7801 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
Margarita’s has been a popular Mexican restaurant for a number of years, but in 2013 I made my first visit to their new restaurant across the street from the original location. I immediately noticed a larger dining room with more comfortable tables, and there were several indications that it had changed ownership. It turned out that the couple who had run the restaurant for years had retired, and their daughter had opened the new restaurant. I think the daughter added some things to the menu, but the dishes from the old restaurant were still there.
I always appreciated the fact the food at Margarita’s was from a specific region in Mexico–in this case it was the state of Zacatecas. It is not that this food is any better than in any other region of Mexico, but rather that it is true to a regional Mexican cooking style. The emphasis is on preparing dishes people will like rather than being “authentic,” but the Zacatecas style dishes from the family recipes are among the choices, and I think they add a great deal to the restaurant.
It may be my imagination, but some items seem to taste better than at the old restaurant. I have also discovered some items that have become some of my favorites, so overall I have been happy with the new restaurant.
My review of the old restaurant describes some of the dishes I tried before the restaurant moved (I do not think anything has been dropped from the menu). This is the same Margarita’s Restaurant that has operated at two locations.
Like most Mexican restaurants, Margarita’s gives you a “set-up” of Salsa, Cheese Sauce, and Chips. Overall I was not very impressed by these items, but they are better than at some other restaurants. The tortillas did not come with real butter (but instead there was some kind of spread), and I would guess that they were not home made.
A pleasant surprise, though, was the tastier than average Habanero Sauce I ordered, which was also a larger serving than average (and came free with the meal). This was not fiery hot, but was spicy enough to be very good, and to satisfy my craving for something more authentic than the first set-ups had been. A bonus was that I was able to take home the leftover sauce, and it was very good there as well.
The Guizo de Puerco with Red Chile was probably even more of a pleasant surprise, because in contrast to many similar dishes I get in other restaurants, this one reminded me of the kind of food I would find in Mexico. In fact, other than the meat being a little tough this was just about as classic an example of this dish I could find. It is listed as being “with red chile” because customers can order either red or green (another sign that this is authentic Mexican food). The heat level of the chile was about four stars out of five, and was at the level I find comfortable. I also thought it was at about the level it would be served in Mexico, and that was lacking the extreme spiciness that would only be appreciated by dyed-in-the-wool chileheads. As one of the dishes listed under “Specialidades de la Casa,” this is one of the Zacatecas style dishes that I have found to be so good.
It should be noted that the order normally comes with rice and beans, but I asked them to omit these items. The fact that they will do this and I can have a more reasonably sized meal is another reason I like this restaurant.
Margarita’s Mole (also listed in “Specialidades de la Casa”) is another very good dish that I have enjoyed at both the old and new restaurant. The chicken has been a little dry on occasion, but it has a very good red colored mole sauce (I think this is one of the “must order” dishes of the restaurant).
Mexican Tacos are similar to the Calvillo style tacos served at numerous restaurants in Oklahoma City (this is the style of food from Aguascalientes, a neighboring state of Zacatecas). The tacos are good because they are authentic, and you can order the amount you want to fit your appetite. Out of the two tacos I tried the chicken was better, with the pastor meat falling a little flat compared to the tacos I get at Abel’s.
The Papas tasted greasy to me, and I thought I could have gotten a better side dish.
The Quesadilla was another example of the type of food I thought was better at Abel’s (and some of the city’s taco restaurants). The main problem here was the the fajita meat tasted gristly.
Costillas Zacatecanos are another specialty of the restaurant that I think are quite good. They come in a huge serving, though, which I am not likely to order again unless I can share with someone (so please refer to the review of the old restaurant for a photo).
The Enchilada with Chile Verde is among the ones in OKC that I consider to be quite good, and the beans were above average as well (the rice was about average). The green chile had about a “4 chile” spice level (about right for me–spicy but not fiery), and had an authentic Mexican flavor.
Some Other Notes
Besides serving some of my favorite dishes, one key point I have noticed is that they will try to customize your dinner if they can (such as omitting the rice and beans). Another is that over the years everyone in my family has always enjoyed coming here (some like it because of their Tex-Mex food, and the chile relleno has always been a favorite). While I like to find the obscure authentic dishes served at Mexican restaurants, Margarita’s is also in the mainstream in offering the favorites that most people like to order.
While some “mainstream” items such as the fajitas and cheese enchiladas (Tex-Mex style) do not seem to match up to the ones at other restaurants, I thought the guacamole, tortilla soup, and other items were quite good. A chile relleno I sampled was much better than one I had at the old restaurant, and several items seem to be better than before. Overall I have been very pleased by what the new restaurant is doing.
Cuisine: Mexican Zacatecas
Hours: Open daily except Sun. evening
Accessible: Bathroom is not accessible
Smoking: No smoking
Most Recent Visit: Aug. 28, 2016
Number of Visits: 5 (many more at the old restaurant)
Best Items: Chicken Mole, Enchiladas with Chile Verde, Costillas, Guizo de Puerco, Chile Relleno, Habanero Sauce
Mexican Food Details