Isabella Restaurant: Small Plates Make a Big Impression in Conshohocken

The eatery's tapas and other Mediterranean dishes, hinted with Italian flavors, are waking up one of Conshy's sleepy corners.

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Location: 382 E. Elm St., Conshohocken; (484) 532-7470,
Cuisine: Mediterranean with a hint of Italian.
Cost: Small plates and pizza $7-$14; entrées $14-$25.
Attire: Casual but smart.
Atmosphere: Comfortable and intimate; can get a bit loud.
Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Dinner: Monday-Thursday 5-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5-11 p.m., Sunday 5-9 p.m.
Extras: Happy hour Monday-Friday 5-7 p.m.; late-night menu Friday-Saturday 10 p.m.-midnight. Tango lessons and dancing on the second floor.

These days, a lot of local eateries are attempting the tapas thing. Many, though, misinterpret what tapas-style eating is actually supposed to be. Small plates aren’t really meant to be scaled-down portions of larger menu items, but rather something to savor before the main course.

Seared scallop medallions, watermelon ceviche and microgreens. See more photos below. (Photo by Steve Legato)Jose Garces sets the standard for Spanish tapas at Old City’s Amada. Locally, Matador in Wayne has recently taken advantage of the trend with mixed results. Foodies can now add one more tapas-themed spot to the list: Isabella, located on rowhome-lined Elm Street in Conshohocken.

Up until October, when Isabella opened, chef Michael Cappon had never done tapas. The Syracuse, N.Y., native previously worked in Center City as a sous chef at El Vez, and as director of culinary operations at Marathon Grill. You shouldn’t notice his lack of tapas experience—though Isabella’s culinary reach is a bit broader than the strictly Spanish variety. Cappon executes a thoughtful, Mediterranean-inspired menu of both small and larger plates, plus Neopolitan-style pizzas.

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