I tried selections from the fall menu, which
showcased many satisfying autumnal flavors
— cinnamon, sage, pumpkin, apples and duck.
The meal started with several complimentary
treats, including a miniature housemade brioche, a tiny pumpkin-spice muffin, a piece of
lobster poached in maple cream and three raw
ground cherry tomatoes served with husks.
A phenomenal appetizer is the housemade
ricotta ravioli ($12), served with chanterelle
mushrooms, a hickory-smoked mushroom
purée and an accent of micro kale. The Skuna
Bay salmon ($19), with seared skin and a rich
flavor, also is a winner plated with fried Brussels sprouts and mussels. For the light eater,
a popular seafood entrée is the cobia ($17),
which is seared and served with baby bok choy
in a white soy, yuzu and ponzu broth and accented with pickled ginger.
My two favorite entrées were meat courses
— the sliced, smoked duck breast ($19) with
pumpkin cavatelli, butternut squash, sage and
huckleberries; and the tender venison loin
($21) served with persimmon, fennel, parsnips
and spelt berries.
At Isabela, the level of cuisine is high —
although I found some items to be a little too
salty, sweet or heavily spiced. The sea scallops
appetizer ($12), for example, is heavy on the
sumac. I also noticed that my food was not
as good when chef Peet wasn’t working; that
problem can be corrected with further staff
Wine is available by the glass ($10) and
bottle ($35-$135). If you’re ordering from the
prix-fixe menu, try the $40 wine pairing, which
offers an interesting array to match courses.
Naturally, Champagne (by the bottle) is de ri-
The chocolate dessert
chocolate hazelnut ice
Isabela on Grandview
1318 Grandview Ave., Mount Washington
Hours: 5-10pm Mon-Sat
Prices: Prix fixe menu: $75 per person
À la carte menu: appetizers, $8-$12;
entrées, $12-$15; desserts, $8
Full bar; reservations recommended; credit cards;
wheelchair-accessible; vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menus available; complimentary valet or street
A phenomenal appetizer is the housemade ricotta ravioli,
served with chanterelle mushrooms, a hickory-smoked
mushroom puree and an accent of micro kale.
gueur if you are celebrating a special occasion.
Although the coffee service is excellent,
desserts ($8 each) are not consistent. The
maple panna cotta infused with vanilla is an
interesting fall-inspired twist on a summer
favorite, with barrel-aged maple syrup. The
chocolate dessert is an assemblage of small
items, including English toffee, chocolate hazelnut ice cream, espresso cake and hazelnuts,
none of which excited the palate.
The restaurant’s interior is simple and distinguished, with white tablecloths; the subdued
environment allows you to focus on the breathtaking view. Because the restaurant is small,
with 20 seats in the lower lounge and 34 in the
main dining room, it is the perfect place for
intimate conversation. The service at Isabela is
both friendly and professional, as expected for
an establishment of this caliber.
Grandview Avenue, a small section of
Pittsburgh’s beautiful scenic byway, has more
improvements in the works: Later this year,
Isabela is slated to get a facelift with a new
stone façade. In addition, the owners of Mt.
Lebanon’s Bistro 19 have purchased Isabela’s
neighbor eatery, the historic Georgetowne
Inn, and are renovating it with plans to open
another restaurant concept. PM
104 | JAN 2014 | pittsburghmagazine.com/eat