The Cinco de Mayo fiestas are ramping up: Mexican flags, mariachis, margaritas, and mustaches will be at-the-ready at local bars and restaurants.
But what is Cinco de Mayo, anyway?
A common misconception is that it celebrates Mexican independence from Spain which, incidentally, happened decades earlier on Sept. 16, 1810. But the day still has plenty of historical significance – it commemorates the defeat of the French army during la Batalla de Puebla in Mexico on May 5, 1862 – and has slowly evolved into a celebration of cultural identity because just as with St. Patrick’s Day, the holiday has become more synonymous with drinking and revelry than history.
So if eating, drinking, and being merry while celebrating Mexican culture gets you all caliente with excitement, here are our five favorite places to eat and drink all the delicious Mexican things:
O Cocina: “O Cocina is Tampa’s newest, upbeat take on the ever-growing modern Mexican food scene. Chef Jason McFarland’s 25+ years of fine dining experience in various cuisines has struck a chord with classic, fresh Mexican ingredients to create a truly unforgettable dining experience. The unique combinations of flavors in the dishes are second only to the freshness of the ingredients, impeccable service, and breathtaking, modern decor.”
Must try: while it’s tempting to go margarita, mix it up and try their Paloma for a change of pace.
Miguel’s Mexican Seafood and Grill: “Tantalize your taste buds at Tampa Bay’s crown jewel of Mexican restaurants: Miguel’s Mexican Seafood and Grill, featuring the rich, robust flavors of authentic Mexican cuisine and the succulent seafood of Tampa. Quench your thirst with a tall glass of our tangy tequila and some chips with hearty queso. And when it’s time to treat yourself or that special someone, indulge in one of Miguel’s premium selections.”
Drink of choice: their skinny margarita is fresh and delicious (and generously sized).
Green Lemon: “Our modern Mexican cuisine combines the best of traditional Mexican cuisine with Green Lemon’s fresh and healthy bowls, sushi-style rolls, and salads. Have fresh guacamole made tableside while you enjoy a cocktail. We offer the best margarita in Tampa, as well as a wide assortment of cocktails and craft beers. Enjoy the lively and entertaining atmosphere, making it the ideal place for friends and family to have fun.”
Pro tip: this place gets busy even on a normal Taco Tuesday so we recommend getting there early for Cinco de Mayo and staking out a table or spot at the bar.
Besito Mexican: “Besito, translated as ‘little kiss,’ strives to delight guests with the warmth of a private hacienda offering thoughtful details and cuisine. Besito was rated “excellent” by the New York Times with its dramatic eucalyptus-beamed ceiling that embraces all the flavors and festivity of Mexican cuisine. Enjoy fresh, table-side guacamole and over 75 tequilas all straight from Mexico.”
Best for: a nice sit-down dinner and tequila tasting.
bartaco: “bartaco is inspired by the beach culture of Brazil, Uruguay and southern California. We are upscale street food with a coastal vibe in a relaxed environment. We are freshly-squeezed juices, specialty cocktails, and beer out of a bottle. bartaco evokes a visit to a stylish beach resort and creates an unforgettable experience.”
Must try: any of their specialty cocktails, and the guac!
And just as with any night out – whether a historic cause for cultural celebration or a Tuesday afternoon happy hour – moderation and safety are key. An ounce of prevention and planning is worth a pound of cure, so fiesta like there’s no mañana with a designated driver, cab company or ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft.
But should you or someone you know be pulled over for a DUI, don’t hesitate to call our attorneys any time, day or night. Attorney John Castro leads a team of experienced DUI lawyers dedicated to representing your best interests. From all of us at Anton Castro Law, have a safe and happy Cinco de Mayo!