No trip to San Pedro would be complete without eating at Elvi’s, a great little restaurant laid out under a spreading flamboyant tree. Not only are the food and ambience unique, but the story behind the place is full of hope and inspiration.
In 1974, before many tourists had discovered Ambergris Caye, Elvi Staines installed a burger take-out window on the side of her house, and opened for business. It was an immediate success because, as Elvi herself will tell you, she made a great burger. Later she added fish & chips to the menu, became a sit-down establishment by placing a few chairs and umbrellas near the tree on the patio, and business boomed.
At the same time, Elvi was raising a family of four girls and 2 boys. The family, the business and the tree continued to grow rapidly and Elvi is now the proud owner of a full-sized restaurant. The huge flamboyant tree grows right through the palm thatch roof of the sand floored dining room that was built three years ago. (Her daughter Jenny is presently her food and beverage manager.) The best part, however, is the terrific food!
We had the pleasure of enjoying Elvi’s food a couple of times during our visit. In addition to the printed menu, which covers the place mat, there are always daily specials available. You will choose from a wide range of selections, with the primary emphasis being seafood, and yes, the burgers are still on the menu-including shrimp burgers, fish burgers, chicken burgers and the Macho Burger for the famished!
One evening’s selection included the daily special of stone crab claws with garlic butter, pasta with vegetables, and delectable black bean soup to start. All of this, and a glass of wine, was a bargain at only US$20. If you prefer, your main course can be accompanied with rice and beans (a Belizean favorite), choice of potato, and fried plantain. We also sampled the lightly breaded, deep fried shrimp which was a steal at US$11, including all of the same accompaniments.
And the “best for last” part? That would be Elvi’s famous special desserts. Even if you are completely full, don’t leave without tasting the coconut pie, which is chock full of Belizean coconut. It is a heavenly delight.
Even though someone else is cooking the burgers these days, Elvi is still in charge and will be there every evening welcoming her cherished guests.
Elvi’s Kitchen is located on Pescador Drive in San Pedro. Tel: 501-2-62176