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Isabella's

42 Market St, Frederick, MD 21701·301-698-8922

Reviews (43)

Cathy

The food is excellent...service is great..prices are good..atmosphere is out of this world..!!!!! A dining experience you'll never forget..!!! It'll keep you coming back for more..!!! Please check it out for yourself...you won't be disappointed. :-)

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May 31, 2012

Wheatjam

Went to Isabella's for my birthday dinner made the reservation online through trip advisor on open table, showed up a little early and was promptly seated. From there it went downhill, it took our waiter 15 minutes to make an appearance, took our drink order disappeared for another 10 minutes. He took our food order, and then we only saw the servers. All the drinks were empty and had to ask one of the servers to get Fernando who should up 5 minutes later. This was a miserable experience and really ruined my birthday outing Let me say I have been going to Isabella’s for 10 years and the service has been steadily declining, although the food is great the service is a big part of the dining experience. I contacted open table and the restaurant regarding this experience with no response.

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July 23, 2011

KG

I've been there 2 times so far. The place is always packed with people, but we did not have a problem fr waiting. The food was great and the waiters were helpful.

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June 13, 2011

ron

The food here was inspired and delicious,and if I were still single I could see myself spending many nights sampling the interesting looking bottles at the bar. Can't wait to go back. The asparagus fries will make a believer out of you!

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March 14, 2011

Anonymous

Tapas at appetizer prices. Some are great, some are terrible. I definitely recommend the sangria (get a pitcher) and asparagus fries.

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January 19, 2011

Lori

My husband and I recently went there for Happy Hour on a Thursday evening. We managed to find a spot at the bar and despite there being 4 bartenders at work, it took close to 15 minutes for someone to acknowledge us and take our drink order as the bartenders were busy talking to their "regular" customers. After finishing one drink and wanting another, it took another 15 minutes to get their attention. I was then told by one of the bartenders "next time don't drink Mojito's and you'll get waited on faster. No one likes to make them as they are too much work". Who talks to a customer like this? Despite the rudeness of the bar staff the food was very good. I did speak to the manager about my experience and we'll see if things change.

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September 23, 2010

bems

I did not enjoy Isabella's. The food was NOT good and it made my husband and ill the next day. The 'sangria' they serve was not sangria. It was Hi-C with a touch of some sort of alcohol, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't wine...maybe vodka.

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March 6, 2010

Anonymous

Great food and service

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December 22, 2009

Anonymous

Good Atmosphere Good Food Somewhat Expensive Great Location

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August 17, 2009

Español

Somewhat dissapointed. Ordered the Spanish beer they carry, and it was not great. There are a couple of Spanish beers being imported that are much better. The service was really slow. Two girls and the manager were taking care of the only four occupied tables in the restaurant. The manager just looked around and picked a finished plate once in a while. One of the waitresses was doing nothing (or very little) at a very slow pace, while the other one was hurrying to try to do everything. They never brought water to our table, nor any bread to soak on the olive oil that was on the table. The two of us ordered four tapas. The calamares (squid) were excellent, light, crispy, and very flavorful. The lemon and garlic sauce that came with the calamares tasted just like mayonnaise with a hint of garlic, so we asked for lemon wedges and got a couple of slices that were insufficient. The setas (mushrooms) were great, really flavorful, earthy, with just the right touch of garlic and cayenne peppers and sherry. Really good. The boquerones en vinagre (anchovies in vinegar) were very good, and very scarce. Not only the portion was small (10 pieces), but the fillets of anchovies were really short and thin. The final tapa was the octopus in salsa picante. I have eaten octopus in many places, and I have both overcooked and undercooked octopus many times. Both overcooking and undercooking it will result in tough, rubberized octopus. This one must have been over- and undercooked twice because not only was it impossible to chew, but also all the flavor was missing. Their expresso was good. We will go back to give them another try. If the service improves and there are more tapas as good as the calamares and the setas, it will be worth it.

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August 14, 2009

Lenora

This restaurant can be awesome or disappointing. I have been there several times and it has some inconsistencies. The asparagus fries, goat cheese fritters, and paella have been amazing. Other items have been not so good. Sometimes the service is great, sometimes not. It can be slow, but this is usually a kitchen problem, not necessarily a server problem. I will still go there, but stick with my favorites probably. The atmosphere is really nice, especially if you sit near the fire.

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January 16, 2009

ssd509

The first thing we noticed was the stained tablecloth. Looking around, we saw some that were worn and frayed to the point of replacement. We both ordered the Gazspacho, which we liked. A little heavy on the garlic, but good. She got the asparagus fries. They could haved trimmed off the woody part of the stem, other than that, they were good. I got the calamari - way too salty. She ordered the portabella stuffed with spinach - nothing to write home about.I got the hummus and babaganoosh tapas. Rip off! Two tiny scoops on two tiny pieces of bread. $5.25 for that? Overall, wouldn't go back.

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October 27, 2008

Nick

For our second wedding anniversary, my wife and I enjoyed a great evening at Isabellas. The atmosphere was quite nice -- there was an energy in the air. We tried 7 (phew) tapas, and loved each. Queso al Horno (the brie dish) was exceptional, as were their touted asparagas. I also highly recommend the bacon-wrapped, stuffed dates; they were wonderful in the goat cheese sauce! We can't wait to go back to try other dishes. Interestingly, our waitress wasn't able to pronounce the Spanish names of many dishe, a small detail I would suggest she refine. Also, water and ice are unfiltered tap, which can leave you with a momentary bad taste in your mouth. The flavor of the red sangria likely suffers from the plentiful tap water ice-cubes. Overall, great atmosphere and, most importantly, great food.

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September 27, 2008

HKN

My wife and i went for the first time and did not know what to expect. Our watier explained that this was a tapas restaurant where you order different appetizer size dishes. We tried about 5-6 different tapas and it's a hit or miss experience. The portions are small, as expected but pricey. Our waiter was eager to sell us some expensive drinks from the bar, but after that it was very hard to get his attention to order our tapas, and that was frustrating! This was our first experience with 'tapas dining' and I'm glad we went but I don't think we will return to this restaurant. Small portions with a large price tag, mediocre service, relaxed atmosphere

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July 10, 2008

Adam

I've been three times and have had varying experiences, though each time has been better than the last. I have been to Spain, and the food is a tad disappointing in comparison, but overall pretty good for Spanish tapas in America, especially in Frederick. I strongly recommend their escalivada and their gambas al ajillo! I had just gotten back from Spain for my first visit and felt kind of insulted when they didn't bring out any olives before the meal (they do that everywhere in Andalucia), though my last two trips they did, which was good. A little bit pricy, but good for a once in a while kind of dinner. I recommend this place.

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June 23, 2008

Anonymous

great meal and wine march 2008

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March 21, 2008

Anonymous

Food is good, but definitely not authentic Spanish food. Their "pan con tomate" is actually an Italian-style bruschetta, not bread rubbed with tomato like it should be. However, as long as you are not expecting the kind of food they actually eat in Spain, it's actually pretty tasty. Lots of things are a bit on the greasy side, but it is good.

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January 20, 2008

Kent

I took my wife here for our 14th Anniversay, she was really excited to try the tapas, this based on what others had said. Long story short, the food was sub-standard, and over priced. The waiter acted as if we were an imposition, and really putting him out if we asked for anything in addition to our meal. I would never recommend this place, unless you are just going to sit at the bar and drink away the atmosphere. There are plenty of really good, less trendy resturaunts to pick from in Frederick, and that's where we'll be.

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December 28, 2007

Carol Mc

I have only been there two times, quite a distance from home but look forward to many more evenings there. The wait staff has been very courteous and at no time did they rush us. My Son and Husband are big eaters, our Daughter-In-Law and I don't eat near as much as the guys but none of us went away hungry. If I had any problem, there were too many things to choose from. Wanted to try almost everything. Have our favorites but will try some different each visit.

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November 18, 2007

Kendra

This is my favorite restaurant in town. I like being able to try new things and not break the bank. The food quality is excellent for the price. The drinks are also fantastic. I haven't ordered something that I didn't like and I am generally a picky eater. The people writing bad reviews probably didn't have an open mind and they didn't get what they expected. ASK YOUR SERVER for a reccomendation. They are very knowledgeable about the menu. You may have to wait for a table but try not to see it as a bad thing. Go out with an hour to spare before you are really hungry and put your name on the list. Then walk around downtown and experience the historic district shops and galleries. The paging devices they use there will sound up to 2 blocks away. I recomend the paella, empanadillas, and asparagus fries, but everything is great.

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October 3, 2007

sarah

met a friend here and had a delicious feast of paella (try the wednesday night special - perfection) and tapas. everything came very quickly, even though it was a very busy time (7 p.m.). the sangria was disappointing, but it could have been an off night. definitely try the almond goat cheese fritters and the fried asparagus -mmmmmm. also, excellent service. i will definitely be back!

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August 2, 2007

Susie

My experience with Isabella's was that it was very overpriced and the waiter/host was very rude. He acted insulted that we didnt order more choices! $40 for lunch for two people is insane given the portions that they serve or lack there of. I wont be suggesting this restaurant to anyone.

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July 23, 2007

Christine

When I think of tapas, I think of authentic Spanish tapas, usually seasoned with olive oil, marinated in lemon juice, fresh seafood, and delectable portions, at least enough for 2 people to share. CALIFORNIA WOULD NEVER DO TAPAS THIS WAY, AND NEITHER WOULD SPAIN, ESPECIALLY! THIS RESTAURANT MAKES ME DESPISE MARYLAND EVEN MORE! Their portions are way to small, even for 2 people to share. And tapas are supposed to be for sharing. The gambas (shrimp) were overcooked and over-seasoned. The calamari was disgusting, dripping in oil. The empanadas were small, dry, and oily. This food makes me miss my Mom's empanadas! Dont waste your money here! Unless you want to spend it all on drinks, which in that case, they're OK!

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July 6, 2007

Niki

This place is incredible. My husband and I just moved out of the area, and we miss this place terribly. Some of my favorite dishes are the asparagus fries, the hummus and babaganoush, the apples and blue cheese, and the artichoke bottoms, though everything I've had there has been excellent. For dessert, the cinnamon brownie or the sangria cheesecake are great. Occasionally, they have the Nori roll on special, but it's so good, it should be on the regular menu. We've been in search of another tapas restaurant, and we've tried a few around the country but nothing compares to this place. Harry is an incredible waiter, though everyone there is always quite friendly and helpful. I highly recommend this place.

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July 3, 2007

M Fish

Great, not amazing, but good. Nice service, even when they're crowded they seem to have it together. Nice to go w a group. Loud and fun.

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June 22, 2007

JC

We have been to Isabellas twice. Once for an early Sunday dinner with the kids, and once for lunch. Both times the service was good, and the food was wonderful.

Be sure to try the asparagus fries. They are addictive. Try the lunch special, three tapas for $10, albeit off of a truncated menu.

It is one of our new favorites in Frederick.

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June 19, 2007

Anonymous

Very disappointed. Went to lunch with some friends during the week and service was slow (if polite). I'm sure the server forgot to put in two of our party's orders because everyone else finished before the food came for me and one other person. Had the meatballs and quite honestly they were terrible - greasiest I have ever had. I won't go there again, and that's too bad. I had really been looking forward to Isabella's.

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May 22, 2007

zammis

My PF and I's favorite place in Frederick. The goat cheese fritters are a must have, and the rest of the menu is consistently good over time. Order a pitcher of sangria, go with a few friends and feast.

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May 9, 2007

Chris

Had a great meal with a couple of friends. After our meal we were talking for about 10 minutes and the owner came to our table and told us he would buy us a drink at the bar, but he needed the table for reservations. He mentioned we had been there for 2 1/2 hrs (so had everyone around us!). Also, the table next to us was empty! I felt this was rude. I have never been booted from a restaurant before. The owner needs to be careful, the food may be excellent, but when you treat customers this way they will go elsewhere. There are plenty of other great places to eat in Frederick, so if you are planning on hanging around after dinner don't go to Isabella's. Disappointing...

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March 10, 2007

Lynn

Isabella's is my favorite place to meet friends!
Everything is mouth watering delicious. Tapas size is nice for trying out a variety of things, and sharing samples with people. It is most fun to get everybody to order differant things, then each sharing a little taste of everything. The goat cheese fritters are just one of my favorites~It's ALL GOOD!
Oh, and Harry is a fabulous waiter, too!

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March 3, 2007

Agatha

After a difficult experience at their sister restaurant, Acacia, on Saturday, Isabela's redeemed this restaurant groups reputation on our 2nd attempt at an anniversary dinner.

Knowledgeable waitress, excellent service, hot fresh food delivered promptly. What more can you ask for?

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February 22, 2007

Anonymous

I was kind of disappointed when I ate here. I have been to a lot of good Spanish tapas restaurants and this doesn't hold up to the others. I thought the food was pricey for what you get. The patatas bravas seemed like they were cooked hors ago and sat holding in a warming box until an order came in. The tortilla was just ok. It wasn't dense enough for me. I've been to Spain, and I came here craving many of those foods and just felt that they fell flat. Also, the service was poor. We waited forever to get our check, and it was a slow sunday

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February 10, 2007

Geri

Hubby and I go there at least twice a week. We have been known to go there 4, sometimes 5 times in a week! It's the only non-smoking bar in Frederick (someone please correct me if I'm wrong). The food is always great. Recently the asparagus fries have been overcooked, what is up with that, Chef James?? :) The Chili Shrimp I could live off of. Their soup of the day is always excellent. The bartenders are always fabulous. Esp Casey, the newest one, she's the Master of Martinis!

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September 15, 2006

Anonymous

Great place for tapas, but the portions are quite small. Sangrias are not the traditional.

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September 2, 2006

Isabella's

Great food, great atmosphere. The wait staff is kind of hit-or-miss. Our most recent trip (8/5/06) we had a very good waitress (british accent). Prior to that, we had a man who was not attentive and seemed irritated that he had customers. However, the staff delivering food and clearing the tables really hustle.

The food is great! I highly recommend the apples and bleu cheese and REALLY HIGHLY recommend the asparagus fries! Be prepared to pay upwards of $70 for two people (including 5 beers and tip). The Isabella's Pale Ale is a very smooth beer. If you enjoy sangria, be sure to order by the glass or the HALF pitcher. My wife and her friend ordered a full pitcher and it was a monster!

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August 9, 2006

Hawknoah

Easily one of Frederick's best. Great food, service, and lots of fun. While not inexpensive, it's also not unreasonable for the quality.

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April 26, 2006

Ian

I think this place is a bit hit or miss. But then, all Tapas is to me. Seems kind of strange to eat Tapas as a meal. Anyway, the white sangria is the BEST I've ever had. And I've had some good sangria. Best in town, best of any of my spanish friends, the best. Great happy hour too. My only advice is not to get the grilled meat skewers. I've had them twice and they have been dreadfully overcooked both times. Otherwise great!

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April 6, 2006

Bhorton

We are regulars...for lunch AND dinner. We order tapas and we've ordered the entrees...all excellent. Lunchtime is a great value as well as some specialty evenings. I HIGHLY recommend the asparagus fries AND the hazelnut ice cream on a cinnamon brownie (with coffee). I've only had one problem and that was a mistake...they accidently dipped vanilla ice cream on the brownie...yikes...rather than the incredible hazelnut ice cream...the staff immediately, and happily, rectified the mistake...we've had excellent service each and every time. The atmosphere is outstanding. Seek it out!

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April 3, 2006

Sam

We waited at the bar. The bartender had the cutest accent with the most prompt service.

We were seated very quickly for a Friday evening -- I was impressed.

The server was very patient with his education of the cuisines and his careful recommendations. We were very delighted by his knowledge of the cuisines and pleased by the recommendations.

The food was delicate and full of favor.

The menu selections and orders were endless. Combine that with the prices, I have a reason to go back.

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April 3, 2006

Amy

Frederick has many great local dining gems, and this is one of them. Try as many tapas as you can; the asapargus fries are to die for, and you can never go wrong with their fish. I took a cooking class at Isabella's and it was a sampling, socializing, and sangria dirnking good time. The samples are filling, and there is usually even a little something left to take home. Happy dining!

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March 25, 2006

Monica

The service at the restaurant is very rude.

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March 2, 2006

anonymous

Great service great food. Our favorite waitress of all time works here: Susie, a vibrant, smiling, red-headed food cupid. So go there, ask for Susie & enjoy a night to remember!

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February 16, 2006

Anonymous

Isabella's! What a hidden treasure in Old Town Frederick, right around the corner from The Weinberg. Who knew there were great tapas in Frederick? And a nice wine selection? Let the helpful wait staff direct you to the best loved tapas but don't be afraid to pick what sounds good to you. It's all good.

I'd make the trip (from DC) to have another go at that tapas menu. And the night I was there there had paella with whole lobster for $12.99! Decisions, decisions.

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