Portland may be widely regarded for its craft cocktail scene but, tucked up in the Pacific Northwest, it’s not exactly lauded for its margarita game. That being said, some stand-out restaurants and bars make no-joke versions of the beloved drink, from the classic tequila, lime, and triple sec to outlandish beer-spiked and fruit-and-pepper-infused versions. We’ve done the arduous task of tasting through them, and here are 14 of our favorite places to grab a margarita in Portland.Read More
Where to Find Portland’s Most Enticing Margaritas
From blended to mezcal-spiked, here are the top 14 spots for a frosty marg
1. La Taq
An industrial-yet-cozy taqueria and bar with rustic vibes, La Taq is well-regarded for its contemporary take on Tex-Mex, as well as its refreshing margaritas. Visitors can always find classic takes on the ubiquitous drink, plus spicy variations and a variety of fruit infused specials, like tamarind or mezcal and piña.
2. Bunk Alberta
One of Portland’s favorite sandwich restaurants, Bunk serves its frosty, blended margaritas at its stark counter-service locations at Water Avenue, Alberta, and Wonder Ballroom (just not its downtown spot). At each you can find the frosty drink in 12 ounce, 16 ounce, or pitcher size. Or you can get it as an iceberg, floating on top of a pint of lager; it’s bright, boozy, and refreshing in any form.
3. Stella Taco
Casual counter-service joint Stella Taco, with locations on Alberta and Division, knocks it out of the park with the heavenly Austin Rita, a small, blended margarita with a mini corona upended into it. The drink is an exercise in displacement, as the upside-down bottle stays full until drinkers decide to, carefully, lift it up, allowing it to refill the margarita. It’s just $7, and only $6 at happy hour, so there is no excuse for not ordering one when it’s sunny out.
The immensely buzzy sandwich shop Güero hit the ground running in February 2017, complete with an agave-heavy cocktail menu served in a bright and airy space. The standard margarita is solid, but the mezcal margarita, with touch of grapefruit rosé for crisp acidity, is perfect for pairing with the spicy mess that is the torta ahogada.
5. Mi Mero Mole
Mi Mero Mole, a quick counter-service Mexican restaurant in Old Town, quietly has one of the best collections of agave spirits in the city, from tequila to mezcal and even raicilla, a rarely seen spirit similar to mezcal. It also offers a huge selection of margaritas, with flavors like strawberry slushy, tamarind, hibiscus, and even plantain-infused. During happy hour, 2 to 6 pm Monday through Friday, margaritas are marked down by $2.50 and pitchers by $6.
A busy, plant-filled rooftop bar at the Hoxton Hotel, Tope specializes in the ultimate dining duo of tacos and agave drinks, including a number of margs and variations on them. The classic Tope margarita is a solidly crafted drink, with Pueblo Viejo and Combier elevating it a bit, and is available by the glass or carafe; those looking for an extra kick will enjoy the hot margarita, which gets some spice from Ancho Verde and habanero.
7. The Goose
The Goose is another addition to the casual-and-thoughtful Mexican dining scene in a long, dark, rustic bar setting. It offers some unusual margaritas, including zesty blood orange ginger, a juicy mango-habañero, and a pleasantly fresh cranberry-jalapeño margarita. Of course the house margarita — made with tequila, fresh lime, and agave nectar — is never a bad choice.
8. Taqueria Nueve
T9, as it’s affectionately known, serves up some killer tacos every night in a modern, fast-paced space. Its serious margarita list includes the fun Piñarita, with pineapple rum and chili-infused tequila. For a fruitier take, the strawberry-orange Amorcita Margarita is a great choice, bright and juicy without being overly sweet.
9. Que Pasa Cantina
A bright, colorful Mexican restaurant and bar, Que Pasa answers its own question with its drink menu—margaritas are what’s up, a whole host of them from the classics to pineapple habañero, as well as a few slushy options including a seasonal fruit margarita. Most are available by the glass or pitcher, all the better to share with friends.
10. Cha! Cha! Cha!
Local chain Cha! Cha! Cha! offers casual Mexican dining, from burritos to enchiladas, with quick counter service in its colorful restaurants. Also available is a line of fruity margaritas, including juicy, well-balanced hibiscus and rich tamarind. The chain also serves two margaritas made with a Herradura Reposado tequila made specifically for Cha! Cha! Cha!, available with grapefruit or orange.
11. Teote House Cafe
Teoté House Cafe is a counter-service restaurant serving knockout arepas (South American corn cakes), rice bowls with beans, vegetables, and meats, and a sizable menu of agave spirits. The house margaritas, built in a collins glass over ice, are deliciously refreshing to sip out on the covered patio, but it’s the mezcal margaritas that really shine. These juicy, lightly smoky drinks get a dash of orange juice to balance out the heat from the mezcal.
12. Nuestra Cocina
Husband-and-wife-owned Nuestra Cocina is one of Portland’s original high-end Mexican restaurants, an inviting space full warm-colored wood furniture and tiled countertops serving “old peasant style cooking.” Along with tortillas made in house daily from the open kitchen, the Cocina offers a long list of margaritas, served in chunky jam-jar glasses. The standard marg, tamarind-mezcal marg, and chipotle marg are all solid, but the true standout is the Cocina Especial Margarita—chile-arbol-infused tequila gets muddled with fresh citrus. The result is sweet, boozy, and spicy without any one note overwhelming the others.
Another fabulous Mexican spot is Xico, which boasts one of the largest collections of mezcal in the city in a breezy space full of natural colors, with a hidden patio out back. That collection is put to good use in the La Miela margarita, made with mezcal, lime, and a honey syrup instead of sugar or triple sec. The rim of each glass is lined with a hot chile worm salt, so imbibers can choose with each sip how hot the drink is.
14. Verde Cocina Hillsdale
The gluten-free, paleo-friendly chain Verde Cocina has numerous stores across town, each using Pacific Northwest ingredients to make some stellar Mexican dishes. The colorful, family-friendly restaurants offer a list of agave cocktails, like tequila old fashioneds and bloody marys, but the margaritas, made with a reliable recipe of tequila, agave syrup, lime, and a salt rim, are solidly built with high-quality ingredients.