I write this with just a bit of trepidation, because we love Placencia Village and want it to remain a "traveler's destination" rather than a "tourist destination". However, that being said, The Secret Garden is just too charming not to share.
There is one automobile-friendly road through Placencia Village; the rest of the Village is criss-crossed with walking paths. The Secret Garden is located along that main road, about half-way through the Village, tucked slightly away but easily recognizable by its canopied entrance path.
Intrigued by the obvious charm of the yellow canopy, suggesting a pleasant mystery, we passed by several times before venturing in, looking for our morning coffee. We were met by owner Jody, who with his wife Erin had opened the restaurant only six weeks earlier. Jody and Erin are from Toronto, and both have deep experience in the hospitality industry. Erin also contributes an artful nature, which is immediately apparent in the table settings, menu designs, interior and exterior decorating, and even to the "necessary rooms". The mere act of washing your hands becomes a delight, which I will allow here to remain another pleasant surprise.
The coffee that first morning was all that a Seattle-based coffee fanatic could wish for. A long conversation with Jody increased our sense of comfort and welcome. On our next visit, Erin met us as if she already knew us, and we had a lovely frittata and fruit breakfast. That evening, with fresh seafood and house-made pasta, and vegetables that seemed to have jumped from the garden to perfection on our plates, told the whole tale.
Their chef varies the menu day-to-day, developing dishes based on the fresh-daily markets. A local lady makes all of their breads and pastries each morning. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served with original and creative flair, superb quality, and very reasonable prices.
The restaurant is indeed in a garden, and through a little gate to the side, more garden is revealed. There you will find a wonderful day-spa, with choices of many types of massage and "new-age" services.
As seasoned travelers, and restaurant snobs, we can only highly recommend The Secret Garden. But please, if you are looking for McDonald's, go elsewhere and leave Placencia Village to its native charm.