Slick savory noodles topped with grilled meat, and tropical frozen desserts packed with color and flavor are just some of the authentic Filipino dishes you can get at Isla.
Started by the husband-and-wife team, JP and Jacqueline Garcia, Isla is serving up authentic flavors from their home country in a more approachable way.
The couple met in the Philippines while attending college pursuing computer science majors.
“When we were dating we would not go out and eat at restaurants,” JP explained. Instead, they would buy food at the grocery store and cook together. Creating magic in the kitchen is something they always loved to do.
After college, they moved to America and started work in IT, but they still loved to cook. Jaqueline, who wanted to be a pastry chef since she was nine went to culinary school and later got a job at The Whitney restaurant in Detroit, while JP worked as a Sous Chef for Chef Takashi Yagihashi’s Slurping Turtle restaurant in Ann Arbor.
Eventually, they wanted to try their own space, serving Filipino cuisine, so they did a pop-up in Ann Arbor. JP dished up dinner while Jacqueline perfected her desserts. That led to them getting one of the four coveted spots at Fort Street Galley, a restaurant incubator, in downtown Detroit.
Now they have opened their own place in Sterling Heights, and are bringing back a lot of the favorites. Right now their menu is split into two sections, rice bowls and noodle bowls. Popular rice dishes include their Chicken Inasal, which is grilled chicken marinated in a blend of citrusy spices paired with garlic rice, pickled papaya, and homemade spiced vinegar. A noodle dish that will have you drooling is their Pancit Canton, which is stir-fried egg noodles with fresh veggies which you can top with a grilled pork steak.
Plus, you have to save room for dessert. You can get the Halo-Halo, which is perfect for the ‘gram with its branded coconut container. It’s a traditional Filipino dessert, made with shaved coconut flavored ice, and ube (a purple yam) ice cream with a variety of toppings. The name means “mixed” and it is meant to be mixed all together before being eaten. Speaking of ube, if you love this purple yam try it in their Tropical Ube Cake topped with coconut mascarpone and mango sauce.
If you would like to try Isla, they are located at 2496 Metro Pkwy in Sterling Heights.