La Bella Managua Restaurant
872 Bloor St W
(At Ossington Ave)
416 913 4227
After a summer hiatus, the Ethnic Eats Challenge is back. Arriving from various points on bicycle, by subway and car we gathered at this friendly spot for lunch on the Labour Day weekend. The room is decorated with Nicaraguan handicrafts, colourful landscape paintings and other cultural displays, including the Nicaraguan flag and a map of the country.
Some folks opt for a quesadilla starter. These corn flour tortillas stuffed with Monterrey Jack cheese and green onions accompanied by a side of salsa al pimento, bear little resemblance to Taco Bell fare, $5.95. The main courses, all served with generous portions of Gallo Pinto (fried rice with beans), fried plantain and salad included: Pollo a la Parrilla seasoned grilled chicken breast, $11.95; Carne Asada grilled boneless beef steak, $10.99; Bandeja Tipica [seen here] a vegetarian plate with cabbage salad and slices of avocado and Spanish cheese, $9.99.
Fusion style entrees were also well received: Stir Fry - a mixture of vegetables with ginger and soy sauce, $9.50; Linguine Portobella noodles with field mushrooms, scallions and chicken in a tomato basil sauce.
The dessert special, a square of traditional cake, topped with dulce de leche or creamy rice pudding (served warm with plenty of cinnamon), $4.00, rounded out the meal. Our beverages, house red wine, $6.00 a glass, coffee, fruit juice and soft drinks were what you'd expect most places.
Our server told us about the daily specials, explained the menu and helped with food selection. Latin music at a good volume. Menu is in Spanish first with English translations underneath which would lead you to believe that much of their clientele hail from Central and South America.
Rating: Ambiance (3)
Food Presentation (3)
Food Quality (3)
Value for Money (3)