Isabel's Cantina
Isabel's Cantina

Isabel's Cantina

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://www.isabelscantina.com/
  • Phone: 8582728400
  • Hours of Operation:
    Breakfast

    Daily: 8:00am - 3:00pm

    Lunch
    Daily: 8:00am - 3:00pm

    Dinner

    Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm; Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 9:30pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Pan-Asian, Fusion / Eclectic, Contemporary Mexican
  • Executive Chef: Isabel Cruz
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Cafe, Farm to Table, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, High Tea, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Smoking Area, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Cass
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: 4 private parking spots in front of the restaurant. Easy to find non-metered street parking beyond that.
A word from Isabel's Cantina
At Isabel's Cantina, Chef Isabel Cruz fuses Latin and Asian cuisine

into sensual and creative concoctions that are both remarkably addictive and surprisingly healthy. By incorporating ingredients from spicy pork carnitas to tofu, Chef Cruz creates a vegetarian's haven as well as a meat-lover's paradise. The exotic dining space is at once dramatic and hip, with accents such as an enormous 15-foot Buddha statue staring down at the dining room. Casual booths, stark lines, and warm colors create an atmosphere not found elsewhere in Pacific Beach, attracting crowds for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
Continued
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Isabel's Cantina reviews from OpenTable diners
17 reviews since May 26, 2014
Overall Rating3.9
  • Food4.1
    Service3.8
  • Ambiance3.8
    Noise LevelEnergetic
77% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (11)fit for foodies (6)great for brunch (4)good for groups (4)special occasion (3)great for lunch (3)romantic (3)vibrant bar scene (1)hot spot (1)kid-friendly (1)Show More
  • Great experience food disappointing
    BluesincVIP
    Dined on 5/24/2013
    Love the minimalist, Zen-like atmosphere. Our waiter, Anthony, was excellent with a great sense of humor that really added to the evening. The food, however, was not up to our usual expectations at Isabel's restaurants. Guess everyone has an off-night. We'll be back, though.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great for brunch, not for dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 5/14/2013
    We usually go here for brunch and cannot rave more about the food, so we decided to try out their dinner menu. Unfortunately the food fell flat. The meat in the lettuce wraps were dry, the accompanying veggies were lacking, and the sauce was flavorful but thin. The fish on special was also dry and precut in half for some reason. We will probably only return here for breakfast.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great neighborhood food
    GreatVIP
    Dined on 4/26/2013
    My wife loves the combination of flavor s and ingredients and while I find relatively few things of culinary interest to me, we invariably enjoy the evenings and are well satisfied. The wines by the glass are excellent choices and reasonably priced and the Latina style roasted half chicken is always more that I can eat. The flat iron steak done Isabel Yale is excellent. Their double chocolate cake dessert is a must have at least once. The staff are very friendly and remember returning guest s. All in all a good meal at reasonable prices and quite convenient to our neighborhood.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Our server, Bri, was very
    GreenEyedGirl
    Dined on 4/16/2013
    Our server, Bri, was very friendly, attentive and had great suggestions. This was our second time for dinner (we're ususally for breakfast) and really enjoyed the midweek scene. We'll be back for sure!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food was tasty. Great options
    PWagVIP
    Dined on 3/30/2013
    Food was tasty. Great options for the vegans and gluten free folks in our group. Only wish the service had been a bit more prompt.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Deafening
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 3/29/2013
    The "energetic" rating (the loudest option available) for noise, doesn't quite capture what we'd like to say. What should have been a perfectly enjoyable meal was completely destroyed by the unbearable acoustics of this otherwise attractive place. When teenage diners, offered dessert, opt to skip it in order just to get out of a room where the noise went beyond stifling conversation to actually causing discomfort, you know you've got a problem. Food was tasty, and the menu suggests tremendous variety, but the appearance of chipotle cream sauce on four very different items--including a seared ahi that in name and appearance suggested Asian, rather than Latino, influences--left us feeling the kitchen was favoring efficiency over originality.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food. Nice menu with
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004
    Dined on 3/27/2013
    Good food. Nice menu with healthy options. The noise level is so high that it interfers with conversation and mars the experience.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • We usually go for breakfast,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011VIP
    Dined on 3/26/2013
    We usually go for breakfast, but this time we had dinner. Boyfriend loved the Double Happiness Lettuce Wraps, and I enjoyed the seared ahi special of the day...very fresh & tasty! Our server was great, although food took a while.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Was surprised to find Mexican
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 3/25/2013
    Was surprised to find Mexican food so unique. The perfect amount of flavor and spice. Our server was extremely knowledgeable about preparation of the food. The three of us had the Chile Rellenos and we moaned with every bite. The building had great character and loved being able to walk on the beach after dinner. Can't wait to bring my husband!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Overall i enjoyed it. There
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 3/16/2013
    Overall i enjoyed it. There were a few hiccups though. The menu is pretty limited. I would add some more items. Notable drink list but they were out of everything but jalapeno tequila. Food was good i got the lettuce wraps. Friendly service and i lived the ambiance.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Give your review a title
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008VIP
    Dined on 3/10/2013
    Where to start? Why do people rave about the food here? And why all the raves about the restaurant in general? No one to greet us upon our arrival, incredibly poor service, cocktails and food took forever to arrive and when the food arrived it was cold and dry. On top of everything, they didn't note that we honored our Open Table reservation. Fortunately, it wasn't very expensive.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Love it here!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 2/24/2013
    I cannot say enough great things about this special little find. One of the best meals I have had in a long time. And the service was genuinely warm.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great and pleasant place.
    GreatVIP
    Dined on 2/22/2013
    My wife loves Isabel's Cantina for its unique blend of Latin and Asian food concepts and the Cantina reflects this mixture in the ambiance of the place. The service is friendly and efficient, and the wines by the glass are fairly priced and tasty. I always have the same dish Cicken Diablo , Latina style. The roast chicken is juicy with crisp skin and the rice and beans make fora very filling dish.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food was great and well made.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 2/16/2013
    Food was great and well made. The service was slow, but the server told us that they were not anticipating to be busy. They did give us a discount for the slow service which was great. Try the soups (cannot remember which one we had) but all we had were awesome.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • They very willingly changed
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 2/15/2013
    They very willingly changed the salmon from a teriyaki merinade to a rub and switched out the coconut rice for the brown rice. Food was excellent!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Healthy, creative delicious
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    Healthy, creative delicious dishes with friendly service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointing Valentines Dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    I've been to this restaurant a few times before, the first couple times everything was perfect and I kept going back. This last time I went with my husband for our first valentines day as a married couple. Every high on the special menu sounded so good that we decided to order different things so we can try each others food. My husband got the cod fish & I got the steak, his cod was overcooked and the green salsa on top wasn't a very good fit for it. My steak, I asked for a medium term and I got an overcooked dry meat. I was disappointed and since this was the second time in a row having a bad experience here, we have decided not to go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Overall ambiance was nice.
    iZenDiegoVIP
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    Overall ambiance was nice. Nice decor. We were greeted nicely at the door. The host was accommodating to our request to not sit too close to the door. Servers were attentive. There was a Prix-fix menu that my wife and I split. Nice creative thoughts went into the choices. The soup came out promptly and was delicious with the right amount of bite from the pepper. Salad was nicely dressed. For the fish it was nicely cooked and presented although slightly cool by the time it hit the table. Unfortunately, my steak dish was considerably overcooked (almost burnt) and although plated nicely over a bed of dressed greens was pretty poorly executed. The desert was tasty. We will go back again. My gut tell me the tacos will be great
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The 14th was just not one
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    The 14th was just not one of our better Cantina moments - food wise, but we love it almost always.
    Special Features:
    hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great healthy food, friendly
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    Great healthy food, friendly casual service. We love this place. Sounds crazy but find an excuse to get the chocolate milk!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • delicious food, artfully presented.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 1/25/2013
    delicious food, artfully presented. fantastic vegetarian options. what a wonderful evening with a well paced and very yummy meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Favorite spot in PB! Great
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 1/23/2013
    Favorite spot in PB! Great food, great atmosphere, great service!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Gem!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 1/21/2013
    Great everything and the service still was great even though it was clear they were short staffed that night. Everyone there made up for it and we even got out good ahead of schedule!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • The food, service and ambience
    PGHGirl
    Dined on 12/30/2012
    The food, service and ambience was fabulous! We'll definitely dine here again the next time we visit San Diego!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Very tasty. We don't go often
    BRKFVIP
    Dined on 12/26/2012
    Very tasty. We don't go often as it is a hike to PB and parking is always awful but when we go we are delighted by the quality fusion of flavors. It is one of those places that just get the most important thing right... The food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • From Yelp it seems that the
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 12/15/2012
    From Yelp it seems that the breakfast/lunch menus are far superior to the dinner menu. The items on the dinner menu were okay, and nothing really screamed "I AM DELICIOUS" to me. I ordered the flat iron steak, my boyfriend ordered the zucchini tamales. The flavor was alright, nothing outstanding. The steak could have used more fat and definitely more seasoning, and the kale definitely needed more seasoning. The chipotle cream barely tasted of chipotle and was barely spicy. The best part of the dish were the "shoestring" plantains prepared like fries, they were perfectly crispy and well-seasoned; however, shoestring seems to be a bit of a misnomer since these plantain fries were very large and thick.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • We love Isabel's!!! I'm a
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 11/3/2012
    We love Isabel's!!! I'm a vegetarian and my boyfriend is not - Isabel's is great for both of us. We have never been dissappointed there.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Went for the Day of the Dead
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 11/1/2012
    Went for the Day of the Dead fixed menu with coupons we had bought on Living Social.We had made reservations for 5 pm on the LS website.LS email then told us to call the restaurant to make reservations.So I did.The lady over the phone spoke so fast I couldn't get her name, and she promptly told me that in order to make reservations I had to go to this website, open table.By this point I already fed up, but reserved a table anyway.We get to Isabel's Catina ready at 5, and it looks like they had just opened, we are the only customers there.Didn't ask if we wanted vegetarian option.Added 18% gratuity for two people!!!I ordered one happy hour margarita (mango-ginger) and it tasted like watered down mango juice and had no alcohol.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointing
    Meggle
    Dined on 10/30/2012
    We bought vouchers for the Day of the Dead prix fixe menu, and it was a big disappointment. In my email I got a photo of a generous-sized, delicious-looking glazed chicken half attractively arranged on a plate. But we actually received two small dried-out chicken patties with a thick crust of bread crumbs. The sauces that garnished the chicken were actually quite tasty, but the rest of the meal was just so-so. The Mexican chocolate bombe with chipotle frosting was an over-microwaved compressed sliver of chocolate cake, again dry, with a dab of something on the top, but it wasn't chipotle frosting.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great neighborhood spot.
    GreatVIP
    Dined on 10/3/2012
    My wife loves this Isabel's -- the food, the staff, the wine and the quiet fusion decor. I enjoy their service and friendly service.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate