Isabella’s Cafe has been slowly creeping up UrbanSpoon’s 10 hottest list, in part due to excellent reviews by Bob Townsend of the AJC, and Amy of Amy on Food, but also in part to a well rounded, diverse menu. The choices were interesting enough that my wife was asking me whether we should go some days ago, and only various misadventures kept us from arriving at this cafe until recently.
I was ravenous when I arrived, a product of missing a couple meals on the day we arrived. Both my wife and my daughter seemed to be looking forward to eating here. The restaurant is very roomy once you arrive, with an exceptionally high ceiling. Tables are spaced far apart, and there is some (though not a lot of) outdoor seating.
There are some good looking appetizers here, and an equally tantalizing collection of salads. One virtue of Isabellas is consistently high quality greens. Food issues such as mine leave me eating a lot of vegetables instead of pastas and other starches. Isabella’s salads are a nice way to avoid the starches that often fill dinner entrées.
This is not, however, a diabetic friendly restaurant (though it does have the potential to be one). The salad dressings are invariably sweet and sugary. Things like a balsamic vinaigrette are nowhere to be seen. Desserts are all home made, sound wonderful, and are loaded with sweet calories. All entrées come with plenty of starches, and many of the appetizers are breaded. Salads and sandwiches make the restaurant bearable, and there are just enough options in the sides and vegetable plates to make it useful.
Ambiance, especially after a hard week, is pretty fantastic. The photos on the walls are appealing, the small descriptions worth a read. The music is a nice accompaniment to the casual atmosphere, and the way the sun filters into the cafe leaves everything bathed in very natural lighting.
In terms of individual plates, the grilled veggie salad was perhaps our favorite, really excellent. My daughter really liked her Swahili shrimp curry with mango and the samosas we tried went over really well. My shrimp and andouille sausage sandwich was good and the grilled jerk chicken sandwich pretty good. The spinach was, compared to the other, more spicy alternatives, a bit pale and mild to my tastes. Breads overall were of very high quality.
Wait staff are good, if a little too helpful at times. That salad I ordered was large, but please, step back and realize that some people order a lot of greens for a reason!
Verdict: Deserving of its accolades, with good food and a good staff. A bit too sweet and starchy, but good breads and greens. Highly Recommended.
910 West College Avenue
Decatur, GA 30030