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Las Islas Del Mar

The pina rellena at Las Islas Del Mar on Monona Drive photographed in 2012. The striking pina reyena is a hallowed out half-pineapple stuffed with seafood and topped with melted cheese.

Las Islas Del Mar, a Mexican seafood restaurant, which opened in October 2012 on Monona Drive, is closing in the next two weeks.

The restaurant at 5696 Monona Drive served food native to Puerto Vallarta, the Mexican resort town on the Pacific Ocean, where its owners Diego Valdivia with Mayra Fernandez, are from.

An original location in Rockford, Illinois, which they also own, will remain open.

The last day will be either Oct. 14 or 15. Valdivia said he has not decided yet.

The restaurant's lease was ending and they couldn't come to an agreement with their landlord, Valdivia said.

Las Islas Del Mar interior

Las Islas Del Mar on Monona Drive is in a former Burger King location.

"The building is very old and maintenance for old buildings tends to be very, very expensive. We were not able to reach an agreement as far as that goes," he said. "So, it was definitely not in our best interests to remain at that specific location."

The Madison location, which borders Monona, was a former Burger King store. In 2004, it was turned into a Crandall's restaurant that only lasted a couple of years.

Valdivia said they are considering a different Madison location, but have no definite plans as of yet.

"It does take time," he said, noting the Monona Drive location took a lot of time to find and to open, and faced initial delays.

Valdivia has been splitting his time between Madison and Rockford, while Fernandez, who is his sister-in-law, mostly stays in Rockford.

The restaurant will continue to serve lunch and dinner daily for its remaining days.

"Hopefully we can look at other possibilities and options in the city," Valdivia said, noting that they like Madison a lot and are grateful to their customers.

"Even though it was quite a struggle to open and it was quite a struggle to get going, we have gotten a pretty great response I would say, in the last two years," he said. "It's something different for people."

Las Islas Del Mar

Las Islas Del Mar on Monona Drive is closing within two weeks.

Valdivia has been pleased with the positive reviews Las Islas Del Mar has gotten on Yelp and other web sites. "It's been quite the experience and it's been great. It was great to bring something different to the city."


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Wisconsin State Journal food writer Samara Kalk Derby brings you the latest news on the Madison area's eclectic restaurant scene.