With so many top-notch restaurants in the Valley, it’s no surprise that our quest to find the best margarita was a serious challenge. Here, a carefully culled panel taste-tests four of the Valley’s best and rates on a scale of 1 to 10.
Edited byLinda Grasso
The Top Shelf Margarita
Larsen’s Steakhouse, Encino
Sure there’s tequila, but this beef emporium’s amazingly light margarita on the rocks almost tastes, well … dare we say it, like one of those pricey health juices people are sporting all over town. Here’s perhaps why: In lieu of syrupy bottled mixes, it contains one entire freshly squeezed lime as well as the healthy sweetener, agave nectar.
Michael: Refreshing and smooth, and I liked that the bartender asked if we wanted salt.
Sybelle: This is a margarita! Clean, smooth and fresh. Tastes like someone took the time to make something great.
Charlie: Outstanding. Fresh. Lots of different tastes. A complex margarita.
The House Margarita
Mexicali, Studio City
Bartenders at Mexicali use a homemade sweet and sour mix for the tangy House Margarita. Instead of lime juice, it is made with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Michael: Fresh, and I like the inclusion of a little juice pulp. Could be a little sweeter.
Sybelle: Better than most. Tastes classic rather than “fresh.” Could use a bit more fresh juice.
Charlie: Solid. Not too heavy.
Casa Vega, Studio City
The Skinny is this popular watering hole’s contemporary take on their famous margarita. It eschews mixes in favor of fresh-squeezed juices. Lighter on the palate and the waistline. Also comes in a cucumber version.
Michael: The cucumber was my favorite of the night. Get it with the sampler plate!
Sybelle: Tastes simple and light, and you can really tell there are all-natural ingredients in it. Great on a hot day by the pool.
Charlie: Love it. Perfect amount of alcohol to juice and goes down really well with carnitas.
Sol y Luna, Tarzana
Served by one of the Valley’s most popular traditional/no-frills Mexican eateries, The Cadillac yields no surprises. But think twice about having more than one; the bartender is generous with the tequila.
Michael: Might be a little strong for the average patron. Could use a little more lime.
Sybelle: Good but not amazing. Fresh lime juice would work miracles for this drink.
Charlie: Strong. Good taste and size. Could use a better sweet and sour mix or fresh instead of bottled lime juice.
Paying it forward.