Ten years ago, the first sip of any restaurant margarita around these parts that ditched the grocery store sour mix was reason enough to raise your glass for a toast. With the newfound mixology hype, the trick now is finding an affordable fresh lime-juice margarita. Saddle up to the bar at Ortega 120 and you'll find all the requisite fancy restaurant combos like pomegranate-ginger and chile-mango. Skip those and go straight for the house margarita. It's a 16-ounce pour that could double as two cocktails, or at least a generous one and a half, for $8. During the weeknight happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m., you'll shave $1.50 off the margarita price and $5 off the $30 pitcher — conveniently about right for the tip. 1814 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Redondo Beach. (310) 792-4120, ortega120.com.
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