Each week, we venture to a new restaurant to check out what the spot has to offer during our favorite time of day — happy hour. Whether it's affordable appetizers, delicious drinks, jaw-dropping deals, or none of the above, we'll check out the situation and report back.
The Spot: SOL Mexican Cocina
15323 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
The Hours: Happy hour runs Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. for selected drinks and food. Tuesday is Taco Tuesday from 4 p.m. to close.
Perfect for: Friendly and casual, the ambiance lends to a quiet get-together with friends or discussing business opportunities with potential clients. Spacious indoor and outdoor seating sets the mood, depending on whether you are dining for pleasure or for business. Those who are seeking quiet time can find a table in the back to enjoy down time. Oh and don't forget to live it up during Taco Tuesdays — if you're a connoisseur of specialty tacos, happy hour offers great deals.
Interior: Open and inviting, Sol Mexican Cocina plays relaxing tunes as you enjoy your food and drinks. Whether you want to sit at the bar, on the patio or indoors, this restaurant has an ample amount of space to accommodate a large gathering after work or a business meeting, or if you enjoy dining alone, you can grab a table in the back without the prodding eyes of others judging your choice. Even last-minute patrons won't have to wait during happy hour — they will try to find a way to accommodate you without a reservation.
The Food: If you are seeking fresh ingredients and atypical food during happy hour, you've come to the right place. Many of the menu items here are inspired by Baja cooking present in the California coastal region and aren't available at other restaurants.
We tried the grilled sweet corn, roasted with butter, cotija, chile, and chipotle salsa; the crunch of the corn and the spice blend well. If you want a little something to hold you over until dinner time, this appetizer is only $3. That's a deal for upscale food during happy hour.
For those who prefer spice, but in a different form, try the hot and raw ceviche — it is complemented by fresh citrus, habaneros, and tropical fruit. There is a twist to this dish — it also arrives with sweet potato and beet chips (a healthy side to temper any guilt about indulging). You won't the break the bank with this appetizer either — only $8.75 for a delight you're likely not going to find anywhere else during happy hour.
And one last thing — if you come on Tuesdays, yes, Sol Mexican Cocina follows the national trend of Taco Tuesdays. Every Tuesday, from 4 p.m. to close, it's $1 off on specialty tacos. Choose from pork carnitas street tacos, grilled fish zarandeado tacos, lemon-Mezcal grilled chicken street tacos and more. Most tacos are 2 for $3.50.
The Drink: This might not come as a surprise to you, but Sol Mexican Cocina is all about margaritas during happy hour. There are options, though, like the skinny version for $7 or a frozen margarita for $6, but we decided to try the best-seller, the Corralejo Grande Margarita, which is available in either version. I am picky about my margaritas — if they are overly sweet or too heavy on the tequila, it isn't a convincing enough drink to fritter all my calories away on mediocrity. This isn't a worry at Sol. The tequila is smooth and the sweetness is tempered to enhance the margarita; you can feel the drink hitting all the right places. If tequila isn't your thing, all wines by the glass are $3 off and bottled beers (domestic and imported) are $3.50. Well drinks are available for $6.50.
Don't Miss: The Corralejo Grande margarita.
Skip This: People-watching. Not much to see, but who cares, when you can focus on your margarita and tacos?
Conclusion: The atmosphere is casual and friendly, the seating is yours for the taking, and you are treated to upscale food at reasonable prices.