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Best Margarita in Los Angeles?

I'm on the search for the best margarita in Los Angeles. The best I've had so far is at Cut Steakhouse, and Ciudad does a good job as well.

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  1. There are very few places that make a proper margarita, imho, by which I mean using only tequila, lime juice and triple sec. Border Grill does a good one.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Brooks

      I second the rec for Border Grill. And if you like Ciudad's, you'll most likely like theirs.

    2. I love the margaritas at El Carmen, on Third in the West Hollywood area. They make them with the proper ingredients, and have a good selection of tequilas to choose from.

      While not a margarita proper, I had perhaps the most delicious drink in years at Osteria Mozza, which was made with tequila, campari and grapefruit juice. I bet their margaritas are excellent as well.

      1. El Conquistador. I swear there are illegal substances in their margaritas. I have a huge tolerance for liquor because I'm a 6'2" 170lb male that drinks heavily. I can barely stand up after two of theirs. The taste isn't bad either. The drink is made even more elusive because it is premixed and put into a large vat that they dispense behind the bar. I have not tried the blended ones. Only on the rocks.

        El Conquistador
        3701 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

        3 Replies
        1. re: love2eat

          I can also drink a ton normally but those Conquistador margaritas kick my ass.

          1. re: love2eat

            Thanks for starting what was a long string of El Conquistador recommendations. I'm 6'3" and 220 so I can put away some agave myself, and my friends have called my house margarita the "Spacecake" so they have accsed me of just this type of activity. Looking forward to it. Just wish it wasn't so far from home. By the way, if anyone is ever in Hermosa Beach order the "Boogaloo Margarita" at Cafe Boogaloo, it's the real deal.

          2. I like the margaritas at the Pacific Dining Car served straight up with salt. They make for a fantastic breakfast.

            1. I haven't tried the margaritas, but the sangria at Amaranta in Woodland Hills (Topanga Mall) is very good. Supposedly, their margaritas are made from fresh fruit and not any kind of mixer.

              1. It's been a while since I had one there, but the best booze and best bartenders are at the Hungry Cat, so I would test theirs, particularly if they've got a serrano-infused tequila going on.

                I've always enjoyed the margaritas at Lares.

                1. Although I was underwhelmed by the food, Tlapazola Grill does great maragritas. Make sure you get it with a 100% agave tequila -- makes all the difference.

                  BTW, does anyone know a place that makes their margaritas with key limes? I've been experimenting with different combinations and have found they make for a *really* tasty margarita.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: a_and_w

                    Most places I've seen that squeeze their own limes for their margaritas use mexican limes which are botanically identical to the key limes.

                    I'm so with you on the 100% agave stuff. It's a requirement for a great margarita and with the huge tequila list at Tlapazola they'll be plenty to choose from. I would add though that a truly top of the line tequila would be wasted in a margarita.

                    Hey, post what you're doing with your margaritas! I'm really curious. A friend of mine had a great one with key limes and a little bit of meyer lemon and he raved about it so that might be something to try, too.

                    1. re: Frommtron

                      Thanks for the Meyer lemon and agave nectar tips! I'll try to post my own experiments soon...

                    2. re: a_and_w

                      It's probably worth eating at Tlapazola just for the excuse to order their margaritas. Even the basic house margarita at TG is so good it's dangerous.

                      Border Grill makes a good one and El Conquistador is strong, but if you're only having one it's not my first choice - after the first one, it doesn't really matter now does it?

                      1. re: ahuacatl

                        Border Grill's pre-mixed happy hour and margaritas are awful--a sweet sour acid bomb.

                        1. re: Wolfgang

                          True. You've got to go off the happy hour menu to get a decent drink at Border Grill. When you do they are really good but they are quite pricey.

                          1. re: Frommtron

                            Right. I wasn't talking about the happy hour margs. Those are awful. However, the ones on the regular menu are excellent.

                      2. re: a_and_w

                        Ditto the margies here. The original bartender (Samuel) works at the Marina Del Rey restaurant primarily, but his nephew Edwin does an excellent job. Chat him up at the bar and ask him what tequilas are good; you'll probably get a few tastes and then walk away with a killer drink.

                        BTW, I love the food as well. A delicious melding of Oaxaca/California; especially the seafood and the accompanying sauces. Plus, the prices can't be beat for the quality you get...

                        1. re: a_and_w

                          a_and_w: the mention of honey below made me remember another element of my friend's encounter with the greatest magarita he's ever had -- agave nectar as the sweetener. Thought you'd might want to experiment with that.

                          1. re: a_and_w

                            A & W:

                            I second the Tlapazola Grill. The Margs are so good, smooth, but watch out, they pack a punch. I love the food there too!

                          2. You might laugh at my choice but I've had excellent margaritas made out of good tequila, triplesec, vermouth, honey, etc. at many fine Mexican places but have never tasted one as good as the one I've had at Crustacean's in Beverly Hills. And it's not even a Mexican restaurant! Go figure?

                            1. I"ve never tried El Conquistador, but the potency sounds very similar to the Cadillac Margarita served at El Portal in Pasadena, two of those and it's "good night Irene!"

                              El Portal
                              695 E Green St, Pasadena, CA 91101

                              1. The one thing La Cabana on Rose does well is a margarita. You can also have their nachos, and be a happy camper for the evening or afternoon or whenever :)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Emme

                                  Another vote for the very potent and very tasty ones at El Conquistador. Really good and really strong...

                                2. OK all I have yet to find a definite best margarita in Los Angeles.

                                  It's all about the mix as you should order all margs with a 100% agave tequila and no Triple-seq - only Cointreau or Grand Marnier if Cointreau is not availiable.

                                  The only proper mix is lime juice maybe a lemon squeeze and simple syrup.

                                  El Carmen (LA) is good - they have a marg on their drink Menu made w/ herradura and cuintreau,
                                  El Portal (Pasadena) is good
                                  Ciudad is OK
                                  Border Grill is good
                                  I find the mix at El Conquistador to be a bit volitile
                                  El Cholo - TOO SWEET
                                  Joselitos (Montrose) The mix will burn a hole in your stomach
                                  Los Gringos Locos in La Canada - decent
                                  Lares (Santa Monica) - OK
                                  La Cabinita (Montrose) - Awful
                                  El Compadre - Good
                                  Marix - OK
                                  Velvet Margarita - Not Good
                                  El Coyote - Not Good
                                  Mexico City - nice effort but stll lacking
                                  Casa Vega - Bad Mix
                                  Sol - y Luna (Tarzana) - OK
                                  Mijares (pasadena) nice effort - just ok
                                  Don Cuco's all locations bad - even have served me the wrong tequila.
                                  Los Toros (Chatsworth) will get you messed up but really, not so good
                                  Senor Fred (Sherman Oaks) not even decent and will cost you $15
                                  Camachos in City Walk - actually decent for the locale
                                  Malo - Truly Malo
                                  Much Mas (north Hollywood) - please order Much menos - not good
                                  Tequilas (Van nuys/Burbank) depends on the server - i think they make your drink - but not oo good
                                  Viva Fresh - (Burbank) nope
                                  The Mexican Village - Just OK

                                  There are more but I am at work and should be working.

                                  If you are interested. The Mrs and I teach a tequila Tasting/Margarita Making class at the laglc.org about once a quarter

                                  There is a place in San Francisco that hand squeezes every drink they make Called Tommy's Mexican Restaurant. and another in Tibouron called Guymas. The margo at the Fontana bar in the Bellagio is quite good. but here in LA I have yet to be wow'ed

                                  1. you guys that love margaritas have to try the Organic margaritas at Joselitos (in TUJUNGA) I've had some bad margaritas lately (don Cucos) But this one only has 3 ingredients:
                                    fresh lime juice
                                    organic agave nectar

                                    that is it and it is the bomb! and they say it has less calories than a regular margarita!! YUM!

                                    1. I've yet to find a margarita in the Greater Los Angeles as delicious (or as potent) as the ones I used to get at the now-defunct C Bar at One&Only Palmilla. I never thought of margaritas as "refreshing" until I had one of those. However, while I have a fairly decent tolerance despite being an infrequent imbiber, I had trouble walking after my 2nd margarita. They certainly weren't cheap: $14 a piece, with tax and gratuity it's $20 a pop...maybe that contributed to my lack of coordination.

                                      IMO, part of what makes a margarita is the quality of the tequila. I'm a big Gran Centennario fan, but I haven't been able to find it in a lot of places, so I usually have to buy it at the duty-free in the SJD airport. Herradura is a good 2nd option; Don Julio is good also but a little on the cost-prohibitive side. Jose Cuervo? Why don't you just stick a spoon in the back of my mouth so I can vomit now instead of later?

                                      I will say that my boss makes FANTASTIC margaritas, so once a month or so if we have a birthday in the office or potluck, he'll bring in his battery powered blender and we all get buzzed at lunch. Only problem with that is that I don't want to go back to work afterwards.

                                      1. there is a place in placita olvera that makes gigantic margaritas, blended, in all flavors, and i am usually a rocks-no-salt type, but they are darn good, and one will do the job. last time my fiance and i sat outside on the patio with a couple of those, people were staring and this little kid walking by pointed at us and said "WOW! mom look at that! can i have one?"

                                        the best margaritas ever, unfortunately, are found at tommy's in san francisco. their house tequila is herradura and they have a hundred others to choose from if you wish. i wish there were someplace comparable here, but if there is i haven't found it yet. the sour mix most bars have is just wretched.

                                        1. Villa Sombrero on York in Highland Park.
                                          The problem with most Margaritas is too much triple sec and using sweet and sour. Just use a splash of triple sec (really use cointreau) and a bit or oj mixed with the lime juice and some simple syrup. Key Limes are also better as well.

                                          1. I just tried the standard margie at Lotteria on Hollywood Blvd. and it seemed authentic and homemade. Very good and I recommend. $9 in a short tumbler. The prices go up from there and they also have a wide variety of tequilas. They also have a jalepeno margarita but I wasn't able to try it - yet! I'll be going back.