Pazzo Italian - West End Dining, Roatan
Updated: Nov 5, 2019
Pazzo is all about food. They don’t have wine, or alcohol in general. You are welcome (and really expected & encouraged) to bring your own. The open air walls face either the road or back into a little cluster of homes along a dirt drive. An open door and a large opening in the wall also allows you to see inside the kitchen where, when we were there, three staff members and the chef crafted each order as it came in.
There are just a handful of tables and 25 seats, plus another 3 or 4 at the bar. Patrons arrive slowly, carefully scheduled and choreographed, we realized, so the kitchen never had a rush but plenty of time to prep and cook as each table ordered. It was perfectly casual but perfectly simple and elegant at the same time.
We typically spend our last night or two on the island in West End. We love the peaceful and tranquil feeling in Port Royal, where our home Fort Linwell is. The East End is virtually undeveloped and we have a national forest behind us and nothing but ocean out front. We are boat access only, so road noise doesn’t exist and it’s a 15 or 20 minute (beautiful) trip on the boat to get back into town. It's our perfect place, we unwind and unplug there.
But the last night or two we enjoy spending some time strolling on the beach, grabbing drinks at the beach bars and cafes in West End, dining or drinking with our dear friends Ana, Cisco and Luca, and generally spending time in a more “vacationy” spot. Plus we have no stress getting to the airport in the morning.
This past visit our hotel manager suggested Pazzo. She told us we’d need reservations, and made them for us, and that we’d need to bring our own wine. Interesting and intriguing.
We took the two block walk to the restaurant, stepped up into the dining area and were seated. We handed over our bottles of wine, one was opened and placed on our table along with two glasses, the other put in the fridge. We checked out the menu and the specials board. We ordered bruschetta & carpaccio to start and watched the kitchen staff get to work, starting everything from scratch - from dicing the tomatoes and toasting the crostini to slicing the beef.
The chef walks in and out of the kitchen, chatting with the guests, most of which he seems to know, and helping prep and plate the dishes. He’s in shorts, a light shirt and flip flops. Everyone is - staff and guests - but the food is as grand as any we’ve had in the finest of dining spots.
We order one of the specials of the night, Linguini del Mar. Homemade pasta and fresh seafood in a light tomato broth. The apps were great, the entree was fantastic, the atmosphere was perfectly Roatan. Nothing too fancy and not too worried but quite authentic. And friendly. And happy. It was an amazing dinner and a fantastic date night.
We’d seen, last year when devouring every bit of information we could about the island, that Roatan wasn’t really known for food. Visitors asked on travels sites and were often told, that we saw, to go for the beauty, not the food.
We’ve found that to be completely inaccurate. The island food we’ve found at authentic islander spots has been great. The the baleadas at little cafes and even at the gas station are outstanding and handmade to order. And now we’ve found a great Italian spot that I’d put up against the nicest of restaurants anywhere else I’ve been.