Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of Isabel

Gold Award

With its opulent, gold fabric-lined walls and geometric rows of polished brass lamps arrayed across the ceiling, this glossy sibling of Notting Hill’s Casa Cruz has fitted into its smart Mayfair setting like a Versace boutique on Sloane Street. For some, this is a “top-of-the-top luxury experience”, although others think it’s a case of style over substance, with complaints about high prices and noise levels.

Either way, Isabel is a jaw-droppingly beautiful statement of intent from Chilean investment banker turned designer and restaurateur, Juan Santa Cruz. Food-wise, everything revolves around a low-carb, high-protein ‘small plates’ menu that blends South American and Mediterranean influences, with on-trend lactose- and gluten-free options throughout.

Above all, expect a selection of beautifully presented, precision-tuned dishes showcasing precise flavours: rosebud-like rolls of beetroot-cured salmon with a vibrant herb purée; perfectly seasoned, silky beef tartare topped with a vibrant quail’s egg yolk; sweet red prawns, grilled and served with chimichurri.

More substantial options might include grilled suckling lamb shoulder, veal paillard with sage and lemon or wild brill with leeks and capers, as well as the addictive paccheri pasta: al dente tubes folded in a creamy cheese sauce and sprinkled with bottarga. Equally indulgent desserts span everything from dulce de leche fondant to raspberry and white chocolate gâteau.

A final mention must go to the loos – each lavishly decorated with hand-painted De Gournay wallpaper and almost as good-looking as the staff uniforms created by Colombian designer Johanna Ortiz. Not surprisingly, polished (but friendly) service completes an undeniably pretty picture.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cool, Glamorous, Lively, Luxury, Unique
Food Occasions
All day dining, Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner, Late night dining, Lunch
Special Features
Gluten-free options, Vegan options, Vegetarian options
Birthdays, Celeb spotting, Celebrations, Dates, Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About Isabel

Wealthy people like to eat where the owner is, in the words of Margaret Thatcher, “one of us”, which is why Casa Cruz and Isabel, the London duo of restaurants from investment banker-cum-interior designer-cum-restaurateur Juan Santa Cruz, have proved such a hit.

Santa Cruz has an instinctive understanding that for a certain type of well-heeled diner, the look of the restaurant is as important (perhaps even more so) than the food that is being served. For the London fashion crowd – whether that’s staffers on the magazines from nearby Vogue House, Bond Street shoppers with money to burn or the photographers and models who make up the biannual jamboree of London Fashion Week – Isabel is a restaurant where the interior design is as striking as the designer clothes modelled by its customers.

Which isn’t to suggest that there isn’t some accomplished cooking on offer at Isabel, though be aware that the portion sizes lean towards size zero, while the kitchen’s formula of low-carb, high-protein dishes will not be a recipe for success for lovers of creamy sauces and indulgent side dishes.

That said, diners who eat out a lot for either work or pleasure will be relieved that the likes of radicchio salad with anchovy, parmesan and grapefruit, or cod with sprout tops, capers, black olives and pine nuts, won’t send them out onto Albemarle Street needing an afternoon nap or falling asleep on the tube home.

Breakfast and weekend brunch add to Isabel’s all-day appeal – there are pastries, French toast and a full English if you don’t want to go down the healthy eating route – while evenings offer the opportunity to sit up at the bar with a cocktail or glass of wine and some ‘para picar’ nibbles. Like all of the food here, however, the cost of the small plates is likely to lead to a very large bill.       


Are there gluten-free options on the menu at Isabel?

Yes there are gluten-free options on the menu at Isabel.

Helpful? 0


26 Albemarle Street , Mayfair, London, W1S 4HY

020 3096 9292


Opening Times

Mon-Sat 7am-12M (Sat 10am- ) Sun 10am-11pm


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8 Reviews 

Izzi B

25 October 2019   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 4
Service 5
Atmosphere 4
Value 4
good client lunch

lovely restaurant, was really looked after. was a little quiet at lunch!

Sangita A

08 July 2019  
Beautiful decor, ambience and service very attentive.

Kate S

05 April 2019  
Service is second to none, food (whether breakfast lunch or dinner is faultless) and the decor is stunning, not to mention the bathrooms - my absolute favourite of all restaurants!

Alessandra P

09 November 2018  
Food & Drink 1.5
Service 1.5
Atmosphere 5
Value 0.5
Food overpriced wine amazingly overpriced
The atmosphere is excellent but drinks are below the average (gin tonic was only tonic in a glass full of ice as Moscow mule). Food good quality but overpriced for such small portions. Price of the wine was ridiculously high. The service at main entrance not friendly. For what we pay we should not be pushed out to leave the table 15 minutes before the dead line and told not to order a dessert because of the length of the preparation. It is unacceptable for such a place. We will not recommend to our friends

Alana F

02 October 2018  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 4
Value 4
Great lunch spot - quality food and service
Lunching at Isabel was a delight. I had a friend visiting from Singapore and wanted a nice place in Mayfair that was decorative and a nice setting. We had the set express lunch menu which was delicious and the service was spot on. However, at 12pm the restaurant was a little quiet but it got busier at the lunch period progressed. I would definitely return but I think it may be better for dinner service and great for a girls night out (what with the Dragon bar too!).


31 July 2018  
Bad experience. Poor food quality for the price you pay. Very small portion. Noisy place . And poor service.


27 June 2018  
Top of the top- Luxury experience.

Alex S

12 October 2017  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 4
Atmosphere 5
Value 1.5
Good but so over priced
No denying the beauty of this place which has been done up to a very high standard. That is the best part. The food, while very good in part is vastly over priced as is the wine list.This is a place to be seen and while the concept of sharing plates may be all the rage, it offers no value for money. Hard to recommend.
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