Finding the Maya Beach Hotel Bistro is a little tricky. After all, it doesn’t have a neon sign screaming out, “Belize’s best food!” But it does have something far better—the rave reviews of everyone who’s ever eaten a meal there.
The Maya Beach Hotel Bistro opened its doors in October 2004 after owners and managers, Jon and Ellen Lee, quit their day jobs (electrical engineering and advertising respectively) in the United States to take their first foray into the hospitality business. The restaurant started out small but, over the last seven years, has grown into one of the most popular dining destinations in Belize. The beachside location has a seating capacity of seventy people, spread out in outdoor, indoor and bar settings.
While Ellen holds down the fort in the front, Jon heads the culinary team in the kitchen. Previously, cooking was just a hobby for Jon so he’s always surprised at how much guests enjoy his culinary creations.The most ordered item on the menu is Jon’s Nut Encrusted Fillet, which is a fillet of snapper or snook coated in a mixture of peanuts and coconut and served with a watermelon curry sauce on a bed of feta mashed potatoes and spicy black beans.
Australian by birth, Jon is keen to include the freshest quality seafood into his menu. And because he also bakes all the breads served at the bistro, Jon’s “everything seed” bagels and colossal cinnamon rolls are also in high demand.
My personal favorite meal at the bistro is Jon’s Boathouse Pie. A-melt-in-your-mouth-pastry dough cover conceals a half-pound fish fillet smothered in a thick truffle and bourbon cream sauce…adventurous comfort food at its best. With items like that on the menu, it’s easy to see why the Maya Beach Hotel Bistro was selected as “Restaurant of the Year” 2011 by the Belize Tourism Board. Ellen and Jon were both pleasantly surprised to receive the prestigious award! Besides bragging rights, the recognition has also meant more walk-ins from visitors to the Placencia peninsula.
And while the couple has no plan to expand in the immediate future, Jon and Ellen are determined to sustain their consistently high standards for quality of service, overall experience and incredible food. So do whatever it takes for you to get to the Maya Beach Hotel Bistro…trust me, your taste buds will thank you.