The Best Margaritas in Toronto
The best margaritas in Toronto have improved dramatically with the addition of a number of excellent tequileiras to the city over the last couple of years. Since the opening of Lower Ossington mainstay Reposado, newer spots such as El Catrin, Fonda Lola and El Caballito have lent some serious clout to the equation.
But what makes a good margarita? None of the offerings listed here will resemble the frozen slushie of bar mix and El Cheapo that you might see on vacation. In fact, it seems that most bars have embraced the use of premium blue agave tequila, with Toronto's Tromba featuring heavily on lists around the city.
Here are the best margaritas in Toronto.
There are four locations in the Playa Cabana chain, which looks increasingly like it's growing into an empire of Mexican-inspired restaurants. Hacienda is located at Dupont and Avenue in the Annex, and features a rustic atmosphere, bar snack-sized plates of tacos and tostadas, and an extensive bar list showcasing Mexican beers and tequilas. The top flight margarita is a must try, made with Patron Anejo, St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, Grand Marnier and fresh lime.
Reposado has been the go-to spot for tequila and mezcal aficionados since opening its doors on the Lower Ossington strip more than eight years ago. With a selection of over 130 bottles to choose from (and an extensively educated bar team to teach you all about them), a great back patio, live music, and delicious tapas, it makes for an excellent spot to imbibe.
With graffiti on the walls, hip hop on the stereo and great tacos at the pass, this College and Palmerston spot has become something of a reliable weeknight hangout for locals. The small but impressive tequila list has a few gems at prices that won't break the bank. Look out for Tromba margaritas on tap or barrel-aged (if you can catch them before they run out).
This Parkdale gem has been drawing patient crowds (who'll often wait up to two-and-a-half hours for a spot at the bar) since opening over two years ago. With a great selection of meat, veggie and fish tacos, plus some outrageously great specials, it's become something of a must-try for cheap eats fans. The bar boasts an impressive bourbon list, although they also make a few stiff and delicious tequila based drinks including a Margarita, Paloma or the spicy El Chili Verde.
This large and impressive-looking restaurant in the Distillery district has a vast tequila and mezcal list, with over 90 to choose from, offering some reasonable tasting flight options to boot. There's also a huge selection of tequila cocktails to choose from. Try one of the margaritas on offer on the heated patio. A favorite is the Frutas Fresca, a blend of fresh fruit (of your choice), Tromba Blanco and Patron Citronge. All are available by the glass or pitcher for sharing.
The Drake has one of the city's most revered bar programs, with many of the greatest bartenders in the city getting their start (or still working) at this landmark located at Queen and Beaconsfield. It's no surprise that they also make a great margarita, especially if it's being enjoyed on the rooftop patio on a warm afternoon or evening.
This friendly neighbourhood bar at College and Bathurst has a relaxed retro lounge vibe with a quaint front patio. The bar distinguishes itself from other bars in the area with nightly DJs spinning esoteric vinyl finds, while the cocktail list gives classics a little makeover for a reasonable price. As for the margaritas, there's a rotating menu of fresh-fruit choices, including peach, strawberry, pineapple, papaya and lime.
This locavore Riverside restaurant owned by celeb chef Lynn Crawford has been a popular East End restaurant for several years. Known for their prix-fixe family-style dining, they've excelled at making guests feel like they're right at home, but with better ingredients and decor. Like the menu, the cocktails are also changing regularly, and are crafted with the same flair and imagination.
This traditional Mexico City cantina on Queen West has been creating quite a buzz in the neighbourhood since opening in late 2013. The simplistic but elegant take on classic Mexican dishes as well as the homey and inviting service makes it hard to get a seat on a weekend. The margaritas have the same appeal - the combo of maple water, maple syrup, fingerling lime, and one of the many tequilas on hand makes it hard to stick to just one.
Contrary to its name, this is not a hotel at all, but an island themed bar on King East featuring an interesting selection of Tequila, mezcal and rum. The decor is fun, from old oil drum bar stools to a bathtub banquette. Several takes of the margarita are on offer, including the top-secret Pacific Margarita or the Supercharged, made with Tequila, Averna and Red Bull.
This Queen and Broadview gem has a relaxed aesthetic, lots of beautiful wooden fixtures (thanks to the Brothers Dressler) and a healthy range of bourbon and scotch behind the bar. The BBQ menu on the weekends is a must-try, as well as their bar program, which adds smoke to virtually everything it touches, including the Smoked Blueberry Margarita, made with blueberries, basil and tequila.
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