Isla, the downtown bar and restaurant from Peche’s Rob Pate, now has a new focus.It’s now all about Peruvian cuisine and drinks, rather than the previous emphasis on general Caribbean fare. This change is thanks to the new chef de cuisine, Julio-Cesar Florez.
The native Peruvian brings dishes like grilled skewers, squid ink risotto, and lomo saltado. Ceviche remains on the menu, but as cebiche, which means it’s made to order.
Bringing Peruvian fare to Austin is Florez’s mission. He changed the menu at his previous restaurant, the downtown tapas spot Malaga, to spotlight the South American country earlier this spring. (That restaurant closed over the summer.) He also runs Llama’s Peruvian Food Trailer on Trinity Street.
John Lichtenberger remains as Isla’s executive chef, as well for next-door sister restaurant Peche. Bar manager Shane Paule oversees Isla’s beverages. While the bar menu still highlighting rums, he added pisco cocktails to keep in line with the changes, like drinks like pisco sour and pisco punch.
Owner Rob Pate took over the West 4th Street space back in the end of 2014, after Caribbean rum bar Pleasant Storage Room closed. He opened downtown cocktail bar Peche in 2008.