You do not have to be Mexican to appreciate Cinco de Mayo, the annual celebration held on May 5 (just in case your Español is not up to par) to commemorate Mexico’s victory in the battle against Napoleon III’s French forces in 1862.

There was once a Taco Bell in Cayman, but it closed its doors many years ago. Thankfully, it has been replaced by three Mexican restaurants – Carlos & Martin’s, Agave Grill and Casa 43 – that are known for their genuine south-of-the-border dishes and their margaritas.

A Mexican platter fit for a king, at Carlos & Martin's.
A Mexican platter fit for a king, at Carlos & Martin’s.

Carlos & Martin’s Tex-Mex Cantina

This Mexican restaurant and bar in Seven Mile Shops covers two rooms – one with high-top tables designed for happy hour chats and sharing simple dishes, and one with booths and tables for more substantial sit-downs.

The menu of margaritas alone takes up an entire page, covering your classics to your flavored options. Order the regular size if you’re so inclined, or try a larger version when you’re in the mood.

The cantina has nightly specials so you can eat and drink your fill for less.

Carlos & Martin’s is planning a big party on May 5, running from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. the next day. Expect $4 Coronas, $5 rum mixes, $5 vodka mixes and $5 tequila shots, along with 50 percent off quesadillas, burritos and enchiladas.

Scary masks won't put you off the food at Agave Grill, trust us.
Scary masks won’t put you off the food at Agave Grill, trust us.

Agave Grill: A Mexican Cantina

You might miss Agave Grill if you’re not paying attention, as it’s in a simple, two-story building – Ed’s Plaza – easily visible from the Butterfield roundabout. To dismiss it out of turn due to its fairly humble surroundings would be a mistake. The interior is cozy and authentic and the food is fantastic. The drinks aren’t anything to sniff at either.

Every Saturday, the Agave Grill has its All Day Mexican Fiesta with huevos, chilaquiles, breakfast burritos, tacos and parrillada, plus Bloody Caesar and margarita specials. It’s also recommended that you stop by any day of the week for lunch; that is when you’ll see that it may be small, but it’s fierce.

Agave Grill will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo with drink specials and a menu created just for the occasion. Oh yes, and there will be a grill set up outside to really get the party started.

The bar at Agave Grill would not be complete without chili pepper lights.
The bar at Agave Grill would not be complete without chili pepper lights.

Casa 43 Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar

The Casa 43 restaurant on Canal Point Drive, behind Copper Falls steakhouse, is the newest of the three Mexican places in Cayman and it has already made a strong name for itself in the market. Boasting the largest tequila selection on the island and a killer menu (we cannot recommend enough the signature chicharron chips and the fried rock shrimp tacos), it often has a line of people eagerly awaiting a table.

Happy hour runs Monday to Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and features special pricing on select food items; premium and international beers; and as you might expect, a couple of its signature margaritas.

Casa 43 will have drink (including margarita) specials on Cinco de Mayo, and plans to extend happy hour items through the night. No need to decorate – the interior is already plenty festive.

Chips and guacamole.
Chips and guacamole.