Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Brunch. It’s one of the few things on which every self-respecting New Yorker can agree. Everybody, no matter who you are, enjoys an eggs benedict and a mimosa at noon on a Saturday with friends. I must say, though, that few do classic brunch fare better than Isabella’s on the upper west side. I dined for the first time at one of their outdoor tables with a few friends on a sunny afternoon a few days ago. It was lovely.

Like the high maintenance New Yorkers we are, we arrived late with more people than our reservation stated and were dead set on sitting outside along with our stroller and a baby sporting beachwear. Luckily, the hostess was more than accommodating and we quickly procured a comfortable table overlooking a quiet section of Columbus Avenue. First, though, we walked through the two-tiered opulent dining room. Fresh flowers and wittily incorporated mirrors added class and a certain daintiness to an already lush room. Note to self: come back and sit inside. Here’s the secret to dining at Isabella’s. Do it before 3pm. The lunch/brunch prices are on the high side of reasonable, but dinner is very pricey. The good thing is that more than a few items are duplicated on both menus. I’m sure portion size factors in, but I would stick with the midday dining unless it’s a special occasion. 

We basked in the sun and enjoyed an array of salads, soups, and sandwiches. The salads were fresh and tasty if a little unimaginative and the dessert (a fruit crumble with creamsicle ice cream) is definitely not to be missed. All in all, a nice little place to gnosh with friends. Particularly in the summer. Nothing special or different, but sometimes, good clean food is a perfect compliment to good clean fun.

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