Monday, April 07, 2014

REVIEW | Bar Isabel - amazing Spanish tapas restaurant that is well worth the wait

I finally made it to the talk of the town Bar Isabel for dinner with my co workers. It has been on my list of restaurants to try for a while now after having read amazing reviews on the food that they have.

Photo from tripadvisor

We arrived at 6pm, right when they opened and had no problems getting a table.  But around 6:30, the restaurant started to fill up quickly and by the time we left, it was packed. Lesson of the day - get there early!!!

The dining style at Bar Isabel is tapas, so most of the dishes are small and meant for sharing. It was difficult to choose what we wanted to try given our large group but thankfully our server offered us customized menus. We basically told him how much we wanted to spend per person and handed over the responsibility of what we should be ordering! We put our trust in our server, and we're glad we did!

The first thing to come out of the kitchen was the Bread along with pickled vegetables, olives and garlic. As soon as we tasted the food, we knew the meal was off to a great start. The pickled vegetables weren't too sour and the garlic was so soft! It did not leave an after taste in your mouth.

Assorted Cheese Platter - if you have preferences over the types of cheese you prefer, I'm sure they will customize this for you - they've proven to be a flexible bunch there! Otherwise, make it a surprise and you'll probably love what you end up trying anyways!

Assorted Cured Meats Platter

Coca Flatbread - caramelized onions, Torta Del Casar & rosemary

Roasted Bone Marrow - This was definitely one of my favourite dishes of the night and even those who had never tried bone marrow at the table were impressed! The only word of caution is to not overload on the chimichurri sauce, as it was a little bit over powering. 

Patatas Bravas - Delicious potato appetizer!

Charred Leeks, Wild Mushrooms and Fermented Peppers - despite the apparent simplicity of this dish, it was actually very flavourful and the leeks were charred perfectly without leaving a strong taste.

Grilled Octopus - Extremely tender and well cooked, if only the Octopus was bigger!

Albacore Tuna Tiradito with persimmon, celery, jalapeño and fried rosemary

Whole Sea Bream Ceviche - This was an interesting dish as I have only had pan-fried or steamed Sea Bream. It was very fresh and a must-try if you`re at Bar Isabel.

Spicy Pork Anticuchos - amazing and tender pork tenders that were a bit on the spicier side but that didn't stop me from finishing my portion!

Leche Frita & Salted Dulce de Leche 

Basque Cake & Sherry Cream - This was the better of the two desserts we had and you can definitely taste the Sherry in the cream. The cake tasted rich but not too heavy - the best of both worlds.

The only thought in my mind as I was leaving Bar Isabel was "Why did I wait so long to try this place and when can I come back?" It is certainly worth waiting in line for but not to worry, if you have a big group of diners, call in advance and you might be able to make a reservation!

Bar Isabel on Urbanspoon

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