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Where to Find the Best Margaritas in the San Francisco Bay Area

Discover the best margaritas in the San Francisco Bay Area. Seek out the best SF margaritas. Find the best margaritas in the Bay Area.
My regular readers know that I love a good margarita or 'margie' as I affectionately call them.  

I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over seven years and I still visit 3-4 times a year for work. I've had a chance to sample quite a few margaritas during my time in the San Francisco Bay Area

However, not all margaritas are created equal and I definitely have opinions. Who serves the best margaritas in the San Francisco Bay Area? Read on to find out my top picks across the city, South Bay, and East Bay.

Best margarita in the San Francisco Bay Area: The house margarita at ViVe Sol in Mountain View

1. Casa Lupe in Sunnyvale

This Bay Area margarita was sizable with a nicely salted rim. It paired well with chips and salsa but had a little too much of a 7-Up flavor for my liking. I did enjoy my chile verde platter and the fun atmosphere inside Casa Lupe. Casa Lupe is a bit tucked away in a strip mall so it can be easy to miss.

The verdict? A respectable margarita but I would like to see real lime juice substituted for the soda.
Best Margaritas in the SF Bay Area: Casa Lupe in Sunnyvale

2. The Little Chihuahua in San Francisco

On of my go to places for a margarita in the SF Bay Area is The Little Chihuahua. They have a few locations in the City in different neighborhoods like Noe Valley.

For about $7.00, you get a pint sized glass full of margie goodness.  It's nice and tart and has lots of orange pieces floating in the glass (a bit non-traditional but it works!).  They also do a perfectly salted rim.

The verdict:  My favorite margarita in the City of San Francisco.
Best Margaritas San Francisco: The Little Chihuahua

3. Roberto's Cantina

Roberto's in downtown Sunnyvale features a lovely margarita with fresh lime that I thought paired well with chips and two kinds of salsa.  Enchiladas verde (not pictured) rounded out the experience. 

The verdict? Would drink again!
Margarita at Roberto's Cantina

4. El Caminito in Sunnyvale

On another trip to the Bay Area, I returned to Sunnyvale, this time on El Camino Real for another Mexican meal.  The salsa at El Caminito was nice and spicy but a touch thinner than I like.  

I think I chose poorly on the menu. The Chili Colorado was very tasty but more like a beef stew. Next time I'll order the spicy tomatillo sauce. 

While the food was disappointing, the margaritas were solid.  Bonus points to El Caminito for serving its margaritas with fresh lime in a festive glass.

The verdict: Come for the margaritas in a fun cactus glass and a bowl of chips and salsa. Go elsewhere for dinner.
Margarita at El Caminito

5. Los Portales in Mountain View

If you are looking for somewhere cheap and cheerful in Mountain View, this is the place. This restaurant has quietly been serving tasty food and solid margaritas for decades. 

Small size margarita at Los Portales in Mountain View

Los Portales is located next to an unassuming strip mall. This Bay Area Mexican restaurant wins points for convenience. It's located next door to the Hampton Inn where I sometimes stay when I visit the Bay Area. 

The verdict: Great spot for a quiet drink. They have multiple sizes of margaritas to choose from.

Large margarita at Los Portales in Mountain View

6. Fiesta del Mar Too in Downtown Mountain View

Fiesta del Mar Too in Downtown Mountain View serves an incredible list of margaritas. I love this place because they have a margarita named after me: The Dr. J. This is the place to go if you like your margaritas served with a kick. The salsa served here is incredibly spicy.

The verdict: Solid margarita ideal for washing down the spicy Mexican food served here.

SF Bay Margarita and chips and salsa at Fiesta del Mar Too in Mountain View

7. Agave in Downtown Mountain View

Fiesta del Mar Too and Agave have the same owners. Head to Agave in Downtown Mountain View if you are looking for a more upscale experience. 

Agave also has a dedicated bar area in addition to restaurant seating if you are just looking for a drink. I loved the range of margaritas on the menu including a spicy number.

The verdict: Great margaritas and fun for a weekend outing with friends.

Spicy margarita at Agave in Downtown Mountain ViewClassic margarita at Agave in Downtown Mountain View

8. Celia's in Palo Alto

Celia's has a few locations in Silicon Valley and has been in business for at least 30 years (I remember this place when I was a grad student at Stanford. 

I visited the Palo Alto location on El Camino Real on my most recent trip to the San Francisco Bay Area. The margarita itself was alright. I probably enjoyed the festive glass more than the drink itself. 

Margarita in a cactus glass at Celia's in Palo Alto

I've heard that the flavored margaritas are better here. Perhaps I'll branch out and try something a little different next time.

The verdict: Average house margarita. Try the flavored margaritas next time.

9. United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco Airport

I love margaritas so much that I've even tried a margie in the United Polaris Lounge at San Francisco Airport. It was a solid offering. I probably wouldn't order it again before a long flight though since all that salt makes me retain water.

The verdict: Elegant and strong margarita. If you are a nervous flier, give it a go, but watch out for the salt-induced bloat if you have a long flight ahead.

Margarita served in the United Polaris Lounge at San Francisco Airport

10. NIDO's BackYard in Oakland

NIDO's Backyard is my go-to place for margaritas in the East Bay. As the name suggests, this is an outdoor patio. Even if it rains, there are umbrellas over the tables to keep you dry. 

The margarita menu is extensive and the margies are served in heavy cut crystal glasses in an elegant contrast to the casual surroundings. 

I tried the Cadillac margarita (can be served with top shelf tequila or Mezcal) which is flavored with Grand Marnier, lime, and honey. My husband had a flavored margarita served with a spicy salted rim.

Margarita with a spicy salt rim at NIDO's Backyard in OaklandMargarita on the rocks with salt in a heavy cut glass tumbler at NIDO's Backyard in Oakland

Order some chips and salsa or tacos to share. The quesabirria de res was our favorite and is a bit like a stuffed quesadilla and will definitely fill you and 2-3 other people right up.

Beware: parking is tricky at NIDO's Backyard with just a few spots on the streets available. Taking an Uber may be your best bet. 

The verdict: Outstanding margaritas and food in the East Bay. We'll be back!

11. Colibri

Colibri was an institution on Union Square in San Francisco for nearly 20 years. They recently moved to Presidio Officers’ Club. I love Colibri's spicy margaritas with a bowl of freshly made guacamole served with warm tortilla chips. 

The verdict: I'm in heaven every time I take a sip!

Spicy margarita, chips, salsa, and warm tortillas at Colibri in San Francisco

12. ViVe Sol

Make sure to check out Vive Sol in Mountain View for what I consider the best margarita in San Francisco. This Bay Area margarita is made with a full lime so it's nice and tart. They are also generous with the tequila so it's better to take an Uber so you can enjoy your drink properly.

When I visit the Bay Area for work, I go to ViVe Sol at least 3 times. My colleagues agree: I inevitably run into people I know from work whenever I go here. 

Best margarita in the San Francisco Bay Area served at ViVe Sol in Mountain View

I'd go to ViVe Sol even more often on business trips if they were open on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

The food here is also outstanding. The chile verde, and enchiladas moles are two of my favorite dishes.

The verdict? Absolutely outstanding margarita! This margarita, hands-down, wins my heart as the absolute best margarita in the San Francisco Bay Area. ViVe Sol's margaritas are tart, boozy and the food is amazing.

13. Palo Alto Sol

They are open on Tuesday so you can get your margarita fix on at least one of the days that ViVe Sol is closed. In my opinion, their margaritas are the absolute best of any I've tried in the Bay Area.

The verdict: Nearly indistinguishable from ViVe Sol's awesome margarita and they are open more days.

There you have it, folks!  San Francisco is full of surprises, but I'm not surprised at all to find awesome margaritas. We'll have to try some more on our next visit in the name of investigative journalism ;-)

Margarita, chips, and salsa at Palo Alto Sol

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other ideas for things to do in the San Francisco Bay Area? Here are some of my top suggestions:
Why not see multiple areas around San Francisco on a Bay Area birdwatching hike at various places in the South and East Bay? 

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Where to Find the Best Margaritas in the San Francisco Bay Area
Where to Find the Best Margaritas in the San Francisco Bay Area
Discover the best margaritas in the San Francisco Bay Area. Seek out the best SF margaritas. Find the best margaritas in the Bay Area.
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