On the back side of Ambergris Caye , you’ll find a few fast-food and local eateries offering the cheapest burritos, rice and beans, and stew chicken dishes on the island. El Fogón (Trigger Fish St., tel. 501/206-2121, closed Sun., US$4–6) is an authentic family-style eatery serving home-cooked Creole and mestizo dishes in a small, shaded space. Tucked toward the back side of the island, just north of the airstrip, it won’t let you down.
On the beach side, Estel’s (on the beach behind Atlantic Bank, tel. 501/226-2019, 6 a.m.–5 p.m. Wed.–Mon.) is relaxed, and the breakfast menu is perfect (US$7 for a breakfast burrito). The rest of the day, Estel’s is good for ribs, barbecue, burgers, seafood, and sangria happy hours.
Ruby’s (Front. St.) has pastries and coffee early in the morning. Other reputable spots are Ambergris Delights (Front. St.) and Celi’s Deli (Hicaco Ave., tel. 501/226-0346). Mickey’s Place (on Tarpon St., tel. 501/226-2223, open for all three meals with breaks in between) is home of the huge Wednesday burrito for US$6; Mickey’s has an ample menu of local fare, especially seafood and conch fritters, and offers a bit more ambience than the other Belizean places.
For top-notch Latin Caribbean cuisine, Wild Mango’s (sandwiched between Ruby’s Hotel and the library on the beach, tel. 501/226-2859, noon–3 p.m. and 6–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., US$12–20) serves amazing versions of local favorites (ceviche, fish tacos, quesadillas, etc., around US$12) prepared by one of Belize’s most distinguished chefs, Amy Knox; you cannot go wrong here, from Mango’s Mongo Burrito to seafood specials, to rum-glazed bacon shrimp (US$16–24).
Celi’s Restaurant (tel. 501/226-2014, 6 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, US$7–17), at San Pedro Holiday Hotel, delivers icy piña coladas and some of the best conch ceviche on the island, plus a full menu, of course. It’s been locally owned for many years.
For fun, sandy-floored ambience, try Elvi’s Kitchen (on the corner of Middle St. and Ambergris St., tel. 501/226-2176, 11 a.m.–10 p.m., closed Sun., entrées US$10–40), open since 1974. The seafood specials, such as Maya fish, are especially good, and both the conch fritters and frozen key lime pie are locally famous. There’s live music on Thursday and a Maya buffet Friday (US$25 pp).
High-end-yet-casual, Caliente (in Spindrift Hotel on Front St., tel. 501/226-2170, 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Tues.–Sun.) offers creative Mexican and seafood on an open porch or waterfront dining room. They’re famous for the lime soup at lunch (good for hangovers, only US$4.50) and generous lobster dinners and other entrées (US$12–22).
South of town, Blue Iguana Grille is upstairs at Crazy Canuck’s, with nice ocean views, and it offers lunch sandwiches and dinners starting at US$16.