Another pit-stop on our tour of Nicaragua took us from the beautifully preserved colonial city of Leon, for a one-night stay in Managua, the capital. This allowed an opportunity to see a little more of the city, including the derelict cathedral, a casualty of the 1972 earthquake that flattened the city. We also saw extensive development of the lake shore in progress, creating a theme park for all ages which is sure to inject colour and life into the area, for both locals and visitors.
One of the highlights of our stay was to sample one of the local restaurants close to our hotel. The Restaurant El Segundo. El Segundo which stands for "second in command" was recommended to us by our incoming tour operator Mundo Ventura, so a big thanks to Arlen, who recommended and organised this wonderful experience for us.
El Segundo - Managua's most stylish restaurant
El Segundo is hidden away in one of the city's back streets. It is a delightful restaurant with modern decor, attractive wooden panels displaying photographs and colourful contemporary paintings by local artists. There's a bar area to sip a cocktail and an attractive outside eating area. English speaking staff are an added bonus, as they will happily explain the menus and recommend some excellent wines.
There‘s also a great choice of cocktails to whet the appetite and a menu that covers both European and Latin American dishes, but is not too overwhelming as many can be. I was told the offer changes regularly to reflect ingredients that are fresh and seasonal. Everything we tasted was beautifully prepared and presented with care and attention.
A glass window to the spotless kitchen, allows diners to watch the attention to detail involved in the preparation of dishes, and don't be surprised if the chef pops out during the meal, to ensure everything is to your liking.
It was difficult to choose as the menu included heavenly, homemade pastas, burgers, fresh fish and shellfish, and wonderful salads. We opted for a selection of starters, with a chilled glass of Chablis. They included beef carpaccio with shaved parmesan, mussels, vegetarian rolls with avocado and arancini (rice balls filled with a ragout sauce). The presentation alone could pick up an award!
For our entrees, Lesley, my companion opted for a fillet mignon with a rich creamy sauce, whilst I chose the pork cutlets, which were yummy and melted in the mouth. The quality of meat in Nicaragua is surprisingly good and pastoral farming limits the need for imported meats. We selected a New World Merlot to complement the flavours.
For desert we chose chocolate mousse and sweet bunuelos (cheesy corn balls), flavoured with honey and cinnamon so we could sample something new with the chocolate mousse, an old favourite; we weren't disappointed, they were the perfect finish to a wonderful meal.
If, or when you visit Managua, El Segundo should be the restaurant at the top of your list. I would suggest booking your table in advance to ensure you are not disappointed – the secret won't last for long.
The following morning we were ready to "hit the road" once again, and to head south on the Pan American Highway to continue our amazing adventure in Nicaragua.