On the Spot: Isabella’s

On the Spot reviews are exactly that—reviews written on the spot, after eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a restaurant in Redlands.

Place: Isabella’s
Meal: Lunch

We came to Isabella’s for lunch on a Thursday for one reason, and one reason alone: the tomato soup.

That’s not to say that we don’t enjoy their main dishes, but my friend and I joke that we could eat Isabella’s tomato soup by the bucketful. When you order a pasta or meat, seafood, or chicken entree, you get the choice of a garden salad or soup — minestrone or the daily cream soup. If the tomato soup is offered, get it, it’s amazing — creamy and so flavorful. 

Almost as soon as you sit down, a basket of bread, baked in house, is dropped off at your table. Isabella’s has an extensive menu, with Italian favorites like spaghetti carbonara, gnocchi, and manicotti, so it may take take some time to decide what to order. There are appetizers, salads, combination plates, desserts, you name it. I went with the carbonara, and my friend ordered a shared favorite, fettuccine pollo con pesto. 

The plates arrived piled high with piping hot pasta. The carbonara is a creamy mixture of noodles, pancetta, onions, garlic, eggs, and parmesan cheese, and is as rich and delicious as it sounds. If you want to indulge even more, have your server top this off with grated parmesan cheese. I ordered this knowing I wouldn’t be able to finish it all, so I could take the rest home for lunch the next day. 

The fettuccine pollo con pesto is topped with pine nuts, mushrooms, onions, and a substantial amount of grilled chicken. The creamy pesto is nicely paired with the crunchy pine nuts and sautéed mushrooms and onions, and the chicken was grilled to perfection. 

There are different fish and pasta specials daily, which your server will let you know about. Our server was very friendly, and checked in on us often without being intrusive. There are plenty of tables and booths, and the lights are kept low, which is nice on a sunny day when you want to go someplace dark. Isabella’s is a safe lunch choice, as there are offerings for vegetarians, seafood lovers, low-carb adherents, picky eaters, and everyone in between. Wherever you land on the spectrum, trust us: you’ll want to order the tomato soup. —Catherine

Spaghetti Carbonara

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