New bistro bound for Bayside

isa bar 2

When the line at Bintliffs is hard to stomach and the sophisticated Back Bay Grill doesn’t match your jeans and flannel mood, enter Isa.

On Thursday, husband and wife team Suzie St. Pierre and Isaul Perez open what looks to be the perfect neighborhood, corner bistro. Located on Portland Street, this “eclectic, French, Italian” bistro featuring Perez’s Latin heritage, smells like a winner right out of the gate.

The sample menu features braised rabbit, grilled octopus, seared monkfish and a venison burger. Prices don’t rise above $25 (NY strip steak) and average around $18. Locals may be able to make Isa a regular hang, which, ever since the Portland and Rochester Public House shuttered last year, this neighborhood has sorely lacked.


Straight outta Brooklyn, chef Isaul Perez is ready to bump up Bayside

Their relationship with local purveyors —Standard Baking Co., Harbor Fish, eggs from Lyman — sends a signal that there are alternatives to Sysco.

St. Pierre, formerly of Kennebunkport’s Bandaloop, Maybel’s and more recently Portland’s Five Fifty-Five, was been working on the space (formerly New World Kitchens) for a solid year. And it shows.

isa chairs

Black and white bistro tiles, warm wainscoting, aesthetically pleasing lighting and the perfect diner-meets-open-kitchen range overlooking the relaxed bar radiates low-key welcome. A very cool looking (and private) patio off to the side will make Isa your alfresco headquarters come spring.

The couple met at Brooklyn’s Frankies Spuntino and will inject some NYC flair into burgeoning Bayside. “A corner bistro will make the neighborhood a little richer,” said St. Pierre. Amen to that.

Isa, 79 Portland St, Portland.

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.