Restaurants & Bars 20

La Bella Managua

dory | Feb 9, 2008 05:23 AM

Nicaraguan restaurant on north side of Bloor near Ossington. Not much from the outside but inside is cheerful and "homey", and the recorded Nicaraguan music and regional menu might help you forget about the slush and snow outside. I've only eaten here twice in the past 6 months but both times it was equally enjoyable (with a group of 4 and 7).

I have almost no prior experience with Nigaraguan food but we all enjoyed our meal including (adventuresome) children and teenagers. You can google their menu.
Vegetarian options included. Also pasta and a stir fry dish offered.

Make sure you order one of their juices. Tamarind, and orange-cantaloupe are very refreshing. Tea is regular or herbal. A simple but nice touch being able to select your tea.
The restaurant is licensed.

The entrees are large and filling, and the prices very reasonable. With shared appetizers (quesadilla, calamari) I was unable to finish my meal. And I would have loved to try dessert!

Carne Asada $10.95 proved to be a favourite choice for us. A large portion of boneless beef served with gallo pinto (beans with rice...I really enjoyed this), avocado, and plantain (the sweet yellow mashed or the green version sliced thin and deep fried). Spice it up with the homemade pico gallo sauce to taste.

There is a pollo option $11.95 (the most expensive choice on the menu) which was also enjoyed.

The deep fried pork with cabbage salad was good but I found the pork a bit drier than I would have liked (mind you it was 9 pm on a weeknight) but the cabbage salad (think coleslaw with tang) was a great accompaniment and the yucca was delicious! Not low calorie but hearty and satisfying.

The tamales were another delicous and inexpensive entree, which might make a nice shared appetizer.

There's no kid's menu but the waitress offered to bring my 10 yr old a smaller portion of the Carne Asada but as he is a Carne Vore he sticks to the regular portion and doggy bags the rest.

But here's the best part for me. Because of a life threatening allergy to tomatoes I approach most restaurants (well actually all) very carefully. The owner (I assume) came out from the back to answer my many questions and was extremely polite and helpful, as was the waitress. He suggested some delicious tomato free choices. The other thing I "suffer" from is being able to choose. Some of us couldn't decide between yellow or green plaintain -- he brought us both. Yucca -- No problem. He brought us both forms of yucca. Spanish Cheese (which tastes like feta) -- grated or fried? We get both. When you're eating out with kids, groups. and allergies this kind of friendly and helpful service keeps you coming back. I only wished we didn't live in York Region and we could go more often.

Our last visit was in December and he mentioned that he was hoping to enlarge the menu to include some fish/seafood choices. And apparently, although its not on the menu on weekends (open at 11 am or noon? but not before) the waitress told me if you ask they'll serve you up a Nicaraguan style breakfast. Not sure what it is but it might be a nice break from bacon and eggs. If you do try it please post about your experience. I may have to make a trip downtown soon for lunch.

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