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Izzy’s Restaurant: Cape Verdean Comfort


Izzy’s On Spring Street 

A Warm welcome

On one the coldest winter days of the season, I made my way down Spring Street to seek comfort on a plate at Izzy’s Cape Verdean Style Restaurant. When I opened the door and removed my hat, there were booths to the left, tables to the right, and Izzy herself straight ahead who greeted me warmly before ushering me to the service counter to survey the daily specials. I wanted to devour a little of everything.

service counter

Service counter at Izzy’s

order anything

Jag is a traditional Cape Verdean side dish consisting of rice and red beans, and softly spiced. Served with most dishes, it was blanketed over my plate, forming a solid base for the variety on top. Big chunks of succulent pork, marinated and roasted, kept company with sweet and tangy pork ribs. The chunks and ribs were so distinct; I found no trouble enjoying their unique flavors together. Izzy also served me a whole golden-fried sardine, and a medley of mixed vegetables. The sardine’s skin was crispy and its meat tender. I ate all but the head and tail. The vegetable mix of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots could have been from a frozen bag, and were nothing to write home about.

food at Izzy's

Pork and Jag with sardine and vegetables

chewing the fat

During my dine-in experience I chatted with Izzy about the restaurant. She told me they’ve been open since 2006, and how she was excited about the food truck they introduced to the scene last summer. You may have seen (or smelled) it at the food truck festival at Fort Taber, or serving the passerby crowds of Buttonwood Park. She then enthusiastically suggested I come in for breakfast, which is served all day.

All in all the food is basic, but very flavorful, and the atmosphere is simple, yet inviting. That said, I must divert from the discipline of critiquing cuisine to acknowledge an important moment during my dining experience at Izzy’s.

why we’ll keep coming back

While Izzy and I were talking, a young woman came in for a cup of coffee. The woman didn’t have any cash and wanted to pay with a card, but there is a $5 minimum for credit cards (This is usually because credit card companies deduct a fee from vendors for each transaction). Before anyone could offer a few bucks, Izzy insisted on giving her the coffee at no charge and wished her a warm day.

Food, service, consistency, cleanliness, and affordability, all contribute to people’s restaurant decisions from time to time. However, when you live in a town like New Bedford, a real sense of community and witnessing graceful acts of kindness can make all the difference.

I highly recommend dining at Izzy’s anytime, but do try the French toast. Izzy says it’s her specialty.

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Scruffy McFoodsnob