On Saturday afternoon I decided to take a drive and ended up at La Bella Managua. This restaurant has one of the best fried fish in Toronto. Once I got a table, I immediately asked the waiter for the fish of the day. He said that it was Robalo. I did not think twice about it and told him that I was going to get it. The fried fish was served with a side of fried raw plantain, avocado salad and fried yuca for an extra cost.
The time went by so slow as I was sipping on my cold water while waiting for my fish.
As the waiter approached the table, my eyes opened as wide as my mouth when I noticed that the fish tail was almost hanging from the plate. The waiter smiled and said: –Here you go miss, enjoy! I smiled back and thanked him.
I took a deep breath as I was pleased by the look and smell of the fish that was put in front of me. I was already tasting the juiciness of the meat in my head as I was grabbing the fork. I used the fork to cut through the crispy skin to reach the white and smooth fish meat. I took the lemon wedge that was placed on my plate and squeezed the lemon juice out of it onto the fish. I blew a bit as the meat was still hot and took my first bite. The skin of the fish was salty and oily while the meat just dissolved in my mouth without much effort. I was delighted.
I started to devour the fish so quickly that I did not realize I was even eating the bones. The bones were so small and cooked so well that you could bite into them without realizing it. The saltiness of the skin mixed perfectly with the juices from the meat and the lemon juice resulted in a party of flavors in my mouth. I was in paradise. The fins and tale were cooked to perfection that I had to eat them as well. They were so crispy I almost felt like I was eating chips.
Once I was done with half the fish, I decided to then taste the avocado salad. The avocado was cut in small cubes and it was so smooth that I could smash it with my own fork. I could also taste the slipperiness of the oil that was added as dressing as well as the freshness of the thinly cut tomatoes. The salad was served in a bed of mixed greens that absorbed the juices from the vegetables. The greens were wet and chewy and no longer crispy when I got to them.
The raw fried plantains were a bit bland that I had to add salt to them after my first bite. They were chewy, soft and a bit on the sweet side, it almost felt like eating a salty marshmallow. The fried yuca next to the plantains was presented in small cubes and fried until reaching a golden color. To me, they were perfect. The soft and delicate taste of the yuca took me back to the plains of Venezuela. I envisioned my grandmother peeling the yuca and throwing it in a big cauldron that had boiling water in it, where the yuca was cooked slowly using wood. The intriguing thing about yuca is that the taste does not match its looks. A yuca looks rough and hard on the outside, however, it tastes is smooth, delicate and silky.
My plate was almost clean at this point. I was so focused on enjoying the different flavors I did not realize the fish was gone, all of it. I even poked the eyeballs out and ate them. They really do not taste like anything, but they are juicy and tough to chew. It feels just like eating a mint but with a fishy taste.