The success of SOL Cocina in Newport Beach has spawned a sister restaurant solita Tacos & Margaritas at Bella Terra in Huntington Beach. And we couldn’t be happier. In SoCal, you can never have too many Mexican restaurants – tasteful, high quality ones that is.
With a distinctive menu centered around a custom wood fire grill, Solita’s is a simple, sophisticated neighborhood Mexican restaurant inspired by the best of Executive Chef Deborah Schneider’s and partners’ travels through Baja California and Mexico. Like SOL, diners can expect fresh ingredients, big flavors and seasonally changing menus with Solita’s personality expressed in its unique look and menu.
I could make a meal of Solita’s housemade chips, guacamole and trio of salsas and their Yellowtail Ceviche Tropicale ($10.50): diced fresh Gulf of California yellowtail tossed with fresh-squeezed lime juice, serrano chiles, cucumber, diced tropical fruits, salsa fresca, and avocado, it is the perfect balance of tart citrus and sweet tropical fruit. The fresh cubes of luscious yellowtail is cured by the lemon and offset beautifully by the salsa fresca and buttery avocado. Guacamole Solita is fresh made guacamole presented beautifully in a fried tortilla bowl, topped with diced mango, tomato, onion, serrano chile, and cilantro. Akin to SOL’s Naked Guacamole which I’ve had on many occasions, the guacamole is creamy, yet chunky enough to fully appreciate the buttery fruit of the avocado and Solita’s mango twist imparts a delightfully sweet touch.
But you cannot leave without ordering the Elote! While steak and fish sizzle on the custom oak-fired Santa Maria-type grill that’s the heart of the restaurant, the superstar from the grill is the humble corn elote, an ear of super flavorful Mexican yellow corn ($3.50) roasted and grilled with butter, chipotle salsa, California chiles, and cotija cheese. A tip from my friend, Priscilla at Orange Coast Magazine: “Say yes when the server offers to cut the kernels from the cob, and combine some in a tortilla with the wood-grilled exotic mushrooms with poblano chiles and crema ($12.50). That tortilla’s special, too; for Solita and for SOL, they’re custom-made with fresh masa by Santa Ana’s venerable El Metate.”
Add their Skinny margarita (my usual) or the house Margarita or the Horchata margarita and you’re good to go! “Solita is a concept that is rooted in two of the things we love most about Mexico: tacos and margaritas,” said Rich Howland, Operating Partner of solita Tacos & Margaritas. “My partners and I wanted to open the kind of neighborhood Mexican restaurant we all wished we had near our homes – a place that combines the distinct elements of Baja and presents them in a relaxed, casual setting.” Solita’s features only fresh fruit-based, agave-sweetened margaritas made with 100% blue agave tequilas, recipes are made in-house with fresh citrus juices and contain no HFCS, preservatives or coloring. Like SOL, solita’s also offers an extensive selection of artisan, premium and ultra premium tequilas. You would expect that of a restaurant whose decor includes a brilliant glass wall of back-lit agave plants!
The Solita House Margarita is made with 100% blue agave Agavales blanco shaken with house made sweet & sour, a splash of fresh orange juice and Triple Sec. Frozen or on the rocks, all their traditional and fruit margaritas are distinguished by the perfectly balanced house made sweet & sour. The Solita Skinny Margarita ($9.00) is made with Agavales blanco tequila shaken with fresh lime juice, a touch of agave nectar, and a splash of soda water – very refreshing on the palate and easier on the waistline. Next visit, I’m trying one of their Farmer’s Market Margaritas made with fresh juices, fruits, herbs and vegetables.
Beverage director Colin Pflugradt has created a bevy of fresh ingredient margaritas
Several of my friends favor the Horchata Cocktail (shown above): house made horchata served on the rocks with Agavales blanco tequila, 1921 Crema, and a touch of cinnamon, it’s like having a liquid ice-cream filled churro! All Solita’s margaritas are served in pint glasses and priced around $10.00.
The open, oak-fired Santa Maria-type grill and smoker at the heart the restaurant is the inspiration for Executive Chef Deborah Schneider’s unique take on familiar Mexican favorites such as tacos, carne asada, oak-roasted chipotle chicken, wood-grilled wild fish and more—all created with premium fresh ingredients and served with delicious hand-made salsas. If you arrive at Solita’s expecting the typical beans and rice combination dinners, you won’t find it here. However, diners who are vegan or gluten-free will be particularly happy as there are more than 30 vegan, vegetarian and wheat-free items on the menu.
BONUS! Beverage director, Colin Pflugradt has shared his Skinny Margarita recipe with us!
- 2 ½ ounces blanco tequila
- 2 ½ ounces fresh lime juice
- 1 ½ ounces agave nectar or to taste
- Splash of soda
Combine in mixing glass; shake vigorously. Serve on the rocks, with or without salt rim.
Recipe by Colin Pflugradt.
Solita Tacos & Margaritas
Bella Terra Center
7631 Edinger Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA
Serving lunch and dinner daily.