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“A great, new vibe in Pacific Beach”
Review of Isabel's Cantina

Isabel's Cantina
Ranked #493 of 5,274 Restaurants in San Diego
Price range: US$0 - US$30
Cuisines: Latin
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Cass
Description: 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.
Reviewed 8 January 2017 via mobile

What a find!! Next to the new Cafe 976, this place always seemed to be changing hands, or was closed for some reason. Now, the space has a winner in Isabel's. It's great for families, couples, or groups looking for a low key, sophisticated vibe with great food, drink and service.

We came in without a reservation and luckily, got a great table near the Buddha in back. The menu is full of sustainable options, veggie options, and great takes on Mexican and Thai/Vietnamese/Chinese dishes.

Usually, I hate the idea of "fusion". But Isabel's proved us wrong. My wife had the Buddha noodle bowl wirh tofu and I had the special "3 piggies" tacos, with carnitas, chicharron, and bacon. My wife loves noodles and eats once a week at one of two great local spots - Izakaya and Jinya - and Isabel's stacked up against both. Impressive. The tacos were as good as anything at Puesto and the jalapeno margarita was the perfect complement. All of that, coupled with the festive lighting, reclaimed wood bar top, and giant 8 ft Buddha statue made for a surprisingly great date night in PB.

For dinner and drinks, plus a to go order of the pineapple fried rice for our kids, we were out of there for under $70.

Thank ian b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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14 - 18 of 97 reviews

Reviewed 25 August 2016

By the look of the outside you may not want to enter. The inside looks similar to a garage -- I guess it used to be a bakery. It is very open and not so intimate but it has an edge to it. Maybe a few more artistic wall pieces would help. The dragon on the outside and the Buddha on the inside do not scream "cantina". However the food is great, drinks were equally as great. Definitely worth a visit. Myself and 3 other companions thought the place was quirky and were glad we visited!

Thank Sonja D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2016

I would not return to this restaurant. My 12-year-old grandson and I had dinner here tonight. The food was OK - nothing special. And the environment was unpleasant at best: a huge cavernous room, unattractive and terribly noisy, I mean terribly noisy - nothing to absorb all the sound. The wait staff was, again, ok, but seemed preoccupied and not really very interested in what they were doing. All in all a very disappointing experience.

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Thank tobyandbarkley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2016

This was my second time here (first for dinner back in December). This time was for brunch. There was a long wait list, but it moved pretty quickly, we were sat within 20 of arriving. The Food was reasonably priced. I got the Avo scramble (thou it was a little deceiving when I got it, more like a cheese omelet with avo on top). My bro got the gringo breakfast and my friend got french toast. We all liked our food. My food was not greasy (as some places tend to be) and well proportioned (not a huge plate of food).

There are a few downsides to this place. We dined kind of late morning and it was NOISY! Don't go here if you want to hear your party well. Service is SLOW too. Thou friendly everything from our drinks to the food took a long time. I kind of remember it being this way in Dec too. I feel this is kind of a get away from Grand ave chill place for locals. I would eat here again but not for brunch.

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Thank Dumbbunny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2016

Looking for something different for dinner; tired of "beach food". Great food, great service, very accommodating considering we had three small children with us. We will be back on our next vacation.

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Thank David o
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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