Bistro Sabor Review
1126 First Street
Napa, CA 94559
Directions to Bistro Sabor
Wed - Th, Sun 11 am - midnight
Fri - Sat 11 am - 2 am
Bistro Sabor food
Bistro Sabor wants to take Latin street food and make it more upscale, similar to C-Casa's concept of artisan tacos. A large sign says "Tacos and sake" to show that this isn't a typical street food sort of place.
They've only been open for a few weeks and still have some tweaking to do so keep that in mind. We've been a few times, and right now, we just sort of find the tacos lacking in flavor and consequently overpriced.
We've had a number of their tacos (carnitas, beef come to mind). Most of them struck me on the bland side although the slow-cooked beef was nice and tender. The meat seems cooked reasonably well, but the taste isn't there. And this is where Bistro Sabor should rethink their tacos because they are stuck in a little bit of a dangerous no-man's land.
At Bistro Sabor, you'll pay about $8 for two tacos and some black beans. That's about $4 per taco (price of beans is fairly immaterial.) At that price range, Frida's tacos (medium end), the Pearl's flank steak tacos (high end), C-Casa (high end) are significantly better. One could say that C-Casa is what Bistro Sabor aspires to be.
But even on the low end, Tres Hermanos and Taco Michoacan are much tastier at a significantly cheaper price. For instance, Tres Hermanos is in the same shopping center. Those will cost about $2.50; no beans, but a ton more flavor and in some cases like the carnitas, texture.
One interesting thing about about Bistro Sabor is that it's basically right next to Tres Hermanos which is our favorite taco place in the city of Napa. (a) I doubt you'll find any working class Mexicans in Bistro Sabor; they're at Tres Hermanos. (b) there's sometimes a little sign in the general area by Bistro Sabor that says "Real authentic Mexican food and tacos at Tres Hermanos" which is an interesting juxtaposition with Bistro Sabor's positioning as upscale Latin American food (c) a friend of ours was eating there and said someone stopped in to the restaurant to ask where Tres Hermanos was (ouch).
Here is a mushroom quesadilla which tasted fine...but it was $6. That's not going to work. I don't expect a quesadilla as big as my head, but it doesn't quite seem like $6, you know?
Some pupusas with chicken. They were fine, but...$8?
We've had their churros, fresh out of the fryer, and they were tasty.
The owners of Bistro Sabor are the popular Ceja family who also own a winery and a popular wine bar just up the street. So, they have a certain amount of locals cred with friends and family who I'm sure will visit the restaurant. But I think if you take away the Ceja connection and mystique, Sabor would struggle on its own with its current offering.
But you know, it's new. They can still work something out. They might have to shift their positioning and offering a bit to make it.
Bistro Sabor setting and service
Bistro Sabor's service is pretty good. Friendly and attentive. The interior decor is a pretty casual affair with a few tables, a long family-style table, and a big HDTV hanging off the wall. A kind of faux mural on one side with some Latin memes. There's some outdoor sitting space that they inherited from its predecessor, First Squeeze.
Bistro Sabor has one thing going for it. They're open pretty late. It's difficult to get mid-priced eats once you get past 9:30 in Napa. So Bistro Sabor could benefit from being one of the few places open in downtown late, particularly during tourist season. The Avia hotel is just a block or so up the street, and the Ceja wine bar sits between Sabor and Avia.
Price of our meal
2 taco plates + 1 other plate + tax & tip = $25-28
Other Bistro Sabor reviews and links