Good Eats: A Guide to the Restaurants and Snacks of Orange Walk, Belize
Orange Walk District in the North West of Belize is known for its sugar and rum production, the amazing Maya Ruins of Lamanai and tacos, tacos, tacos.
Visitors are generally a bit surprised by the local tacos – they aren’t the cheese and sour cream stuffed fold overs that we are used to in the states. Rather, they are slim corn tortilla rolls schmeared with a bit of chicken and sauce.. 3 for $1bzd. The sauce is really what differentiates them.
Here is what 50 cents US gets you.
The tacos are also a morning food. Eating them is a MUST in Orange Walk. You’ll quickly find your favorite.
Here is some more of my favorite eating in Orange Walk.
La Popular Bakery – You will smell this bakery before you even see it. Stop in for cheap and tasty snacks, breads and pastries through out the day. If you find tacos too expensive, you 1. are insanely cheap and shouldn’t be travelling at all 2. can find delicious pastries in La Popular for 50 cents BZD! I mean…seriously? I could eat 50 cent sugary flaky puffy pastry squares all day. But then I guess that defeats the money saving purpose.
Pretty pretty Christmas cakes.
Nahil Mayab Restaurant – My favorite dining in Orange Walk and the only restaurant I visited twice.
Set in the middle of town but within these wall, the restaurant has a large dining area and bar and a beautiful outside garden. It’s the place to see and be seen in da OW.
It’s a popular restaurant with locals and visitors and the food was super tasty. I tried the beef arracherra tacos on thick homemade corn tortillas. Delicious. And a ceviche made with smoking pork rather than fish or seafood. Also good. The strong Wi-Fi and lovely owner are also keys to my SanPedroScoop heart. I set up a lunchtime office.
Recommended for sure.
NoJoch Mak Restaraunt – My friend recommended this breakfast spot and when I entered, I realized that I knew the owners from San Pedro!
They moved recently to a small building next door to the old one. They are located right by the market. The Perez family!
If you don’t remember them from his tortilla factory and deli on Back Street, San Pedro, maybe you know some of his kids. His son is the owner of Casa Pan Dulce bakery in San Pedro, one daughter works at Smart, one owns WarPaint Shop. A VERY enterprising family.
I had a simple but tasty breakfast and the owners are really great people. (Make sure to get a few slices of this delicious blood sausage.)
They are lucky too! Look at this car they recently won in a raffle. AWESOME!
Ok Restaurant – Belizeans love Chinese food (EVERYONE loves Chinese food or is it the MSG?) and Belize is filled with Chinese restaurants. It is my guess that Orange Walk has the most per capita. There are Chinese fast food spots on every block and quite a few proper sit down restaurants. No one can walk past these two places without looking twice.
Which to choose…Excellent Restaurant or just OK Restaurant. I returned at night. Excellent, despite the name, was empty and OK had a small crowd. That says it all. I had my second heaping plate of Chow Mein in Orange Walk (the first was at Lee’s Restaurant…not so great) and this stuff was delicious. More than OK, it was excellent.
Here is a tip I received from a local: Order the 5 dalla fry chicken with steak sauce (and extra dollar) it will change ur life…. trust mi!
There you go. If you have a hankering for Chinese in OW, check this place out. And know that food is ordered (like tacos) in “dolla” increments. Gimme 8 dolla chow mein. Enough for a small army.
Paniscea Restaurant – For more of a “fine dining” experience in Orange Walk, check out this spot in a gazebo below the Orange Walk House of Culture.
The owner, Doug, came to Belize with a permit to pull old hardwood (mahogany) logs from the bottom of the rivers and for the past few years has been running a restaurant. The menu is good hearty American food like delicious smoked pork chops with a baked potato and also a smattering of local fare. Be careful…he will try to get in your good graces with rum and desserts.
I fell for it. The chocolate cake slab was huge and delicious. Another key to my heart.
My biggest complaint at Paniscea? Signs! I don’t think there is one that says the name of the restaurant. But look for the ugly, box like house of culture (it was originally built to be a veggie market and is lovely inside) and follow the stairs down. You’ll find it.
The one place that I did not try but heard great things about – Cocina Sabor. Owned and run by my friend from San Pedro, the former food and beverage manager at the impeccable Victoria House, I found out too late! And since I plan to return to Orange Walk next year, when the rivers and the rains have receded, I will surely check it out.
AND…one more thing, for a good run down of the local restaurants of Orange Walk, check out the website for the Hotel De La Fuente (I was there for three nights). They have a dining section/blog with write ups on many of these places and a few more.