I was invited to preview solita weeks before opening and I immediately fell in love with the number of margaritas they were sampling and the beautiful interior of the restaurant you will marvel at when you open the wooden front door. Since its opening, I’ve been back several times with friends and pretty much know my favorites here.
The restaurant is sister to Sol Cocina in Newport Beach and is once again helmed by Chef Deborah Schneider. Situated right by Corner Bakery Cafe, solita offers both indoor and outdoor seating, but my favorite place to sit is in the front room of the inside with high tables and banquette seating (not recommended for children requiring high chairs).
A basket of duros, blue corn and regular tortilla chips are brought to the table along with some salsa for you to munch on while you’re perusing the menu.
I am especially partial to solita because tequila is my “mommy juice” (my son says that) of choice so you can be sure I went ahead and tried a handful of the specialty cocktails on the menu. My favorites are solita Skinny Margarita ($9) a tart drink with a touch of agave nectar to cut the acidity some. Watermelon Margarita ($10) is absolutely delicious and refreshing and the watermelon is crushed and juiced before service each day.
How about a Horchata Cocktail ($10) made with solita’s own house-made horchata? Kids can order their own glass sans alcohol. The Guava Margarita ($10) is so fragrant with pink guava nectar and all cocktails are created using Agavales blanco tequila.
I love shrimp cocktail, so Tequila Shrimp & Avocado Sundae ($12.50) is right up my alley. Served in a sundae glass, shrimp is combined with blanco tequila, salsa fresca, lime juice and chipotles layered with Marta’s creamy avocado in a sundae glass.
One of my favorites is Yellowtail Ceviche Tropicale ($10.50) using diced fresh Gulf of California yellowtail, tossed with fresh-squeezed lime juice, serrano chiles, cucumber, tropical fruit, salsa fresca and avocado. Although this is large enough to share, you could possibly have it as your own entree if you want to hog it all yourself. It is tart, refreshing and very mouth-puckering good.
My son loves avocado and naturally, he also loves guac. Guacamole solita ($7.75) is fresh made guacamole served old school in a fried tortilla bowl mixed with onion, serrano chile and cilantro. I like a little more lime juice in mine, and if you are the same, just ask your server to bring you some lime wedges. Or, I find the onion and cilantro mix they place on the table adds another flavor dimension to the guac.
Mushroom lovers definitely can’t miss out on the Exotic Mushrooms (setas) with Wood Grilled Poblano Chiles & Cream ($12.50). It is a tad heavy, but only because the mixed mushrooms are sauteed with green chile, garlic, epazote, white wine and then enveloped with heavy cream and cheese. This is a great vegetarian entree you can wrap into the handmade tortillas which accompany or as a side for the table. It is so damn good!
Those of you who follow my Facebook page know how anamored I am by the Grilled Corn Elote ($3.50) and I have had it every single time I’ve been here. A whole ear of corn is roasted and grilled with butter, chipotle salsa, California chiles, cotija cheese and green onion. You can cut the corn off your corn or your server will do it for you. I like to do it myself because I’m OCD like that and want to get every little piece of corn off that cob!
There was only one dish I disliked and it was Perro Caliente “Changa” ($12). One would think this was a dish I would totally go for considering it is a grilled Mexican hot dog rolled in a flour tortilla with bacon, cream cheese, pickled jalapeno, onion and deep fried. I think there was just too much going on and it was a little soggy. Everyone I’ve spoken to loves it, so I’m guessing it’s just me.
If tacos are your thing, you can order a taco sampler plate offering four tacos which you can mix and match. There are two columns depending on what filling you desire. Taco Tasters ($11 just tacos/ $14.50 el primo) we chose from the el primo section came in the form of carne asada, beer battered shrimp, sauteed mushrooms, red chile beef borracho.
Those of you who aren’t into sharing, there are entree-sized meals under the “solita specialties” which you can have on your own such as Snow Crab & Shrimp Enchilada ($19.75) three corn tortillas stuffed with snow crab leg meat, garlic sauteed shrimp and cheese, topped with red and green sauce, cheese and sour cream.
Or there is the Wood-Grilled Fajitas ($15.50/chicken) with your choice of chicken or beef with roasted poblano chiles, tossed with red peppers, red onions, served with guacamole and salsa fresca.
But the meal doesn’t end here. Make sure you leave some room for dessert. My favorites were the Grownup Churro Sundae ($8.50) bananas sauteed with butter, brown sugar, rum and Kahlua, assembled into a sundae glass with churro bits, vanilla soft ice cream, caramel and chocolate sauce. Definitely a sharer because it is quite large.
El Domingo ($8.50) is just the sort of thing I love because it’s vanilla soft ice cream in a crispy chocolate tortilla bowl with strawberries and chocolate sauce. In fact, I just need the ice cream and bowl — maybe they can do that for me next time?
My very first giveaway of the year is a $50 gift card generously donated by solita. Please leave me a comment with your FULL name and tell me what most excites you about visiting solita for your chance to WIN. Entries close on Sunday, Jan 5th, winner will be announced Monday, Jan 6th. Good Luck!
7631 Edinger Avenue
Huntington Beach, CA 92647