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Apr 29, 2012 09:51 AM

Isola Pizza Bar--Little Italy

non-memorable. Checked out this new spot in Little Italy and was undwerwhelmed--blends in with many of the faux-Italian places here. They pride themselves on their wood burning oven pizzas, which had very little flavor. The crust was not charred and the cheese and sauce have very, very little flavor. Had a meat and cheese platter--unlike Bencotto which actually uses good Regianno cheese, Isola's meat platter contained crumbs of blue cheese and nothing else. They did pass out complimentary flatbread which y was quite good and set up my expectations for the pizza and the olive oil was good. However, I left disappointed and the place is not cheap. They've got a long way to go to ever get me to come back.

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  1. "blends in with many of the faux-Italian places here."

    The owner is Italian, so how is it "faux-Italian"?

    I had the Boscaiola pizza and thought it was excellent. Liked the crust, the toppings, cheese, etc. It was $16 for the pizza, but that's not over the top, in my view. Bruno's charges about the same for their pizzas, with the difference being that Isola's pizzas are slightly smaller, and Isola is located in a nice and shiny tourist section of town as opposed to the less-than-sparkling Park and El Cajon location where Bruno's is. So, naturally the prices on India street are going to be higher.

    Speaking of the price in comparison to other things on India street, Isola is right next door to Burger Lounge, which charges $7.95 for a burger, and just down the street from Bencotto, which charges $13-$19 for a bowl of pasta with meat. In this day and age, I don't expect pizzas made with good ingredients to cost $9 anymore. Especially when a venti latte at Starbucks is over $4 and a 22oz bottle of good San Diego IPA (Port, Alpine, Stone, etc.) will run you anywhere from $4-$9 depending on the brew. That's the way of the world, things go up in price. If it's good stuff, you get what you pay for.

    5 Replies
      1. re: Josh

        By charring are you referring to the crust?...hardly any...they could give me a pizza for free and I'd pass. Sorry, I'll stick with Basic, Luigi's, and even a chain like Il Fornaio when I am in the mood for pizza....heck, Merk in the Gaslamp charges a lot for a tiny pizza but at least it tastes for authentic, it may be but honestly--serving blue cheese crumbs with a meat platter is the best they can do???--what's next, Kraft Velveeta?

        1. re: El Chevere

          I was curious if cookieshoes' pizza exhibited charring or not, since they seemed to like it better than you did.

        2. re: Josh

          Just came from Isola; very good. I had a quattro stagioni pizza that was charred just right, as were others I saw. The toppings were decent: crispy prosciutto, good mushrooms, olives and artichokes and the sauce and cheese were tasty. Guy next to me had one with sausage, mushrooms and pignoli; looked awesome. It's a little pricey: a glass of great Vino Nobile and the pizza, plus tip, was nearly $30...but I'll be back. Great ambiance, friendly service, and good food.

          1. re: invinoveritas

            I agree - I had lunch there today and thought it was pretty tasty (had the mushroom and ricotta pizza). The pizza had a great char, the crust was a good blend of chewy and salty and the ricotta was fresh. The decor was very "now" (grey tones, Edison bulbs, etc.) Plus I have half of the pizza left over for tonight - bonus! Brunos is still my favorite in San Diego but for a downtown lunch or Happy Hour ($5 Margarita pizzas), I'll be visiting Isola more often.

      2. Does this have any relation to that place "Isola" that used to be in Pacific Beach?

        3 Replies
        1. re: stevewag23

          I don't think so. According to the website, Isola is the name of the chef's Grandmother.

          He also owns a restaurant in Tucson called Tavolino, which from what I've read has good reviews from CH'ers in Arizona. Isola means "Island" in Italian, so I'm sure that the place in PB having with the same name was a coincidence.

          As for char on the pizzas at Isola, mine had some nice pieces. I checked a photo on yelp, and a margherita that someone had snapped a photo of had some nice char as well. At least the top. Worth checking out the photos over there, since a few of them illustrate the size of the pizzas a little better.

            1. re: stevewag23

              No, the chef\owner (Franco Tassone) of "Isola" that used to be in Pacific Beach currently owns a great little place in PB called Enoteca Adriano on Cass Street.

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