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Posts tagged ‘Bistro’

National Tourism Awards

We didn’t win one of the eight coveted awards handed out by the Belize Tourism Board this year, but we were nominated in two categories (“Restaurant of the Year” and “Hotel of the Year”). Winning “Restaurant of the Year” twice in the past really made us proud, and now we have something to work toward again. Congratulations to our friends at San Ignacio Resort Hotel, Splash Dive Center and Vanilla Hills Lodge, and all the other winners too. Next year? Who knows? Like they say, it was an honor just to be nominated. 

Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2016

Wine Spectator Award of Excellence

Maya Beach Hotel Bistro has won and Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator each year since 2013.

Wine Spectator editors announced the 2016 Restaurant Award Winners on July 6, and once again the Maya Beach Hotel Bistro was a winner (and the only restaurant in Belize to date to ever receive this award). 

We try to keep  approximately 150 different wines on our list. Our emphasis is affordable, good quality wines that work well with our menu of seafood, spice, and tropical flavors. A majority of our wines are imported directly, but we also choose some from local distributors. 

Check out and search. You’ll find us!

There’s also a free Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards app for iPhone and iPad. You’ll find us there too, and also in the August issue.


Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2015

It’s an honor to represent Belize in Wine Spectator’s annual Restaurant Awards issue. We consider it a challenge to find reasonably-priced wines to pour by the glass and offer by the bottle, given the high duties and taxes on wine imports to Belize. Our head chef Mary Kay and original food and beverage team of John and Ellen take the time to seek out wines that compliment our menu, and we train employees by involving them in tastings, service training, and wine research. 

Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 2014

This is our second year representing Belize in Wine Spectator Magazine with an Award of Excellence for restaurant wine lists.

We have climate-controlled cellars for 4,000 bottles of wine. We research food-friendly affordable wines from all over the world, and import our own top choices, creating a wine list with plenty of selection between US $30 and US $60 per bottle, with a few moderately priced selections up to US $150 per bottle. Our wine list is also supplemented by some excellent importers/distributors in Belize, including Wine Divine of San Pedro and Premium Wines & Spirits of Belize City.


Those judges just loved Placencia this year.

My goodness, this is something we certainly didn’t expect. The Belize Tourism Board awarded the Bistro Belize’s “Restaurant of the Year” for the 2nd time. We can think of a whole lot of restaurants that deserve an award like this too, but we were lucky enough to be chosen again.

The 2012 awards presentation happened May 18th, 2013, out on a private island about an hour off the coast of Belize. Awards were presented in 9 categories, and Placencia businesses won 7 of them! That’s a big boost to our collective ego down here in the South.

Congratulations to the other winners as well.

  • MAYA BEACH HOTEL BISTRO – Restaurant of the Year

  • PLACENCIA VILLAGE – Destination of the Year

  • PLACENCIA TOURISM CENTER – Hospitality Award

  • PLACENCIA LOBSTERFEST – Major Festival of the Year

  • TOUR OPERATOR OF THE YEAR – Splash Dive Center

  • SMALL HOTEL OF THE YEAR – Singing Sands Inn

  • FRONTLINE PERSON OF THE YEAR – Natalie (Chabil Mar)

A non-Placencia winner got the major trophy for Hotel of the Year, but that’s OK. They earned it! Chabil Mar was a close runner up, though! And we’re happy for Jerome who used to live in Placencia and work for Avadon Divers (Also awarded “Tour Operator of the Year” the last time)

  • HOTEL OF THE YEAR – San Ignacio Resort Hotel

  • TOUR GUIDE OF THE YEAR – Jerome Williams

But it’s a good thing we’re better at cooking than we are at speech making…check out the YouTube clip:

Interview with John and Ellen @ the Bistro

The ride out to the caye on the catamaran was a lot of fun. Here’s one quick shot of John & Ellen before they got all nervous.

The Placencia winners of this year’s Tourism Awards.

Thanks to the San Pedro Sun for this photo!

To our fabulous employees, THANKS VERY MUCH!!! To our amazing, regular customers, THANKS VERY MUCH!!! To our supportive and happy hotel guests, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!! And to the Belize Tourism Board, people on the committee, and those who depend on tourism for a living, we truly appreciate the honor and we promise to do our best to create sustained interest in Belize.

Channel 5’s Report

Channel 7’s Report

And this was a nice photo from Ambergris Today.

Look how windy it was! John managed to keep his hair in place, but Ellen got a new do.



Valentine Wine & Dine 2013

50 diners X 9 courses = 450 plates of food + 450 half glasses of wine = ± 1800 visits to the table by waiters. The Bistro staff performed marvelously, putting together what most repeat Wine & Diners called the best-ever. Chefs Mary Kay Bader and John Lee, and FOH manager Ellen Lee, spent a month working on ideas, tasting, and adjusting recipes. Then, they repeatedly selected and tried wines with each dish until complementary relationships were discovered. The final menu was published just one day before the event, but by then all seats had already been reserved.


Another “Fodor’s Choice” award for 2012


CITY, STATE – DATEFodor’s, the leading name in travel guides for over 75 years, today announced that the Maya Beach Hotel Bistro has been recognized as a 2012 Fodor’s Choice selection. This distinction designates the Bistro as a leader in its field for service, quality, and value in the 2012 year.

The editors and experts of Fodor’s have been selecting only the top fifteen percent of their listed properties and activities as Fodor’s Choice award recipients since 1988. Every year, Fodor’s writers experience, examine and evaluate thousands of hotels, restaurants and attractions in their travels across the globe. While every business included in a Fodor’s guide is deemed worth a traveler’s time, only those offering a truly remarkable experience are given the Fodor’s Choice designation.

For more than 75 years Fodor’s has presented travelers with the very top recommendations from hidden-away restaurants to can’t-miss museums, to make sure they’re making the most of their travels. The 2012 Fodor’s Choice recipients are the best of the best, providing a remarkable experience in their price range or category.

As a 2012 Fodor’s Choice property Maya Beach Hotel will receive special recognition in the next Fodor’s guidebook to this area and on

Maya Beach Hotel, and/or the Bistro, has received this designation each year since 2007.

About Fodor’s Travel

Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House, Inc., is one of the world’s leading providers of travel information.  Covering over 7,500 worldwide destinations, Fodor’s guidebooks and website,, have provided the most up-to-date, accurate information for travelers since 1936. Written by a vast team of global correspondents, Fodor’s provides travelers with engagingly written, locally reported, and absolutely indispensable travel guidance. Visit


Bistro mentioned in “The Cultureist” Magazine

Thanks to the friendly folks at Ka’ana resort in San Ignacio, a writer from The Cultureist Online Magazine mentioned the Bistro in a nice article about Belize. Here’s the link:

By the subhead of the blurb about us, you can tell what Ka’ana’s owner Colin likes to do when he visits…not exactly how we position our Bistro but what the heck? If Colin comes here to get tipsy then more power to him!

Scruffy, but effective.

Chef John’s evening crew are cranking out beautiful food, despite their intimidating posture.


John’s kitchen colleagues, from the breakfast team to the night crew, are all dedicated to putting the best possible meal on your table, every time.  Our people come mainly from the  villages and towns of Seine Bight, Dangriga, Hopkins and Punta Gorda. You can tell how serious they are about their jobs because many of them spend days away from their families while on the job.

Dinner time!

A group of 35 isn’t the easiest thing to handle, especially in the high season…but we’re as ready as we’ll ever be.

Your group of 11 to 35 can be accommodated in the Bistro for an early seating at 5:30 PM, and with at least 2 weeks advance notice. While we’d like to be able to be more flexible, it’s just not possible with a small kitchen like ours. Groups of 6-10 can make reservations for either 5:30/6:00 or 8:00/8:30. Calling ahead is recommended at any time of year. The reservations number is 533-8040.