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Friday July 10, 2009 1:46 pm

Puerto Rican Cuisine Done Right: La Isla Restaurant Review

La IslaOver the years, my husband and I have eaten at a lot of restaurants, I hesitate to say hundreds because it makes it sound like I never cook at home, but I would not be surprised if it were true. We love food. From shopping for quality ingredients, to preparation, and execution of a great dish. It is all so fascinating, not to mention delicious if said recipe turns out as it was intended. So in order to share my love or hate for a particular restaurant, I will be reviewing these establishments now and then so that the everyday person can go in knowing what to expect and what to order and what not to order should you walk away in disgust.

Today, I will be writing about one of my favorite restaurants in the Seattle area, La Isla, located in Ballard. It is not the easiest place to get to as far as easy freeway access, but so worth the drive. I love Puerto Rican food, as my husband does, and we don’t have any other restaurants in this area, for that matter anywhere in this region that we have heard of that offers the dishes that one must have to call themselves an authentic Puerto Rican restaurant. Why is that I wonder? I hope many more will open in this area following in the footsteps of La Isla, but they will have big shoes to fill.

La Isla Seattle Review

First off, the mojitos…we don’t drink alcoholic beverages but they happily concoct a non-alcoholic version for us that is addictive to say the least. Then moving on to the appetizers, I can’t say enough about the empanadas. We usually get the ground beef or the vegetarian version. They are not too spicy but have just the right amount of kick for the spice lovers. Or try their Medley de Platanos served with their famous mojito sauce that is to die for. It is garlic laden so there won’t be a lot of kissing after having this sauce but again, so worth the sacrifice. A new appetizer on the menu we tried a few weeks ago was also delicious and a quick favorite, the Gandules Dip made of a blend of onions, garlic, red peppers, green pigeon peas, olive oil, vinegar, and spices, served with 5 huge tostones to scoop it all up with.

Moving on to the entrees, there are many scrumptious dishes to choose from, I tend to lean towards the Bistec Encebollado, which you can order spicy if you wish, and that comes with a side of rice and beans, tostones, avocado wedge, and the great mojito sauce with a choice to substitute the rice and beans for a salad or the arroz con gandules (which my husband loves), also swapping out the tostones for maduros if you prefer the sweeter banana. Both for just $1.00 each. My husband enjoys the Pastelon, a Puerto Rican style lasagna with layers of sweet plantains, mozzarella cheese, and your choice of tofu veggie mix, seasoned ground beef, or a La Isla fave, the pernil (pulled pork.)

La Isla Seattle Review

There are so many wonderful dishes to choose from, these are just some of our favorites. I encourage you, implore you to go check this place out if you love authentic cuisine done right. It is a small establishment that is expanding to be able to serve the many who wait in line to have a savory meal that they have heard so much about. I have not made it to dessert yet because of filling myself up with the courses beforehand but my hubby and son love the flan. The service is also very friendly and quick, what more can you ask for? My Puerto Rican Dad would even approve.

Here’s a map of La Isla’s location:



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