A Restaurant Review: Margarita’s on Newport Avenue

by on August 7, 2012 · 5 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach, The Widder Curry

4955 Newport Ave.
Ocean Beach, 92107

For many years I have “boycotted” Margarita’s restaurant in Ocean Beach. I felt that when they opened their doors, they were unethical in the way they left another establishment that employed them for many years. As I heard it from the former employers, the new owners of “Margarita’s” left taking original recipes and staff from their establishment, and, if fact, set up the menu and environment similar to the one they had just left.

My husband and I frequented the original restaurant for years, only glancing in the store front windows of Margarita’s or looking at the very similar menu board propped up on a chair outside the doorway.

After my husband passed away, a neighbor asked me out to breakfast with he and his girlfriend and, without asking where we were going, I agreed to go. Imagine my surprise when we went to Margarita’s. I was greeted warmly by the staff, particularly Sandy, one of the former employees of the other restaurant and now one of the co-owners of Margarita’s, and Daniel, who was the “bus boy” at the previous restaurant and works in the same capacity here (although he does a lot more than just “busing” tables.)

I have been back several times since the initial outing with my friends, but have never gone with anyone other than with them. Today I went there with Joe, a friend I met on-line, for breakfast.

As always, Daniel greeting us with a smile; asked if we wanted coffee, and quickly filled our drink order and brought us salsa and chips. A few minutes later he came back with water for both of us. A waiter I had never seen before, Jesus, handed each of us a menu, and asked if we had any questions. We did, and he answered them quickly.

If you have not been to Margarita’s, you might be surprised to know that they have a very extensive menu, beginning with appetizers ($3.50-$8.00); three vegetarian plates ($7-8); a breakfast menu as well as breakfast combinations ($4.75-$7.50); American breakfasts – ($4.75-$8.50); Omelets ($7.25-$8.25); Pancakes and Waffles ($4.50); Oatmeal ($3.00); and a listing of Breakfast sides. There is also a Lunch/Sandwich menu; Lunch Specialties; Combination plates; ala carte plates; Salads; Kids menu; beer and wine, and many different beverages to choose from.

Joe had a #10 special – two sausages; 2 pancakes; and 2 eggs while I also had the #10 special, but had two pieces of bacon instead of the sausages. Both of our meals were very tasty and at $6.75 we were pleased with the meal. Well, almost pleased with what we had, because the basket of chips was rather “icky.” Half of the chips were wet. I could not see what they were wet from – it wasn’t salsa because there was not any color on them, but, none-the-less, not edible as far as I was concerned. The salsa was very good, but I put it on my eggs, not on the chips.

There is another thing that has always bothered me about the service here and at the previous restaurant. Daniel and Jesus were very friendly and made us feel welcome. I have come to realize that if I am not sitting at Sandy’s table, she ignores us entirely. No smile; no acknowledgement of any sort. I don’t really care if I am a “regular” or a “newbie”. No one likes to be ignored, and there is no excuse for not giving us a smile, or a nod, or some other form of recognition. If I do not feel welcome at an establishment, I will not be back. Even though the food was good and there was plenty of it the lack of welcome is not an inducement to return. And…to clarify, that when I have sat at a table that is Sandy’s, I feel welcome and look forward to a return. Such a simple gesture would make a world of difference.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

RB August 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm

My three favorite places to have breakfast are Nati’s, Red Sails Inn and Margarita’s. Since my wife prefers to eat on the patio, I dine at Nati’s and Red Sails when she is picking up the tab. But when I am having breakfast by myself, I head to Margarita’s.

For me the best breakfast is a Mexican breakfast and Margarita’s chorizo plate is the best around. Wrapping a warm corn tortilla around the egg and chorizo mix is pure foodie bliss. With the beans and rice on the breakfast dish, the chorizo plate is more than you can or should eat at one meal. Other than sitting at the counter of a diner, I have never been at a restaurant that gets the coffee to the table faster.

Oh by the way…..I reward myself with the Chorizo Plate after I have had my cholesterol checked not before.


judi Curry August 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I had the chorizo plate the last time I was there. You are right. It is good and there is a lot of food. I am going to go back to the “original” restaurant in a week or so and compare what I remember to what is now.


Goatskull August 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I used to go there all the time in the mid 90’s. When they changed owners we went’ there once and didn’t care for it. That was a long time ago so maybe I’ll give it another go.


dave rice August 8, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Never been in, may have to give them a shot, as my family’s not big on the other sit-down Mexi options in town. Bravo’s is passable at best, and every time we’ve been in to Nati’s we’ve found it atrocious, to the point we gave up after three tries. I know this puts me at odds with a lot of people here (like Frank and his die-hard allegiance to Espresso Pizza), perhaps the people I know just have a different taste, because someone keeps voting Nati’s the best restaurant in town…


A. Piper August 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Sandy was my neighbor for a good twenty years or so, before I left Ocean Beach. I have always known her to be warm and kind, along with her daughter, Christina.

I simply wouldn’t consider going anywhere else for breakfast when I visit. I love Margaritas!


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