Husband and wife duo Jorge Avila and Clara Zavala are bringing the heat to the kitchen at their new restaurant, La Costa Mexican Restaurant and Seafood.

The restaurant had its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 23, in which they introduced their authentic Mexican cuisine to residents of Lodi.

Avila and Zavala are bringing traditional seafood dishes from the Sinaloa region of Mexico and adding the classic flavors of Guadalajara to spice up their fare.

“The couple is from Guadalajara, but they wanted to bring together the freshness of the Sinaloa region and the savory flavors of Guadalajara,” La Costa Mexican Restaurant and Seafood General Manager Antonio Portillo said.

Sinaloa, which is located off the Gulf of California, is known as the “Bread Basket” of Mexico, because of its agriculture and fishing. The waterways of Sinaloa are rich with bass, marlin, dorado, and wahoo, while its fields are lush with corn, tomatoes, rice and citrus fruit.

Much of the cuisine in Sinaloa is influenced by the agricultural landscape, which is why many dishes use tomatoes and citrus in them.

“While developing the concept of the restaurant, the owners wanted to have a bar that would bring in the unique flavors of Mexico and couple that with drinks that people already know,” Portillo said.

The landlocked city of Guadalajara, which is located in the Jalisco region of Mexico, is known as the birthplace of tequila. Jalisco is mostly known for its corn crops and sugarcane.

The menu offers more authentic Mexican dishes like aguachiles, — which is a broth-based dish made of shrimp and seasoned with chile peppers, lime juice, salt, cilantro, slices of cucumber and slices of onion — and carne en su jugo, which is a beef broth-based dish that is served with finely diced beef, beans and an array of toppings served alongside it.

While the focus of the menu is to introduce Lodians to traditional Mexican dishes, the couple also offers more commonly known menu items like tacos. But don’t underestimate their tacos, the couple has owned 23 taquerias throughout San Joaquin County for past 25 years, Portillo stated.

“Their secret for being in the restaurant business for so long is using quality ingredients. Everything they serve is made from scratch, and the chiles that we use are imported from Tijuana,” he said.

From the homemade tortillas to the unique drinks, their guarantee is that flavor is everywhere.

“We wanted to create an immersive restaurant environment for a sit-down dinner,” Portillo said.

According to Portillo, both Avila and Zavala are looking to touch the hearts of all who enter their restaurant and they know the key to anyone’s heart is through their stomachs.

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