Margarita’s Cantina

Even after several years of blogging about restaurants, it seems that Margarita’s Cantina slipped through the cracks. This Tex Mex restaurant has been a longtime social destination, known for its libations, live music, and enchiladas.

Located at Douglas and Hillside, the large and brightly painted building is easy to spot from the street. The inside has the look of a well-worn border town cantina. There is a surprising amount of seating on the main level as well as an upstairs that is perfect for a large group. Live music on Friday and Saturday nights makes Margarita’s a popular place for a laid back dinner and dancing outing.

Famous Sour Cream Enchiladas
Famous Sour Cream Enchiladas

The menu at Margarita’s is everything you would expect to find at a Tex Mex establishment. Plenty of taco, burrito, fajita, and enchilada options abound as well as an extensive Mexican themed appetizer menu which includes Margarita Poppers and Pepper Jack and Mac Bites. As you might have guessed the Margaritas are popular drink items, so much so that they have a premixed tap to keep up with the demands of a thirsty crowd.

On our visit we started off with a couple of house Margaritas on the rocks, with salt of course. The drinks were fine for the price, but really nothing that impressive. While we perused the menu, chips and salsa were brought out. They were pretty standard fare. The mild salsa was fine, although the tomatoes really dominated the flavor. My wife always orders the sour cream enchiladas and this visit was no different. I decided to branch out and try The Zapata dish, which consisted of two pork tamales smothered in pork chili sauce and cheese. The tamales had a good balance of doughy masa and pork filling, although the ground meat lacked much complex flavor as it was dominated by chili powder. The chili sauce again was rather homogeneous in flavor, but the ample amount of cheese helped by adding some melty goodness. The beans and rice that come with just about every meal were very average. There was nothing really bad about either of them, but the beans tasted like they had been sitting in a warming tray for some time. My wife’s chicken sour cream enchiladas were as delicious as always. The corn tortillas were filled with well seasoned shredded chicken and topped with a creamy and tangy sour cream sauce that I would be happy drinking out of a mug.

Margarita’s is one of those Wichita institutions that everyone who wants to familiarize themselves with the local dining scene should visit. While there are better places to get Mexican food in town,  Margarita’s does deliver decent Tex Mex standards in a fun loving Saturday night atmosphere.

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