Bakersfield OTR offers not one, but three types of margaritas. A top-shelf version, a pineapple variant and the house Bakersfield margarita. For fairness' sake, we are evaluating the house margarita. At $7 a glass, it's not the cheapest margarita out there, and Bakersfield, to my knowledge, does not do a happy hour on the drink. That said, this margarita is one of my favorites. Every drink is made consistently, not too sweet, and with a nice hit of citrusy lime juice, which they squeeze fresh throughout the day. No green jugs of that lime flavored stuff here! They also carry a strong dose of El Jimador, a great 100% agave tequila. So if you're planning on having a few, settle in for some food to back it up. We'll give Bakersfield 9/10.
What Mazunte's margaritas lack in aesthetics (they are self-serve into a plastic cup), they easily make up for in both flavor and price. Margaritas are always $6.95. They are made with fresh squeezed limes and agave. The margaritas are sweeter than Bakersfield, but not as much as Nada's, and overall are well-proportioned with tequila, sweetness, and acidity. I've always enjoyed them. Because of the flavor, consistency, and price point, Mazunte at least ties Bakersfield at 9/10.
Nada's recipe is a little different, as it involves honey, which adds an interesting floral sweetness to the mix. However, on my visits the margaritas have been inconsistent depending on which bartender I get and how busy the restaurant is. Sometimes they aren't shaken enough, and they tend to be on the sweeter side (they get a little heavy handed with the triple sec). Nadaritas are $5 during happy hour, so that is a plus. We'd give Nada 7/10.
The margarita from Rio Grande beats all the others on one thing: size. For $13.13, you can get a 44-ounce "monster" margarita. Taking down the monster margarita is not an easy feat, but it can be done. The regular size margarita here is a little over $5, which is also a good deal. As for flavor, this is on par with Taqueria Mercado and basically what you would expect from a larger tex-mex restaurant. Not a lot of fresh lime detectable, but still a refreshing complement to a big plate of enchiladas or chimis. Because I can order a margarita as big as my head for under fifteen bucks, Rio Grande edges out Mercado. 6/10.
There are pros and cons to Taqueria Mercado. Pro: During happy hour, which is every day of the week, margaritas are $4. They are also served out of a tap system, so service is usually lightning quick. Con: Remember that green jug of lime stuff? This is where you'll find it. I don't mind the margaritas, but they don’t really draw me to Taqueria Mercado (the cheese dip, though, is another matter entirely). Perhaps they are better in the original, Fairfield location? 5/10.
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