A little bit of South Beach in Philadelphia
Located in the heart of the Latino community, Isla Verde brings the breezy and sophisticated atmosphere of South Beach and the Caribbean to a somewhat unlikely corner in North Philadelphia. The largely tapas-centered menu has been an instant hit ever since its inception in early 2005. Head chef, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, has masterfully incorporated traditional Spanish ingredients into his exquisite Nuevo Latino cuisine.
Ceviche is a major component of these offerings and you’d be well advised to order several and share them among your table. For main courses, a few of Chef Juan Carlos’ favorites include the chuleta suprema (supreme pork chop) and the guava and tamarindo barbeque ribs.
On the weekends, Isla Verde is much more than a dinner destination. The sleek spot turns into a hip lounge and nightspot with a DJ on Friday Nights (after 11:00 p.m.) and a live house band (guaguanco, mosambique or salsa) on Saturday nights (after 9:00 p.m.). The beats are guaranteed to get you up out of your seat and moving your feet. If you’re looking for a little more persuasion, have a drink; you can’t go wrong with either a minty mojito or one of Isla’s signature pineapple and coconut martinis.
During the warmer months, Isla feels even more like the island ambiance it’s trying to emulate. Its huge front windows fold open to its outdoor patio allowing warm breezes to fall over diners inside. As the sun sets, the neutral tones of the Isla’s interior brighten for an all-around tropical experience.