Tasting away in Margaritaville

Five places for a good Margarita

Jaquine Martes serves a Margarita at Si Amigos, where they know how to make ’em.

Jaquine Martes serves a Margarita at Si Amigos, where they know how to make ’em.

Photo By David Robert

A good Margarita isn’t just about tequila, triple sec, limes and ice—although that’s a great start. It’s also about ambience, variety and service—well-made chips and salsa to go with it helps, too. There’s a Mexican restaurant on just about every corner of Reno, so it’s hard to try them all. But here are five places to get you started.

Bertha Miranda’s Mexican Restaurant and Cantina

336 Mill St., 786-9697,

Bertha Miranda’s is a local favorite. With an open floor plan, stone masonry walls and a polite staff, this is a cozy place to gather friends and drink at the bar or a table. The Margaritas—lime, strawberry, banana, mango, raspberry, midori and Top Shelf varieties—come in mason jars. I’m usually a sucker for the classic top-heavy, upside-down skirt of a Margarita glass, but mason jars are a unique touch. The Margaritas—$7 regular; $7.50 flavor, $13 for top-shelf—have just the right proportion of ice, sweetness and alcohol—not too strong, not too weak. The chips and salsa here are better than average.

Hacienda Restaurant and Bar

10580 N. McCarran Blvd. #102,

746-2228, www.haciendareno.net
Hacienda in Northwest Reno feels like two places. One section is a large open area of warm, subdued colors, serving a middle-aged to senior clientele. The other is a low-lit, neon-signed cantina full of 20- and 30-somethings. Both areas are fine places to grab one of Reno’s best Margaritas along with salsa and a warm bowl of wafer-thin chips. The Margaritas taste less saccharine than many varieties in town with a full range of flavors—guava, melon, mango, strawberry, etc.—served in a classic Margarita glass with a lime wedge or in a pitcher. $4.50 regular, $5 other flavors, various prices for top-shelf, pitchers for $11.50-$12.

Miguel’s Mexican Food

1415 S. Virginia St., 322-2722
Miguel’s is a colorful, intimate place with adobe walls. Try to grab a seat by the window, and choose from classic Margaritas to fruitier flavors, like peach or mango. The drinks are a joy to suck down in large, sturdy Margarita glasses and are also available in pitchers. $6 house Margarita, $7 other flavors, more for Top Shelf, $12 pitchers. Chips and salsa are average.

Si Amigos

1553 S. Virginia St., 348-1445
Formerly known as Si Señor, this vibrant bar and restaurant now sounds less formal but is as good as ever. The staff is one of the friendliest in town, speaking in both English and Spanish—usually at the same time—in a way that makes it comfortable to speak either language, even for those just wanting to practice their grade-school Spanish. The chips are neither thin nor thick and come with a medium-hot salsa and—a special treat—a bean dip. Oh yeah, and the Margaritas are excellent. Although the raspberry flavor tasted strangely like a smoothie, the lime Margarita was perfectly blended, with balanced sweet and tangy flavor. $5.75 for regular, $5.95 other flavors, more for Top Shelf, $18 pitchers. There’s a two-for-one Margarita special all day Thursdays.

Rosita’s Cocina

7689 S. Virginia St. Suite N., 853-2521
Rosita’s, near Neil Road, doesn’t feel like a party place. It’s more of a place to take a date, your mom or a couple good friends. It’s also one of the more underrated, unsung Mexican restaurants in a town full of Mexican restaurants. Tastefully decorated in the style of a south-of-the-border courtyard, Rosita’s serves well-balanced Margaritas. They come in lime, raspberry, strawberry, melon and “blue” flavors served in classic Margarita glasses. $5 for regular, $6 other flavors, various for top-shelf, $22 pitchers.