I should warn you that I’m borderline Otaku. As a huge gamer and anime fan, I have become practically obsessed with the Japanese culture. From its people to their traditions and especially their food, I hunger to learn more from the Land of the Rising Sun.

The man behind Jyoto: Toshiya!

This, when I heard in 2016 that Ambergris Caye would soon have a Japanese restaurant, I was over the moon. Since then, I have met restaurateur Toshiya Tsujimoto, and even had the privilege of tasting an array of his cuisine in two separate occasions.
Impressed from the first taste, Toshiya’s cooking only makes me want more of his Japanese culture. Luckily for me, his restaurant has finally opened, and now serves delicious lunches and dinners six days of the week!

Avocado Roll

Located at Mahogany Bay Village, just south of San Pedro Town, Jyoto Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar is causing quite a stir among sushi lovers. With authentic flavors from his homeland, made with only the freshest sourced Belizean produce, Toshiya has set the bar high.

SAKE!

On a recent Girl’s Night Out, my best girlfriend and I headed to Jyoto for dinner. The restaurant’s façade blends in with the colonial theme of Mahogany Bay Village. But once inside you’re in a different world. While there is plenty of table seating, we were there to see Toshiya in action, so we chose the bar seats!

Artful sashimi plate

We promptly ordered a couple bottles of Sake, after all we were prepared to do the Japan experience right! Before us was Toshiya, artfully preparing rolls of sushi and plating sashimi. The dinner menu offers a well-rounded list of Japanese cuisine option, and we decided to start off with the Jyoto Gyoza (pork dumplings). One word: DELICIOUS! Probably the best dumplings I have had in my short life.

Toshiya at work…

As for our sushi options, we go for the Chef’s Choice of the day. Toshiya asks us if we have any particular roll we would like to taste and our answer is simply, “surprise us”. Toshiya prepares us one sample at a time, and we each end up tasting eight different sushi and sashimi creations. I’m not sure I could pick a favorite, even if I tried, as each tasted spectacular!

Chef’s special spread

Of course if you know what you want, you can always order an entire roll off the menu. I highly recommend the Spicy Tuna Roll – the spicy mango on top is killer!

Spicy Tuna Roll

We finish off the night with some dessert in the form of Sake ice cream, if we hadn’t ingested enough sake already! Super creamy with just the right touch of sweetness, and served with fresh melon, the dessert was a perfect ending to our exceptional dinner.
Jyoto Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar is open Wednesday to Monday, with lunch served from 11:30Am to 2PM and dinner served from 4:30PM to 9:30PM. Jyoto even has a sushi lunch special where you can sample a set lunch menu starting at $35 – it’s truly a great deal. Walk-ins are welcomed, but reservations are encouraged for large groups (contact jotorestaurant@gmail.com or call 628-0100).

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About the Author: Janelle Cowo

The youngest member of the My Beautiful Belize family, Janelle loves traveling and experiencing new cultures both within and across the border of Belize. She particularly enjoys history and is an avid Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance reader. What she lacks in stature, Janelle has (and even surpasses) in spirit for adventure. She is willing to try pretty much anything, from daring jumps to new eats. Janelle lives her life according to Mae West quote “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

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