In the last few months we’ve eaten at several restaurants that have been raved about online and in-person only to have walked out of them with a much lighter wallet and consensus that our meal was just ok. I was beginning I give up on the Toronto restaurant scene until we went to Bar Isabel.
Let me tell you, everything you’ve heard or read about this place is probably bang on. The food is delicious, atmosphere sexy, drink menu extensive, and service outstanding. Sure there’s a line up outside the place a good 20 minutes before it opens, but if you don’t mind the wait, do it! I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
Sitting at Bar Isabel celebrating my birthday, I felt like I was sitting in an old Spanish restaurant located in the dark back streets of Madrid (although strictly speaking this is not a Spanish resto.) The large dark beams on the ceiling, southern-European music, and dimmed red lighting set the perfect tone for a perfect birthday dinner.
Despite what you might think, this place is not at all pretentious. In fact, the tight quarters allow for conversation with those sitting next to you, or at least for scoping out what they’re eating and perhaps placing an order for yourself. Also, I love a good sharing plate and that’s what Bar Isabel specializes in allowing you and your date, or group, to sample a wide variety of what the place has to offer, surely satisfying everyone’s craving.
Check out this VICE video segment with chef/owner Grant van Gameren to hear the full Bar Isabel story…[like] [tweets]