2601 Pennsylvania Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130Neighborhood:
MexicanPrice: $30 and under
- 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
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)Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerNeigborhood Gem
- Diners' Choice WinnerMexican
Isabel - Best Restaurants in Art Museum ›
Isabel reviews from OpenTable diners
32 reviews since May 25, 2014
- Ambiance3.7Noise LevelModerate
neighborhood gem (25)great for outdoor dining (11)fit for foodies (11)good for groups (10)great for brunch (7)kid-friendly (6)romantic (4)scenic view (3)great for lunch (3)special occasion (2)late-night find (2)hot spot (1)Show More
- Fairmount GemAlinaDined on 9/13/2014The 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Too late for us, not for you!DCEpicureanDined on 9/13/2014The 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.
- Good food, but soooo slooooowdiggemDined on 9/13/2014Food 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.
- ColleenVIPDined on 9/12/2014I 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 FavoriteOpenTable Diner Since 2006VIPDined on 9/12/2014Isabel 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:
- Very Creative Mexican Food!OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIPDined on 9/12/2014We 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- creative tex mex menumyra1205Dined on 8/21/2014best guacamole with gorgonzola i have ever eaten! grilled shrimp is fantasticSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great tacosMizcarol765Dined on 8/16/2014We 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:
- Perfect as alwaysCarolineDined on 8/15/2014I've been multiple times and it's always amazing. My favorite restaurant in the Fairmount area!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great Mexican in FairmountOpenTable Diner Since 2008VIPDined on 8/2/2014We 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Not run of the mill Mexican foodPhilaGirlDined on 8/2/2014The 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great and inexpensiveFairmountdinerDined on 7/7/2014Four 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:
- My new favorite restaurant!CarolineDined on 7/5/2014My 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- boonDined on 6/29/2014Brunch 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:
- OkayPickyEaterDined on 6/21/2014We 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!
- Tastey as alwaysBrewerymountDined on 5/30/2014Not 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:
- The following 81 reviews are from the Isabel reviews archive.
- Bring your own TequilaPaulCDined on 5/24/2014Fredda 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Not Your Typical Mexican!OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIPDined on 5/24/2014Have 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:
- Off the beaten trck/worth the trip!HartfordgirlDined on 5/16/2014We 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great little findmexilikyDined on 5/11/2014I 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:
- OK food, poor serviceV1978Dined on 5/10/2014Visited 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.
- MareDined on 5/5/2014This 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:
- Feista!!!brucie75Dined on 5/4/2014EVERYTHING 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:
- Are you in the know?TigresSKSVIPDined on 5/2/2014BYOT(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:
- Reliably GoodDinerVIPDined on 5/2/2014Isabel'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:
- OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIPDined on 4/27/2014Have 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Overall pretty goodKTMCVVIPDined on 4/26/2014Food was great. A ton of selection but service was slow.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Not bad; not greatScottVIPDined on 4/12/2014Isabel 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.
- reliable small gemOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 3/22/2014Isabel'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:
- Great MexicanjozoDined on 3/20/2014I ordered the Steak with avocado special and it was one of the tastiest steaks I have ever had.Special Features:
- Had a great time at IsabelSKlingerDined on 2/15/2014I would definitely go to Isabel again. The food was excellent as was the atmosphere. The tequila goes fast hereSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- NiceDullahDined on 2/14/2014The 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Enjoyed.JeffTrexlerVIPDined on 2/14/2014Very pleased as we had a fine meal. Enjoyed out bottle of tequila with their mix in for margaritas.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- A fine mealDisappointedVIPDined on 2/7/2014My 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:
- Not Your Typical Mexican RestaurantOpenTable Diner Since 2008VIPDined on 2/1/2014Have 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- A great night at IsabelintherearviewDined on 1/18/2014I 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Underrated Mexican RestaurantOpenTable Diner Since 2008VIPDined on 1/12/2014The 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:
- Good Meal on a cold snowy nightOpenTable Diner Since 2006VIPDined on 1/3/2014Had 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:
- Service was very poor. OurOpenTable Diner Since 2009VIPDined on 12/21/2013Service was very poor. Our waiter was not friendly. Other staff members were friendlier. Food was bland.
- InconsistentSteveDined on 12/21/2013First 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.Special Features: