ViVa bar + kitchen opens up to a purposeful and quiet fanfare in the former Red Light District Dining Room & Social House spot in San Diego’s Gaslamp area. Revamped with flat screens and leather banquettes, the Latin inspired menu has recently doubled in size to appease more taste buds.
While the bigger is better approach to the tapas style menu is yet to be seen, the servers and bartenders graciously help out to sort through the multitude of choices. The front of the house seems to be the more oiled part of the establishment as the kitchen seems to be playing catch up. Thankfully, the staff at ViVa bar + kitchen are entertaining enough to distract from the wait time for entrées. Diners can also enjoy the delectable and complimentary house made crispy chicharones while people watching. For the bachelorette parties that storm through, the bride gets a fun extra surprise with a secret signature drink upon arrival.
The fish ceviche and the pork belly have been crowd favorites thus far. The other seafood options like the crab cake is quite flavorful and is well seasoned. Patrons can end a carb and protein laden meal with a rich gelato or with a lighter choice of the Mexican flan. Wednesday is celebrated with an all day happy hour but it’s the brunch menu with an impressive 17 dishes that looks very promising. It is seemingly medicinal for any hangover with options such as churro waffles, a chorizo omelet, and the carnitas hash and eggs.
The lack of press around Viva bar + kitchen was done on purpose in order to have time to wear off the new car smell. It gives them the opportunity to adjust the opening times as well as the menu options according to valuable customer feedback. As long as the tail follows the head, ViVa bar + kitchen has the ingredients for a successful venture.