Isola: Que será, será

Affordable fine dining at Isola in Edgartown.

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Tucked away behind the courthouse in Edgartown is a little slice of Italy beckoning to take you to the Bel Paese. 

Aptly named Isola, Italian for island, Edgartown’s casual Italian fare restaurant has been doling out the pasta dishes for the past six years, and The Times decided it was overdue for a visit to this Mediterranean paradise.

We began our culinary expedition with some liquid courage. The drink menu is extensive, with a list of beers, wines, and a full cocktail selection. We ordered the Vine Lemonade ($13), a crisp and cool concoction of whiskey, lemon-lime juice, Chambord, and whole berries; the Berrytini ($15), açai vodka, cranberry juice, and agave; and the Aperol Spritz Martini ($15), a ritzy combination of prosecco, vodka, Aperol, and soda water.

While sipping on our fruitfully divine cocktails, we began looking through the menu decorated with Italian fare. We decided to begin our meal with the Prosciutto Ricotta Salata, the evening’s special appetizer, made of a mixture of pea leaves, cantaloupe, and prosciutto complemented by bread with an olive oil, parsley, red wine vinegar, and capers spread.

For our meal we chose the Pizza Oven–Baked Chicken Parm ($28), a crispy piece of chicken over rigatoni pomodoro, covered in fresh basil, melted cheese, and grated Pecorino Romano. Since we live on an Island and the restaurant is literally called Island, we felt it only of the utmost necessity to order the Pan-Seared Sea Scallops ($36), browned scallops on top of Morning Glory Farm sweet corn risotto, charred green onion, and crispy prosciutto. 

Having wined and dined like Roman gods, we felt the best way to close out the meal was with an Affogato ($12). Having experienced an affogato for the first time, it was hard to say which part of it was my favorite. Was it the chilly Baileys ice cream, the steaming espresso, or the crunchy biscotti that melted into all that sweetness? Or was it just all those elegant elements melded into one? Whatever it was, it was quite tasty.

Tasty enough to be eaten by an American president. Well, maybe, but Isola is a spot to stop for former President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle, and their daughter Sasha, who ate at Edgartown’s premier Italian hotspot this summer.

Peter Sullo, whom many know from Rocco’s Pizza in Vineyard Haven, began Isola six years ago, taking over the space formerly occupied by Lattanzi’s. While business has been good, Sullo is especially proud of Isola because it’s a family affair. His son Nicholi is the head chef, his son Anthony is the manager, and his daughter Gabrielle operates the restaurant’s social media presence. While Sullo is a fan of the entire menu, his personal favorite is the Broccoli Rabe & Sausage Cavatelli ($32) covered in roasted shaved garlic, truffle brodo, and grated Pecorino Romano.

While Isola has made a name for itself with modern Italian food with a Vineyard twist, the Pizzeria next door is a great place for a quick bite to eat, with options for full pizza or by the slice. Stay in your comfort zone with classic toppings, or take a ride on the wild side with specialty toppings like roasted tomato, prosciutto, meatballs, or marinated chicken.

After several seasons open year-round, Sullo decided it made more business sense to only open seasonally for both the restaurant and the pizzeria, so you have until late fall to try these two Edgartown winners. 

Isola is open Thursday to Monday, 5:30 to 9 pm, and closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Pizzeria is open from 11 am to 10 pm. For more information, visit isolamv.com or call 774-549-9446.