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“Average restaurant, but the only tapas in town”

Isabella's Taverna & Tapas Bar
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Ranked #16 of 423 Restaurants in Frederick
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $20 - $35
Cuisines: Mediterranean, Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic, Bar scene, Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Description: We welcome you to visit and enjoy our restaurant in downtown historic Frederick located in the Hendrickson Building. We have selected the finest Spanish cuisine complemented with an exclusive wine list. In the heart of historic Frederick, Maryland, Isabella"s has become a favorite destination for local residents and worldwide travelers alike in search of a truly Mediterranean dining experience.
Reviewed July 14, 2007

This place has some really good plates, and some that fall flat. The highlights were the fried asparagus, the petit filet, and the fried goat cheese. The other plates we had were unremarkable at best, overcooked/heatlamped at worst.

Service was overall good, though the waitress did not seem to know much about the menu.

This restaurant is very crowded, with a long wait on the weekends, and exceptionally noisy. My wife and I had a hard time conversing across our table. The dining room feels very crowded as well - the tables are very close together.

Finally, this place is not cheap - the tapas are small and range from 5-10 dollars each.

If I could enjoy the few good tapas on the menu in a peaceful environment without having to wait forever, perhaps I would return to Isabella's, but as it is, there are pentoy of other places in Frederick I would rather eat.

1  Thank Bluestruck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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383 - 387 of 390 reviews

Reviewed February 15, 2007

I have been a loyal customer of Isabellas for many years and have always expected and receivedf great service. I recently took my fiance there on a nice winter afternoon, expecting the great service I had received in previous visits and was excited about sharing this great experience with him. I was appalled to find that the bartender/waiter treated us as an intrusion. He knew nothing of the menu or the bar selection, and was inattentive as could possibly be, while the manager stood 3 feet away, providing the same rude service to another customer. I was embarrassed. My boyfriend's comment as we left was "In NY this place would be out of business in thirty days." When I handed my comment card to the hostess, she seemed disinterested while talking on her cell phone.

A 16-year Frederick resident.

4  Thank robinmorgan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2006

We went to this restaurant after hearing rave reviews from some friends of ours. When we arrived at the restaurant, the waiter explained that we should each order 3 things from the menu, and share all of them. There were 3 of us, so we began choosing 9 items to share. The waiter offered no help or reccomendations on what to order. In fact, he didn't even take our drink orders. Having gone to other tapas bars before, we were suprised at how utterly small the portions were. We had ordered a cheese platter for $10. The platter had only 3 very thinly sliced pieces of cheese, about an 1 x 1.5 inches in legnth and width. How disappointing! With three of us, we barely got to try each kind of cheese! We had also ordered an asparagus dish for $6. Much to our dismay, we were only served 4 asparagus spears. The rest our our meal continued on in the same disappointing fashion. On top of all of this, our waiter had little patience and didn't seem to want to wait on us, or any one else in the restaurant. We had to wait forever after we had decided what we wanted before he took our order. He didn't offer us anything to drink, including water. We finally asked him for some beverages after we ordered our food, but we had to call him back to the table because he had already began walking away. We had ordered 9 things off the menu, spent about $75 between the 3 or us, and ended up going somewhere else to eat about an hour later because we were still hungry. We saw the friends who had recommended the place later that evening. They said "well the trick is, you have to eat lots of bread and use it to soak up all the sauces and juices!" What bread?????? We were never offered any bread. Our friends explained that we were supposed to get free, unlimited bread with our meal. Even if we had gotten bread, I think I still would have left very disappointed.

1  Thank birdseed_19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2006

Frederick always seems to be our lunch-stop during impromptu road trips through western MD -- we usually don't get out until noon, so the timing is usually perfect. The menu caught our eye, and we sauntered into this unassuming little place.

The interior is cozy, although the pilot light of the gas fireplace caught my eye a few times during the meal, incongruous in the 95-degree summer heat. No matter, because in a few minute we had a pitcher of decent red sangria and were perusing the specials menu with purpose.

The staff was friendly and helpful in recommending menu items. The first four dishes arrived promptly -- eggplant chips with alioli and goat cheese fritters satisfied our fried-food fetish. A quartered duck breast, perfectly reddish-pink, made my significant-other temporarily abandon her aversion to duck (she hates dark chicken meat too, so this is really a breakthrough). The most creative item was the panko-crusted asparagus, which is dipped in a smoky pink alioli -- the taste is more like barbeque than anything green and stemmy.

The next dishes followed closely, and were more tapas staples: a decent but not spectacular chorizo and mashed potatoes, tasty and garlicky gambas (shrimp) and tasty little empanadillas. A refreshing chocolate mousse torte with fresh fruit made me forget I was anywhere near Thurmont.

The next time we have a hankering to lunch at Jaleo, the canonical tapas joint in DC, we just might road-trip up to Frederick instead. There's 20 or so more items to try, and a board full of happy-hour specials. "Hey," my S.O. said as we drove westward, "doesn't the MARC come up here?" Maybe it does, baby. Maybe it does.

1  Thank DazzlingSuburbanite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2006

My husband and I enjoyed a lovely weekday lunch at Isabella's. We got plenty of great food for a good price. Portions were large for tapas. Waiter was excellent, non-intrusive. Atmosphere is great for a date. Highly recommend it.

Thank betty301
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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