On our vacation to Hopkins last week, Nige and I really did enjoy some amazing meals. Frankly, I was surprised by how many wonderful little restaurants are hiding in this small Garifuna village. Being a foodie from the States, I love any occasion to try somewhere new and indulge in tasty gastronomic delights! Even though our hotel had a meal plan, locals aren’t allowed to participate (although they do give you a 20% food discount), and that was just fine with me. If you’re visiting Hopkins, here’s what I have to say about the following places:
Driftwood Pizza Shack – please see my blog from yesterday (http://www.wealthships.com/2012/06/15/living-in-belize-the-lebeha-drummer-group-feeling-like-a-local-in-hopkins-61512/) – quite possibly the best pizza in Belize!
Love on the Rocks – located smack dab in the center of town. This is the only “non-beach” restaurant we ate it, and boy am I glad we did. LOTR has nabbed my favorite restaurant in ALL of Belize (replacing my former favorite, Rumfish y Vino, in Placencia). This location used to be occupied by Chef Rob, who moved down South (review coming up). They opened December, 2011, and already have created quite a name for themselves. The name stems from their cooking style. They actually cook fresh fish (lobster, red snapper, etc) on a 700 degree lava rock, right at your table, just like the Maya’s used to. It gives the fish an unbelievable flavor and aroma. All of their food was fabulous (Nige had the Alfredo Pasta, although he coveted my fish). Micah, the general manager, is incredibly friendly and accommodating – he never rushes you and aims to please. Please be aware if you go, however, that they have a limited bar and dessert menu, but everything else makes up for it. We did enjoy an incredible bottle of Blanc de Blancs vin de France (white) wine, which Micah brings in from Wine de Vine on the island ($35 usd).
Barracuda (located at the Beaches & Dreams Inn) – Tony and Angela are fellow expats who run both this hotel and restaurant (he cooks, she serves), also down South in Hopkins. It was a quick walk from our hotel, and we were lucky enough to score a couple of comfy stools right at the “dock table” (kind of a raised bar table). You’re only 30 feet from the ocean, so you have awesome views and breezes. You order off of a chalkboard menu, which leads me to believe they change the menu up frequently (which I always enjoy). I got the stuffed grouper, and it was amazing – Tony really can cook. We also had a fabulous chocolate cake for dessert. This is the place to go if you want to have a gourmet dinner in your shorts and sandals (although none of the restaurants in Hopkins really have a dress code).
Chef Rob (located at the Parrot Cove Lodge) – Also located on the beach at the South end of the island, we tried to get into this restaurant on our third night in Hopkins, however, we were quite rudely informed by the bartender/maitre‘d that “Oh no, you ain’t getting in tonight!” Apparently, they had a private party and were booked, but someone needs to teach the front of the house manners, because many folks would never want to come back after that greeting. But we persisted, made reservations, and showed up the next night. Yet again, we were met with a cool greeting by our waitress. We found her to be either unfriendly or disinterested, or maybe both. Absolutely zero personality. Luckily, the food had more pep than she did. I had a Pineapple & Basil salad that was inspired, and a Shrimp & Pork Thai, which was mouth watering. The Chocolate Mousse was only so-so. At one point during dinner, a gentleman came to the table and asked how things were. He was dressed like a chef, so I said, “I love your flavor combinations. Are you Chef Rob?” To which he replied, “Good guess,” and walked off. Well, now I know where the attitude in this place comes from (always starts from the top down). Still, I’d recommend you go, because the food and location are great – but be aware the service stinks! Update 6/19/12: Chef Rob saw my review and personally called me to apologize! He was sincerely sorry and offered us a free meal the next time we are in town. Very classy move, in my opinion, and your apology is accepted, Chef Rob!
There are a ton of other little local spots we didn’t get to try, like Innie’s, Iris’Sunnyside Up, King Cassava’s, and Thongs. But there’s always next time.
Does crappy service tick you off enough to not go back?