Review: Isabel Pearl in Portland, Oregon
It was a very, very hot Friday evening in Portland. My boyfriend, Lewis, and I had road tripped our way down that morning and walked around the city all day. We'd hardly eaten and were frantically scanning the shops on the sidewalk for something that looked like a restaurant. Seeing the side wall of Isabel completely open to the summer breeze was reason enough to stop to eat.
I've never been one for Mexican food, but Lewis said there is a big different between Mexican food in our home of Canada and Mexican food in the United States. According to the Isabel website, the menu is filled with Latin and Asian influences and boasts, "fresh, exotic food with bold and unique flavours."
The restaurant has a great feel, with high ceilings, large glass walls with concrete beams and mismatched colourful chairs. It was so relaxing to sit on the edge of the restaurant, drink a cold glass of pinot gris and watch the world go by inside and outside the space.
Scanning the menu, many of the dishes were allergy friendly, or could be made allergy friendly. It could have been that we had been walking around in the heat all day without stopping for lunch, but everything sounded delicious. Our server was excellent; funny and very helpful with going over the menu based on my allergies.
I decided on the carnitas bowl, and I was patting myself on the back for the choice. There was a great combination of both spicy and mild flavours, with a little bit of a kick in both of the sauces and the seasoning on the carnitas, and the rice, beans and fresh salsa on top to balance out the heat. And anything that's served with avocado is okay with me.
I was really impressed with the dish, and the amount of food I received was great for the price. I can sense myself trying a lot more Mexican food after this experience.
Lewis went for the classics: quesadillas and tacos. The carnitas taco was his favourite of the bunch, loaded with similar fillings to the carnitas bowl, and wrapped in a soft, yet crispy corn tortilla shell.
I highly recommend visiting Isabel's if you live in Portland, or happen to be in the city. It was a comfortable and delicious dining experience I won't soon forget.
Isabel's is located 330 NW 10th Ave, Portland Oregon, 97209.
The views expressed in this review are solely those of You Can't Eat That.