The Best Margaritas in New Mexico

Thirsty after a day of the New Mexico sights? Don’t dismay. Quench your thirst with the best margaritas in New Mexico with a welcome stop at an old-school, classic institution or a family-owned gem. Beloved margaritas are a rite of passage in New Mexico, and stumbling across the best is a matter of finding your favorite tequila or a signature concoction.

555 W Cordova Rd
A bit of a dive a mile and a half from Santa Fe’s tourist center, Maria’s has been a local favorite since 1952. The food is straightforward and delicious, but the place is at least as beloved for its margaritas—an eight-page menu lists more than 200 choices, all made with 100 percent agave tequila and lemon juice—which routinely win “best of” awards from local publications. Read more about green chilis. This appeared in the January/February 2014 issue.
808 Canyon Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
On a recent June night while the portal was crowded with diners, we found a dark corner in the back of this Santa Fe landmark bar. An open door let in the evening breeze and framed the famous desert light.
113 E Palace Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
A local institution, situated since 1953 in a 1692 adobe hacienda with brightly colored walls and a pretty courtyard, the Shed is deservedly famous for its smoky chile, just-hefty-enough blue corn tortillas, and classic recipes. Its sister restaurant, La Choza, is another local favorite. “We don’t have ambition to do a lot more,” says co-owner Courtney Carswell. “We just do what we do.” And they do it well.
1114 Don Juan Valdez Ln
There’s always a wait at this family-run mainstay which serves a bevy of Southwestern winners a la the shrimp burritos and carne adovada (red chile–marinated pork) and chili. A trip here is best summed up as friendly, prompt and delicious. Park a seat outside on the patio when the weather cooperates.
132 W Water St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
The outdoor cantina upstairs at the famed Coyote Cafe makes a perfect spot to perch and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the bustle of the Santa Fe streets. Try the Lava Lamp cocktail, a more-delicious-than-it-sounds blend of draft beer and a frozen margarita. Other concoctions like the prickly pear margarita make excellent companions to the warm, thickly cut tortilla chips and fire-roasted salsa.
125 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte, Taos, NM 87571, USA
Located in the historic Taos Inn, Doc Martin’s (an old local physician) is a perfect spot for fresh New Mexican classics. The chips and guacamole and blue corn chicken enchiladas pair perfectly with a large roster of cold margaritas including the $25 Grand Reserve with Cuervo Reserva Familia Extra-Anejo. Saturday and Sunday draw hungry brunch crowds and evenings usher jolly guests to the Adobe Bar. Nab a seat on the patio and let your troubles fade like the sunset.
4 Banana Ln
Just 12 miles north of Santa Fe, this picturesque spot is perfect for table-side, made-to-order guacamole and a cold margarita (or two) on a spacious, relaxed scenic patio full of flowers and stunning high-desert mountain views. You might not want to leave.
905 Alarid St, Santa Fe, NM 87505, USA
Located in the Railyard District, the friendly and efficient La Choza (Spanish for “the shed”) doles out traditional New Mexican fare. Start with the satisfying posole (a hominy). Try the stuffed sopapillas with an earthy red chile, and classic huevos rancheros. Don’t be afraid to sample the hearty, non-traditional green chili clam chowder. The series of dining rooms are peppered with local art, and while you wait for your order, don’t miss the ample tequila list.
101 W Alameda St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
Part of the Inn of the Governors, the rustic, casual, saloon-style vibes of Del Charro beckon one to relax and stay awhile. Try the signature house margarita (a mere $6.50), though the fancier, classic Silvercoin Margarita (a mix of Don Eduardo Silver Tequila and Cointreau) is mighty tasty, too. If you’re hungry, the green chili cheeseburger is a crowd-pleaser.
100 E San Francisco St
Head up to the fifth floor of the bustling, popular La Fonda Hotel for stellar sunset views of city and distant mountains. Arrive early to beat the crowds and settle in. Relax with the signature margarita called the Bell Ringer, makes the experience all the more authentic.
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