National Margarita Day is Feb. 22, as if you need a day to celebrate this glorious cocktail. I've scoured Atlanta's top Mexican spots and beyond to find where you can sip the best margaritas.
- Agave – If you think Mexican can’t be romantic, then you haven’t been to Agave. With exposed brick and intimate tables, it’s a perfect spot to canoodle with your special someone and turn up the heat with spicy dishes like the shrimp over jalapeño grits or cayenne fried chicken. Wash it down with the incredible Peachtree margarita.
- Alma Cocina – If you find yourself downtown looking for something other than chain restaurants, hit up Alma. With a lively atmosphere and décor, Alma's dishes, with bold flavors, don’t disappoint. Try one of the unique guacamoles like butternut squash. Not only is the food dynamic but the margaritas rock, too. One example is the blood orange margarita.
- El Bandido – This restaurant has a special on Tuesdays: margaritas for less than $3 all day. This no-frills spot serves up some tasty dishes, too.
- Holy Taco – Keep this East Atlanta spot on your radar for the warmer days ahead because there is a fantastic patio. Mondays feature margarita pitchers for $20. While Holy Taco does not have a variety of margaritas, the house margarita is organic and quite impressive.
- Original El Taco – In the highlands is the family-friendly Original El Taco. While the kids enjoy the lively atmosphere, parents happily sip the potent margaritas.
- Red Pepper Taqueria – With locations in Buckhead and on Briarcliff Road, Red Pepper Taqueria attracts regulars who love heading to here to catch the game. Don’t miss out on the Kale Me Hungry tacos with blackened shrimp and avocado cream. Tip: Skinny margaritas are just $5 on Thursdays. Texas, berry and prickly pear frozen margaritas are the way to go here.
- Rosa Mexicano – Located in Atlantic Station, Rosa is an upscale Mexican restaurant that is perfect for special occasions. The margaritas, whether frozen or on the rocks, are killer, too.
- Tacos and Tequilas – Tacos and Tequilas strikes a perfect mix of a laid-back and fun atmosphere that makes you want to linger and slowly sip your margarita. It’s rather large so it is good for groups. The way to go here is the jalapeño margarita. It pairs perfectly with steak dishes.
- Taqueria Del Sol – Don’t be put off by the long lines on weekends. The staff moves fast. Order a house margarita while you wait. You can’t go wrong with the shrimp and corn chowder and any of the delicious tacos. My favorite location is the Westside.
- Teela Taqueria – This Sandy Springs gem is tucked away in the City Walk shopping center. Grab your friends and order a pitcher of the Texas margaritas. Oh and the tacos, like the ones with bacon and dates, rate thumbs up.
- Tin Lizzy’s – With many locations around Atlanta, there are so many tacos to choose from. Tin Lizzy's is definitely a crowd pleaser. A great choice for washing down the tacos is the Texas margarita. However, the Thai basil or even Thin Lizzy margaritas also are excellent choices.
- Zapata – If you are willing to trek up to Norcross, you'll be rewarded with authentic Mexican cuisine (get the molcajetes) and strong margaritas.
- Zocalo – In the heart of Midtown is Zocalo, from Richard Sandoval, a talented chef who owns nearly 20 restaurants that span the globe. There’s a beautiful deck for when the weather warms up, a wonderful place to sip on the house margarita while you dine on upscale Mexican dishes. If you still have some room for dessert, options include perennial favorites like tres leches, flan or churros.
Still looking? You can always narrow your search at the Restaurants page and find exactly what you're looking for, whether it's a tall, tasty margarita, or otherwise. ¡Salud!
Malika Bowling is the author of Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More!, and founder of Roamilicious. Malika also has served as a judge at various culinary competitions and food festivals, including Taste of Atlanta. Her podcast, Just a Byte, can be downloaded from iTunes. Follow her on Twitter @MalikaBowling and Instagram.