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North Beach , Azul Resort
San Pedro , Belize http://www.azulbelize.com/rojo.html
501-226-4012

This open-air, beachside restaurant at the exclusive, dual-villa Azul Resort sources locally-grown, seasonal ingredients. The thatched roof, brightly colored interior, and open kitchen reinforce owner Jeff Spiegel's desire that the restaurant remain a casual experience, free of snobbish pretense. Spiegel, a one-time music producer who is essentially a self-taught chef, creates dishes from the ground up daily, so don't be surprised if garlic fries and grilled lobster burritos are on the lunch menu one day and not the next. Rojo's night menu may include mains like Belikin Stout-braised pork with pickled cucumber or guava-glazed pork ribs served alongside ginger-peanut slaw—and, adding to the personal quality of Spiegel's approach, each dish listed on the menu comes with its own unique, hand-written story.

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