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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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 [email protected] or call 628-0100).