Colorfully painted, sandy-floor, open-air eateries are quintessentially “Placencia.” An ocean breeze and rustling palm fronds are the usual soundtrack that accompanies dining on this Peninsula. A typical tropical paradise, most restaurants here have few walls, opting instead for the natural backdrop of coconut trees and lapping waves as their boundaries. But while open-air dining is a romantic ideal, real life doesn’t always live up to our expectations. So, what do you do when the weather becomes less than perfect? Well, for one, you can head inside any of Placencia’s climate-controlled safe havens! Here are seven picks for air-conditioned eateries to visit on the Placencia Peninsula when you’re looking to beat the heat.
Limilia Restaurant at Itz’ana
The restaurant at Itz’ana Resort offers diners a culinary adventure of the cultural cuisines of the region. Creole, Garifuna, Maya, and Mestizo influences permeate the creative menu here. Pick between the outdoor patio seating or the indoor dining room, both are beautifully decorated, well-appointed, and romantic. The ceviche is some of the best around and so is the wide range of side dishes that include Chaya, Yuca, and Breadfruit.
1981 Restaurant at Naia Resort and Spa
Naia Resort & Spa’s signature restaurant, 1981, is named after the year Belize attained independence and its chefs bring an independent spirit and creativity to their menu. You can describe the offerings here as “elevated Belizean cuisine.” Cultural dishes and traditional cooking methods are adapted for international palates, and the presentation is next-level. The menu is ever-changing to include the best seasonal ingredients. Dinner is served daily from 6:00 – 9:30 and reservations are recommended.
Muna Rooftop Restaurant & Bar
Make the worthwhile climb to the top of the Ellysian Hotel, located on the beach in the center of Placencia Village, for panoramic views of the sea and lagoon and the Maya Mountain range in the distance. The décor inside Muna Rooftop Restaurant & Bar is chic and sophisticated. Their floor-to-ceiling glass walls and sliding doors ensure stunning views no matter where you sit. Choose from a menu that features a blend of international and Belizean cuisine. Enjoy your meal alongside one of their carefully crafted cocktails. Muna is an elegant oasis in which to escape the day-to-day of village life.
The Little Wine Bar
Serving up wine, small plates, and a whole lot of pizazz, The Little Wine Bar just might be the cutest place in Placencia. Belly up to the bar or flop down at one of their conversation nooks to enjoy wine by the glass or the bottle. While you’re at it, enjoy the perfect happy hour snack or post-dinner nosh with a charcuterie board of local meats and cheeses.
La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita, located next to Los Porticos, is the preeminent Italian restaurant on the Placencia peninsula. Here, Chef Simone De Angelis serves traditional dishes from his homeland with a Caribbean twist. Open for dinner only, this small air-conditioned restaurant has been a favorite among visitors and locals for years. Try the Gnocchi Alla Roberta; the flavors of the orange and gorgonzola cream sauce are out of this world.
Jaguar Lanes is a fully air-conditioned 4-lane bowling alley that offers both food and fun. They’re located in Maya Beach and serve pizza as well as other pub fare . Whether you’re seeking the perfect reprieve from the heat or a wonderful rainy-day activity, pop in and bowl a few frames then stay for a beer and burger.
Not technically a restaurant, this new air-conditioned oasis is a coffee and ice-cream shop at the northern end of Placencia Village. It’s the perfect place to escape the afternoon heat. Here you can enjoy a quick treat and a cappuccino or two while you answer emails. The Chillpoint has ample parking, an outdoor play area for children, and loads of comfortable seating inside.
Feature Image Courtesy Naia Resort and Spa