There are a number of San Antonio tropes that locals subscribe to: The Alamo is a pillar of Texas history, the Spurs have won five NBA championships since their inception in '73, and margaritas are a day-drinking necessity. About margaritas, we take them pretty seriously; they should not look like a Slurpee, a mix is never acceptable, and a beer bottle should never be turned upside down inside of one. Here’s where to find the nine best margaritas in San Antonio.
Top shelf margarita
La Fogata (address and info)
If you haven’t had a seat on the patio and toyed with a flower floating inside your margarita at La Fogata then you’ve been living a lie. This place serves them with pride and variety: on the rocks, with salt, with sangria, flavored, with fruit, or frozen. And it doesn’t play around with portion size either, instead of the traditional 12oz serving each margarita comes in a 16oz glass.
Ocho (address and info)
Ocho’s lounge is where you need to be when summer unleashes its unforgiving fury upon us. By August, you ought to be sitting on one of the bar’s leather chairs and never leaving. This place is so dark and cold you forget the world outside feels like a convection oven set to 450 degrees. Made with Cazadores Blanco, orange liqueur, lime, and agave, Ocho’s Havana margarita makes it easy for you to stay put.
The Fruteria (address and info)
Top Chef contestant Johnny Hernandez and his staff know what they’re doing. Their margarita comes frozen or on the rocks with lime juice, pineapple juice, orange juice, Cointreau, and El Jimador tequila. If you’re feeling frisky you might try infusing yours with one of the restaurant’s six options: mango melon, las fresas, Zapatista, 6 chiles tequila, piña mezcal, or los pepinos. If you’re confused, don’t be. Let the bartender make the decision for you -- they’re good at it, too.
Chacho’s (address and info)
Listen carefully: don’t let the margarita machine or the amount of people crammed inside Chacho’s intimidate you. Once you make it to the front of the bar, disregard the frozen Jack and Coke machine and order what your heart really desires. Just be careful. They may be frozen, but they’re strong and made with quality tequila.
The Esquire Tavern (address and info)
You usually drink margaritas for personal pleasure but at the Esquire your hard-earned dollars go towards benefiting others too. For every Nuestra margarita sold, Esquire gives $1 to the Tequila Interchange Project -- a nonprofit focused on sustainable practices in the tequila industry. It’s also mouthwateringly good. Using blanco and reposado tequilas, triple sec, Key lime, and a rim of kosher salt, Esquire is like the rest of SA -- it doesn’t mess around with its margaritas.
Paloma Blanca (address and info)
Sit on the patio, order the Margarita Premium and pretend for a fleeting moment that you’re Alamo Heights royalty. The Patron Citronge they add is a nice alternative to Cointreau and adds an extra sour kick. No one will believe you’re really from Alamo Heights but Paloma Blanca will reward your taste buds and brain cells with an almost perfect drink.
Pica Pica aka "cucumber jalapeño margarita"
Rosario’s (address and info)
This is where everyone takes their mom when they visit. So next time she’s here, impress her with how refined you’ve become and order two top-shelf margaritas. With Cointreau and fresh lime, Rosario’s classic recipe provides the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and tequila.
The Original Oro
Jacala Mexican Restaurant (address and info)
Los Angeles Heights
The Original Oro is made with Gran Gala and lime juice instead of Cointreau which gives the drink a citrusy bite. Jacala also gives you the option to order a glass or a pitcher, which is cute. Definitely order the pitcher because it’s mentally and physically impossible to only have one Original Oro. For $30, the price isn’t too bad either.
Tito’s Restaurant (address and info)
They have a Chamoy margarita served in a pint glass and a spicy jlapeño margarita with chunks of pepper floating inside of it! When you come here, make sure to order a round or two of nachos because they’re the perfect complement to the number of margaritas you will inevitably consume. And by consume we mean annihilate. And by annihilate we mean always drink responsibly.
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1. La Fogata2427 Vance Jackson Rd, San Antonio
2. Ocho1015 Navarro St, San Antonio
3. The Frutería Botanero by Chef Johnny Hernandez1401 S Flores St, Ste 102, San Antonio
4. Chacho's7870 Callaghan Rd, San Antonio
5. The Esquire Tavern155 E Commerce St, San Antonio
6. Paloma Blanca5800 Broadway, San Antionio
7. Rosario's910 S Alamo St, San Antonio
8. Jacala Mexican Restaurant606 West Ave, San Antonio
9. Tito's Mexican Restaurant955 S Alamo St, San Antonio
There’s always a wait for a table on the weekends at La Fogata, so make your way up to the bar and order a house margarita, one of the best in town. Start your meal with the tableside guacamole (you can even add tequila to the mix) and rajas con crema, an appetizer of sliced Poblano peppers in cream.
This restaurant and lounge at Hotel Havana offers indoor and outdoor seating in close proximity to the river. The menu pulls from a Pan-Latin influence, which is reflected in both its food and drink (including one of the best margaritas in the city). The downstairs lounge is dimly lit and intimate, with couches and leather chairs.
As the name would imply, fruit is featured prominently in the drinks here, be they cocktails or non-alcoholic aguas frescas. Our drink of choice is the El Moretón, a tequila-based cocktail that is made with fresh muddled blackberries and lemon.
With three locations in San Antonio, Chacho's is super popular for its reasonable prices and great food & drinks. You can, of course, eat in the restaurant but some locations also have drive thru facilities. An order of Macho Nachos can serve a group, and they have one of the best frozen margaritas in San Antonio.
Opened in 1933, The Esquire Tavern isn’t just styled after the Prohibition Era -- it celebrates the end of it. The old stone building looks like something you might find settled in with the screaming balconies of Bourbon Street, but luckily you don’t even have to leave the city to enjoy its classically made cocktails and loud, dark ambiance (which hasn't changed much since its early days).
Paloma Blanca is an upscale Mexican restaurant with gluten-free & paleo options on the menu, along with all the classic Tex-Mex dishes everyone loves. In terms of decor, this spot can't be beat: it has one of the prettiest outdoor patios in Alamo Heights, a comfortable but elegant dining room, and the food is the same way. This spot also has a great happy hour special where you can get appetizers for $5, margaritas for $3.50, and domestic beers for $3.
Rosario's serves Mexican food with contemporary updates, like shrimp nachos and tacos callejeros. Their full bar menu include an assortment of homemade cocktails, including nine different margaritas. The high energy atmosphere and fun ambiance make it a great place for groups and families.
Jacala has become well known in the San Antonio area for their famous salsa and margaritas, but it doesn't stop there. They serve a full menu of traditional Mexican fare in this long-time city staple.
Tito’s is a rare bird in Southtown -- amidst contemporary and posh cuisine, these guys are pumping out some of the tastiest Tex-Mex in town. Two of the most popular dishes that Tito’s serves are the enchiladas Tejanas (basically cheese enchiladas) and cilantro cream enchiladas.