La Bella Managua and Aroma

Posted on February 26, 2012

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Sunday is a day where I most do nothing and vegetate on the couch, re-energize and watch whatever reruns on TV.  This Sunday though my friend gets me out to try Nicaraguan cuisine.  I haven’t tried Nicaraguan cuisine before going to La Bella Managua but I have a feeling that I would enjoy their cuisine.  From what I know Nicaragua and the Philippines have a lot of things in common.  Same climate and weather and almost the same history, I would not be surprised if the flavour profiles of Nicaraguan cuisine would be along the same lines as Filipino food.  I research the restaurant and I get excited that my assumptions were right.  Fish and fish and more fish.  And fish cooked the way I like it!  I take note of their best sellers and I came into the restaurant already decided.

I came shamefully late as I always forget that subways run slower on Sundays.  When I walk in, my friends Natalia and Valerie were in conversation.  They tell me that they think I’d go for the restaurant’s pork dish.  Most of the time the best way to make a Filipino happy is to serve them pork for a meal but it doesn’t apply for me for the day.  Fish was my everyday diet when I lived in Manila.  Ever since coming to Canada, it seems it has become more of a novelty than a regular meal.  Seeing La Bella Managua cook fish the way we do back home, I just have to go for fish.

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For appetizers, all the reviews I have read were singing praises about the ceviche.  We have a similar dish back home we call kinilaw. La Bella Managua’s ceviche came as a mix of lime-marinated fish and shrimp, complimented with diced bell peppers, red onions and cilantro.  If done right, the seafood rolls in the mouth without any hint of fishy after-taste.  The dish did not disappoint and went so well paired with the fried plantain chips.  The taste gave me a vivid recollection of a Sunday afternoon at my parent’s house in Manila, playing cards and enjoying kinilaw with beer.

Not long after came my Pescado del Dia, fish of the day offering of La Bella Managua.  The whole fish was fried just like I have it back home.  Just looking at it make my stomach growl.  I silently wished that I was at home so I can eat the fish using my hands and I can lick my fingers after.  Ah well, seeing the fish, I would concede using cutlery and do it the acceptable way (big cheeky grin).  Just like the ceviche, the fish was fresh, aptly warm, crunchy and moist at the same time.  The side of salsa, rice and plantain chips complimented the dish and made this foodie quite happy.  My only regret is that I didn’t get to eat the fish with the abandon I used to eat it back home.  Maybe I should have listened to my friend and ignored proper restaurant decorum.

After we devour our lunches, we opted to finish our lunch with coffee from Aroma.  With good coffee and free WiFi, it is not such a surprise that Aroma was brimming with people.  It is a personal favorite of mine to have a latte when in Aroma, but for the afternoon I ordered the affogato.  We take a table and I sigh in contentment.  Sundays with good food and good friends always leave me a feeling of satisfaction.

La Bella Managua on Urbanspoon

Aroma Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon