La Isla


TMA'ed while getting distracted with Drake breaking it down to Hotline Bling

Temi: La Isla was an unplanned stop for us. We had originally set out to get some pizza at Delancey (more on that in the future). However, we were met with an hour and a half wait and we were not about that waiting life. I suggested La Isla.

Mari: La Isla sits in the heart of Ballard aka Market St. I had never been there before, but Temi went on and on about their Pastelon so by the time we got there I had high expectations.

Temi: We arrived and didn’t have to wait. Plus one for them. A mixture of red and blue walls, colorful masks, art, and yellow lighting, made the interior feel very orange. This didn’t bother us much until we tried to take pictures.

Mari: Once seated, we quickly ordered two Empanadillas (Queso and Carne Molida) as appetizers. I ordered the Veggie Pastelon (no surprise there) while Temi got the Pionono.


Temi: I had to branch out of my usual Pernil Pastelon and explore other things on the menu. The Carne Molida Empanadilla was tasty. There wasn’t much to it, but I think that’s what made it beautiful. Well-seasoned meat in a flaky and crispy crust that was strong enough to prevent the Empanadilla from falling apart but airy enough to not feel like you had dough stuck in your teeth. The Pionono was just good. I slightly regret this. It tasted like you would expect, plantains with beef and egg. No sudden mouthgasms there.

Mari: Although I did enjoy the food, there were no mouthgasms on my end either. The Queso Empanadilla was exactly what you'd expect, very cheesy. Think mozzarella sticks meets samosas. The sauce was my favorite part. It tasted very much like tartar sauce but seemed homemade. The Veggie Pastelon was pretty good, but I don't think it lived up to the hype.

Temi: I was slightly disappointed with La Isla this time. There have been days where its 10pm and I have seriously considered driving to Ballard for some La Isla. Let's blame the disappointment on my Pastelon withdrawal. However, I MUST branch out from plantains. Maybe I'll try something different next time. Just Maybe.

Mari:  I'd like to go again and give the Pastelon another chance. The dish looked like lasagna, smelled like lasagna, but didn’t taste like it. Plaintains in general are sweet, but with a filling of tofu, green bell peppers and other veggies the dish was even sweeter. I was expecting the pastelon to be more savory, so my taste-buds were all kind of confused. To balance it out, the Pastelon came with rice, beans and fried plantains on the side. Unfortunately, the sides overcompensated for the sweetness by being way too salty.

In Summary

The thirst was real with this one. Mari usually doesn't drink water until the very end of the meal, but she was chugging away. Temi was salty about choosing something other than the Pastelon. Saltiness aside, we enjoyed the Empanadillas but the main courses need more vetting.

Ambience: Casual

Wait time:  20 mins

Food: Salty

Would we go back? Temi, yes. Mari, perhaps

Halal Friendly? For sure

TMA Moment:

It's serious business trying to pick something other than your favorite dish.

Have you been to La Isla? What were your thoughts? Do you feel the same way about plantains that Temi does? Comment below, let us know!