Elvi’s Kitchen

Pescador Dr, San Pedro, Belize

Before I went to Belize, anyone I spoke with who had already been told me that I had to have a meal at Elvi’s Kitchen. What started out as a take-out burger window in 1974 eventually became a sit-down restaurant serving lovingly prepared Caribbean dishes such as conch soup and fritters, mojo de ajo, fried green plantains, and street corn. During high season you might have to wait in line to eat dinner at the restaurant, but most of the time, there isn’t much delay. Save room for dessert. Elvi’s Kitchen is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

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Elvi's Kitchen - San Pedro

Chef Jennie Staines is something of a local celebrity in San Pedro, where she rules the roost at Elvi’s Kitchen, a favorite among locals and visitors alike. If you can swing it, stop by for dinner on Friday night, when Chef Jennie and her staff present a Mayan Feast, their way of preserving the culinary hallmarks of Maya culture. Pibil, a pit-roasted pig, is likely to be served; a seafood soup called mechado could also be on the menu. Chef Jennie’s life has revolved around food from an early age; her father was a fisherman and her mother (the Elvi for whom the restaurant is named) made and sold tamales. Jennie helped her out, and the seed for a dream was planted. What to order if you show up any other day? Colu Henry recommends the chicken curry—you won’t forget it, she promises.

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