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Houston's 12 Most Iconic Margaritas

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Whether Houstonians are celebrating a birthday or the end of the workday, the margarita is our drink of choice. Frozen, on the rocks or straight up, there's something about the sweet/tart combination that speaks to our collective souls.

Based on feedback from Eater readers and on our experience, here's a guide to the most important margaritas in a city where almost every restaurant, regardless of its genre, has one on the menu. As is to be expected, it's dominated by Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants, but don't miss Pappy's: the humble restaurant on I-10 serves a killer frozen margarita, that, at $2.50, is also a killer deal.

As always, those who are horrified by the inclusion of a place they hate or the exclusion of a place they love should feel free to sound off in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Original Ninfa's on Navigation

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2704 Navigation Blvd
Houston, TX 77003
(713) 228-1171
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Still the first word in Houston margaritas, and that's only going to improve now that Anvil's Bobby Heugel is one of the restaurant's new operating partners.

2. TQLA Houston

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4601 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 77024
(281) 501-3237
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Considering this restaurant's name, the margaritas better be a signature item, and they are. There's a huge tequila selection as well.

3. El Gran Malo

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2307 Ella Blvd
Houston, TX 77007
(832) 767-3405
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With its 40 different infused tequilas, El Gran Malo has redefined margaritas in Houston. The blueberry-jalapeno version is one example, with its sweet/spicy kick.

4. Molina's Cantina

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4720 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 862-0013
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It's a Houston Tex-Mex institution, and the margaritas are an important part of its popularity. Always made fresh.

5. Pappy's Cafe

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9041 Katy Fwy
Houston, TX 77024
(713) 827-1811
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The frozen margaritas here are $2.50. There are places in town that charge that much for iced tea. Despite the low price, they still taste like tequila.

6. El Patio

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6444 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77057
(713) 780-0410
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The electric blue, frozen margaritas at El Patio have been a mandatory component of celebrations for a long time. Should be experienced at least once.

7. Cyclone Anaya's

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309 Gray St.
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 520-6969
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While the rumors about these margaritas being "enhanced" with another, more potent liquor are probably false, they are curiously strong. Also, the lively bar scene just makes the drinks taste better, somehow.

8. La Fisheria Houston

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4705 Inker Street
Houston, TX 77007
Another restaurant that's embraced the modern margarita. At this summer's Eater happy hour, guests were slurping down the cucumber basil version as quickly as they could be made.

9. Cafe Adobe

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2111 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 528-1468
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Cafe Adobe's cheap, potent margaritas have made it a Houston happy-hour institution. As for the food, have another margarita.

10. Hugo's

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1600 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 524-7744
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Hugo's commitment to authentic Mexican cuisine extends to the bar, which features a large tequila selection and margaritas that nail the drink's signature sweet/tart balance.

11. El Real Tex-Mex Cafe

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1201 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 524-1201
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Some people love to hate the place, but El Real's recent introduction of the build-your-own margarita that allows customers to choose the style, tequila, sweetener and orange component is pretty genius. While it took them awhile to dial in the house frozen, it's pretty solid these days.

12. Pico's Mex Mex

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5941 Bellaire Blvd.
Houston, TX 77081-5501
(713) 662-8383
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Pico's is an institution that helped Houstonians appreciate interior Mexican cuisine, and the Pico's margarita, served in an individual shaker, is an important part of what makes the restaurant so compelling.

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1. The Original Ninfa's on Navigation

2704 Navigation Blvd, Houston, TX 77003
Still the first word in Houston margaritas, and that's only going to improve now that Anvil's Bobby Heugel is one of the restaurant's new operating partners.
2704 Navigation Blvd
Houston, TX 77003

2. TQLA Houston

4601 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77024
Considering this restaurant's name, the margaritas better be a signature item, and they are. There's a huge tequila selection as well.
4601 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 77024

3. El Gran Malo

2307 Ella Blvd, Houston, TX 77007
With its 40 different infused tequilas, El Gran Malo has redefined margaritas in Houston. The blueberry-jalapeno version is one example, with its sweet/spicy kick.
2307 Ella Blvd
Houston, TX 77007

4. Molina's Cantina

4720 Washington Ave, Houston, TX 77007
It's a Houston Tex-Mex institution, and the margaritas are an important part of its popularity. Always made fresh.
4720 Washington Ave
Houston, TX 77007

5. Pappy's Cafe

9041 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77024
The frozen margaritas here are $2.50. There are places in town that charge that much for iced tea. Despite the low price, they still taste like tequila.
9041 Katy Fwy
Houston, TX 77024

6. El Patio

6444 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77057
The electric blue, frozen margaritas at El Patio have been a mandatory component of celebrations for a long time. Should be experienced at least once.
6444 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77057

7. Cyclone Anaya's

309 Gray St., Houston, TX 77002
While the rumors about these margaritas being "enhanced" with another, more potent liquor are probably false, they are curiously strong. Also, the lively bar scene just makes the drinks taste better, somehow.
309 Gray St.
Houston, TX 77002

8. La Fisheria Houston

4705 Inker Street, Houston, TX 77007
Another restaurant that's embraced the modern margarita. At this summer's Eater happy hour, guests were slurping down the cucumber basil version as quickly as they could be made.
4705 Inker Street
Houston, TX 77007

9. Cafe Adobe

2111 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77098
Cafe Adobe's cheap, potent margaritas have made it a Houston happy-hour institution. As for the food, have another margarita.
2111 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 77098

10. Hugo's

1600 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006
Hugo's commitment to authentic Mexican cuisine extends to the bar, which features a large tequila selection and margaritas that nail the drink's signature sweet/tart balance.
1600 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77006

11. El Real Tex-Mex Cafe

1201 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77006
Some people love to hate the place, but El Real's recent introduction of the build-your-own margarita that allows customers to choose the style, tequila, sweetener and orange component is pretty genius. While it took them awhile to dial in the house frozen, it's pretty solid these days.
1201 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 77006

12. Pico's Mex Mex

5941 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX 77081-5501
Pico's is an institution that helped Houstonians appreciate interior Mexican cuisine, and the Pico's margarita, served in an individual shaker, is an important part of what makes the restaurant so compelling.
5941 Bellaire Blvd.
Houston, TX 77081-5501

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