Best New Sushi Restaurant in Belize Finds a Home on Ambergris Caye
JYOTO Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar Opens in 2017 at Mahogany Bay Village
Toshiya Tsujimoto believes he can bring people happiness and healing through sushi. And in November 2016 he moved from Japan to Belize to carry out his mission.
The 32-year old native of Japan believes that a warm island like Ambergris Caye often functions to heal people’s “damaged hearts,” and accordingly believes it is his duty to heal with sushi. After venturing through 25 countries including extensive travel through the United States, he and his business partners chose Belize for their next restaurant.
Tsujimoto studied under renowned master sushi chef Toshio Sakamaki in San Francisco for six years. There he learned the roots of Japanese sushi philosophy — eat fresh, eat local. Simple but true, the Japanese believe one should appreciate the fresh and natural flavors the earth provides in the appropriate season, without having to import from different climates, nor add a lot of additional flavors or sauces. This philosophy can be applied to many types of food, depending on what is fresh and available. Sushi is all about making “aesthetically pleasing, individual bites that celebrate our connection with time and nature,” said Tsujimoto.
Tsujimoto already has two successful restaurants in California’s Bay Area. His team chose Belize for their next venture because they recognize that it is a young country with a lot of room for growth. Here are other key elements they sought out in a new location: a place where authentic Japanese sushi restaurants are few or none, a place that has a work force eager for something new, a coastal location with an abundance of fresh seafood.
JYOTO has reached agreements with multiple local island fishermen and mainland farmers to secure their supply chain of fresh ingredients. The team is especially enthusiastic to have formed a relationship with Ambergreens Aquaponics, the 2400 sq ft fully-organic aquaponic greenhouse on-site at Mahogany Bay Village. The greenhouse produces a variety of the country’s most flavorful lettuces, leafy vegetables, herbs, microgreens, and vegetables including tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and peppers. Ambergreens will supply JYOTO with all their vegetables, including some speciality ingredients in Japanese cuisine such as shisho leaf.
We look forward to JYOTO Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar’s grand opening in the first half of 2017 at Mahogany Bay Village. The venue has a modern/ industrial echo of the British Colonial architecture of the village, totaling 4000 sq ft of indoor/ outdoor space, and eventually will include a dedicated sake bar and saltwater aquarium. Please follow Mahogany Bay Village on social media for the most recent updates on JYOTO and numerous other restaurants and retail spaces opening at our 60-acre resort within the next months, as we prepare our grand opening as Belize’s first Curio Collection by Hilton hotel!