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Calle Real Xalteva

A Sanctuary to Drink, Dine and Dessert

Espressionista is a cafe/restaurant oasis that is blocks away, but feels like worlds away, from the city center and "Calle Gringo". Started by two friends who met working at restaurants in London, Andres (from the nearby Rivas region) and Zoltan (from Hungary), have created an internationally inspired haven in the visitor-friendly colonial town of Granada.

Natural light floods in from two sets of open floor-to-ceiling front doors, and from the central lush open-air courtyard. Art decorates the walls, reclaimed wood and wicker accent the furniture, and issues of Monocle magazine are fanned-out for reading material. While there is usually a light breeze, a spot by one of the table fans provides extra reprise from the humid climate.

The evolving menu is a colorful experiment of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and spices from nearby farms. Popular dishes include Ossobuco Tagliatelle (white-wine braised veal shank with handmade pasta) and Ajo Blanco (a raw soup of almonds, watermelon and artisanal oils). I'm personally excited to return for their breakfast, particularly the Huevos Polenta (scrambled eggs, baked polenta, avocado and tomato fondue). Make sure to also try their fresh pastries, like blueberry yogurt pie, and their rotating menu of homemade ice creams and sorbets.

Espressionista's origins are as a cafe and while coffee is always a good choice in Nicaragua, in the heat, nothing beats a refreshing glass of rose or a new beer from a local microbrewery.