Credit: Ed Visions
Credit: Ed Visions

We Drank Margaritas Across Orange County; These Are Our Favorites

Sips Up Orange County, Here’s Where to Get the Best Margaritas Around

Thank the SoCal sun for year-round margarita weather! Margaritas never fail to bring the vacation vibes, and Orange County delivers the best when it comes to handcrafted tequila cocktails. It was almost too hard to choose, but we’ve rounded up the best margaritas to sip on near the coast! Whether you like it sweet, tangy, spicy or tart, there’s a refreshing and fruity elixir for you to enjoy any day of the week. Margarita Monday, Tequila Tuesday, Thirsty Thursday—you name it; cheers!

 

Carmelita’s

Must-Try Margarita: Cadillac Blackberry Margarita

Credit: Ed Visions

Blackberry and tequila are a match made in heaven. Carmelita’s has perfected the art of the Cadillac Blackberry Margarita with quality you can taste in every refreshing sip. It’s tantalizingly tangy, slightly sweet and pairs perfectly with Carmelita’s famous carnitas plate! Margaritas go hand-in-hand with tropical getaways, so it’s only fitting that this fruity thirst quencher is found in the seaside cities of Laguna Beach and Dana Point. Meet friends at Carmelita’s for a casual night out and choose your own adventure between the moody interior or picnic-style patios.

Locations: Laguna Beach, Dana Point

 

Social Costa Mesa

Must-Try Margarita: Don’t Be A Pasilla

Time to get social! Social Costa Mesa’s lively vibe calls for a margarita to match the mood. Mixologists craft one-of-a-kind cocktails with housemade syrups and fresh-squeezed juices, such as those in the Don’t Be A Pasilla. This smoky margarita consists of cocoa-infused mezcal, Los Sundays blanco tequila, blood orange, pasilla syrup and zesty lime. Order it alongside Social’s modern takes on American classics—wood-fired steak frites are always a go-to! Dance to live music every Friday night and make the most of all-night happy hour every Wednesday. 

Location: Costa Mesa

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SOL Newport Beach

Must-Try Margarita: Margarita Del SOL

Best Margaritas Orange County - SOL Newport Beach
Credit: Mary Carol Fitzgerald

If your ideal date night starts with sipping seaside margaritas, SOL Newport Beach is just your cup of te-quila! We’re talking waterfront dining in an upscale atmosphere and innovative Mexican cuisine. Dress up and drink up with the Margarita Del SOL to kick off the evening. Shaken tableside, choose your own adventure with a selection of their two favorite tequilas complemented by notes of lime and agave in this sweet and sour cocktail. Enjoy specials on their house, skinny and watermelon margaritas during happy hour and on Tequila Tuesdays!

Local Insight: SOL has curated a selection of over 100 tequilas and mezcals from small-batch distilleries and even has its own unique barrel blend!

Locations: Newport Beach, Irvine

 

Solita

Must-Try Margarita: Spicy Pina

Little sister to SOL, Solita serves the flavors you crave from the upscale eatery in a relaxed and welcoming environment. Grab a fire pit with friends to experience the laid-back lifestyle of Baja, Mexico! Maybe you’re feeling spicy or even a little fruity—embrace it with the fresh flavors of Solita’s Spicy Pina margarita finished with mint, 100% blue agave tequila and Jarritos pineapple soda to top it all off. Then venture further into Solita’s one-of-a-kind creations like their Froze—a perfect marriage of a margarita, sparkling rose and pink guava nectar.

Local Insight: Take the party home with pitcher-sized margaritas sealed in reusable glass bottles that serve four to six people!

Locations: Anaheim, Huntington Beach

 

Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails

Must-Try Margarita: Stiff & Skinny Margarita

Best Margaritas Orange County - Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails
Credit: Greenleaf Kitchen & Cocktails

Life is all about balance; no one knows that better than Greenleaf! Their health-forward menu brings you low-calorie creations without compromising flavor. Live your best life with Chef and “Commander-in-Leaf” Jonathan Rollo’s  Stiff & Skinny marg. This signature sipper muddles cucumber with Nosotros reposado tequila and fresh-squeezed citrus. Its refreshing flavors pair well with the chimichurri steak, Keto Carinitas bowl and Zorra the Greek salad. For the bold and boujee, the Million Dollar Margarita with Don Julio 1942 tequila is another favorite (and not actually a million dollars).

Local Insight: Download Greenleaf’s app for $10 off your first order.

Location: Costa Mesa

3/5

 

Descanso

Must-Try Margarita: Watermelonrita

Street tacos just hit differently. Descanso brings the authenticity and sizzle of streetside taco stands to your table at their gourmet eatery—it’s the best of both worlds! Watch the chef grill al pastor to order on tableside grills and get a drink while you enjoy the show. Their famous Watermelonrita revives the sweetness of summer all year long, and the Mi Corazón packs the party with blood orange, pomegranate, passionfruit and lemon. Don’t miss $2 gourmet street tacos and $6 margaritas available in the plancha room on Taco Tuesdays.

Location: Costa Mesa

 

The Deck

Must-Try Margarita: Silver Surfer

There’s no better way to sip and savor an ice-cold margarita than while overlooking the brilliant blue Pacific. The Deck is known for its coastal charm, fresh-caught fish and dazzling views, but only locals know that they shake up the best margaritas in town. Ride the wave with the locals’ favorite drink, the Silver Surfer. This classic margarita gets its name from Milagro Silver Tequila and stands out from the crowd with its gingery cilantro tang. It’s crisp, light and the perfect precursor to the catch of the day.

Location: Laguna Beach

 

Javiers

Must-Try Margarita: Tamarindo

 

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Javier called…and he made a margarita for you! Javier’s elevated atmosphere is complete with a swanky bar, warm lighting and sleek black booths. Walk past breezy palms and underneath rounded archways to a candlelit table where you can order up hand-shaken margaritas that highlight the native fruits of Mexico. Explore the regions of down south with the Tamarindo margarita. Its tart citrus hue is balanced by sweet organic agave. We also recommend the Guayaba margarita, which has a guava-like flavor brightened with lime.

Locations: Newport Beach, Irvine

 

Playa Mesa

Must-Try Margarita: Jamaica

Awarded “Best Margarita” in California by Yelp for 2022, Playa Mesa simply can’t be beaten. Step into the vibrant beach culture of Baja at this effortlessly chic Mexican restaurant. At the center of the dining room, the island bar is lined with over 50 bottles of premium tequilas and mezcals, some of which are featured in their picture-perfect margs! For something on the sweeter side, order the Jamaica. Its pink hue is derived from herbal hibiscus tea and is served with a hibiscus flower sugar rim. Cheers!

Local Insight: Turn Monday into your new favorite day of the week with all-day happy hour prices on margaritas.

Location: Costa Mesa

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Lover of the beach, food and fitness, Emily enjoys exploring all sunny Southern California has to offer! She has a passion for sharing about her favorite local gems and began writing for Locale in 2022. On the weekends, find her creating recipes for her food blog or out in Laguna!

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