There are many ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and pretty much all of them involve drinking. We suggest skipping those messy, less than tasty bottles of fruit-stuffed cerveza and partying in style Sunday with Mexico’s most famous cocktail, the magically delicious and sneakily dangerous margarita.
Here are five of our favorite Mexican restaurants for pairing the sweet-n-sour liquid treat with some carnivorous delights that should offset the sinking tequila feeling that will probably hit you right around your third or fourth salt-rimmed glass.
El Adobe: Teeming with Jose Cuervo Tequila and Grand Marnier, El Adobe’s delicious Specialty Margarita also includes sour mix and a judicious splash of orange juice. The popular chicken fajitas will keep you from toppling over from the mighty mixture of tequila and brandy liqueur, at least for a little while. 4023 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; 921-7476
Mi Pueblo: You gotta love a place that offers an entire margarita menu – including mango, peach, strawberry and raspberry flavored margaritas – plus an invitation to build your own margarita masterpiece. Pair with the Pollo con Mole, a killer combination of chocolate and chile poured over a tender chicken quarter. 8405 Tuttle Ave., Sarasota; 359-9303. 530 U.S. 41, Venice; 486-0005; mipueblomexican.com. FYI: The Bee Ridge Road location doesn’t serve liquor.
Tequila Cantina: This Mod Mex spot with a bar area that spills out into the sidewalk of Sarasota’s bustling Main Street boasts a terrific tequila selection for all your margarita making desires plus an equally exhaustive selection of tasty tacos. 1454 Main St., Sarasota; 554-8586
Two Senoritas: Downtown Sarasota’s main Mexican food and drink destination for nearly two decades has a bar staff which excels at many adult beverages made with super fresh fruit juices – check out their mojitos! – but for margaritas don’t miss The Don made with Herradura or another top-shelf tequila of your choice. As for the perfect food pairing, nosh your way through the Presidente, a combination plate of chicken and beef fajitas, one cheese enchilada and one beef enchilada, served with rice, beans, sour cream, pico de gallo, lettuce and cheddar cheese. 1355 Main St., Sarasota; 366-1618; twosenoritas.com
Mexicali Border Café: Bradenton’s best known Mexican restaurant and full-liquor bar serves many commendable signature margaritas but why not have fun and order the Horny Margarita? In addition to a wonderfully silly name, it features excellent Sauza Hornitos Plata tequila with triple sec and owner Julio’s "secret mix.” The “Horny” is served on the rocks only, which, really, is how all margaritas should be served. Keep the booze in check by filling your belly with the fajita tacos “al carbon.” 5502 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton; 761-9516; mexicalibordercafe.com