When we were in Pittsburgh last Saturday night we dined at Isabela's on Grandview up on Mt. Washington where you can get the great views of Pittsburgh.
The view was terrific, everything else fell somewhat short of expectations.
The restaurant was hot. It was so warm that we were sweating and it detracted from the dining experience. We were told that is was because of the kitchen. Am I to assume that the restaurant is always hot?
The service was slow. These restaurants on Mt. Washington are always crowded on the weekend, but we had an 8:40pm reservation, the menu is prix fixe, and the restaurant has been there for many years so any issues with service should have been worked out a long time ago. The slowness of service was highlighted even further by mismatched service. My fiance received her wine immediately, mine arrived after the first course. They finally coordinated the courses correctly but it took forever to get the next one after the completion of each. I don't think the pace was to enhance a relaxed atmosphere since the server kept apologizing for the delay in service.
The meal was expensive. How expensive? It was the most expensive dinner that I have ever taken my fiance to and we have dined in New York, Philadelphia, London, and Edinburgh. I don't mind so much that it was expensive, but the cost was out of proportion to the quality of the experience. I expected some premium for the view, which was fantastic. But, even taking that into account the price did not match the value.
The food was good. It wasn't the best contemporary cuisine that I have had. The first course was an Amuse Bouche - some pate on a Carr's water cracker. I can make that at home, I even use Carr's water crackers. The rest of the courses were good quality but not outstanding in originality or presentation. The food isn't really this issue, it was fine, but was overshadowed by the heat, the slow service, and was shockingly inadequate for the price.
I guess we had high expectations based on the website and reviews, and we should have noticed that the reviews are from a few years back. If you want a nice view while dining in Pittsburgh, it can be had for less at any of the other restaurants up on Mt. Washington. If you are looking for a place to eat fine food in Pittsburgh, I suggest you skip Isabela's, and look elsewhere.