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Gargantuan Isabella Eatery Is Confusing Customers

“There is so much going on it is hard to figure out where to go”

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Tysons Corner Galleria’s third floor food hall includes eight distinct eateries, a cocktail bar and a private dining space.
Isabella Eatery [official photo]
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Restaurateur Mike Isabella’s McLean food hall started feeding shoppers in December, stretching several diverse breakfast, lunch, and dinner options across 41,000 square feet on the top floor of Tysons Galleria.

The Top Chef alum’s multi-concept food hall kicked off with a mini version of his flagship Italian restaurant, Graffiato; a new all-day cafe called Nonfiction Coffee; and Isabella’s debut sweets shop, Retro Creamery, which were soon followed up by modified versions of Mexican-themed Pepita, sushi-focused Yona, and seafood-centric Requin. The two last pieces of the puzzle arrived in mid-January: an ode to Mediterranean-themed Arroz and a catch-all grand dining room, a reservations-friendly space serving best sellers from select Isabella Eatery stands. There’s also a central cocktail haven called Octagon.

Read on to hear what the public is saying about the dizzying food mecca:

The Shopping 2.0 News: Facebook user Theo Bell says, “the Mike Isabella Concepts have substantially upgraded the area and has enhanced the shopping experience in this mall.” Instagrammer @brittmansouri writes, “Can all food courts look like this please???” Instagrammer @jeffthewanderer writes his first meal at @isabellaeatery — which included baklava French toast, chicken pot pie fritters, and mushroom tacos “was just as delicious as expected.” [Facebook, Instagram]

The Cool Coffee News: TripAdvisors user Panguin calls the java at Nonfiction Coffee “the best coffee at Tysons Corner. There is a variety of coffee beans and a variety of brewing methods. The coffee was prepared lovingly.” And Yelper Aarti B. experienced “solid coffee and pastries. I thoroughly enjoyed the Brookie (hybrid of chocolate chip cookie and brownie) and Rocky Road brownie.[TripAdvisor, Yelp]

The Booze News: Yelper Elle C notes bartenders at Octagon Bar “are extremely amiable and will make recommendations based on what you typically drink. I loved the Dark & Stormy.” And Yelper Rick K. highlights the “great” vino list at the food hall: “[Isabella has] done [a] good job selecting wines.” [Yelp]

The Suggestions Box News: TripAdvisor’s Miniamo was greeted by four hostesses and recommends “reducing staff to become more efficient and so you know who ‘owns’ the patron experience. Then reduce prices to match a suburban mall environment.” And Yelper Lindsey W. called Yono’s sushi rolls “good” but “the service is horribly slow ... for a fast sit down place, they really need to work out the kinks for this place to be worth the long wait.” [TripAdvisor, Yelp]

The Lost It News: Facebook user Noelle Sharbaugh writes “need more way-finding or maps of all the options and or greeters to help people who are there for the first time and have no idea what the options are. There is so much going on it is hard to figure out where to go.” And Lolan ORourke adds “there was no central signage informing you of the various options available along with menu would have been helpful.” [Facebook]

The Sleek Space News: Facebook user Lisa Amore calls it “over the top!!! The space itself is absolutely gorgeous.” And Tim Gavagan notes the “fantastic floor plan ... I loved all the artwork throughout the venue. Would like to see more artwork filling such a cathedral like space.” [Facebook]

The Highlight Reel News: Facebook user Stefan Sittig says “the tacos at Pepita were INSANELY good and the espresso cream ice cream at the Creamery was excellent as well!” TripAdvisor’s vjkee “loved” the avocado toast and wings at Graffiato, and “Shrimp Fra Diavolo, chicken and pasta with butternut squash were all fantastic!” And Yelper art f. calls Arroz’s “chicken croquettes — a favorite and a Spanish tortilla (potato and eggs pie) with harissa sauce — a definite winner.” Instagrammer @centenoeats gives Graffiato’s Brussels sprouts four out of five emoji thumbs up. [Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Instagram]

The Pace Yourself News: Tripadvisor reviewer TallViennaGirl calls it a “great concept with one huge drawback — food is delivered as soon as the particular restaurant has prepared it which resulted in each of us getting our meals at different times.” And Yelper Elisa B. ordered off the Sunday brunch menu and “none of our food arrived at the same time. That was odd, since we ordered entrees, not small plates.” [TripAdvisor, Yelp]

The Pretty Pricey News: TripAdvisor user Pete D. writes the Greek salad at Kapnos Marketa “was tasty enough. But the price was $14. And LucyJojo calls Requin’s menu “expensive and leaves no room for having two items (for example soup and salad) without costing approx $30...for lunch.” RDining dined at Arroz and says “the quality was great but the portions were too small for their prices.” [TripAdvisor]

The Sort of Salty News: Facebook user Lisa Kahn sampled four spots and calls the patatas brava “not crispy; very salty. The mussels: very salty. The chorizo: very salty. The highlight of the meal was the lobster roll and chips. The food was presented well and the dining room was lovely.” [Facebook]

Isabella Eatery

2001 International Drive, McLean, VA 22102 (571) 489-8505 Visit Website