Tucked in a small secret garden, just feet from the busy road, is a secret garden restaurant called Gypsy Restaurant and Cocktail Bartique. I’ve passed this doorway thousands of times and…I had no idea what space was back there.
My friend Eryn, who I first met at her VERY chic restaurant in Placencia (I called her a “gorgeous rock n roll expat” in this 2014 blog post about the new restaurants of Placencia and her spot Mojo Lounge) – has worked on Ambergris Caye for quite a few years now. With the popular Nook Restaurant in downtown San Pedro and now this new spot on the main road a few blocks south to the bridge.
A busy road…a bright pink door and you step thru the building into a secret garden. Shaded with a large almond tree and set on an offshoot of the lagoon.
We had a seat and ordered that immediately popped out to us and Eryn suggested we try a few more. It was the most delicious lunch I’ve had in a while. Legitimately DELICIOUS. I love a menu with affordable tapas…share a bunch of things!
And I really enjoyed the very unexpected atmosphere…the shaded garden. I bet it is gorgeous in the evening…with glowing fairy lights.
But I think the thing I was most smitten with – besides the Smoked Fish Dip and the Smoked Pork Sliders – two items that we keep talking about…and plotting to return for…was the whole idea behind the spot. Eryn was inspired by a “co-operative bar” in Toronto (she’s originally Canadian eh) where restaurant folks come together to hang out and…elevate the spot. And folks band together in tough times to help the community.
Almost everything we ate had been touched in some way by someone in the San Pedro tourism industry who is doing something extra to make ends meet during these hard times. Hot sauce that was LIGHTS OUT delicious and seriously spicy? By a friend who is making the sauce at home and started a small business called Mad Chef Hot Sauce (I’ve already reached out to him for more!)
The decorative and tasty beet hummus? Origins Vegan chef, Amber. Blueberry compote in my mocktail and on the brie/blueberry dish? Our friend Jeanne is making that and Greek yogurt to supplement her usual spa and bartending gigs. The amazing smoked fish and smoked pork? Doyle’s Smoke Yaad in Placencia. Doyle is a fantastic tour guide who brought me on one of the crazier tours I’ve been on in Belize. Or anywhere.
And so on and so on…
Eryn has set up a casual, funky, fun…almost speak-easy just steps away from the bars of Boca Del Rio…
She set all of this up with the help of her community over the last few months and she uses only Belizean suppliers and…I’ll stop blabbing and get to the pictures. She is still working with local artists…each wall around the garden will be brightened by local artists and she is off to a great start…
It looks super cool.
And then back to the secret nook.
A raised deck and then spaced seating around the garden.
I love the beautiful tree painting in the dapped shade.
I’ll get to the food!
And Eryn’s sweet sweet puppy Pippin. I mean…come on! She doesn’t look like a real dog!
My delicious blueberry spritzer.
The very creative bar menu could probably provide hours of fun – there’s even a Pippin Punch.
Really tasty brushcetta.
The Fish Dip – we scraped that bowl clean.
And the sliders. If pork was candy. Yum.
And I wanted to try these grill watermelon steaks…I was nervous. A texture almost like tuna? But they were very tasty.
Watermelon? Who knew?
We had some tasty shrimp in a spiced butter with dipping toasts and mmmm…brie and blueberry and whipped cream.
A really great lunch. And a really cool spot. I DEFINITELY recommend it. And need to return in the evening. AND definitely need to return for that fish dip.
For more information and lots of pics and updates on Gypsy, see their facebook page.
Hours are 1:30pm to 9:30pm – Monday to Saturday.
Wednesday is Ladies Day and NIght with 1/2 off tapas. Saturdays, they have a DJ or live music and $8bzd martinis.
We headed home…bellies full. What a beautiful week it has been.