July 23, 2018

Your Guide to the Very Best Margaritas in Houston

Houston's top margaritas!

National Tequila Day

With National Tequila Day coming up (July 24th – that’s tomorrow), we realized we were letting you guys down… Even with our plethora of Houston guides, we had not yet given you what you probably want most – a guide to the best margaritas in Houston! Now, we certainly don’t need it to be National Tequila Day to enjoy a good margarita. Particularly with this summer Houston heat and humidity, we find ourselves craving margaritas on the regular. Frozen or on the rocks, we don’t discriminate!

Of course, given the abundance of Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants in Houston, it’s no surprise we are blessed with amazing margarita options here! Indeed, there is no shortage of good margaritas here in Houston. In fact, we had to narrow our list down because we had so many we wanted to include. But that means we’ve compiled a list of the very best of the best!

In terms of our criteria for picking the best, a few things came into play:

(1) the taste, of course,

(2) the strength of it – not too weak and not too strong – though if it was too strong, we didn’t necessarily complain!

(3) the presentation – I mean, are you surprised with this one? Insta-worthy, please!

(4) The ambience of the environment in which we were enjoying the margarita. Details matter and we definitely took into account the restaurants and bars, not just the actual margarita.

By the way, creating these guides is always a fun team effort for us! Doing the research (aka tastings) for this guide wasn’t such a bad job. Anyway, we hope you enjoy the commentary from various members of the team.

Now, keep on reading for the eight best margaritas in Houston, in alphabetical order. As well, at the very bottom we’ve included a handy map so you can locate each spot easily. ¡Salud!

Houston Margarita Guide

1. Caracol

2200 Post Oak Blvd #160, Houston, TX 77056

This upscale, award-winning restaurant offers Mexican seafood dishes. Chef Hugo Ortega takes his memories of making ceviche de caracol (conch ceviche) in his brother’s kitchen in Mexico when he was younger to inspire the delicious dishes he creates at Caracol. Their “Y Porque No Margarita” is refreshing and so extremely tasty, and bonus points that it’s on their happy hour menu, too! And if you know Spanish, you are probably already laughing at the name of that one. Loosely translated, it means, “Why not a margarita?” We concur.

Every time I visit Caracol, I am blown away by everything – the food, the service, the hospitality. It’s all wonderful! Their drinks are all carefully hand-crafted. They are all delicious, but I love spicy things, so the jalapeño margarita is my favorite. In terms of food, in my opinion, Caracol has some of the very best ceviche in town. My favorite is the ceviche de chile canario – pictured above. It has red snapper, chiles, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, and other fresh ingredients. If you’re looking for coastal Mexican cuisine, you simply can’t beat Caracol in Houston! – Carrie

Such a beautiful restaurant with such fresh natural lighting. The outside seating has a bunch of blue umbrellas with plants all around. They have wonderful customer service and had some of the most spectacular margaritas. I love how their margaritas had a fun twist on the traditional ones. They have a fantastic happy hour menu that includes my favorite margarita for only $6! As a college student, I really appreciate such a nice place with great drinks at prices I can afford. I will be sure to come back and enjoy a margarita on the patio. – Alex

They have truly great margaritas, excellent service, the best ceviche in town, and a wonderful happy hour! – Mari

Caracol has the best margaritas! It’s costal Mexican food and they have a lot of seafood dishes. It has a very high end vibe, and the restaurant is bright and beautiful! – Marla

2. Eight Row Flint

1039 Yale St, Houston, TX 77008

Located in the Heights neighborhood of Houston, Eight Row Flint is a casual spot offering a large outdoor patio and a relaxed atmosphere inside. Very well known for their happy hour, you want to make sure to get their Eight Row margarita full of six fresh ingredients making it a strong and delicious drink. And do not forget the tacos at happy hour. Scrumptious!

Why did it take me so long to discover this place? Seriously – it seemed like this spring and summer, everyone has been talking about this casual spot. So I had to check it out – and it did not disappoint! Fair warning – the frozen margaritas are strong! So be sure to balance it out with some delicious, bargain-priced tacos from their very own taco truck on premises. – Carrie

Eight Row is one of my favorite bars in the heights. The outside is white and bright with fun games for everyone to enjoy! The inside is dark and has many Instagrammable spots. They have one of the best happy hours with their frozen margarita being not only the best tasting, but one of the strongest frozen margaritas you will find. The $3 happy hour tacos are a plus and you will certainly never want to leave. – Alex

This spot is perfect for happy hour! They have great, strong and well priced frozen margaritas, and some of the best tacos in town. Great for happy hour and late night bites and drinks! – Mari

3. El Tiempo

3130 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 77098 (multiple locations)

El Tiempo is home to high quality Tex Mex cuisine with no fuss margaritas! It’s been around for over 20 years, with now multiple locations, and you’ll never have a bad experience here. Whether sitting outside or in, you’ll feel like you’re part of the El Tiempo family. It’s warm and inviting and one of our go-to Tex Mex spots in town.

What’s not to love about El Tiempo? With multiple locations around Houston, it’s been a Houston mainstay in the Tex Mex scene for years. I have such fond memories of sitting on the back porch at the Richmond location, eating fajitas and drinking margaritas with one of my best friends. We make a regular habit of catching up over lunch here. And yes – definitely order the fajitas! My favorite. – Carrie

A perfect place for delicious, casual margaritas. Pair yours with steak quesadillas, sit on the outside patio for more light and nice conversation, and enjoy your night! – Mari

4. Escalante’s

4053 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77027 (multiple locations)

Another casual, no fuss, delicious spot is Escalante’s. Along with their extensive margarita and tequila list, the table side guac and their queso are two other items they are known for. With multiple locations, you’ll likely find one near where you are, and you truly can’t go wrong with any of their margs.

Escalante’s is another one I love for sentimental reasons, as well as culinary reasons. The location in Highland Village is fairly convenient for us, so my daughter and I have started a tradition in recent months of going there on the weekend. She absolutely loves their guacamole, which is prepared fresh at your table side. We enjoy guacamole, enchiladas, nachos, and a margarita for mommy occasionally. The staff is always so friendly and helpful to us. I just love our tradition of weekend trips there. – Carrie

One of my favorite places for Tex Mex! The one on Westheimer is beautiful and colorful. It’s a great place to enjoy great food with family and friends. They have the best table side guacamole that makes you feel right at home. Their are so many margarita options, but my favorite was the mint and melon one. It was so refreshing and had a nice kick to it. – Alex

Here you’ll find many margarita options that are shaken table side. Try the one with watermelon. And then pair with table side prepared guacamole! It’s the best combination. – Mari

5. Hugo’s

1600 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

Award-winning Hugo’s is one of our absolute favorite spots in town. This is where we go for authentic Mexican food (versus Tex Mex) and their famous Hugo Rita. It’s housed in a 1925 Latin-inspired building, which includes traditional elements of Old Mexico. Note that Hugo’s is like the big sibling to Caracol – same wonderful award-winning chef!

From the same owners of Caracol, you’ll find equally delicious drinks and food. The margaritas are fantastic! This is certainly a favorite contemporary Mexican restaurant of ours. You can’t go wrong with any of their appetizers so enjoy your marg with some delicious bites! – Mari

6. State Fare Kitchen and Bar

947 Gessner b190, Houston, TX 77024

A casual and fun atmosphere, State Fare offers made-from-scratch Texas food and decadent cocktails. Their State Fare Margarita is one you’ll be craving time and time again. Sit at the bar or grab a table and you’ll want to stick around for hours. You’ll want to switch off between their signature margarita and their Piña Rita!

A non Mexican or Tex Mex restaurant on our list of best margaritas? Yep definitely! State Fare is killing the cocktail game! Besides that, they just have the best assortment of southern comfort food. I love their appetizers and snacks like the dill pickle dip (trust me on this one!) and the smoked brisket queso blanco. If you go for lunch, and want to be “good”, try the delicious ahi tuna salad. If you want to be “bad”, opt for the Mac ‘N Burger! – Carrie

Their piña and State Fare margaritas are excellent! It’s a great place to meet with the girls for a late afternoon drink! I also adore the ambience. – Mari

7. The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation

2704 Navigation Blvd, Houston, TX 77003

A staple in Houston, The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation has been around since 1973. A plethora of margaritas and tequila to choose from, you might have a hard time picking one! But the good news is – you can’t go wrong with anything you order here. You might have a bit of a wait, but grab a seat or stand at the bar, enjoy your rita, and know that it’s worth the wait.

Out of the way, on Navigation Blvd in east downtown, but worth the trip! This Houston original location of Ninfa’s simply can’t be beat. This is where it all started for Mama Ninfa! Though Mama Ninfa passed away in 2001, her legend lives on through the tacos carbon, homemade tortillas, delicious margaritas, and so much more. More importantly, you can almost feel her spirit still at work here. – Carrie

A Houston original. Walking into Ninfa’s, you immediately feel as if you have been transported to Mexico with the beautiful colors all around. I suggest eating outside for a fun atmosphere. The margaritas are traditional and very tasty! – Alex

You’ll find a really good variety of margaritas here, and have them on the side of their famous fajitas! It’s a great bar as, well! This is a big staple of Houston! They started off making fresh corn tortillas and now they are famous for their fajitas and tacos al carbon. – Mari

8. The Pastry War

310 S Main St, Houston, TX 77002

The Pastry War celebrates the rich and vibrant drinking culture of Mexico, and you feel like you’re in a bar in Mexico when you walk inside the doors. The vibe is nothing less than exceedingly fun and colorful! There are various options of where to sit and hang here while drinking their house margaritas. As well, you can’t go wrong with their happy hour!

This is, by far, my favorite spot for margaritas! They use the freshest ingredients – no syrups and no pre mixes! Specializing in both tequila and mezcal, The Pastry War’s environment is colorful and fun and it transports you to a tequila bar in Mexico. And, no, they don’t serve pastries! It’s a true tequila bar. You can hang out in one of three areas – the front pool area, the main bar area with tables and booths, and the back area where they have a VW Beetle cut in half alongside such fun decor. – Mari

A few more things

1. Now did that just get you in the mood for National Tequila Day tomorrow or what? We hope you’ll be celebrating! I guess we celebrated a bit early when we created this guide the past couple weeks. Someone has to be the taste tester, right? 😉

2. Where are your favorite places to get margaritas in Houston? We’d love to hear in the comments below!

3. Have a great day and we’ll see you back here tomorrow!

2 comments

  1. Kay Goforth says:

    Actually, in Pearland at Emma’s Mex Grille.

    1. Oh I’ve never heard of that! Mari, our photographer and creative director, lives in Pearland! She will have to test out their margaritas for us!

      What makes them so good? Thanks, Kay!

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