I guess that I should begin the review by explaining its title. When I say "not so hot" what I actually mean is that the restaurant should consider changing its name to something more appropriate. Possibly "Nitrogen - Ice cold" would be more apt as this was not as good a restaurant as we had hoped.
I had the privilege to be staying on Caye Caulker for 5 nights after a few weeks travelling around Central America and it is such a fantastic place, both the people and the place make CC amazing.
So with some interesting places to go to experience Belizean culinary delights we decided to go with Habaneros, as it was recommended by travel guides, locals and tourists alike. However, the experience was less than satisfying. Unfortunately I am referring to BOTH the food and the restaurant.
So with our visit being less than satisfactory we put that down to bad luck so we decided to go back for a second time on our last night in the hope that it would all vastly improve and that our impression would be changed. However it actually became 'Groundhog Day'.
To combine our two evenings dining at Habaneros, you'll be getting one story!
On both nights unfortunately, the service was very poor and the staff that were apparently on duty to offer a service, quite simply looked disinterested and almost as if we were disturbing them by asking for anything!! The only positive element in our service on both nights was that on the first night we ordered two bottles of water, they offered to keep one on ice whilst we drank the other. From there, the service disintegrated.
The food on both nights, was less than satisfactory. The menu itself sounds amazing as you read it, your mouth literally starts to taste the flavours described and really does get you in the mood to receive the most amazing of dishes. Unfortunately, what is served in front of you does not match up to the description.
In my opinion, the plates have WAY too much 'going on'. Even if you look at the photos, your main dish is served with rice, bread, fruit, flowers and (from any dish we got) at least two sauces. Should a plate have that much on it? Also, on our first night, the overpowering taste of garlic and a 'sweet & sour' type fruity sauce left your mouth struggling to actually taste the food itself.
On our second visit, unfortunately our food experience did get worse. We ordered a starter (some form of beef wraps). But what we received was a form of shrimp wraps. With an allergy to shellfish at the the table this was not good. We made it known to the waitress that we had not received what we ordered and she simply confirmed that was shrimp. We told her again that we did not order this. She did not offer to replace or otherwise and left our table. We asked another member of staff to take away the plates and informed her it was not what we ordered.
Then once again, the main dishes we got were overpowering in their taste (garlic and fruity again) and the wild mix of rice, fruit, bread and flowers were also back in full swing. We did order completely different dishes to our first night, but it would appear that every dish comes with this level of garnish! Slightly garish if you ask me!
Once again, as had occurred on our first experience, we had to almost hunt down the waitress to get the bill. When it did arrive on the second night, the starter that we had not ordered and had NOT eaten, was still on the bill. Odd in itself, but what made it more peculiar was that when I asked the waitress she said the order was mixed up but that we could have changed at the time. Possibly foolish, but I paid for the starter.
So to make our escape, as had happened on our first night, I had to go into the restaurant to pay the bill (minus any Tip) as the staff seemed too busy drinking at the bar with the owner. The very same had happened on our first visit so presumably as it nears 9.30/10pm they switch off and forget about the little service that they do offer!
When you go to a restaurant I think it is fair comment to say that you are looking for a number of points which will add to your enjoyment of the dining process - food, service, cleanliness and atmosphere.
I would have to say, that I would not recommend Habaneros to a single person. It really baffles me as to how and why it has so many good reviews. The only positive, was the smooth music that was played by their solo guitarist who was excellent. It allowed us slip away with a smile and to get a quick slice of pizza elsewhere, as we were still hungry!