Last Saturday evening, my hubby and I were going to SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater for an 8:00 curtain. We thought we’d grab dinner out before the show. Leon’s Mexican Restaurant was a standard in our dining-out repertoire for more than ten years. In the last 9 months and 9 weeks the restaurant has moved from Saratoga to Ballston Spa and we hadn’t ventured to the new place to see our friend and the owner, Roberta Acosta, and knew we had to stop in. The reason I mentioned the 9 months and 9 weeks time period is because while Roberta was moving to her new venue, she found out that she was pregnant…..with twins!! We got to meet the beautiful 9 week old boys who were in the office under the care of their older sister, Luchiana. Roberta, not only a great mother and restaurateur….. but a Superwoman!!
She doesn’t do it all on her own though, her Uncle Jim is behind the bar and always makes you feel like you are the only people in the restaurant. His wife, Carla, is a waitress and Roberta’s oldest daughter, Mariah, a Jr. at Saratoga High School, was also in the dining room. Truly a family run place.
My husband and I are bar diners when it is available so we saddled up to the bar and chatted with Jim while he served us some cocktails and complimentary fresh salsa with homemade chips. The margaritas are to die for! Settled in, we took a close look around to see what Roberta did with the place. The restaurant sported bright colors, new star lighting that’s imported from Mexico and a warm, cozy, very packed dining room. Although the restaurant is smaller than the previous Saratoga location, it certainly didn’t feel crowded with the open floor plan. Beautiful.
After a nice visit with Roberta, it was time to order…. My favorite dish is the Mexican Shrimp Cocktail. It is on the appetizer menu but it is so chock full of shrimp, avocado and fresh pico de gallo that I always have it for an entrée. It is spicy, slightly citrusy, cold and delicious!! (This is a dish I would walk there to have.) My hubby had the Mole’ Chicken Enchilladas, topped with queso fresco, cilantro and onion. He said it was the best mole’ he has ever had! Perfectly cocoa forward.
Leon’s also serves traditional Mexican paletas or popsicles in every flavor imaginable to cool down any heat from your dinner and a great treat for the kids. There are mild dishes, right up to fiery ones but the flavors are balanced and on point. The detail to authenticity and freshness of the product is evident in the taste.
Leon’s is an upscale, casual, family dinner restaurant with a great bar and great food. There is outside seating in good weather and plenty of parking. If you’re on your way to SPAC, or have a hankering for some Mexican food, stop in for a primo meal….. Oh, and say hello to the family for me!
Ballston Spa, NY 12020 (6.2 miles from the Saratoga Race Track)