First, let’s clear up some misconceptions: Cinco de Mayo is not “Mexican St. Patrick’s Day.” It does not celebrate Mexico’s independence (that’s September 16th); it commemorates the day in 1862 when the ragtag Mexican army defeated the French with only half the number of soldiers.

Today, it is more popular in the U.S. than it is in Mexico, with festivals, parades, street fairs and of course, great food. It has become a celebration of Mexican heritage and history here in the City of Brotherly Love, too. These restaurants can help you observe Cinco de Mayo with some great specials and delicious margaritas.


408 S. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 238-7280

Hours: Mon to Sat – 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sun – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

In this Nuevo Mexican gem in Society Hill (it’s pronounced “So–cheet”), you can celebrate the day with two outstanding options. The bar’s already amazing guacamole will be cleverly offered DIY-style. Diners will be given a card on which they can specify the special add-ins they want. Imagine a guacamole with roasted tomatoes, goat cheese and pistachios. A fan of Ahi? They can mix that in there, too, along with black truffles, macadamia nuts and habaneros. Xochitl’s signature margaritas will also be in the spotlight during Cinco de Mayo. The margaritas are hand-mixed from the freshest ingredients, and the bartender will cut and squeeze fresh limes and other ingredients right in front of you for the ultimate, refreshing cocktail. The Xochitl Margarita is a classic, made with Suaza Giro Silver tequila, house-made simple syrup and lime. The Perfect Margarita is Patron Reposado tequila, Grand Marnier, Patron Citronge, simple syrup and lime, and it’s…well…perfecto.

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Cantina dos Segundos
931 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 629-0500

Hours: Mon to Sun – 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

You may have to fight your way past all of the Northern Liberties neighbors and regulars to get inside Cantina dos Segundos, but it will be worth it, especially after enjoying one of its flavor-packed signature margaritas. From the Classic with freshly squeezed lime juice, to the fruity (black currant, prickly pear, blood orange or mango, to name a few), to the specialty margaritas (try El Dorado, made with tequila, Grand Marnier, pineapple and lime juice), you can order yours on the rocks, up, frozen, or by the pitcher. Munch away on some complimentary chips and salsa while perusing the specials board, where there is always something mouth-watering. You can also get brunch at Cantina dos Segundos every day, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

(credit: Tequilas Restaurant/Facebook)

Los Catrines Tequilas
1602 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 546-0181

Hours: Mon to Thurs – 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri – 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sat – 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sun – 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Los Catrines Tequilas (or as it’s known to the locals, “Tequila’s”) has been a popular Mexican eatery in Rittenhouse Square since it opened in 1986. Boasting huge, vibrant murals and dazzling chandeliers, Tequila’s is a feast for the eyes. Even better is the poetic menu and ginormous (yes, it’s a word) tequila list, complete with owner David Suro’s own blue agave tequila, Siembra Azul. Master Mixologist Junior Merino has created a most captivating selection of margaritas that must be seen (and tasted!) to be believed. There’s Coming Up Roses, which is Bacardi Razz, champagne, limes, rose essence and rose petals, and Wild Passion, combining Suro’s own Siembra Azul Reposado tequila, ginger liqueur, passion fruit, spiced mango and lemon juice, rimmed with pasilla-spiced salt. Los Catrines Tequilas is hosting a special brunch to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

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(credit: La Calaca Feliz/Facebook)

La Calaca Feliz
2321 Fairmount Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 787-9930

Hours: Mon to Sun – 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

At the little sister restaurant to Fort Washington’s popular Cantina Feliz, you’ll be transported to Mexico upon entering. The gorgeous murals, the punched-tin light fixtures and the lively atmosphere prepare you for the outstanding menu and scrumptious drinks at this Fairmount cantina. You’ll be “La Calaca Feliz” (The Happy Skeleton) yourself after sampling the restaurant’s fresh margaritas. The signature Feliz Margarita is made with silver tequila, fresh squeezed lime juice and orange liqueur, and La Bestia Margarita, another favorite, is a mixture of El Tesoro Reposado (an aged tequila), lime juice and Patron Citronge (an orange liqueur). Enjoy your margarita with a surprising guacamole made with avocado, onions, tomato, jalapeno and Granny Smith apples; or try the mushroom tacos with wild mushrooms, asparagus and lemon vinaigrette. Another surprise? Nothing on the dinner menu is over $22!


106 S. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 546-7100

Hours: Mon to Tues, Sun – 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Wed to Thurs – 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Fri to Sat – 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Take a trip to hip 13th street in Washington Square West, where you’ll find a few restaurants and shops with a decidedly happening feel. These hot spots are the creation of Chef Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran, and one of the treasures here is their Lolita. This restaurant is one of Philly’s best BYO restaurants. The margaritas are simply sublime–even without alcohol. You can order a pitcher of Sandia y mente, which is a fresh-squeezed margarita mix, watermelon puree and wild mint, with a sugared rim. On Saturday, May 5th, Lolita will be serving the celebratory foods of Puebla (3 courses for $45) along with a special Cinco de Mayo Margarita made from a “traditional agua fresca of green grapes, honeydew and wild mint.” Just make sure you make reservations and bring cash and your own tequila.

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Trish Deitemyer is a freelance writer living in Philly. She covers Food & Drink and has been writing since 1986. Her work can be found at