Isabel
Isabel

Isabel

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://isabelbyob.com/
  • Phone: 2154758088x
  • 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: Californian, Mexican
  • 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)
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Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeigborhood Gem
  • Diners' Choice WinnerMexican
Isabel reviews from OpenTable diners
33 reviews since June 3, 2014
Overall Rating3.9
  • Food4.2
    Service3.9
  • Ambiance3.6
    Noise LevelModerate
77% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (25)fit for foodies (11)good for groups (9)great for outdoor dining (9)great for brunch (6)romantic (4)kid-friendly (4)great for lunch (3)scenic view (2)special occasion (2)late-night find (2)hot spot (1)Show More
  • Overall Happy
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    Food was excellent, loved the BYOB margarita options. Service was a little bit slow.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Horrendous service, great food.
    PhillyJones
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Isabel's excellent food is overshadowed by its remarkably poor service. After reading many reviews on Yelp that described it as very slow, we decided to dine-in anyways. The Yelp reviewers were right. The server was very rude from the beginning, acting as though she were doing us a favor by waiting on us. We were made to feel guilty for every simple request. More importantly, the service was ridiculously slow: We waited 1 hour for our entrees to arrive, which consisted of 1 salad and the duck quesadillas. The restaurant was not crowded and the wait seemed uncecessary. Worse, they messed up a simple order and then tried to convince us it was no big deal so they wouldn't have to remake it. Lesson: Do takeout at Isabel's.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Fairmount Gem
    Alina
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    The lobster guacomole was an amazing delight, as was the skirt steak and beef tips. The people that work there are so nice. We can always depend on Isabel's for a good experience. It's great takeout too--brought their chocolate mousse tort to a dinner party and it was a big hit,
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Too late for us, not for you!
    DCEpicurean
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    The food was mediocre, the service a disaster, so I advise going to any other Mexican restaurant in Phila. We went there for my wife's birthday and they ruined it. The server was snippy and incompetent. We arrived early for our reservation, but we did not see our appetizer until 1 hour and 38 minutes, and the meal took over 2 hours. The food was so-so. They offered some innovative dishes like corn truffle enchiladas with mole sauce, but the items we ordered were freezer burned like they just heated up frozen stuff in a microwave. The empanadas that took an hour and half to prepare were average -- they deep fry them rather than bake. If you go, take a cab because there is no parking. It is BYOB, and no nearby liquor store.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good food, but soooo slooooow
    diggem
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Food was good. BYOT(equila) was fun. Before ordering, we asked for the dessert list. After being abandoned for 15 min we had to ask another waitress. We then ordered an appetizer and entrees, with instructions that they should not delay bringing out the entrees due to the appetizer. After 20+ min we asked if the appetizer would be out soon (we had to flag her down) and were assured "yes". 10 min more and it finally came out. 30 min later we asked about our entrees, and we assured they'd be out soon. 10 min later we were informed they could not make the entree with sauce on the side. So it took an hour for them to communicate that to us, which means that our food wasn't even started. Like I said, food was good but the service ruined it all.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • ColleenVIP
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    I love the BYOT concept & their margarita mix is delicious. The food was good but not great...I would try it again based on the price and comfortable environment.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Neighborhood Favorite
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Isabel is solid neighborhood restaurant. Food is good, prices are very fair and atmosphere is pleasant. Outdoor sidewalk seating looking across to Fairmount Park and minimal car traffic. The staff is courteous and accomodating. Only place we could get in during the idiocy and unpleasantness of the much overrated Restaurant Week. They did have a special menu for RW but regular menu was available. We will be back.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very Creative Mexican Food!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    We live in the Fairmount area and we have probably been to this restaurant more than any other in the city in the past year. It has become our "go to" place in the neighborhood, not just for Mexican food, but for REALLY GOOD food, particularly since they always have specials in addition to the regular menu that really are SPECIAL. On this visit, for example, my husband had a lobster pot pie, which he said was spectacular. Nice to have a neighborhood restaurant that is constantly trying to improve and vary its offerings -- makes you want to keep coming back to see what they'll do next!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • creative tex mex menu
    myra1205
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    best guacamole with gorgonzola i have ever eaten! grilled shrimp is fantastic
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great tacos
    Mizcarol765
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Perfect as always
    Caroline
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    I've been multiple times and it's always amazing. My favorite restaurant in the Fairmount area!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Mexican in Fairmount
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not run of the mill Mexican food
    PhilaGirl
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great and inexpensive
    Fairmountdiner
    Dined on 7/7/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • My new favorite restaurant!
    Caroline
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    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 :)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • boon
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    Brunch and dinner are both excellent. Food is fresh, portions are more than generous and the approach to Mexican food is tasty and unique.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Okay
    PickyEater
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    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!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 16 ratings-only reviews submitted since June 3, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.1
    • Food4.3
    • Ambiance3.8
    • Service4.2
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 82 reviews are from the Isabel reviews archive.
  • Tastey as always
    BrewerymountVIP
    Dined on 5/30/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Bring your own Tequila
    PaulC
    Dined on 5/24/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not Your Typical Mexican!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Off the beaten trck/worth the trip!
    Hartfordgirl
    Dined on 5/16/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great little find
    mexiliky
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OK food, poor service
    V1978
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Mare
    Dined on 5/5/2014
    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 !
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Feista!!!
    brucie75
    Dined on 5/4/2014
    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!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Are you in the know?
    TigresSKSVIP
    Dined on 5/2/2014
    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).
    Special Features:
    Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Reliably Good
    DinerVIP
    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!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 4/27/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Overall pretty good
    KTMCVVIP
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    Food was great. A ton of selection but service was slow.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Scenic View, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not bad; not great
    ScottVIP
    Dined on 4/12/2014
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • reliable small gem
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 3/22/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Mexican
    jozo
    Dined on 3/20/2014
    I ordered the Steak with avocado special and it was one of the tastiest steaks I have ever had.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Had a great time at Isabel
    SKlinger
    Dined on 2/15/2014
    I would definitely go to Isabel again. The food was excellent as was the atmosphere. The tequila goes fast here
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice
    Dullah
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Enjoyed.
    JeffTrexlerVIP
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    Very pleased as we had a fine meal. Enjoyed out bottle of tequila with their mix in for margaritas.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A fine meal
    DisappointedVIP
    Dined on 2/7/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not Your Typical Mexican Restaurant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 2/1/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A great night at Isabel
    intherearview
    Dined on 1/18/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Underrated Mexican Restaurant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 1/12/2014
    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. .
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good Meal on a cold snowy night
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 1/3/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet