Houston's Top 11 Margaritas for National Margarita Day

Categories: Booze

Winter Spiced Margarita.jpg
Photo by Eric Hester
The winter spiced margarita at Ninfa's on Navigation.
Tomorrow is National Margarita Day. (Yes, much like International Hot & Spicy Food Day, it's a thing.)

And although it'll be cloudy most of the day tomorrow, the sun should come out right around happy hour time, and with temperatures in the high 60s that means one thing: patio weather.

Presented below in no particular order are our 11 favorite places around Houston to sip a margarita (or several). Give one of them a shot tomorrow, or leave your own suggestion in the comments section below.

Ninfa's on Navigation

The original Ninfa's has undergone a serious makeover -- at least on the outside. While the interior is still the same, a broad patio and deck has been built outside that calls to mind Playa del Carmen (if there were oak trees in the Yucatan). To celebrate the new deck as well as National Margarita Day, Ninfa's will be serving $5 Ninfaritas all day long on the patio. (You can also branch out and try a winter spiced margarita while you're there, one of the new concoctions borne out of a consultancy with Anvil's Bobby Heugel.)

Pico's Mex-Mex

This old-school Bellaire favorite has been serving some of the city's best margaritas since 1984. Unfortunately, the live music -- which is one of the most charming things about Pico's -- only runs from Wednesday through Sunday, so no mariachis for you tomorrow night. Drown your sorrows in a PicoRita Silver or Gold. Both come in a regular size for $5.95 or a "Mucho Grande" size (48 ounces!) for $15.

Cafe Adobe

Do not -- I repeat, do not -- go to Cafe Adobe for the food. It's painfully average Tex-Mex at its best. Go for the margaritas and the beautiful rooftop deck at the Westheimer location. Watch the sun set, listen to the bells from Saint Anne's, sip on a fun, fruity frozen margarita (the peach is a personal favorite) and enjoy Cafe Adobe for what it is: a great place to catch up with friends and relax over some $10 tequila and Triple Sec.

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Photo by Groovehouse
Goode Co. Seafood

A margarita and a tumbler full of shrimp campechana here, and I'm in Gulf Coast seafood heaven. It's a timeless pairing, like crunchy peanut butter and grape jelly. (BRING IT.) Both are a little pricey, but they're top quality...plus, you're dining in an old, restored rail car, and that can't be beat.

Spanish Village

The secret to the margaritas at Spanish Village was helpfully revealed by Houstonist's Kaylan Tannahill back in 2009: "They do not serve frozen margaritas, rather they freeze the lime juice which fractures when the drink is mixed." Just one more thing to love about the old Medical Center favorite (that, and the queso).

Location Info

Venue

Map

Hugo's

1600 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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52 comments
pink_princess2013
pink_princess2013

You forgot to mention that MISSION BURRITO has 99 CENT MARGARITAS every day from 4-7pm!!!!!

margaritatexas
margaritatexas

I completely agree with Pico's and Ninfa's on Navigation. Sylvia's Enchilda Kitchen also make a nice margarita.

SirRon
SirRon

Didn't you guys name Bodegas, over near HMNS, best margarita last year (or possibly the year before)? Best one year and not even Top 11 now?

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Yes, and I'm terrifically sad over the fast and sharp downhill turn that the margaritas took after we gave them that award. It's almost too disappointing to even discuss. Ugh.

SirRon
SirRon

I'd like to know (offline) you thoughts... I know a few people that are pretty familiar with the owner. I got the feeling he was really passionate about tequila and margaritas when he opened the place.

Roxie Weideman
Roxie Weideman

Ninfas on Memorial HAS the best margaritas in the world

thefifthtaster
thefifthtaster

Tony's on Ella! The frozen ones are powerful. If I finish two I'm down for the night.

Ali
Ali

They are pretty good. I don't think they are as strong as some people say, though. Or I'm just fairly impervious to tequila. Just call me El Badass.

Dan
Dan

Kyle said:Yes, Legacy, but I never liked the Ninfarita. Some of the other ones have been nice, but the new Heugel ones are top-notch. The Navigation Margarita is my favorite.----------------------------------------------------------We tried these and were not impressed. Way too sweet for our liking.

Marie
Marie

The only thing I remember Chuy's for is that THEY CALLED 911 when one of the Bush kids ordered a margarita while under age. Like NO ONE in Austin has EVER done that before. Losers. I like Lopez margs. Two of them, in fact.

OK
OK

Just because Austin as a town and population has one of the worst food scenes for a town its size, does not make me any less of a Texan or a Houstonian. Please do not group me as an Orange County/austinite. Austin may swear by Chuy's, but it's worse than the last longhorn football season. It's true, that town has awful food and compared to Dallas it is vomit. Compared to Houston, it is animal feces on top of the vomit. And Chuy's is in the animal feces department. I hope that opens up your eyes and clarifies for you.

Ali
Ali

Chuy's isn't my number one Tex-Mex place, but I like it. It's certainly not "animal feces". Man, if you think that about Chuy's, then really haven't gone to a skeezy Mexican joint. There is some seriously bad shit out there and Chuy's just isn't one of them. I'm a fan of their Chuy-changa.

J. Britt Alexander
J. Britt Alexander

Cadillac Bar - (yeah yeah, it's Tillmans now) - but they do still make a damn fine rita!

OK
OK

Chuy's is one of the worst Tex-Mex restaurants in existence. The food is disgusting and the maragritas might get you drunk enough to not notice. I stopped eating there when I moved from Austin (disgusting food abounds!) to Houston. Hugo's is the best by a longshot.

True Texan
True Texan

WOW...you are apparently not a true Austinite (or Texan) if you are saying that Chuy's is one of the worst! That is sacrilegious! Never eaten at Chuy's in Houston but it cannot be that bad. You also obviously did not go to the right places to dine in Austin, or you would not have said what you said above. Open your eyes and experience it right!

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

Wait a minute. You are defending a place you have never eaten at?

Kyle
Kyle

Chuy's sucks. The drinks are good, but who cares? Not a place I want to hang out.

vinnie
vinnie

Happy M-Day. A margarita aint rocket science--otherwise, Clear Lake would have the best. Just 3 parts lime joosh (key limes impress), 4 parts Cointreau, and 6 or 7 parts your favorite tequila, even if it's bottom-shelf.

Mark W
Mark W

I am going to Skeeters Mesquite Grill to get my el cheap-o $2 margaritas on!

Ali
Ali

Gross.

Come on now
Come on now

Skeeters has wine "margaritas". Those are not real margaritas. No tequila, no margarita.

RW
RW

La Tapatia has pretty great margaritas! And that warning to not eat the food should be attached to Chuy's rather than Cafe Adobe, IMO.

Elvis
Elvis

Boo! Chuy's rocks...

Rummydork
Rummydork

Spanish Village has the most structurally fascinating margs: like shards of candy glass that John Wayne once fell through, livened by a waves of rounded lime and tequila flavors. Stunning stuff without being cute like some of the other poodles mentioned.

Ronstadt1
Ronstadt1

...and the Bush daughters have been spotted here as well, without anyone calling the po-po.

Gdsharmony
Gdsharmony

Frankly, in the 8 months I've lived in Houston, I have yet to find a really good margarita. Tequila, triple sec and lime juice is it. It is so easy to make a delicious margarita that I am amazed that it is so hard to find a good one in a bar or restaurant. Someone suggested Spanish Village. The margies were terrible! I make my margaritas at home and drink something else when I'm out.

gdsharmony
gdsharmony

When I want to test the margies at a new place, I order the "house margarita". If that one is good, then the premium ones should be great. I can usually tell by the color if it is going to be any good. There is very little color in tequila, triple sec and lime juice. If they have used sweet & sour or some kind of margarita mix, it is going to be noticeable. It will be yellow or bright green. If it glows in the dark, BEWARE! Also, most places do not use enough tequila.When dining out I order "on the rocks". At home, I make delicious frozen margies. 1 can of frozen lime juice. (I prefer Bacardi frozen margarita mix - it is really just lime juice), Place Bacardi mix in blender, fill can with tequila and add to blender. Add 1/2 can of triple sec. Fill blender the rest of the way with ice. Blend till smooth, pour into freezer container and freeze for a day or two. These will knock your socks off. Careful! I usually can only drink one.

Sarah Rufca
Sarah Rufca

Skip the bacardi frozen mix and get the randall's store brand frozen lime-aid. makes perfect frozen margaritas.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

Was just talking about this a few days ago. You'd think something so simple would be so easy, but it's actually the opposite, since there are only so many ingredients to mask eff-ups.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

If your home-made margs are that good, maybe you can share the proportions with the rest of the class? :)

Chef504
Chef504

I love holidays that matter and this sounds like one that does. What better way to bridge the gap of Texas and Mexican relations than with a frozen or on the rocks concoction. If all foreign relations could be so damn tasty the world would be a better place.

Texmex1
Texmex1

No Molina's on the list, you obviously do not know good Margs in Houston....

Dan
Dan

Ninfa's has sure gone downhill. Ninfaritas are no longer something I'd recommend. The new management changed the orginal recipe.

Kyle
Kyle

Please note that Original Ninfa's on Navigation is not affiliated with the Ninfa's chain anymore. Original Ninfa's has nice things and the chain doesn't.

Dan
Dan

Please note I will stand by my statement that Ninfa's has gone downhill. The new management changed the original recipe.

You DO realize that the Original Ninfa's has new management?

Jamescristinian
Jamescristinian

Yes Dan, they are terrible. Last time I was there about a year ago, the son of a waiter I knew back in the 70's said the recipe was the same, but with less tequila, which makes it not the same. I don't think Katharine or Kyle went in the halcyon days when the Ninfarita was delicious, two gave you a serious buzz, and three knocked you on your ass. Now they have a new menu with fish tacos of alll things. I don't go there for CalMex, give me there old school carnitas or tacos a la Ninfa without gristle.

Kyle
Kyle

Yes, Legacy, but I never liked the Ninfarita. Some of the other ones have been nice, but the new Heugel ones are top-notch. The Navigation Margarita is my favorite.

Betty
Betty

The best margaritas in town are at HUGO'S! Hope this orderof places is not a ranking...no way they should be last!

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

The margaritas aren't ranked -- these are just our 11 favorite. (And, yes, Hugo's is one of my personal favorites, especially for its malinches. I dream of those things.)

Lauren
Lauren

A lot of these places serve good margaritas, but I've done a lot of "research" in this field, and I think Maria Selma's on Richmond has the best in town. Great flavor, strong, and the house version is only $3 during happy hour! I'm always surprised to never see Maria Selma on these best-margarita lists.

Kyle
Kyle

Nope, not lately. They used to be awesome but somebody put the clamp on the tequila and Maria Selma's are now way way underpowered.

ec
ec

I just got back from happy hour at Maria Selmas. The margaritas seem to be the same to me. The house ones were still great! Since you think Ninfa's is great, you must be a relative newbie to Houston.

Lauren
Lauren

Hmmm, interesting. I have not had this experience, and I've been there as recently as two weeks ago.

Kyle
Kyle

Hm, this was about 3 weeks ago. The bartender shrugged and said that's how he's told to make them, so we ordered an extra shot of tequila and poured it in.

7Valerie7
7Valerie7

They do have great margaritas, but last time I was there happy hour ended at 6. Boo!

Puigcorn
Puigcorn

oh my...not...that fella down the street?

JB
JB

I'm surprised how under the radar Maria Selma is in general. Fantastic margaritas, great food all around (duck flautas!) and hands down the best tortilla chips in town.

Lauren
Lauren

I totally agree! Great food, great drinks, flawless service, fair prices, but MS doesn't get any press love. Despite much less good Richmond St. Mexican (Yelapa, Chapultepec) getting heaps of press.

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