The ambience alone, of the courtyard setting of the Smoky Mermaid, makes this a recommended stopover for everyone, if only for a cup of coffee, or a “Frozen Ocean” at the bar. With tropical plants everywhere, and a fresh breeze wafting in from the Caribbean Sea, this is truly a refreshing break in the day.
The restaurant is housed in the inner courtyard of the grand, colonial-style Great House Inn on Cork Street (across from the Radisson hotel) in Belize City. Opened in 1998, and operated by the Gegg family, it is styled to feel like an oasis in the city, and the overall effect of the fountain and tropical motif is very pleasant, indeed. Having dined here often since the restaurant opened, we have seen the menu and presentation expand and develop into a fine dining experience. Even the locals find the appealing atmosphere a refreshing break in their day.
The Smoky Mermaid is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a full range of flavours to choose from at each meal. The morning menu offers a “Creole Breakfast,” or an American-style steak and eggs, along with the more traditional a la carte favourites. Average cost of breakfast, with coffee and juice: BZ$22 per person, tax included.
The real excitement starts at lunchtime, with perhaps an appetizer of Beer Battered Onion Rings (incredible-who could resist?); before moving on to the new Spicy Italian Melt: A focaccia sandwich of spicy sausage, sautéed onions, and cheese. With a heartier appetite, try the grilled fish fillet, with all the trimmings. Average cost of lunch, with drinks: BZ$30-40 per person, tax included.
The evening menu has a larger selection of appetizers, including Tequila Shrimp; butterflied and grilled, drizzled with tequila-butter sauce. Among the most tempting entrees would have to be the Rosemary Lamb Chops: Imported from New Zealand, brushed with rosemary oil, grilled to order, and served on a bed of spinach, along with mashed potatoes. High on the list for our next visit, is the Crusted Snapper; a fillet topped with crispy, shredded cassava root, and served over rice, with a spicy fruit salsa. Can’t wait! Vegetarian options are available at all meals, too.
Dessert lovers will be quite happy here, with choices such as Chocolate Walnut Amaretto Cake, and Piña Colada Pie. All are a fine finish to your meal. Average cost of a dinner meal, with drinks: BZ$50 per person, and up.
When we lived in the city, we ate here on a regular basis. Now that we live in the country, we make it a point to stop here for lunch when taking our departing friends or relatives to the airport, as it seems to top off their visit with a flourish.
The Smoky Mermaid Restaurant & Bar, 13 Cork Street, Belize City. Tel: 02-34759. Open seven days a week: Restaurant is open from 6:30 am till 10:00 pm.; the bar from 10:00 am till 10:00 pm.