Thumbnail image for ritaBARRIOa-EDIT.jpg
That totally looks big enough to dive into, right?!
Grab the salt lick and your favorite Jimmy Buffett shirt, it's time to throw back some


Top 5 Margaritas in Seattle

Thumbnail image for ritaBARRIOa-EDIT.jpg
That totally looks big enough to dive into, right?!
Grab the salt lick and your favorite Jimmy Buffett shirt, it's time to throw back some margaritas! Like ketchup and fries or peas and carrots, margaritas go with summer like nobody's business. It's hard to pinpoint just what exactly it is that makes the margarita so special. Is it the fresh lime that jolts your tongue awake? The way tequila warms the back of your throat on the way down? Or the copious amount of salt that unabashedly lines the rim of your fancy glass, just waiting to be shamelessly licked off?

Whatever the secret ingredient is that makes this summertime beverage a crowd favorite, you're sure to find a hacienda full of different takes on the classic, wherever you live. In these parts, a select few joints put the lime in the coconut tequila--and whatever else their house recipe includes--in just right. Check out this roundup of the top five spots around Seattle that are worthy of your pulling up a patch of sand and throwing down some cash for an ice-cold margarita.

5. Cactus, Madison Valley or West Seattle

Cactus rides that sweet line between upscale catchall restaurant (and potentially raucous Saturday-night dinner) and post-dinner neighborhood drinks joint. Their kitchen is always on point, and puts out a solid margarita that'll have you singing the chorus to "Margaritaville" in no time. You could take your date, and hell, even her parents, to this place and walk away full, happy, and still have some cash money in your back pocket.

4. Maya's, Rainier Avenue

If you're going to have a margarita, why bother having anything less than the best? Go with the Cadillac Margarita, with all the traditional ingredients plus a floated shot of Grand Marnier and a squeeze of orange juice. We hear Maya's on Rainier Avenue makes a killer one that hits the spot on a hot summer night.

3. Canlis, Queen Anne

Just like science class in the the eighth grade, where Mr. Davis had to make explosions to keep you awake for the chapter on cell development, Canlis (winner of the 2011 Voracious Award for Innovation) has come up with a way to capture your attention: a color-changing margarita. It's true, this liquid chameleon will seduce you like a Cheshire Cat as it lulls you into a margarita dream while you stare out over the water. Just be careful--one turns into two, turns into five real quick.

2. La Carta de Oaxaca, Ballard

Perhaps the most stylishly designed Mexican restaurant in the entire Pacific Northwest, La Carta de Oaxaca (winner of the Best Posole in Seattle 2010) avoids every piñata-cactus-blanket cliché you've ever drunk a strawberry margarita under. Also cliché-free is its menu, great for sampling and sharing tapas-style. Mole negro, the house specialty, is on the sweet side, delicious over pork or chicken with rice and tortillas. Standouts are a spicy fish soup and fried tortillas stuffed with potatoes and beef sausage. The margaritas are practically perfect.

1. Barrio, Capitol Hill

It's gotta be a Mexican restaurant that takes it all, right?! But not just any old sleazy, dusty, crusty pinata place will do. Seattleites love their Mexican food, and of course love sipping a cold margarita while sampling the finer examples of mole, chipotle, and every pepper known to man. Barrio has the margarita that will kick you in the teeth, and keep you flagging down your waiter for another round to accompany the homemade tortillas. Their house spicy jalapeno margarita (or the strawberry one, for the picante-averse) is out of this world. Made with El Charro reposado, Quady Essensia, lime, agave nectar, and of course salt and fresh jalapenos, it's one of a kind.

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