Matt Baumayr, Rich Howland, and Executive Chef Deborah Schneider are not newbies to the restaurant scene. They also own SOL Mexican Cocina with locations in Newport Beach, CA and Scottsdale, AZ. Known for their authentic Mexican cuisine that was inspired by their travels through Mexico and vast array of tequilas, SOL was just yearning for a “little sister” to share its love of Mexican food. In December 2013, Solita opened in the Bella Terra Center in Huntington Beach, CA. It’s a neighborhood, casual Mexican eatery featuring bold, imaginative dishes along with traditional favorites including an all-weather patio, indoor/outdoor bar, and take out service. Their indoor bar is beautifully lit to showcase their wide selection of tequilas.
Let’s take a look at some of the Specialty Drinks:
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. It can be served frozen or on the rocks. This had a balanced flavor, not too sweet and not too sour. The tequila was very smooth. Thumbs up, way up!
Solita Skinny Margarita is made with Agavales blanco tequila shaken with fresh lime juice, a touch of agave nectar, and a splash of soda water. Wow, this tasted like an adult limeade! It made me pucker a little, but was very refreshing. I would totally order this again! I actually liked it a little better than the House Margarita. Thumbs up, way up!
Watermelon Margarita is made with Agavales blanco tequila, crushed watermelon and fresh lime juice. The watermelon was apparent on the nose, but the flavor was very subtle on the palate.
El Hombre is Agavales blanco infused in-house with chipotle peppers, served skinny style with fresh lime juice and lightly sweetened with agave nectar. It was good, but not spicy enough. I would have let the chipotle soak in the tequila a little longer. A nice presentation would be with a dried chile pepper or slice of crispy bacon. Thumbs up!
Guava Margarita is pink guava nectar shaken with Agavales blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, agave nectar and finished with a pinch of sea salt. Being from Hawaii, my favorite tropical flavor is guava. The first thing I do when I land in Hawaii is to go to the store and buy Foremost Guava Juice. It also reminds me of my grandpa who always had it chilled and ready for me in the fridge when we arrived at his house. The guava worked great with the tequila flavor. The sea salt accentuated the sweetness of the guava. Thumbs up!
Horchata Cocktail is Solita’s house made horchata served on the rocks with Agavales blanco tequila, 1921 Crema, and a touch of cinnamon. I loved this drink! It reminded me of a liquid churro and I love churros! Thumbs up, way up!
Let’s take a look at some of menu items:
Guacamole Solita is fresh made guacamole served “old school” in a fried tortilla bowl, topped with diced mango, tomato, onion, serrano chile, and cilantro. The guacamole was creamy, yet chunky enough to taste the buttery fruit of the avocado. The mango added a delightfully different sweetness. Thumbs up, way up!
Queso al Forno is bubbling Mexican cheeses with green onions and serrano chiles in an iron cazuela served with corn and flour tortillas. I love cheese so I knew I would love this. I scooped up some cheese and spread it on the inside of the tortilla, folded it in half, and made it into a quesadilla. The chiles gave it a slightly spicy flavor and the green onions brightened up the flavors overall. Thumbs up, way up!
Exotic Mushrooms (Setas) with Wood-Grilled Poblano Chiles & Cream is sautéed mixed mushrooms and green chile with garlic, epazote, white wine, heavy cream, and cheese. This was the dish of the night! The creamy sauce worked well with the meaty mushrooms, using it as a dip with tortilla chips or smeared on a corn or flour tortilla. I know this is Mexican cuisine, but this would taste great atop fettuccine or layered in lasagna. Thumbs up, way up!
Tequila Shrimp & Avocado Sundae is lightly cooked shrimp with blanco tequila, salsa fresca, lime juice, and chipotles layered with Marta’s creamy avocado sauce in a sundae glass. The shrimp was perfectly cooked with a good snap. It actually matched well with the creamy avocado sauce. I thought there was a little too much of the salsa fresca, but otherwise a good dish to share. Thumbs up!
Yellowtail Ceviche Tropicale is diced fresh Gulf of California yellowtail tossed with fresh-squeezed lime juice, serrano chiles, cucumber, diced tropical fruits, salsa fresca, and avocado. This ceviche was not at all too lemony and kept the yellowtail slightly raw (almost seared) for a sashimi-like texture. The tropical fruit salsa matched perfectly with the yellowtail. Thumbs up, way up!
Grilled Corn Elote is whole ear of sweet corn roasted and grilled with butter, chipotle salsa, California chiles, cotixa & green onion. This was just a beautifully fun and fiesta-like presentation! The corn was grilled to perfection with sweet juiciness bursting from every bite. Thumbs up, way up!
Copa de Frutas is cucumber jicama, and seasonal fruit served with lime and chile con limon. This is a typical push-cart street food. You may find it odd to sprinkle the chile con limon on your fruit, but it works surprisingly well. In the Mexican grocery store, you can always find dried mango that is covered in chile con limon – umami sweet, salty, and spicy flavor. Thumbs up!
Red Chile Beef ‘Borracho’ Taco is oak-smoked shredded beef with beer-spiked salsa. The beef was perfectly cooked and smoked. It reminded me of tender braised beef short rib. Thumbs up, way up!
Beer Battered Shrimp Taco is made with a house made spicy batter and served with secret sauce and lime. I liked the crispy texture of the batter, but felt that the taco would have been better with the shrimp in its natural form. The sweetness of the shrimp was lost. Plus, the batter made this overly carb heavy.
Wood-Grilled Carne Asada Taco is grilled beef asada with house spice rub. This was a great cut of beef. It was so tender, flavorful, and grilled to a perfect medium rare. Thumbs up, way up!
Quesadilla is two flavor tortillas, butter-crisped, with Mexican cheese, meat (choose from chicken, carnitas, chile garlic tofu, carne asada, mushrooms, chicken mole, shredded beef, shrimp, or grilled fish), salsa fresca, and guacamole. It was like an over-stuffed sandwich. There was so much carnitas in there, we almost busted our guts. I would definitely like to try this again with either the shredded beef or carne asada. Thumbs up, way up!
Perro Caliente ‘changa” is a grilled Mexican hot dog rolled in a flour tortilla with bacon, cream cheese, pickled jalapeno & onion, deep-fried and topped with sour cream, lettuce, green onions, salsa fresca, and served with chipotle ketchup. The first thing I thought of when it was put on the table was “County Fair”! It sounds crazy, but it was crazy good especially with the chipotle ketchup. All it needs is some powdered sugar and chocolate sauce--just kidding! Thumbs up!
Churro, House Recipe is served hot in a paper cone with cinnamon sugar and chocolate sauce. They really do come to your table piping hot so be careful on your first bite. This sends me back to my childhood memories of Disneyland. My favorite thing to get was churros. There is nothing like the crispy outside and the soft tender doughy inside encompassed with cinnamon sugar. I love Solita’s version with all of the different lengths and curves, giving it more of that homemade feel. I think I will order some vanilla ice cream on the side next time! Thumbs up, way up!
Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars
For more information:
Solita Tacos & Margaritas
7613 Edinger Ave Ste 1508
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
- Hours: Sunday through Thursday from 11am to 10pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 11pm
- Bar closes at midnight.