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  • Isabel

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Isabel Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://isabelbyob.com/
  • Phone: (215) 475-8088
  • Hours of Operation: Brunch: Sunday: 10:30am - 1:30pm;

    Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm,

    Friday, Saturday 5:00pm - 11:00pm
    Please note our kitchen closes 30 minutes early

  • Payment Options: AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Mexican, Californian
  • Executive Chef: Michael Poole
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: BYO Liquor, Counter Seating, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 26th St
  • Public Transit: 32
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Please allow extra time for parking on Fridays and Saturdays
A word from Isabel
Isabel BYOB is a Mexi-Cali BYO restaurant located just one-and-half blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the 2601 Parkway condo building. Opened in 2011 by Michael Poole and Van Chau (also owners of Trio one block north of Isabel)
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMexican
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
Diner Reviews
  • "best guacamole with gorgonzola i have ever eaten! grilled shrimp is fantastic"
    Dined on 8/21/2014
  • "We had the tacos with pork that was well seasoned and very tasty. It was served with hot corn tortillas, freshly made salsa, sour cream, grated cheese and shredded lettuce, which were all super fresh. We will definitely go back again to try some of their other dishes."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "I've been multiple times and it's always amazing. My favorite restaurant in the Fairmount area!"
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "We have been to this restaurant about a half a dozen times over the past year and it keeps getting better and more inventive. Great selection of both traditional and modern dishes, with meat, fish, chicken, and vegetarian options. Very caring service! You can bring tequila or wine, with a huge selection of mixes for margaritas available for purchase."
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "The waitress was very knowledgeable and I tried some foods that I never had before. It is more upscale and original than typical Mexican food."
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "Four of us dined at Isabel early (6:15) on a Monday evening. We had the place nearly to ourselves. The food was delicious, and the margarita mixer (we got the lemon mixer) was wonderful. Service was attentive without being obtrusive. We had appetizers and main courses, and a pitcher of margarita mix (we didn't have any room for dessert), and with tip it was about $35/person. A lovely evening."
    Dined on 7/7/2014
  • "My boyfriend and I just stumbled upon this place and it is now our new favorite restaurant. Ever. The best Mexican food, amazing and FRESH margarita mixers for this BYOB restaurant, service is wonderful with the nicest servers and the food came out really quickly. The best salsa and chips I have ever had, best beans and rice, best dark mole sauce, small restaurant but it doesn't feel crowded or overwhelming, just amazing amazing amazing amazing. Can't stress enough how perfect this restaurant is and how you all need to go asap :)"
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Brunch and dinner are both excellent. Food is fresh, portions are more than generous and the approach to Mexican food is tasty and unique."
    Dined on 6/29/2014
  • "We dined here on a Saturday night. The food and service was okay - a bit slow really, which was fine except then a big birthday party came in. Not ideal in such a small, limited seating space. They overwhelmed me with their noise. I guess the place needed their business. I don't think I'll go back. Margarita with BYOT was very good!"
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "Not matter if we choose to go to Isabel or Trio the chefs that share ownership of these two restaurants always have a solid menu with a little something new in to keep it interesting. The view is unbeatable, probably one of the best in the city!"
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "Fredda was a great waitress! Big selection of mixers for Marquaritas, at least 12. We opt for the regular and brought our own jalpenos! The special short ribs were fantastic. Great Quacamole and chips. "
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "Have been here a number of times since we live in the neighborhood, and it just keeps getting better and better! In addition to a fairly large menu of typical and not-so-typical Mexican dishes, the list of specials, expertly described in great detail (and price) has gotten more and more ambitious . On this visit my husband had the softshell crabs, which he said were OUTSTANDING!!. If you like softshell crabs, this seasonal special should not be missed. The chiles rellenos, not often served in Philadelphia, but always on the menu here , are really excellent, and accompanied by black beans instead of the unhealthy re fried beans that are typically served."
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "We found this place looking for reservations for a large party on a busy weekend and so glad we did! Well outside the restaurant area this little place had outstanding food! Very fresh ingredients, Mexican with a flair, everyone in our party enjoyed the food! Mixers for margaritas were fabulous as was the byob sangria; loaded with fresh fruit! The service was a little slow but could be newer wait staff and it was more than made up for by their enthusiasm in serving us!"
    Dined on 5/16/2014
  • "I honestly didn't expect the food to be as good as it was! great service and nice atmosphere. Its byob, so brought a bottle of red wine and they made Sangria with it that was the Bomb!"
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "Visited Isabel for a birthday dinner with a party of 8. The waitress was terrible, she came to our table once an hour at best. I was excited about the BYOB and thought that would be fun, but warm drinks aren't much fun, we couldn't even get ice. When our food did arrive it was just OK and two dishes were sent back. Our appetizers didn't come for at least 40 minutes."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "This was my first visit to Isabel.. On Cinco de Mayo! The food and service were excellent.. Some favorites with a little twist.. Like the nachos with roasted vegetables ! Amazing selection of margarita mixers at this BYOT!! I will go back !"
    Dined on 5/5/2014
  • "EVERYTHING was amazing!! The Evening Specials were sampled & delish! The standard menu options we perfect!! Had a frozen & on the rock margarita(BYOT) fab!! Pleasant environment. GREAT friendly service. The regulars were awesome too. Will totally come back!!! ALL ages will love it!!"
    Dined on 5/4/2014
  • "BYOT(equila) for margheritas (BYO wine for sangria), this is a great lil'Mexican joint with no sign (other than square tables and chairs outside in good weather) marking its presence. Although the service wasn't unforgivably slow, and the food (cooked in an open kitchen) more than made up for it. Appetizer-wise, that was some fantastic guacamole (with pica de gallo--not spicy) and in-house made chips. I truly enjoyed the Especial Pork Belly tacos (man I love pineapple mixed with spicy elements!). However, the star order of the night was the Cochinita Pibil. Something about the slight cinnamon, cumin, tomato sauce just clinched it (the chef wouldn't share the recipe, but that's understandable)."
    Dined on 5/2/2014
  • "Isabel's came through again for a good Mexican meal with a BYOB. Service is terrific and professional. It'll be great to eat putside once the weather cooperates! "
    Dined on 5/2/2014
  • "Have been to this restaurant several times in the past year since we live nearby. Love the menu choices -- something for everyone! Setting is casual and very pleasant, and the service is competent and caring. The quality of the food is excellent, with interesting twists on familiar dishes and a number of more adventurous selections. The only problem in an otherwise excellent meal was that my husband's fish dish was very meager in size -- this was remedied by the fact that my main dish was HUGE, so my husband was easily filled up with what I couldn't finish!"
    Dined on 4/27/2014
  • "Food was great. A ton of selection but service was slow. "
    Dined on 4/26/2014
  • "Isabel clearly has aspirations to be a high quality restaurant, with some creative takes on traditional Mexican fare. However, this falls down in the execution. The seafood "cocktail" (basically a ceviche) was good, but the Old Bay crackers it was served with turned into a dry, salty mush when eaten together. The herb and panko crusted goat cheese salad sounded great, but the herbs were nowhere to be found, and the massive chunk of cheese overpowered the rest of the salad. The entrees (veggie burrito for my wife and lump crab enchilada for me) were acceptable but not memorable. The atmosphere is nice (very casual), though the messiness of the open kitchen detracts from the experience."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "Isabel's is a friendly, welcoming Mexican restaurant with great food, fair prices and excellent staff. I have been there several times and have enjoyed each dining experience. I have tried everything from the special entrees to the burritos. All have been generous portions and delicious, always the perfect amount of seasoning. The deserts are terrific!! I love the location. Perfect for a walk along the river after dinner."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "I ordered the Steak with avocado special and it was one of the tastiest steaks I have ever had."
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "I would definitely go to Isabel again. The food was excellent as was the atmosphere. The tequila goes fast here"
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "The place was nice and quiet. It had a good ambiance and is not too big. This place is a good spot if you looking for a small quiet romantic place that serves pretty good Mexican food."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Very pleased as we had a fine meal. Enjoyed out bottle of tequila with their mix in for margaritas."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "My son had a friend in from Japan who had never had Mexican food. I am glad we chose Isabel for the experience. Too many mexican restaurants food tastes like it was made on a conveyor belt. Everything at Isabels was freshly made and had its own individual flavor. The crab cakes were decent for he price, the half chicken was very good. The guacamole was excellent. We got it with added bacon. The bring your own aspect is always attractive. You can bring your own tequila as well and they have a great variety of margaritas to add it to. We also had fish tacos and an enchilada. Everyone enjoyed their entrees. Most people were drinking which can always raise the volume, but it was possible to carry a conversation in a normal voice."
    Dined on 2/7/2014
  • "Have been here several times since we live in the neighborhood, and we think it just keeps getting better. Every time we go, the list of non-menu specials grows longer and reflects a more ambititious and diverse approach to Mexican, Latin, and Spanish cuisine. All o the waitstaff are extremely pleasant and the service is attentive and caring."
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "I ate here with a party of 4 on a Friday night - and we ate well! The food was amazingly good and everyone I ate with had the same experience. We went though two appetizers four entrees and desserts - if my stomach and basic rules of decorum would have allowed for it I'd have eaten more. The highlights include the guacamole, the black beans, the enchilada and the dessert selection. The only issue I had with Isabel is that is looks like a cafeteria and there is absolutely no signage outside. Don't get me wrong, the place is clean just not overly exciting to be in - the food made me forget all that! The signage thing was a problem though - my wife literally stood outside the restaurant and called because we could not figure out where it was."
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "The food us excellent here with a great variety of choices, especially considering that this is a small restaurant. Due to its location on the ground floor of an apartment building, this is not a very visible location and the restaurant has not gotten the attention that La Calaca Feliz has attracted. However, having eaten at both places, I prefer Isabel, both for the breadth of menu selections, and for the quality of the food. This is a BYOB, which saves on the cost, and you can bring tequila for margarita type drinks as well as wine, since the mixers are available from the restaurant . Service is caring and efficient. Outdoor dining on a patio in front of the building is available in season. ."
    Dined on 1/12/2014
  • "Had another good meal at Isabel on a very cold snowy night. Good and hot snow crab bisque was tasty but not over filling like many bisques. We had duck enchilados and beef tacos. Both were good and satisfying. The Mexican food is reasonably priced. Some of the specials can be a tad pricey and they are not Mexican. However this means you can go there with folks who do not like Mexican food. The odd mixture of foods is similar to its sister Thai restuarant which also has a number of non-Thai specials. Not sure what drives this concept. It is BYOB so the overall cost is reasonable. The complimentary salsa and chips are great. We will be back."
    Dined on 1/3/2014
  • "Service was very poor. Our waiter was not friendly. Other staff members were friendlier. Food was bland."
    Dined on 12/21/2013
  • "First off their is potential to be a good restaurant; however they have too large of a menu. It hurt their consistency in the dishes. Everything was under salted, and their best dish was a French dish (snails, garlic, mushrooms, and butter) that was one of 20 of their specials! Again, way too much. Their staples like nachos were over fried and under salted. The pulled pork was incredible! They had. 48 and 72 hour beef which sounded awesome. Yet the rice was cold. It just seemed like they were trying too much. Slow down, focus on a few things and show the quality I think this place can have."
    Dined on 12/21/2013
  • "I went here with about 7 friends and we enjoyed it managed to break a few glasses but they were nice about it. The staff was very friendly and very accommodating. I did find it a bit annoying that they gave us 2 tables for 7 I had to be squeezed onto the end but that's a minor nit pick and all in all I had a very good time. The food was very good i'd recommend the Nachos or guacamole It's great if you have a few friends you want to share with."
    Dined on 12/20/2013
  • "Several friends and I had an early dinner here on Saturday night. The waitress was very welcoming and helpful. We all had delicious soup and meals. My crispy duck was outstanding. It truly was crispy. For me this place will probably become a regular since I live in the building above."
    Dined on 11/30/2013
  • "A wonderful brunch! The specials were fantastic and the mixers are amazing!"
    Dined on 11/17/2013
  • "Was going to be in the area, fond this on open table. It turned out to be a great choice."
    Dined on 9/28/2013
  • "We have walked past this restaurant many times and finally decided to give it a try on a Saturday night. The service was not only professional but very friendly and accommodating. The four of us all tried different appetizers and main dishes and all were well done. The stuffed pepper and the spiced pork really hit the spot. Dessert and La Colombe coffee rounded out the meal with a very reasonable tab."
    Dined on 9/21/2013
  • "We dined outside on a very nice August evening, something you would not think would be pleasant this close to the Art Museum [or in August]. Food and service were great. Menu had some less common dishes that are well prepared. Service was great. Margarita set-ups were great. Bread pudding was outstanding, Got free parking on the street close by. What's not to like?"
    Dined on 8/17/2013