Isa Bistro - Portland

4.8
190 Reviews
$31 to $50
Bistro
Isa is a small neighborhood bistro serving eclectic and seasonally driven menu. Reservations are available inside and we are still seating at limited capacity to offer additional space for guests and staff. Our private outdoor patio is available from May until mid October. We ask that you be mindful of your 2 hour time slot so we may accommodate all guests. Please provide 24 hours notice for cancellations or a late cancellation fee may apply.
A husband and wife duo, Isaul brings his experience cooking French and Italian food to life with a splash of his Mexican heritage and his wife Suzie is the sommelier and face of the front. They showcase local farms and purveyors and offer craft beers and house specialty cocktails. The dining room is cozy and quaint with an original black tin ceiling. Request a seat in the outdoor patio during the summer months and you will forget where you are. The menu changes for Mexican Mondays and be sure to get the tacos, whatever they may be!

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
  • Contact tracing information collected
What 190 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.8
service
4.6
ambience
4.6
value
Noise · Moderate
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LN
vipLeeNTP
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our in-laws flew into Portland at 3pm. We were so happy to see ISA open at 4pm. My father in law is not a seafood lover but he did try the octopus and loved it! Try the pork chop and the mushroom salad. I loved my Hibiscus Margarita (perfectly spicy for me). Amazing meal!!

R
Rondo
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall4food4service3ambience3

We ate outside with chilly temperature, so a soup on the menu would have been great. Otherwise the food was super yummy, service a bit slow but we probably noticed it because of the temperature ! Ambience and noise level weren't too relevant since we were outside, maybe festive lights and a heat lamp or two would have bumped up my score.

EH
EmilyH
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food and service were both exquisite! The atmosphere was relaxed and we very much enjoyed our experience

FT
FromTheHill
New England
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I loved my first experience at Isa! It's cozy and small. Feels local. And the food was wonderful. Perfect portions and a good value. The staff was very friendly and professional.

T
vipTnttown
Tulsa
192 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This charming bistro is off the main tourist area and was exactly what were looking for. Everything we tried was delicious! They are have an interesting wine list to compliment the food.

KH
KarenH
New England
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and drink. Service was awesome. Friendly atmosphere

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Best pork chop, maybe ever.

C
vipCals
New England
22 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

ISA maintains consistently high standards. Every dish on their menu is thoughtful and delicious.

n
vipnofoodie
New England
5 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Just get out of main o Portland to this spot. Staff was great, pleasant, knowledgeable.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
1 review
Dined on October 9, 2021
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Great food, service and atmosphere.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
2 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The service was excellent and the food was incredible. Very cool atmosphere as well. We will definitely eat at Isa again.

e
erin
New England
3 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing experience. We sat outside and were mostly alone for the evening (October in Maine, probably busier in the warmer months). Service was attentive but not pushy, and very knowledgeable. Exceeded my expectations

KD
KarenD
Charleston
1 review
Dined on October 8, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This place was so intimate and lovely. The food was absolutely fabulous for every single course. Definitely recommend!

LM
LydiaM
Tampa
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We loved it!

w
vipwinehound1
New England
3 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2021
Overall1food1service1ambience1

Isa is fantastic - the food (thanks chef Isa), the people are so lovely, a gorgeous setting. We've been huge fans and regulars since it opened in 2016.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New England
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food, service, and ambiance were impeccable. My fellow diner and I enjoyed a perfectly prepared octopus, fresh and crisp fennel salad and both had the halibut entree. I would not have changed a thing about the meal.

Something to think about, many restaurants in Portland have short menus, this one included. I recommend checking online before you go to make sure there is something that appeals to everyone dining with you.

MP
vipMichaelP
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderfully high-quality dining in a small neighborhood setting. The quesadilla is worth having just for the amazing blue corn tortilla. The tagliatelle bolognese is satisfying yet surprisingly light - the homemade pasta is superb. A diverse, interesting and reasonably priced wine list (the chef’s wife is a somm) rounds out a lovely experience. Very busy on a Monday night (!) so book ahead.

AF
AllisonF
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent place to have dinner on the back porch. Great ambiance and even better food.

d
vipdiningdiva
New England
73 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The variety of food items across the menu was excellent. You aren’t confined to a single vision of flavors and food origins. Our meals were also just the right size! We weren’t overwhelmed by the volume sitting on the plates. Each dish was delicious! Incredible pasta dishes.Try the Amari after dinner. It’s not on enough menus and our server knew his subject.

OT
OpenTable Diner
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Beautiful, calm, safe environment with welcoming staff & a talented chef. We sat at the bar which is divided into 3 dining areas with a fabulous bartender who advised us on our food as well as wine. We could look into the kitchen from there which was spotless and see Isa et al create their magic with a smile. I had the rabbit tagliatelle which was the best rabbit I’ve ever had & started with the mushroom salad with locally foraged mushrooms. My husband had the octopus starter & the Bolognese tagliatelle which he loved. We finished with apple tart tat-in which brought me back to Paris. The staff couldn’t have been nicer or more considerate. Highly, highly recommend!

C
Cour2
New Orleans
3 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food here is clear prepared with love and passion. Isa is showcasing a fusion of his culture and his culinary experience in a beautiful result.

k
kelseym
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 1, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Overall great spot and would go back. We had the octopus and mushroom quesadilla appetizers to start. The octopus was great but the quesadilla lacked a little flavor for my liking. I had the carbonara which was quite good but honestly, I'm not the biggest pasta fan so I shouldn't have gotten this dish. My husband had the pork chop over apples which was honestly to die for and was a huge portion. The chocolate cake as others have mentioned was the best I've ever had, so so good.

Wine list was quite good. We sat at the bar and the bar tender was professional, friendly and working hard.

I think if they dimmed the lights and added a few more details to add some more ambiance it would really be a home run.

The food quality was great and I'm looking forward to going back.

MM
vipMenuMommy
Memphis/West TN
21 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience3

Truly fabulous food and service. Unfortunately, it was freezing inside the restaurant because they kept the door open between their indoor and outdoor dining spaces.

DT
vipDeeTee
Seattle
8 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Sweet little place with a menu full of temptations. We had the seared duck breast, French fries with a fabulous aioli. Sat at the bar and had great service from Alice. Owner Isa and his brother are chefs and were hard at work. Highly recommend!

f
foodlvr
Miami
4 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Stag were friendly and the food was outstanding. We shared the Lobster app. My husband had the pork chop and said it was the best he ever had. I had the Rabbit, it was delicious. We are so glad we found this wonderful restaurant.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on September 27, 2021
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Great food and great atmosphere. A little cold with the door open to outdoor dining which made our meal chilly after requesting indoor dining to avoid a cold dining experience. Food and service was awesome.

S
Slowpoke
New England
7 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

First of all, this was only the 5th time since the beginning of Covid that I have dined at a restaurant ( except for outdoor seating at local breweries ), so this particular evening was a special occasion for that reason as well, as I So long for meals prepared by imaginative Chefs of all backgrounds.
I have never felt as comfortable and safe in the confines of a restaurant as our party was at Isa. From the front of the house to the kitchen sink, everyone was masked. The tables were well separated and the bar was only sparsely populated. Our server, Abby, was masked and gloved - and, of course, courteous and efficient. All recently vacated tables were thoroughly wiped down, chairs included, before being reset.
Isa has a comfortable bistro feel with simply appointed black and white decor, and the menu was diverse and fun to browse. We shared taquitos and a burrata and arugula salad. My MO, which I strongly advise, is that when burrata is on the menu order it! Isa’s did not disappoint. For entrees we shared halibut, duck ragu, and rabbit tagliatelle. The featured pasta dish of the evening was locally foraged Maitake mushroom pasta , which out of deference to wild mushrooms I should have ordered, but when there is duck on the menu … ( if only we were 4 instead of 3! ). Dessert wasn’t necessary but Isa’s Tres Leches cake is a classic. However, the highlight this visit was the Apple Tarte Tatin with local apples, and so very good.
My advice: Eat there, and tip well!

J
John
1 review
Dined on September 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Isa is fabulous. Great food and cocktails, beautiful presentation, friendly, knowledgeable, efficient staff, great atmosphere. In this times of plague, I particularly appreciate the outdoor seating, but inside is cozy and quite charming.

TL
vipTimothyL
New England
4 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A must try. Simple ingredients made to perfection.

MT
MarkT
1 review
Dined on September 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Thanks for making a birthday celebration special! Wonderful food, excellent service!

L
Lynn
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

For a hybrid New Yorker-Downeaster, Isa Bistro is one of my favorite places for dinner in Portland. On our second visit recently, we sat inside and felt comfortable with well-spaced tables and carefully masked wait staff. The staff here is true PROS, for whom we all are increasingly grateful. Crispy potato-stuffed taquitos let the chef show off his chops with a flavorful sauce. Grilled octopus reminded we were sea-side. And pork chops and rabbit stew entrees emphasized the autumn season. My Brooklyn-born companion gave a thumbs-up to the creamy cheesecake.

CM
CarolM
1 review
Dined on September 25, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely small restaurant that is always a pleasure

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on September 24, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful service and incredible food with a very approachable and peaceful atmosphere.

B
Bear
Oklahoma City
7 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Enjoyed our dinner. Great service!

c
vipcg1265
New York Area
27 reviews
Dined on September 23, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Excellent food, pork chop was perfect. Best chocolate desert ever!

NL
NaomiL
Warwickshire
14 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful meal, exceptional service.

AC
AllisonC
New England
1 review
Dined on September 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything is fabulous! The wait staff is very knowledgeable, so use it!

JM
JuliaM
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic food at a good cost. Lovely service. We went once and returned the next week.

f
foodiescorpio
New England
3 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Isa is simply an outstanding gem in the great restaurant city of Portland. Pound for pound Isa is the best restaurant in town and their consistency and quality is simply amazing

S
nanS
New England
6 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and drink. Fabulous staff. A great place to celebrate something special — even if special is the end of a work week.

FAQs

Isa Bistro - Portland offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (207) 808-8533.

Isa Bistro - Portland is rated 4.8 stars by 190 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.