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Party Size
For 2
Date
Today
Time
7:00 PM
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Booked 7 times today

Isabel's Cantina

4.2
198 reviews
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$30 and under
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Fusion / Eclectic
Perfect For:
  • Casual
  • Good Vegetarian Options
  • Healthy
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.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Fusion / Eclectic, Contemporary Mexican
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Hours of operation
Breakfast

Daily: 8:00am - 3:00pm

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

Dinner

Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm
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Phone number
(858) 272-8400
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Payment options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Isabel Cruz
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Cass
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Parking details
4 private parking spots in front of the restaurant. Easy to find non-metered street parking beyond that.
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Gift Card
Additional
Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 198 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.2based on recent ratings
4.1
food
4.1
service
3.9
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
  • 5
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  • 2
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4.0Dined on April 7, 2018

Food was great

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5.0Dined on March 25, 2018

Good fun for a fair price. Casual dining and fine service. The only issue is no parking, but a paid lot is available a block away.

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4.0Dined on March 17, 2018

The food was fresh, healthy and hearty - we were stuffed! We tried two different types of bowls and ordered chips and guacamole to start. We also took our time and enjoyed a pitcher of red sangria. The only downfalls were 1) the family next to us brought a large dog with them - I'm allergic to dogs which affected my overall comfort; and 2) I really wanted more spice -
in the salsa and guacamole and in my dish. But overall, service was great and we were very impressed.

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4.0Dined on March 17, 2018

Although the menu is limited the food was pretty good.

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4.0Dined on March 11, 2018

The food was delicious. Very fresh and nice spices. The service on the other hand was just fair to good. We had to pour our own wine and water. We had to keep our jackets on because the temperature was cold inside the restaurant. Weaseled about Happy Hour and the waitress said that it was under construction.
We would go back to try brunch .

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3.0Dined on March 11, 2018

Would not recommend for gluten allergies or celiac... I asked the waitress if my dish was gluten free when I ordered, she confirmed it was. Then one delivered, I took one bite of the chicken and could tell it had teriyaki marinate. I know sometimes places have GF teriyaki, but I didn’t think his was the case. Sure enough, when she comes back I confirm “Are you sure this is GF? It seems like it’s teriyaki.” She says, “oh you’re right, I forgot the chicken is in teriyaki. Yeah that’s not GF.” Not only did she give me food that still has me sick days later, she didn’t even take it off my bill.

Aside from the poor GF experience, it was good, but not phenomenal. And I was expecting margaritas to go with my tacos or tamales and was bummed to find out it’s beer and wine only.

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5.0Dined on March 9, 2018

The staff is amazing. They are very accommodating, organized, friendly, overall wonderful people. I come from Minnesota every couple months. I bring my children my parents my friends. It is a phenomenal place with an amazing menu. All the serving staff has been great and people should really appreciate an Asian Mexican Fusion. If you're a vegetarian, if you're vegan if you love your carnitas. It is the place for you. I can't say enough I go every time I'm in Pacific Beach it is definitely a stop you need to make. Thank you for everything. Love from Minnesota

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3.0Dined on March 9, 2018

Food has definitely gone downhill since we ate there two years ago. My salad was a big pile of green lettuce with a tasteless dressing and about a tablespoon of blue cheese sprinkled on it. I couldn't eat it. The other plates were very plain. The lettuce wraps were super basic with lettuce some vermicelli and some cubed tofu - the exact same tofu that was in all the other dishes we ordered as vegetarian. The service was a little scatterbrained and slow. Someone very generously offered not to charge us for one dish that they forgot to make and eventually provided.

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4.0Dined on March 9, 2018

Different variations on common items...noisy. Fish special of the day was undersized for the price...Is sea bass supposed to be chewy? For all of this I would order it again...might just have caught the bad piece.

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4.0Dined on March 4, 2018

I had the Brazil bowl and it was nummy! My husband loves the shrimp tacos.

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5.0Dined on February 25, 2018

Good food for vegan types. raspberry margarita was flavorful but tiny, waiter was very good.

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4.0Dined on February 18, 2018

I find the dinner prices a bit expensive for what you get. We started with the Ahi wontons (excellent), 2 had lettuce wraps which needed another element to bring together like chopped peanuts for crunch and maybe rice or crunchy fried noodles. The Double happiness was tasty, and the Buddha bowl was good but a bit bland. I will try the restaurant for breakfast as the menu looks good.

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1.0Dined on February 10, 2018

We went to Isabel's to experience it based on a get one free coupon. We arrived at 6 p.m. and by 7 p.m. did not receive any food. We were told after ordering fish dinners that there weren't any fish dinners. The place is noisy and we cannot recommend it at all

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5.0Dined on December 30, 2017

I eat at Isabel's at least once a week (Sunday brunch usually) and this time I tried out the dinner menu with my girlfriend. Both of our meals were delicious, we were seated promptly and the service was efficient. I will come back for dinner again.

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5.0Dined on December 7, 2017

Had a great time here with an amazing fish meal! Attentive staff and knowledgeable. They told us they were known for their breakfast and we showed up the following morning but do not open until 9AM so were disappointed but will have to try it next time we are in the area.

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5.0Dined on December 2, 2017

We love this place! Food is amazing, staff is wonderful... we look forward to going again!

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4.0Dined on November 24, 2017

Eclectic restaurant with Asian themed decor, but a more Hispanic themed menu. Rather confusing, good but not great food, overpriced.

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5.0Dined on October 20, 2017

Ordered the fish special which was perfect and the tamale which was great except the beans and rice were cold. The acoustics are horrible! You cannot carry on a conversation without shouting, which feeds on itself.

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5.0Dined on September 22, 2017

This place was fantastic! Although a bit lacking in decoration the building was beautiful and I loved the windows looking back into the kitchen area. Food was fantastic but even better was the service! He sat down next to meet while taking our orders and was so friendly. Let me try a mini version of the jalapeno margarita because I wasn't sure if I'd like it! This place absolutely stands by their quality and we were not disappointed! I ordered the shrimp tacos which were delicious and my boyfriend ordered some sort of Brazilian bowl...every part of it was great. Would recommend and if we weren't just visiting on vacation we'd be going back often!

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5.0Dined on September 22, 2017

Good food with an eclectic menu. Our waiter Johnny was attentive and friendly. Quiet side street location but close to the boardwalk action.

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5.0Dined on September 15, 2017

Started with the house-made kombucha, and the meal just took off from there! My husband and I kept remarking on the interesting mix of flavors. Food is incredible! My husband wasn't sure if he'd like the chile relleno, and the server guaranteed it was the best thing on the menu -- and that he would buy it if my husband didn't like it. Needless to say, the server was right. Great place!!

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4.0Dined on September 8, 2017

Slightly elcletic vegetarian friendly, we visit when in San Diego. The tofu lettuce wraps appetizer is very tasty as is the vegetarian, though not vegan, chile rellano.

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5.0Dined on September 2, 2017

Our waitress was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Everyone in the group ordered different dishes and drinks and everything was fantastic. Very fresh and flavorful!

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3.0Dined on August 31, 2017

A bit unhappy with this visit to Isabelle's. Arrived expecting to order ahi and fresh fish meals but they did not have either. Given the limited menu, this was a big disappointment.
The lettuce wraps appetizer was excellent and would order again.
Service was friendly and efficient.
We will return based on previous outstanding dining experiences.

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5.0Dined on August 24, 2017

Excellent will go again when in town good food gray service

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5.0Dined on August 5, 2017

Isabel's Cantina is not your standard fair Mexican food. Expect the unexpected when you munch down some of the magnificent tastes that you will encounter on your plate. Not sure how to describe it - maybe like Mexican Fusion or wall penetrating flavors or just plain interesting and GOOD!

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5.0Dined on August 3, 2017

Awesome food! We love it. We ate there for 5 meals in 5 days we were in San Diego.

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5.0Dined on July 28, 2017

Prices were to high for the quality served. No flavor at all in most of the foods. Very bland...

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3.0Dined on July 21, 2017

The food was all right, but we thought it was very over-priced. Our $17.50 each meal should have cost about $10.00.

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3.0Dined on July 14, 2017

Strollers on strollers on strollers. Food was fine, service was fine, ambiance was a mix of serene asian-american fusion and toddler screams.

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2.0Dined on June 15, 2017

Overpriced and mediocre food. Very healthy! But definitely not worth the price. May return to try the breakfast foods, but definitely not coming back for lunch or dinner.

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3.0Dined on May 26, 2017

I ordered the shrimp quesadilla ($17). It was good, there were only 4 small shrimp in a big quesadilla. Would have gone to a taco shop that loads it up if I knew or would have just ordered something else. Service was great though.

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2.0Dined on May 19, 2017

Food was delicious but it took nearly an hour. Even the waiter apologized and said it was almost ready when we still had fifteen minutes more to wait... and it wasn't even busy.

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3.0Dined on May 6, 2017

Great food and lots of healthy options. Very slow service, our appetizer came out at the same time as our food.

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1.0Dined on May 3, 2017

This restaurant was closed, even though we had made a reservation for a party of 6.

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2.0Dined on April 29, 2017

It was our second trip to there since we were turned over by manager due to having reservation at 9:45 PM (last appointment option was 10). He said he already closed the kitchen because it was not busy anymore (Saturday night). He was keep saying it was open table
False not their as open table is offering last Rez. Option at 10 PM. He was extremely rude and basically and clearly he suggested us find another restaurant at Pacific Beach. Nothing else to say but Very rude! We had to go for second time to use our our Groupon purchase...the server was helpful, they had out of one chicken tamalades that I wanted to try. I ordered fish taco I according to his suggestion I nstead it had so little almost no flavor...I would not suggest this restaurant to anyone even the atmosphere is very unique and stylish.If you ever need to talk with manager, good luck!

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2.0Dined on April 29, 2017

Disappointing. Food lacked flavor and was overpriced. I read some reviews after our visit and their breakfasts got good reviews. I can't recommend the restaurant for dinner.

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3.0Dined on April 27, 2017

We are from out of town so we chose this option based on a local we spoke with at another restaurant. We thought the food was fine. My main issue was no children's menu.

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5.0Dined on April 15, 2017

Better than the ratings indicate! Had a wonderful meal. Shrimp tostada was the special and it was wonderful.

Chicken tacos and soy chorizo tacos were excellent as well.

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4.0Dined on April 14, 2017

Yum! Great music great food.

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