The Drinks: 70+ artisan, premium and ultra premium tequilas — served neat, in margaritas and also in other signature cocktails
The Location: Playa Vista
The Vibes: Casual upscale, indoor-outdoor, earthy and warm
Good for: Alone, Dates, Groups
When-To-Go: Daily, 11:30 a.m. until close (which is 10 p.m. Sunday – Thursday / 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday)
The $$ Factor: Libations - $7+; Apps - $4.50 - $15.50; Entrees - $15 - $38
The Names behind the scenes: Deborah Schneider, (executive chef). Colin Pflugradt (beverage director), Matt Baumayr and Rich Howland (restaurant partners)
The 4-1-1: Playa Vista is the third SOL location; there are others in Newport Beach and Scottsdale, Arizona
Parking Situation: Ample free street and garage parking
I’ll Be Back…: Once SOL launches its daily happy hour and Taco Tuesdays, hopefully soon!
Nowadays, when I'm in the mood for a really good margarita, I've been heading to one particular place: SOL Mexican Cocina Playa Vista.
I'd first been introduced to SOL during a media fiesta back in January, when I sampled some of the most popular items they’re known for: guacamole, street tacos and of course, their margaritas.
The margaritas, which come in two sizes — regular or grande — are made with a variety of different tequilas. Customers can select from labels like Don Julio and Patron, and even SOL’s very own tequila, a Single Barrel Reposado Tequila that's custom blended at the Casa Noble Tequila distillery in Mexico.
While SOL’s margaritas might be flavored with fruits like watermelon, pomegranate or strawberry, what's great is that they’re not artificially or overpoweringly sweet. Instead, flavors are subtle and muted, highlighting the true essence of the fruits. One of my favorites is the Pineapple Serrano Margarita, pictured below. Made with Corralejo Blanco tequila, it’s a zesty blend of fragrant pineapple and spicy chili.
I also appreciate that SOL serves tequila-based martinis. If you love martinis and you love tequila, well, here you have it. There are two to choose from: Horchata, pictured below, and Pineapple & Vanilla (both can also be ordered as shooters). Just like the margaritas made with fruit, these martinis aren’t too sugary. Although note of caution: the tequila deceptively blends so well into the drink, that you literally can’t taste it. But, you’ll feel it!
Aside from libations, SOL also puts its own spin on “traditional Baja Mexican cuisine.” Street tacos are one of the selections they're well-known for. Fillings range from chicken, sweet potato and beans, pork, beef and the ‘Canarditas’ duck, pictured below. A deep-fried duck leg confit is accompanied by avocado, chopped onions, a tequila-laced blackberry Serrano salsa and tortillas, to make your own tacos. However, the duck is so tender and delicious on its own, you may be inclined to eat it by itself!
Some other notable options to call out — the Grilled Sweet Corn, pictured below. An upscale version of the widely popular street food elote, corn on the cob is lathered in butter, lime, chile, chives and cotixa cheese, and topped with a chipotle sauce. A server cuts the corn off table side, so there’s no messy mishaps and the appetizer can be easily shared.
The Baja-Style Corn Chowder with Crab is a filling soup made with corn, potatoes and a creamy wine/lobster broth. It's topped with a dash of crab sitting on a grilled slice of buttered bread, directly in the soup. It's a pretty large portion, so it can stand alone as an entree or pairs well with a taco.
The restaurant also creates its own Guacamole SOL, a colorful twist on guacamole with additions like sweet mango, goat cheese and pepitas, or pumpkin seeds.
See you there soon!
For more information: