Caye Caulker ’s famous walking bakeries begin with Lloyd, a.k.a. “The Cake Man,” balancing his basket of homemade chocolate macaroon and cheesecake brownies, banana bread, and key lime pie; he begins his daily rounds at 4:30 p.m. at the split and works south through the village.
Toni rides her bike down Front Street at lunchtime with tasty jalapeño bread, ham and cheese rollups, hummus and pita, chicken pilaf, and carrot cake. Errol will sell you meat pies and banana bread from his rolling cart. And don’t forget to support local kids who are selling their mothers’ johnnycakes, fudge, and Creole buns.
One of the few places where you truly are inside someone’s home, Glenda’s on Back Street, on the west side of the island, is as good as ever, with delicious buns. She serves inexpensive food and cheap lobster burritos in a very homey atmosphere. In the morning, try her homemade cinnamon rolls and fresh-squeezed orange juice—by the glass or in a recycled bottle—the best two bucks you’ll spend on the island.
Affectionately known as “Auntie’s,” Chan’s Fast Food (Calle al Sol, tel. 501/226-0478) is a small window-service establishment selling cheap Belizean favorites like stew chicken and fry chicken, rice and beans, beef stew, and the like.
A little farther south on Back Street is Little Kitchen, where you can get excellent salbutes, garnaches, panades (3 for US$1), burritos, and home-cooked seafood and main dishes as well, all for very cheap. Seating is casual at outdoor picnic tables and the kitchen, while indeed little, is in the front room, and the cook is the friendly owner, Ms. Elba.
Similarly, El Paso on Middle Street opposite the bakery has excellent low-priced Mexican snacks, meals, and even breakfast. For a cheap early-morning bite, seek out the taco lady in front of Habaneros—you’ll have to queue up behind the hungry construction workers.
Marin’s Upstairs Diner (Traveler’s Palm St.) has a nice menu and always-fresh fish. Across the street is Tortilleria Asunción, for fresh tortillas and chips.
Paradiso, at Jan’s Place on Front Street, has deluxe baguette sandwiches for US$5–8.
Belizeans love their barbecues. They often set up grills right on the beach and serve chicken, lobster, fish, or shrimp for a few bucks; the sides are tortillas, white rice and beans, stew beans, mashed potato, macaroni, or coleslaw. Jolly Roger’s Grill, in Palapa Gardens on Front Street, is a favorite, grilling up whole lobster (in season; US$12.50), chicken, fish, and shrimp (US$10). Roger is proud of his 2007 silver medal for “Best Food in All Central America.” Private beach barbecues with entertainment can be arranged for your group.
Rose’s Grill and Bar, on Front Street behind Habaneros, is always filled with satisfied customers; it’s very popular for the dinner barbecue grilled right in front of you and specializes in fresh seafood; chips and ceviche are free.
Fran’s, on Front Street opposite Oceanside, is always packed with tourists seated at outside picnic benches.
Two blocks south of the dock, Amor y Cafe (6–11:30 a.m.) specializes in breakfast: eggs, yogurt, granola, waffles, grilled sandwiches, and coffee and juices. It’s a friendly place to have breakfast on the raised porch.
Coco Plum Garden Cafe, Spa & Gallery (9 a.m.–4 p.m., www.cocoplum.typepad.com ) is well worth the walk south of the village and toward the airstrip; you’ll find all kinds of organic, whole, gourmet food, including a lobster pizza, sushi, and great salads. Exquisite omelets are US$12 and “pancrepes” are US$6. There’s a Belizean craft and art store as well as massage and healing work in the lovely new spa.
Femi’s Café and Lounge (Front St., 8 a.m.–10 p.m. daily) serves smoothies and coffees, as well as meals, from a small kitchen. The deck is right beside the sea, and bar swings and hammocks add a nice ambience.
At the Sand Box (7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily), right at the end of the water taxi dock, you’ll find an indoor sand floor and a relaxed atmosphere. There are hearty breakfast offerings in the morning and seafood all day: fish with curry rice, conch ceviche, seafood salad, plus stuffed eggplant and mushrooms (meals US$3–10).
The Barrier Reef Sports Bar and Grill (9 a.m.–midnight daily), on Front Street, opens onto the beach and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Steaks, seafood, and pasta entrées go for US$12–25. And, oh yeah, there are lots of televisions showing sports, via HD satellite. Barrier Reef has opened up Los Cocos Cantina and Giftshop next door, for Mexican snack foods and breakfasts.
Happy Lobster (6 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) on Front Street is a popular choice for breakfast and people-watching. Sobre Las Olas (7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily) is opposite Barefoot Caribe on Front Street. The most popular meal is the US$23 combo special—crab claw, shrimp, and lobster.
Sandro’s Piccolo Cucina has beachfront picnic tables and serves Italian pasta specialties (US$8–12).
WishWilly’s Bar and Grill is in a ramshackle yard with extremely laid-back dinner service, happy hours, and seafood prepared by Chicago-Belizean chef Maurice. His sign on Front Street, two blocks from the split, points the way, and all dinners are US$7.50.
Syd’s, on Middle Street, makes heavy burritos and has a tasty Saturday night barbecue; prices are very reasonable, and the place is popular with locals. The seating has been expanded to include a lovely garden patio in the back.
Don Corleone’s Caribbean Trattoria (Front St. across from Raggamuffin Tours, tel. 501/226-0025, 5–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) has an elegant oceanview ambience and friendly, attentive staff. Italian dishes start at US$10–15 and choices include gnocchi, pizza, pastas, seafood, and specialty Italian desserts.
Habanero’s (Front St., tel. 501/226-0487, 6–9 p.m.) offers an “eclectic international” menu and lounge bar. Meals are lavishly presented with an international flair.
The Rainbow Bar and Grill (off of Front. St., tel. 501/226-0281, 10:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Tues.–Sun., US$10–25) offers diners perfect seaside ambience—the deck stretches over the water—and consistently excellent food. Lunch is very popular with day-trippers to the island.
Chan’s Mini Mart (tel. 501/226-0165) on Middle Street is pretty much the heart of “downtown” Caulker—check the bulletin board for ads and events or go inside for canned goods, meats, cereals, beverages, and snacks.
Chinatown Grocery (Ave. Langosta and Estrella St.) also has a good selection. There are a few fruit, vegetable, and juice stalls around town (look near the bakery and Atlantic Bank).
Julia’s Juice, on southern Front Street, sells watermelon, orange, lime, soursop, and mixed-fruit juice in recycled plastic bottles (US$2.50).
If you want fresh fish or lobster, go to the Lobstermen’s Co-op Dock (Calle al Sol) on the back side of the island and ask what time the fishing boats come in with their catch. This is always a good place to buy fresh fish.