoping for some help….we are flying into the San Ignacio Airstrip and are hoping to grab a bite to eat for lunch before our shuttle picks us up and take us to our hotel. Any recommendations for something quick, within walking distance to the airstrip, and authenically Belizian?

  5. Belize Adventure November 24, 2015 at 6:01 AM #

    Sorry that's a bit far from downtown San Ignacio. You'll have to make a seperate trip into town 🙂

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