Güero’s Taco Bar: Sizzling Fajitas and Frozen Margaritas

Nikolas Maffei

I didn’t know anything about Güero’s Taco Bar before my visit – only what I knew I was after. When it comes to Tex-Mex restaurants, that usually means good salsa and huge portions of house-cooked food at a reasonable price. I did not set out expecting to find a contender for best frozen margarita, or an outdoor music venue to chill with friends. Güero’s provided all of these things in a taco bar and more, all while cultivating a truly lively and welcoming atmosphere.

An Austin Institution

An Austin establishment since 1986, Güero’s is suited to its longtime South Congress location at the heart of the city. Here, it has continued its mission of over 35 years to guests and groups with a cantina atmosphere and authentic food. It is this environment and positive energy that radiates from the staff more than anything else that warrants a visit. The commitment to service and hard work has ensured Güero’s place in the heart of many Austinites seeking Tex-Mex.

Visitors to the restaurant and cantina will be happy to know that Güero’s is open 7 days a week. Happy hours are observed Wednesdays – Fridays 3-6 PM, but the restaurant’s appeal to groups reaches beyond its cheap drinks. Güero’s Oak Garden is a beautiful outdoor seating area with a bar and an atmosphere of its own. Here, guests can listen to live music from local artists while seated at large, covered tables with their friends/family. This is where much of the heart behind  Güero’s can really be found, making for a great group venue.

At the time, the stage was occupied by a performance that was broadcasted live over Sun Radio 100.1 FM. The pleasant weather on that Saturday evening meant that some groups had already claimed to all the stage side tables. I wanted to see the rest of the cantina, so I decided upon an indoor booth and took a seat. I could tell that the restaurant’s COVID policy was taken seriously, as digital menus and sanitation stations were present. My waitress greeted me with a friendly smile and swift service as she brought me a fresh basket of chips.

The Best Margaritas in Austin

I am admittedly not much of a casual drinker, so my waitress’ recommendation for her favorite drink was particularly helpful. I had heard rumors that Güero’s handmade margaritas were fairly strong, so I chose the mango Casa Margarita (frozen). The Triple Sec and fresh lime juice went great with the mango and salt rim. For those seeking a heady drink, these frozen cocktails are nearly a dessert in and of themselves. While I continued reading the menu, complimentary fresh Pico de Gallo and Salsa Verde were sent out with the chips.

I was admittedly very impressed with my frozen margarita, so I decided to test out Güero’s homemade Michelada. Having my pick of a range of imported beers, I opted for a cold Pacifico. The cold brew went perfectly with the provided salted glass, fresh lime, and Güero’s homemade Bloody Mary mix. I hadn’t had a Michelada which had impressed me with its presentation so much before; simple, yet a classic drink. I can confidently say that the cocktails are what will stick with me when thinking back on my visit.

Homemade Tex-Mex Tacos

The Tacos al Pastor, highlighted on the menu as a favorite of guests, were the star of the show. At only $2.69, the presentation and flavor of the marinated pork were very impressive and will likely have me returning soon. Although I’m not one to eat pineapple often, this dish had me making an exception. This homemade recipe is a perfect example of Güero’s interior Mexican flavor that the restaurant strives to uphold in many of its dishes.

The last thing I ordered was the Tamale plate, a fairly basic dish consisting of 3 tamales, rice, and refried beans. This was the dish I was the least impressed with, but maybe it was my order that was uninspired. Looking back, I could have ordered something more unique to the restaurant in order to showcase what it does well. At the end of the day, Güero’s embraces its role as a Cantina and a distributor of quality Tex-Mex food.

Güero’s is a family-run, Austin establishment that prides itself on the same recipes it has been serving to its city for over 30 years. The drinks are strong, the food is good, and the sense of feeling at home is tangible when walking into an event in the Oak Garden for the first time. Güero’s Taco Bar succeeds on every front.