Visitor Unique Eating at Chabil Mar in Placencia, Belize
If you’re interested in the luxurious Chabil Mar beachfront resort in Placencia, Belize, you’ll have to make a reservation in order to eat there. And, I don’t just mean dining reservations either — Chabil Mar is what’s called “guest exclusive dining.” This means you don’t have non-resort guests at the bar, by the pool, or dining at the restaurant. It’s also important to point out that Chabil Mar doesn’t have a restaurant per se. You can order food to your room, grab a snack at the bar, dine on your veranda or by the pool, or even make arrangements to have lunch or dinner out on the dock.
Chabil Mar has always been one of my favorite resorts in the country. It’s located along the scenic Placencia peninsula, which is home to some of Belize’s best beaches. It’s worth booking a stay here for the food and tranquility alone. The resort is far enough out to afford additional privacy since the beach doesn’t see a lot of foot traffic, but it’s not too far out that you won’t be able to explore Placencia’s main village area.
I’ve stayed at the resort twice now on assignment, and I’m always sad to leave after being here for a day or two. Chabil Mar’s service levels are on par with the luxury condo accommodations you’ll find here. We did a multi-course dinner on our veranda one evening, and rather than bring all the dishes like you’d expect with “room service,” they made countless trips to bring each course and clear plates in between. That level of service is something you typically only see at a much higher price point luxury resort.
Lunch on Chabil Mar’s Dock
We made arrangements to have lunch on the dock one day, and it is something I highly recommend at least once on your trip. Allot a few hours and just enjoy the cool breeze and the gentle sounds of the Caribbean Sea.
We started with the local ceviche, which you can either get with shrimp ($24 BZ) or conch ($20 BZ). If you’ve never had Belizean ceviche, it’s worth trying a few times on your trip. The seafood is marinated in lime with onions, tomatoes, and fresh cilantro. It’s typically served with tortilla chips, but Chabil Mar serves their ceviche with homemade plantain chips.
All their lunch entrees looked good, but there were two standouts that we had to try — the lionfish sandwich and the “Best Burger in Belize.”
Lionfish are a non-native invasive species here in the Caribbean, and their presence threatens the overall health of the Belize Barrier Reef. Lionfish are aggressive and predatory, so it’s very common to see divemasters spear them to help reduce the overall population. A number of chefs have started utilizing the lionfish and incorporating them into creative and delicious entrees. I always try a lionfish dish if I see it on the menu as I want to support the chefs who are doing their part to help eradicate these beautiful but deadly fish.
Chabil Mar’s lionfish sandwich ($26 BZ) is perfect for lunch. It’s light and served on a fresh homemade bun with lettuce, tomato, and red onion. I had fresh fruit and a side of coleslaw as well. If you’ve never had lionfish before, don’t be intimidated by it. It’s a whitefish and relatively mild in flavor. It pairs well with a variety of tropical sauces and makes for great fish cakes or a sandwich in this case.
Now, getting to this “Best Burger in Belize” ($24 BZ). All I can say is WOW! The pile of caramelized onions on the top was impressive. The burger is a six-ounce patty served with pan seared mushrooms (if you want), caramelized onions, chipotle mayo, lettuce, and tomato. Ask to add bacon to make it even better ($26 BZ).
Unfortunately, we were full and didn’t have room for dessert that afternoon, but I’ve had their desserts in the past and they definitely don’t disappoint. Look for creative and seasonal creations like pumpkin creme brûlée and coconut cheesecake.
Snacks at the Bar
We tried a few of Chabil Mar’s starters one afternoon at the bar. The lunch menu is served from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m, and includes a variety of appetizers, soups, salads, and larger “comfort food” entrees. We opted for the jalapeñno cheese dip ($16 BZ) and an order of saucy chicken wings ($20 BZ for 8 wings). Sometimes chicken wings can really be hit or miss in Belize — but these hit a home run and satiated the craving. I believe the sauce was a tequila ginger BBQ sauce, which had a nice blend of tangy heat.
The jalapeño cheese dip I could’ve eaten by the spoonful. It’s not overly spicy for those concerned about heat from the jalapeños.
Chabil Mar Signature Cocktails
Chabil Mar has some fun signature cocktails that aren’t terribly pricey when compared to normal bars in town or on Ambergris Caye where I live. Try one of these fun sounding concoctions, all of which are ($18 BZ):
- Yummy Mummy: Cane Juice Rum, Triple Sec, Fresh Orange, Pineapple and Lime Juice, Splash of Cranberry Juice
- Coral Paradise: One Barrel Belizean Rum, Nance Liqueur, Coconut Rum, Fresh Pineapple and Orange Juice, Splash of Cranberry Juice
- Turtle Juice: Amaretto, Dark Rum, Light Rum, Nance Liqueur, Cranberry and Pineapple Juice, Squeeze of Lime
- Iguana Punch: Cane Juice Rum, Dark Rum, Midori, Fresh Lime, Orange and Pineapple Juice
If you’re more of a martini person, they also have the Chabil Mar-tini made with Absolut Vodka, coconut rum, Midori, Blue Curacao, and fresh pineapple juice ($20 BZ).
Be sure to check out their non-alcoholic beverage menu for a variety of fruit juices, smoothies, and shakes (most are $14 BZ).
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Breakfast on your Veranda
Although I didn’t have time this past trip, I highly recommend ordering breakfast and enjoying a leisurely morning on your veranda, if your schedule allows. The views are beautiful, and the sunrises every morning are impressive. There is nothing like enjoying a cup of coffee and breakfast out on your veranda. You also have a full kitchen so you can get groceries and make breakfast too if you’re so inclined. However, sometimes it’s nice to just let someone else do all the work. I mean, you are on vacation after all!
Details on Chabil Mar
Chabil Mar is located north of the main downtown area of Placencia Village, near Turtle Inn, and directly across from my recommendation for a Placencia dive shop, Splash Dive Center. Units range from one to two bedroom beachfront and oceanview units, all of which are uniquely appointed with local artisan furniture and artwork. There is also a beautiful bi-level luxury villa available for rental now too that comes with a golf cart rental for the duration of your stay. Chabil Mar has two pools, free Wi-Fi, and more.
Getting to Chabil Mar is easy if you’re arriving in Placencia by plane. Flights on Tropic Air and Maya Island Air operate from Belize’s International Airport as well as Belize City’s Municipal Airport. Chabil Mar will arrange to have their shuttle pick you up at the airport and transfer you to the property which is only a few minutes away.
It’s important to note that Chabil Mar can sell out, especially during peak times like Christmas and New Years, as well as late April and May when it’s whale shark season in Placencia. Check with them for seasonal specials and packages that offer you time on Hatchet Caye (a private island), sailing on a catamaran, or even some time in the jungle.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Chabil Mar, but as always, all opinions, views, and calories gained are my own!
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