Nearby points of interest
Nearby points of interest
About 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.
San Diego, CA 92109
Fusion / Eclectic, Contemporary Mexican
Hours of Operation:
Daily: 8:00am - 3:00pm
Daily: 8:00am - 3:00pm
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm
$30 and under
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
4 private parking spots in front of the restaurant. Easy to find non-metered street parking beyond that.
Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
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Isabel's Cantina Ratings and Reviews
As soon as we arrived, the hostess let us know that they were shortstaffed and scrambling. We could definitely tell, because the service, especially the wait time for food, wasn't great. But the sangria is fantastic, and when the food came, it was beautiful and delicious.
Isabel's used to be one of my favorite restaurants. Unfortunately, each of the last three times I have eaten there the experience has become progressively worse. On my most recent visit, it was clear they were not ready for the 6:30pm onslaught of diners. My family was the first group in the restaurant at 6:15pm, at which time staff members were still running around adjusting tables, chairs, and lights. Once we sat down and ordered, it was instantly apparent that our waitress was extremely distracted and careless. She ended up screwing up our order two times. First she brought my mother the wrong type of fish, and then she brought my brother a Brazil Bowl instead of the Brian's Bowl. By the time the incorrect dishes were returned to the kitchen, the restaurant had filled up with people, so our correct dishes didn't come out for another 10 minutes. This forced half of our family to eat while the other half waited, basically destroying the enjoyment of our dinner. I should also mention that the food was not very good. My favorite dish, the Ahi Tuna Platter, came with less tuna and much less wontons. For $26.00 it was a rip off. My mother's seabass was terrible, way too much rice that did not complement the taste of the fish. My father's chicken was good, but nothing special.
Additionally, the wooden chair my father sat down in had a crack on the armrest. When he sat down some of the skin on his hand was caught in this crack and pinched extremely badly, instantly creating a giant blood-blister on his hand. When we told the waitress all she did was point at the chair and say "yeah I see there's a crack there". She then walked away as we switched the chair with a nearby chair. We told her the chair was dangerous and should be removed, but our concerns were ignored.
TL;DR: Isabel's is going through a renovation and right now they are struggling. Hopefully they can get their act together again because I used to love this place.
1st time here. The food was really good, vegan options if you desire. The menu was varied and very interesting. This isn't a taco joint. It has some very cool selections. We went on a Friday night, I thought the noise level was a bit high and it was hard to have a conversation. If you are with a group there is a cool vibe. Probably not a place for a first date or intimate dinner but we'll be back.
The menu is different at the restaurant than on their website! The bench setting has brown duck tape on it! Really for $20 and up dishes I think you can afford to recover a bench or two! Overall not a good experience! I used to enjoy this restaurant, but no more!😩
When we arrived, there was no one to check with for our reservation. We sat at a table for 15 minutes and no one came to give us menus. There was only one waiter running around from table to table. Looked like a lot of people were calling for that waiter. We decided to leave and ate elsewhere. This place is disorganized and poorly managed. Can't comment on the food since we did not have any, but review requires us to select a rating!
Took a party of 10 for dinner during a bachelorette weekend. Very Accommodating! There was something on the menu for every type of eater, creative and fun, very delicious food. Was a good price point for a large group. Not necessarily a negative, but they don't have a full bar.. plenty of wine to choose from, not sure about beer we aren't a beer group, but instead of alcohol they have a few types of "spirits" that they make drinks with. Some of the girls ordered them and liked them, I cant say because I had wine. I would definitely go back, there were more things on the menu I really want to try!
We have dined at Cantina numerous times over the years and our most recent meal was not a good experience. The service was very poor and the food was average. I am not sure what has changed recently but the quality and serviced has declined over the last few months.
My husband and I live down the street and have now given Isabel's Cantina 2 tries and its been the same poor quality service both times. I will review based on our most recent visit. Although the waiter came to our table quickly after being seated, he SAT DOWN next to me to take our order. I honestly can't stand when waiters/waitresses do that. I am about to shell out at least $50 on a nice meal, I do not want to "hang out" with my waiter. I get he is trying to act friendly, but it is not professional. Secondly, we were not given a beer/drink menu and had to ask for one. We are 2 older adults out for a Friday evening dinner at 8 pm...we would like to order drinks. Thirdly, (not the waiter's fault) but the restaurant has horrible beer options. Fourthly, the first thing out of his mouth when he sat down next to me was, "I apologize in advance for any slow service....we just hired new staff." Not a great way to start things off....Lastly, and this happened the last time we ate here: the silverware canisters were not properly filled with the correct utensils. Ours had only knives. My husband had to go searching other table's canisters for forks, which were also not filled properly. I get the whole "utensil canister" at the table thing...it makes the job easier for the wait staff to not have to constantly bring over silverware during the entire meal, but at least make sure they are all filled up prior to guests sitting down. The fact that we had to stare at our meals for 5 minutes while trying to flag down a waiter THEN wait for him to bring us utensils was ridiculous.
Although the idea of having a wonderful cantina right down the street from us is lovely, we will not be coming back.
My family and I visited Isabel's Cantina right after they opened on a Saturday evening. Parking was found down the street a couple blocks away. The restaurant is situated off a Main Street in a residential community. I had the lettuce wraps with chicken which was good. (Although the lettuce they used was not what I expected). My hubby had the carnitas tacos which he said was quite flavorful. My son had shrimp tacos which he liked but said the carnitas tacos were better. For an appetizer we all shared the plantains with an aioli sauce - they were good but on the plain side as far as the taste. I tried the sangria which I really liked and would definitely reorder next time. Since we arrived early, there was no waiting and there were plenty of empty tables. Based on looking at their brunch menu, I definitely want to return and try out some of their entrees which sounded scrumptious. Overall, we all enjoyed our meals and if we are back in the area we would probably return.
Service and food a little uneven tonight. My entree needed heating, and then was very good, and others in our party happy with their choices. We were overcharged on bill and that was taken care of. Pleasant server, maybe new, or just an off night. Will be back for breakfast.
The ambience of Isabel's Cantina is unique, yet somehow feels unfinished. Service was good, but once we ordered water to drink our server definitely "flattened" his service. Food descriptions sounded better than they were in reality. Mango salsa on salmon tacos - a favorite combination - was one of the "specials" but left much to be desired. Salsa had no flavor (unripe mangoes) and salmon was dry, overcooked and unseasoned. The regular menu fish tacos were much better, due to the avocado sauce which was quite good. Chocolate cake is good. Coconut flan had only the barest hint of coconut, so that was disappointing. Overall it was ok, but not great.
I think the food was average...had the Brazil bowl and it was just ok, like an expensive Chipotle bowl with less flavor. I also am against dogs being at the tables indoor at a restaurant. Outside fine, inside is not ok. Please consider your non dog owner clientele.
We had a horrible experience here. We arrived with 10 people (had an OpenTable reservation obviously), 4 kids and 6 adults. We ordered drinks, and everything was going fine at first. After a while, the waitress took the kids orders, and about 20-30 minutes later, she finally took our order (we had to ask her). the kids' food finally arrived about 45 minutes after they had ordered, but with no silverware or napkins. the wait staff that was around seemed to be avoiding our eyes, so we finally got up and got some spoons from the bar so the kids could eat. We waited I think an hour from when we finally ordered till we got our food. Once again , we had no silverware. My husband asked for silverware, and the waitress brought him a fork and knife but no napkin. By this time we were all starving and annoyed. Many people who had come after us had already eaten and gone, so I'm not sure if we were the only ones who had such a bad experience, although we did hear someone snap at their waitperson "can we PLEASE get our check??". All in all we waited TWO HOURS from the time we arrived to the time we got our food. I finally had to leave because my daughter was melting down and our food still hadn't arrived. My husband and I took turns eating and going out to the car with her. It was extremely frustrating, and I would NEVER go back. I don't even know if the food was good because it was cold by the time I got to eat, and I was so hungry and in a hurry because of our daughter, that I just shoved it down.
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