One might be inclined to say “oh, just another pizza place” when passing by Isabella’s. But going inside will surely change one’s mind, as Isabella’s takes pizza dining to another level in dﾎcor and menu.
Rust- and cream-colored walls accented with wainscoting feature elegant framed art. Black ceiling fans turn on a black ceiling dotted with recessed lighting. Attractive, goblet-shaped glass mosaic lights hang over the dining tables and booths. Finishing off the decor are large gold mirrors and large vases. The only thing detracting from the relaxing setting are TVs (muted) situated at each corner of the dining room.
We settled into a booth-table combination in one corner of the room. As music by Roy Orbison, then Fleetwood Mac, then Michael McDonald played in the background, we perused an extensive menu filled with interesting and unusual choices.
We started our meal with an appetizer of mozzarella caprese ($6.35). Four pillows of mild, freshwater mozzarella were surrounded by chunks of tomatoes and fresh basil leaves drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. A tangy, thick vinaigrette was served on the side for pouring or dipping. The mildly flavored cheese was rather dull on its own, but came alive with the addition of these light, yet flavor-packed trimmings. It was a nice, light way to get the taste buds charged for what was next.
We also sampled the soup of the day, creamed spinach ($3, cup). Though thick and creamy, the soup’s flavor was rather biting and salty. We were glad we hadn’t ordered a bowl.
To get a better feel for Isabella’s style of pizzas, we ordered two small pies. The Isabella’s suprema ($10.95) combined pepperoni, ground beef, Italian sausage, fresh mushrooms, black olives, onion, green peppers, mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce on a hand-tossed, slightly sweet and baked to a perfect golden crust. All ingredients were quite fresh and in such plentiful supply that a fair amount of excess ingredients ended up in the diners’ plates. No worries; the stray morsels were scooped up in no time.
Another winner was Isabella’s vegetarian pizza (also $10.95, small). The more traditional ingredients of onions, mushrooms, green peppers, black and green olives and mozzarella cheese were enhanced by a few more original ingredients, those being cubes of roasted eggplant, Roma tomatoes, feta cheese and pesto sauce. All this made for one of the most delicious veggie pizzas we’ve experienced.
From the pasta selections, we tried pasta cucina ($12.75). Preceding the dish was a “side” Caesar salad so large that it could have been an entrﾎe for a less hungry diner. The fresh romaine lettuce was tossed with large homemade croutons and a pleasing creamy Caesar dressing with a lemony twist. The pasta dish features a bed of linguine topped with a generous serving of sautﾎed shrimp and crawfish, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, green onions and parsley all splashed with a lime and butter sauce. A guest said she would have preferred a thicker sauce with this pasta.
In addition to pizza and pasta, Isabella’s also has calzones, sandwiches, wraps, paninis, salads, a kids’ menu and desserts.
We were delighted with both of our sweet treats. The tiramisu ($4.95) offered super moist lady fingers well-soaked in strong coffee and layered with sweet mascarpone. The limoncello tart ($5.25) was refreshing, with a cake-like crust and oh-so-creamy filling.
Our waiter, Blake, was pleasant and efficient. On a Friday night, we arrived a little before 6 p.m. and were glad we did as the restaurant filled up rather quickly. Isabella’s should consider a small waiting area near the front, because we noticed some folks standing while awaiting a table. As word spreads about the food, there will probably be a lot more busy nights like this one.