Bethany Clough

This new Mexican restaurant in a prime spot has a secret bean recipe, seafood tower, more


The seafood tower and the refried beans with a secret ingredient are ready to go.

The tequila and mezcal are coming soon.

Sabores Mexican Cocina & Tequila Bar is one of Fresno’s newest restaurants, opening just a few weeks ago. At 3173 W. Shaw Ave., you may remember the spot as the former home of Plaza Ventana. (Plaza Ventana closed its location on Shaw near Marks Avenue, but its other location on Blackstone Avenue near Shaw is still open.)

The owner of Sabores, Alicia Batista, snapped up the prime location.

The restaurant has gotten a facelift, its bold colors replaced with more classic ones.

Sabores Mexican Cocina & Tequila Bar took over the former Plaza Ventana restaurant at 3173 W. Shaw Ave. Sabores

Sabores means flavors in Spanish. But don’t confuse it with Sabor Mexican Bistro & Bar, the modern Mexican restaurant that is still open on the Fig Garden Loop and has been for nearly four years. There’s no relation.

Back on Shaw, the newly opened Sabores has both traditional Mexican cuisine from the state of Jalisco and American-influenced cuisine on the menu.

Batista is particularly proud of the carne en su jugo (meat in its juices), a soup made with beef, bacon, green onions and whole beans with a sauce made from cilantro and tomatillos.

Batista was born in the United States, but her family moved to Mexico when she was 2. That’s where she grew up, learning to cook from her mother and aunts.

This is her first restaurant. Previously, she was a production supervisor in a Firebaugh factory.

One surprising highlight of her restaurant?

The refried beans. Yes, the beans.

“When you go to a Mexican restaurant you don’t expect too much of the beans because it’s just a side,” she acknowledges.

But she says her beans are different.

“Some people ask me if they have chorizo in them, but they don’t have chorizo in them,” she said.

And she’s not saying what the secret is, just that it’s a family recipe on her husband’s side.

Seafood Tower.jpg
The seafood tower at Sabores features shrimp, octopus, fish and avocado. Sabores

The chef specializes in seafood and you’ll find a whole page of it on the menu. The seafood tower, for example, includes shrimp, octopus, fish and avocado.

The restaurant is still waiting for the transfer of the liquor license so it can start serving alcohol in early 2019. When it does, the bar, which is separate from the dining area, will feature plenty of tequila and other drinks.

Batista hopes to carry many varieties of mezcal, the liquor that’s made from agave plant (tequila is technically a mezcal, but mezcal has a smokier flavor than tequila and can be made from many types of agave plants).

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough