best margaritas laguna Beach

Editor’s Note: This is a 2013 pre-summer update to the Best Margaritas List in Laguna Beach. Sadly, we had to say “goodbye” to one of our top-ranked margs ever, the Gary’s Special at The Royal Hawaiian. (A moment of silence, please.) 

Now, to the updated list …

Yes, I know there’s plenty of news going on in Laguna Beach, but I doubt most entries are as hotly contested and discussed as this foray into the “Best Margaritas in Laguna Beach List.”

If you’ve been following my previous blog entries, we’ve now named 5 to the list:

1.  The White House’s margarita ONLY done by Jason the bartender (details here)

2.  Carmelita’s – “Partida Margarita” (details here)

3.  Hotel Laguna’s Oceanview Grill  (formerly “The Terrace”) – “363 Margarita”  (details here)

4. Nick’s of Laguna Beach –  Skinny Margarita (details here)

5. The Lumberyard’s – Cadillac Margarita (best served up by bartender Quinn) (details here)

With this 6th latest addition, I might be hanging up my margarita taste-tester for good:

When many readers began steering me to the K’ya Jalapeno Margarita, I thought I was reading some sort of group hallucination typo. Over the last several weeks (and years, for that matter), I’d say I’ve tried just about every kind of flavored margarita known to mankind. But a jalapeno margarita? Now, that’s a first.

This is one brash, take-no-prisoners kind of hombre. Created by resident K’ya bartender Dayna, she was kind enough (or just crazy enough) to also make it an “All Organic” margarita, which is one of the finest oxymorons I’ve come across in a long time.

The folks muddle Casa Nobles Organic tequila with fresh jalapeno, lime, lemon and orange slices. They toss in Cointreau and Organic Agave Nectar, shake it with ice, and serve it up with lime and jalepeno slices in a glass rimmed in chili and lime spices.

It starts off tasting like a darned good sippin’ margarita, and then sneaks up and wallops you a good one. The strangest thing of all –  this Jalapeno Margarita grows on you – and fast!

It’s served up in both K’ya (still my favorite restaurant in town) downstairs in the Casa del Camino, and at the famed Rooftop Lounge, same location. Thanks, readers, for turning me on to one of the finest (yst strangest) margaritas I’ve yet known. Be sure to keep the comments and votes coming, and feel free to email me your own tale of the search at


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©Diane Armitage,


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