Toronto is known for being one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Yet with all its variety, some of us have trouble finding true, authentic Latin spots that bring us back to our roots and remind us of how good our food is. Having previously visited and discovered places like El Trompo, El Plebeyo and Antojitos; I was certainly happy to find La Bella Managua and delighted to add this cute little Nicaraguan restaurant to Foodies Inc. Best Latin spots section! Definitely one spot to hit if you want to experience Latin American cuisine at its best.
As you enter La Bella Managua (translates to beautiful Managua, which is the capital city of Nicaragua), you are quickly taken away by the sounds of music, the welcoming staff and the smell of fried plantain. The smell is not ‘greasyish’ or dense, you do not come out smelling like it either. Instead is subtle, aromatic and appetite-opening. Plantains are not only part of Nicaragua’s everyday meals, but also a staple in some South American countries. What is it paired with? Everything!Starting with the Ceviche, plantains are used as a spoon to scoop out all that delicious goodness of marinated seafood in lime flavours.
Having won many awards for his Ceviche, chef Jesus Morales brings in tradition and authenticity to a rather over-rated dish in this city with its many variations of Ceviche. When I tasted this Ceviche, I felt like I was back home, eating at a beach-front joint, enjoying my fresh cold fish on a hot sunny afternoon.
From cold to hot, I slowly moved to the fish of the day the Fried Snapper.
Accompanied with yet another way of making plantains (mashed, then fried), the fish was succulent, toasty and well seasoned. Best part yet, it was the whole fish! Rarely do I find restaurants that serve it this way. The presentation, just like the Ceviche, was flawless and cute. Paired with an avocado and tomato salad and white rice, this dish was yet another win in my books…or blog!
Coming into last course (OK I lie, I was sharing it with someone else), we ventured into the infamous Carne Asada.
The Carne Asada is a grilled boneless beef steak served with gallo pinto (rice and beans), avocado, deep fried plantains (surprised?) and cabbage salad. The very soft and scrumptious bean rice, served with the Carne Asada was quite good. But what I liked the most was the fact that I got plantains two ways! One as fried plantain chips, and the other using sweet plantains that are both pan fried and deep fried.
Tip for Foodies, grab a piece of the soft sweet plantain and dip it in the rice. Let the rice and beans stick to the sweet candy-like coating, then eat it! Do this after you’ve taken a bite at your Carne Asada, and you have now learned how to indulge in something so simple as plantains!
Until next time Foodies!