Neighborhood Restaurant Reviews | Isabel’s

A new restaurant has popped up at 501 W Diversey near one of PPM’s Lincoln Park highrises, and we decided to take our Neighborhood Restaurant Review team there to check it out!
Owner and chef David Spignola named his unique “Italian-style diner” Isabel’s after his Great-Aunt Isabel who canned and jarred her famous pasta sauce and made everything from scratch. David, who is a classically-trained chef who has worked in professional Chicago kitchens for nearly two decades [from the Cubby Bear to Gibson’s and everything in-between!], has taken her inspiration in the creation of Isabel’s, which serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.
“I learned at a very young age what kind of influence great food, wine, and spirits had when it came down to making people happy. The idea of treating everyone like family along with serving exceptional scratch made food which I learned from my great-aunt when I was a little boy is now available at Isabel’s Restaurant,” David says.
Everything on the menu is made from scratch and uses the freshest seasonal ingredients possible. Cage-free chicken and eggs are used in Isabel’s recipes as well as grass-fed angus, antibiotic-free pork, all dairy comes from a local farm in Wisconsin, and all pastas are homemade and hand- rolled.
Occupying a space formerly home to a diner, Isabel’s puts an Italian spin on the classic diner experience with an ambiance and atmosphere that is warm and inviting and a menu that wil cater to any palette.  David describes the menu as, “a combination of scratch made comfort classics with a twist, Italian influenced dishes, and a touch of worldly flair.”

We started off our meal with two great appetizers: Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms and Italian Sausage and Peppers.
The stuffed portobellos come with two varieties: the first one with spinach, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Pomodoro — the second with fresh mozzarella, tomato, and fresh basil. Both were delicious and disappeared rather quickly from our plates!

The Italian sausage and peppers were INCREDIBLE. The sausage and pepers are sautéed in olive oil with garlic, fresh herbs, red wine, and topped with Pomodoro, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Delicious.

We sampled one of Isabel’s breakfast menu items: the corned beef hash.  The corned beef is house made and slow cooked for 9 hours before it’s mixed with caramelized onions, and spiced potatoes. It’s topped off with a poached egg and is absolute perfection and definitely a stand-out on their breakfast menu.

Next, we sampled the Pasta Bolognese — which was quickly the crowd favorite with our Restaurant Review Team. The slow cooked meat sauce topping this delicious hand-rolled pasta simmered to perfection for nearly 8 hours! The love and care put into these recipes along with the freshness of the ingredients stands out with this amazing dish — and it’s only $11.95!

We also sampled an Italian staple: Chicken Cacciatore. This outstanding dish features a half chicken, cut up and simmered in tomato sauce with red wine, onion, garlic, bell peppers, mushrooms, Italian herbs, and is served with herb roasted potatoes. Need we say more?

We rounded out our already incredible sampling of Isabel’s menu with their Italian Beef Brisket Dip. The slow-cooked brisket is served with sautéed sweet peppers, topped with fresh Brie, and served with Au Jus dipping sauce and a side Giardiniera and served on toasted Italian bread. In one word — it’s AWESOME.

Isabel’s has a charming neighborhood feel and combines a diner experience with an exceptional Italian menu that is a great value. With everything from breakfast to dinner, delicious pasta dishes and sandwiches and even a full-bar, there’s every reason why you need to go and check it out — and support another great local neighborhood business!
Isabel’s is located at 501 W Diversey in Lincoln Park at Diversey and Pine Grove. Its hours are:
Monday to Thursday: 7am – 9pm
Friday: 7am – 10pm
Saturday: 10am – 10pm
Sunday: 10am – 9pm
Brunch served Saturday & Sunday: 10am – 2:30pm
Breakfast served Monday — Friday: 7am – 2:30pm
To learn more, visit their website.

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