Cinco de Mayo is around the corner. Here’s where to go to get in on the celebration.
Not to be confused with Mexican Independence Day, May 5 is a national holiday that commemorates Mexico’s military victory over Napoleon III’s French forces in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Nowadays, it is a day to celebrate Mexican heritage, culture, and cuisine. Thankfully in Houston, we have plenty of all three. Here’s a roundup of 10 great things to do for Cinco de Mayo in Houston. [Featured image: @monkeystailhou]
Opened back in 2019, Monkey’s Tail in Lindale Park is primarily known as a craft cocktail and Tejano bar. In addition to their tantalizing libations behind the bar, Monkey’s Tail will set up a special Cinco de Mayo cocktail stand inspired by the renowned Mexican bar, Cantaritos el Güero in Jalisco. Here $5 Mexican Candy shots, $4 Mexican beers, and other festive cocktails will be available, particularly the famous Jalisco Cantarito cocktail made with fresh-sqeezed orange, lime, and grapefruit, Squirt soda, and the choice of Hornitos Plata or El Tesoro Blanco. Each one will be adorned with a Chamoy Tajin rim and slice of lime and served in a special take-home clay cantarito, Monkey’s Tail will also serve a variety of burritos and tacos, as well as host a Mariachi band from 7 – 10 pm.
The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation
Come home to where it all started. A half century after “Mama” Ninfa created the iconic restaurant the name has become synonymous with Mexican food in Texas. Today it continues to turn out the gold standard of fajitas, Mama Ninfa’s Original Tacos Al Carbon, and top-notch Tex Mex. On Cinco de Mayo, both Ninfa’s locations will be roasting pigs, as well as offering $10 pork tacos and specialty cucumber mint, watermelon, and spicy jalapeño margaritas.
Helmed by James Beard Award-winning Chef, Hugo Ortega, Hugo’s serves a delicious spread of authentic, yet innovative, Mexican cuisine that has garnered a trophy case-worth of awards over the years. As described by Ortega himself: “The food is as light and fresh as a seafood cocktail prepared by fishermen on the beach; as deep and complex as the moles of Oaxaca made with an astounding number of ingredients; and as earthy as the simplest handmade corn tortilla.” Editor’s choice is their Barbacoa – a slow-roasted lamb marinated with chiles, onion, garlic, and avocado leaves, served with onion, cilantro, and tortillas. Goes well with a margarita, just saying…
Tacos Tierra Caliente
If you’re looking for a low-key dining experience this Cinco de Mayo, take a spin out to Montrose where a small, unassuming taco truck is posted on the corner of West Alabama street. The Tacos Tierra Caliente truck has long satisfied Houstonians’ cravings for authentic Mexican tacos. While the prices are low, their no-frills menu boasts flavor that is anything but cheap.
El Bolillo Bakery
Don’t pass on traditional Mexican sweets this Cinco de Mayo. Located on 2517 Airline Dr. and 2421 S Wayside Dr., El Bolillo Bakery is a small pastry shop filled to the brim with a colorful array of delicious cakes, pan dulce, cookies, and desserts. The award-winning bakery is famous for their decadent supply of Tres Leches cakes, but rest assured that your sweet tooth will be satisfied with any one of their delicious pastries.
El Big Bad
Heralded by many as having the best margarita in town, El Big Bad in First Ward, gives customers the chance to customize their own ritas with 30 given infusions at a time. While the choices alone might leave your head spinning, just wait until you actually finish one. For Cinco de Mayo, the rooftop bar and restaurant is going all out with a week of celebrations starting this Friday, April 30. From 4 pm – 2 am nightly, the fiesta will feature live entertainment, DJs, face painters, and, of course, a whole lot of tequila.
El Tiempo Cantina
Love for the vibrant Tex-Mex cantina has grown to the point of the restaurant opening muchos locations throughout the city. The cantina’s restaurants and patios offer a dazzling atmosphere, complete with mouth-watering aromas, to enjoy their authentic Tex-Mex cuisine. The interiors and patios often dazzle with colorful fixtures, greenery, and luscious lighting. Of course, the main draw here is their spectacular, quite potent, margaritas. Made with 100% agave tequila, El Tiempo offers a variety of tantalizing margs – from glasses to pitchers – including their Desert Pear and Blood Orange Margarita.
The General Public
Normally known for their creative southern cooking, The General Public is traveling a little further south this Cinco de Mayo with their house and premium margaritas. Next Wednesday, the restaurant will be holding a “3, 4, 5 Happy Hourly” where drinks are priced by the hour!
The Studewood Cantine
Heights Tex-Mex watering hole, Studewood Cantine, will host una mezcla de fiestas this Cinco de Mayo. Reservations are now open for their rooftop party for the price of $100. From 4 – 9 pm, the fiesta will feature all-you-can eat fajita stations, live music, and five drinks. Meanwhile, the cantina will also host a parking lot party complete with a petting zoo, elote street corn, tamales, snow cones, and margaritas. Otherwise, a special Cinco de Mayo Menu will be available in the dining room or on the patio for $45 from 11 am – 9 pm in the dining room or on the patio that includes mixed fajitas, Mexican beer, and margaritas.
On Cinco de Mayo, the home team-themed brewery and patio is hosting a day party with live music, specialty drinks, and savory eats. From 4 – 9 pm, visitors can tune in to performances from DJ Gracie Chavez and Bombón while sipping on Micheladas. Additionally, the on-site food truck, Eatsie Boys, will be serving their famous Elote Fries – waffled fries doused with buttered corn, cotija cheese, garlic alioli, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos – for a dollar off.
See also: 10 Of The Best Ice Cream Parlors In Houston