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A fresh choice recently joined the bevy of Mexican restaurants in Bonita Springs. 

Malinche Mexican Cuisine opened at the end of June in The Center of Bonita Springs, anchored by Publix supermarket and Old Time Pottery on the northwest corner of Bonita Beach Road and U.S. 41. Brothers and co-owners Antonio and Jorge Salazar launched their casual restaurant in space along Bonita Beach Road that Metro Diner vacated two years ago. 

Recently relocating to Southwest Florida from St. Louis, the Salazars are natives of Tlaxcala, a state in central Mexico where a volcano is named for the iconic La Malinche, an indigenous woman from the Mexican Gulf Coast known for contributing to the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire. The volcano and its name are on the restaurant’s logo. 

“The restaurant offers authentic recipes from central and southern Mexico,” Antonio Salazar said. “They’re recipes from our grandmas and moms. It’s really good, for real. It’s really fresh.”

Platters of avocados on the counter between the open kitchen and the dining room represent that freshness. “We keep the avocados right there so people can tell we’re using fresh stuff. We smash them by order to make the guacamole,” he said, noting that they plan to eventually make guacamole tableside. 

Salazar also promotes the transparency of the open kitchen, where a worker can be seen hand-pressing blue corn masa to create fresh tortillas. “I told everybody we’ve got nothing to hide,” he said. “We’re using all fresh stuff.” 

The front of the menu features Clasicos de la Casa, or House Classics. An early favorite is Mixiotes Tlaxcaltecas, an entrée from central Mexico that features chicken marinated in a sauce made with ancho and morita chiles, nopalitos cactus and spices. The dish is served with Mexican rice, salsa verde and blue corn tortillas that are made by hand in-house. Other house classics include grilled skirt steak, fajitas, seafood stew, grilled salmon, chile relleno, whole tilapia and Oaxacan-style tamales.

The menu also offers a variety of tacos, tortas and Tex-Mex selections such as burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas and quesadillas. Appetizers include house-made guacamole, empanadas, street corn dip and queso fundido 

The new business serves beer and wine and plans to add a full bar. Margaritas are made with agave wine. “They’re really good,” Salazar said. 

Malinche, 3250 Bonita Beach Road SW, Suite 202, is open daily for lunch and dinner.

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