Mexican & Margaritas

A Margarita for Every Mood

We’ve rounded up the nine best bars and restaurants to whet your whistle.

By Katharine Shilcutt June 30, 2014 Published in the July 2014 issue of Houstonia Magazine

From left: blue frozen margarita from El Patio, top-shelf margarita from Pastry War, and a Loco Mango margarita from Escalante’s.

Image: Kate LeSueur


El Big Bad

Although known for its creative infusions (churro-flavored tequila, anyone?), this gastrocantina’s $21 Texan margarita keeps it simple with only five ingredients: Don Julio 70th añejo, Paula's Texas Orange liqueur, fresh-squeezed lime and lemon juices, and agave.


Both this place and Caracol sell “The Greatest Margarita Ever Sold,” created by beverage director Sean Beck, for $28. For that price, you get a goblet of Gran Centenario Añejo tequila, 25-year-old Gran Marnier, fresh tangerine and lime juices, and a rim of Murray River salt flakes.

The Pastry War

Bobby Heugel’s passion for tequila is on full display at this mecca of mezcalerías. A standard house margarita—frozen or on the rocks—is $7, though the selection of vintage Herradura and other high-end spirits allows for some delicious, if pricey, variations. 

Fruity Favorites


Fresh juices and high-end tequila set these fruity favorites apart, with refreshing watermelon leading the pack. Looking for something a little less sweet? Try a cucumber or hibiscus margarita, perfect for patio weather.


The Loco Mango comes with sweet chunks of fresh mango among the Cabo Wabo blanco tequila and Cointreau, topped off with a sugary rim.

Ninfa’s on Navigation

Ninfa’s calls its Zandunga a “Margarita 2.0,” combining lemongrass-infused mezcal with muddled ginger, cucumber, and lime for a smoky, spicy drink that’s sweetened with agave syrup and topped with a salty foam in lieu of a salted rim.

Deals and Steals

El Patio

The azure classic turns 53 this year, and the house secret recipe will only set you back $6.25.

Spanish Village

The tart, sweet, frozen margs at Spanish Village are the stuff of legend—a goblet of slushy goodness for just $7.50.

Taqueria Tepatitlan

If you want the biggest bang for your buck, the $2 margaritas during Thursday and Friday happy hours have enough booze to tranq a bull.

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