ViVa bar + kitchen
ViVa bar + kitchen

ViVa bar + kitchen

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://vivabarkitchen.com/
  • Phone: (619) 255-2800
  • Hours of Operation:
    Brunch & Lunch
    Saturday & Sunday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
    Dinner
    Wednesday - Friday: 5:00pm - 1:00am; Saturday & Sunday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Latin American, Latin / Spanish
  • Executive Chef: Ted Ortega
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access
  • Catering: Refer to our website
  • Private Party Facilities: Cocktail V.I.P. Lounge
  • Private Party Contact: Sean Shoja 6198401963

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 4th Street
  • Parking: No
  • Parking Details: Horton Plaza parking structure is across the street
A word from ViVa bar + kitchen
Located in the heart of San Diego’s historic downtown district, ViVa bar + kitchen welcomes guests with a festive atmosphere, cleverly crafted cocktails and vibrant small plates inspired by the latest in Latin cuisine.
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ViVa bar + kitchen reviews from OpenTable diners
20 reviews since July 29, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4
    Service4.1
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
77% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
vibrant bar scene (9)fit for foodies (8)good for groups (7)great for outdoor dining (7)neighborhood gem (5)hot spot (3)special occasion (3)late-night find (2)romantic (1)great for brunch (1)scenic view (1)great for lunch (1)Show More
  • Great mole fritto
    Supermintygirl
    Dined on 11/12/2014
    My boyfriend and I had plans to see a play at the Lyceum on a Wednesday night at seven. I love finding deals for new places and discovered a living social voucher for $50 to spend at viva bar. Which was perfect because it was right across the street from the Horton Plaza mall. I made reservations for 5:15 and we running a little late so I called the restaurant informing them of our delay and they were completly understanding. Our waitress seemed a little overwhelmed after some tables came in after us. I think she was the only server there for a while. We waited a bit longer then I hoped for our appetizer but the ribs were delicious. And my hibiscus margarita was refreshing and not too sweet. I ordered the chicken fritto mole for my entree and my boyfriend ordered three steak tacos. My dish was the win. Chicken breast and thigh meat were both fried perfectly and covered in a mole sauce served over mashed potatoes and corn. The corn had salsa fresca and cotija cheese cooked with it and had this balance of sweet and salty. I would go back again just for this dish but was interested am trying other entrees. Our bill turned out to be 10 something with the fifty dollar voucher. Sixty dollars for a great meal and appetizer and drink for two not bad. Plus there are no discounts like happy hour pricing given when you use a voucher. So would have been even more reasonable with happy hour. Will come back again for the great food.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Jess
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    The service and food was great!! We had a group of 10 and the staff/ service was amazing, Monica and Reggie were great! I would recommend this place to anyone looking for a place off 5th.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Slow
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    The service was slow and the meat under cooked. Overall it wasn't terrible but really killed the party mood because of the slow service
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • GrazerVIP
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    We happened upon this place while in San Diego. The food was very good and our waitress was excellent. We had plenty of food. I had the traditional paella and mt husband had the chicken Caesar salad. Both good choices
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • ChicagoVisitor
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    Not ideal for large group dinners. More suited to casual dinning with groups 6 or under. Too noisy for large group business conversations.
    Special Features:
    late-night find, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Amazing service & delicious food
    sunnyluna
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    My friends and I went for my birthday dinner. The service was amazing and the food was delicious. They were also very gracious with bringing a new dessert to our table as a birthday gesture.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great staff, Good food, Great Time
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    We had a team dinner for 10 at Viva Bar + Kitchen and the staff was very attentive. The made us feel very welcomed...even after we lingered for quite some time at the bar before we went to our table. The food was very good, notably I was impressed with the rib appertisers and lobster tacos. I also recommend the margarita mojito, if you are so inclined.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 13 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 29, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.3
    • Food4.2
    • Ambiance4.2
    • Service4.2
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 31 reviews are from the ViVa bar + kitchen reviews archive.
  • Best Service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Our waiter Kyle was the best server I've ever had and the rest of the party all felt the same way. We had a group of 11 crazy girls from a bachelorette party and Kyle was perfect. Energetic and attentive from start to finish, he really made us feel special, and added a lot of laughs to our party. The food was also amazing. Thank you Viva!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great find for our group!
    ocdiner
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    I had to grab a reservation for 8 on a busy Friday night so using Open Table and Yelp I got a reservation for our group here and figured we would give it a shot. We were all very pleased and this was EXACTLY what we were looking for. Great food, nice drink selection, excellent ambiance, wonderful service and not too loud or crazy so we could actually have a nice conversation. Its not a huge place and it has both indoor outdoor seating. We loved our server and the manager even came by and chatted a bit which was very nice. I will definitely return. We almost did come back the very next day for their churro french toast and unlimited mimosa brunch - yum! Next time! :)
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Birthday Celebration
    smurfette
    Dined on 5/16/2014
    We has excellent service and the experience was wonderful!!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • nothing too diferent
    lightdin
    Dined on 5/15/2014
    we order tacos and the short rib tortas. the tacos is the best thing we tried. then my salad was missing 3 ingredients, looked like a salad from a bag. the halibut quality was very good, but no taste. the drinks were the best, really nice
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • group of 10
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    Our group of 10 people needed a last minute reservation for a Saturday night dinner. Some were vegetarians, some hungry carnivores. Open Table led me to ViVa and I was not disappointed. I ended up having to change reservation times 3 times and they were wonderfully accommodating. The menu offered something delicious for everyone, the service was fantastic and the ambiance was great for this big group to enjoy each other- a little hipster foodie and a little sports bar.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • GeoLinVIP
    Dined on 5/7/2014
    Beau the manager was a delight! Made us so welcome and spent the time to make food and drink recommendations. A must go for an eater experience. The decor is superb, so trendy
    Special Features:
    romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Martyna
    Dined on 4/20/2014
    Went for Easter brunch. Great service, food was great also. You get one free mimosa with an entree! Win!
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Great for Outdoor Dining, Romantic, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • An All Nighters' Brunch
    ElisaB
    Dined on 4/20/2014
    Had a long night out on the town.. this place is a perfect spot for an adult brunch gathering. Bottomless mimosas, bloody Mary's, and Mexican food.
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • appetizers were not good
    omg556VIP
    Dined on 4/11/2014
    the mojitos were outstanding, but the food was just not good. no taste, bad texture, etc. service was very good though
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great service
    Martha
    Dined on 4/6/2014
    Food was great. My husband and I were there for brunch and enjoyed everything about it.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Made my daughter feel special
    TheaterDad
    Dined on 3/28/2014
    While the bar area seems like a sports bar, the decor, crowd, and noise level were that of a tapas place. Lively noise level but conversation was not a problem. Not a lengthy wine list, but long enough. It is nice that a restaurant is comfortable listing both Spanish dishes and Latin American ones on the same menu. All the food we tried was terrific. Due to multiple food allergies, our daughter rarely eats at restaurants, and when she does it's usually forgettable. Viva was a welcome contrast; dining here really started the evening off right. Our server and the executive chef did a great job making her feel not just safe, but gratified. My wife and daughter both complimented my choice repeatedly during and after the meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • So-So
    GolferGirlVIP
    Dined on 3/1/2014
    Tried ViVa this weekend. While the waitress & manager were very friendly and tried to be extremely accommodating, the food just didn't quite meet our expectations. Everything is salty and a bit too spicey. Would be nice if they had a few items on the menu without spice but it doesn't seem so. The desserts were fabulous though and we would certainly return for drinks/desserts anytime! The churros were delicious! They do give a "local" discount, which is very nice. Living in downtown San Diego gives us so many great opportunities. Nice to know the restaurant owners appreciate the locals as much, if not more, than the tourists!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Just ok
    u078
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    Went for Valentines dinner. Main dish was tasty but portion was far too small for the price and the content. We eat out a lot and are happy to pay for a great meal with the right ambiance. Sadly, this place looked better online than it was in person. Not the worst just not worth revisiting. We spent around $150 (including tip) for the following: 2 Appetizers: Calamari - mostly small thing rings somewhat rubbery & Queso Fundido which was fairly bland. 1 Main Dish: Seafood paella - tasty but more like a small bowl of soup with a tiny portion of rice than any paella I've ever seen. Barely enough for one and definitely insufficient to share. 1 Dessert: Tres Leches cake - delicious and creamy. 2 Drinks each - mojitos were fantastic!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • can we say fantabulous!?
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 2/1/2014
    This was just a fantastic dinner. I organized a bachelorette party there and everything was just above and beyond special. They made her feel like royalty and all of her guests! Food was outstanding (we ordered a variety from steak, seafood and chicken...all of it was just amazing). Appetizers were great and those drinks...wow! Strong and delicious. Definitely get your moneys worth! Our waiter, Kyle, was super awesome. Very attentive, very professional yet fun. The GM, Beau, was great as well! He made sure everything went off without a hitch. Dom bottles were there when we arrived, chilled, anything we ordered came out promptly, and he made several appearances to ensure we were all having a great time. Would HIGHLY recommend coming here!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, romantic, late-night find, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Viva on F
    Pete
    Dined on 1/25/2014
    Viva is where the Red Light District restaurant used to be. Red Light was changed by the owner because he did not think the Gaslamp could support his French concept and higher bill of faire. Truly a sad decision. Red Light's vibe, energy, decor and menu was so much better than the new re-incarnation Viva. I can halfheartedly recommend Viva but I think the real problem is location, location, location. Maybe the owner should have found space on 5th or 6th instead of across from the Horton Plaza shopping complex.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Tapas & Drinks
    FachoyVIP
    Dined on 1/24/2014
    Tried this restaurant in the Gas Lamp district across the street from Horton Plaza because we purchased a Travelzoo voucher and were delighted to discover a new favorite spot with excellent tapas sized dishes easily shared between 3 of us and the specialty cocktails were great, not skimpy on size or amount of alcohol. All of the dishes were delicious with the specially the BBQ pork ribs & shrimp tacos. Will definitely be back fo to try the full entree selections and more of the cocktails.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • When we arrived at the time
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 1/21/2014
    When we arrived at the time it was reserved, the doors were closed and the lights were off. Please update the website with the hours or if it is closed permanently, remove the ability to make reservations.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • great time at viva
    WonderWoman
    Dined on 1/11/2014
    Had a Travelzoo coupon for tapas and drinks. Came with my husband for a date night. Food was great, especially fried artichokes! Paella was awesome too! Mojitos are great....very cucumbery. Different than usual. They have Stone on tap too. Great waiter...forgot his name. :) One drawback is the tv screen thing. One screen had really gross wrestling and I was the one facing the screen! Ugh. Maybe one screen would be good.....kinda reminded me of a sports bar, and i don't think that's the theme Viva is going for. But maybe I'm way off on that. I would go back....maybe with a big group.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Stopped by for dinner before
    BeautyAndTheBeast
    Dined on 1/10/2014
    Stopped by for dinner before seeing a show. It was between 6 and 7 on a Friday night so it was quiet. This is definitely more bar-oriented than an actual restaurant, but the food was amazing! Service was pretty good. I would like to come here later on a Friday or Saturday night to meet up with some friends or even after a night of bar hopping. I'm sure the food would taste just as good! We enjoyed the tacos and nachos from their tapas menu. I recommend their house mojito!
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good table service, awful bartender
    mnov
    Dined on 1/3/2014
    Met for dinner and then drinks to follow the other night. Our table server was awesome - personable, great recos. Food was decent. The dessert (churos) were amazing We moved to the bar afterwards and the service was awful. When they actually took our order it was wrong every time. not the brightest staff.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • This restaurant is very vibrant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 12/27/2013
    This restaurant is very vibrant and like a combo bar/ restaurant. The food was much better than bar food though! It was great! cocktails are pricey, so be ready spend some money on drinks. Try it when in gas lamp!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for brunch, late-night find, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Brunch is the way to go!
    LVNa8ive
    Dined on 12/1/2013
    This is our second time going to ViVa for brunch, and both times we enjoyed it very much. We got the Pork Belly Benedict and it is the best Benedict we have ever had! Add bottomless mimosas and we were in heaven! The prices are a bit high but we bought two livingsocials and we thoroughly enjoyed it!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene, great for brunch, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food. Excellent service !!!
    Bryant
    Dined on 11/16/2013
    Everyone is super nice at Viva. The food is way better than I had anticipated for a bar restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • One of the best LivingSocial finds
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/16/2013
    Food was a great, we liked the twist on traditional brunch. Rodney was a perfect server; knowledgeable about the menu, gave recommendations, and was attentive. When first seated they tried to seat us outside at this dinky little table. While it would have been nice ambiance for drinks, the bar was much more comfortable than that would have been. We had reservations too, so it would have been nice to have a table.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The service was excellent,
    Sheryl
    Dined on 11/16/2013
    The service was excellent, we had bottomless Mimosa's and our glass was never empty! Food was great, very fresh and flavorful!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great experience
    Cheesy
    Dined on 11/3/2013
    The food was great and our server was outstanding! Will definitely return when I'm back in the San Diego area.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • fabulous experience!
    makereservations
    Dined on 10/27/2013
    Moderate prices, fun atmosphere, interesting menu, excellent food, & outstanding service, right in the Gaslamp District. I needed to make a reservation for 18 people and didn't want anything overpriced or touristy. locals told me that wasn't likely in the Gas lamp district. We ended up with a group of 23 and still the service was friendly, organized, and accommodating, food delightful, orders served promptly and accurately, & we enjoyed a wonderful array of paellas, salads, and Mexican specialties that appealed to vegetarians, meat eaters, and seafood lovers alike. Every single person in our large group was enthusiastic in their praise for this restaurant. ViVa just opened this past summer and we wish them great success. An amazing find!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great new find downtown
    SusieVIP
    Dined on 10/12/2013
    This place was great. Beautiful inside. Great service. My husband had the paella. It was served beautifully and was quite delicious. I had the seabass fish tacos. I'm a hardcore rubio's fan when it comes to fish tacos, but this were really good too. I also had a wonderful cocktail...I cannot recall the name, but it was a mojito with tequila vs. rum . My husband had the tequila flight....awesome presentation and very fun for him! Great new find! And it was only noisy because there was a loud group of women next to us!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fun Champagne Brunch
    brunchchicVIP
    Dined on 9/21/2013
    We to ViVa for Champagne Brunch with my girlfriends last Saturday. I love that they offer bottomless mimosa brunch on Sat and Sun, since Sun brunches can make for long Mondays! Food was really good - I had the pork belly eggs benedict. Mimosas are premixed, so you'll get a lot of oj, but overall good experience and I would definitely go back.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good times with friends
    Jessica
    Dined on 9/18/2013
    I had reserved a 7:00 dinner time with a friend but arrived early. The hostess was very kind and seated us even with the 1/2 hour early arrival. She suggested a great seat outside (which was perfect) and had the waitress come over right away. Our Waitress was very personable and had a great smile. She was very attentive and made sure we had more then enough. As the night went on the manager came out to great us, he was very gracious and thanked us for coming. All in all...the food was good at good prices, the atmosphere was perfect and the staff was wonderful!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, vibrant bar scene, romantic, scenic view, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Memorable experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 9/1/2013
    We were celebrating a bachlorette party. The service and food was excellent! We ordered tapas and drinks. Definitely, our best food choice for the weekend !
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.