A hot new tapas spot drops octopus snacks and gin cocktails on downtown Mountain View

Vida is the newest restaurant from team behind hit pizzeria Doppio Zero. Photo credit: Vida
A paella dish with mussels, shrimp, and black rice at Mountain View tapas restaurant Vida

A hot new tapas spot landed in the whirring heart of Silicon Valley. Vida debuted in downtown Mountain View on February 3 and is the latest restaurant from the award-winning pizza guys behind Doppio Zero.

Restaurateurs Gianni Chiloiro and Angelo Sannino have spun pasta and pizza restaurants for decades in the Bay. They opened the original Doppio Zero in 2014, which has since grown to five locations with a couple more under construction. Their Neapolitan-style pies top pizza charts around the world, winning respect from Italian ambassadors and French critics alike.  

When a big space opened up near the original Doppio Zero on Castro Street, Chiloiro and Sannino decided it was time for a couple of Italian guys from Puglia and Naples to serve Spanish and Mediterranean-inspired tapas. “We just loved the idea and the food, so why not?” Chiloiro says. Plus, there are cocktails for all those 30-something thirsty tech workers. “I think we have the best bar on Castro right now,” he says. He believes the downtown dining scene could use a chill lounge, and Vida is giving it a shot.  

A spanish omelet with a green pepper on top at Mountain View tapas restaurant Vida
Highlights among the tapas include this tortilla topped padron pepper. Photo credit: Vida

The duo called in a Spaniard to lead the kitchen. Chef Jorge Serrano flew in from Madrid to develop the opening menu alongside chefs from Sevilla and Argentina.

The early hit is grilled octopus, which swam over from Galicia and unfurls a single charred tentacle over a bed of smashed gold potatoes. Other small plate highlights include tortilla (omelet) topped with padron pepper, albondigas (meatballs) rolling in salsa tomate, and papas bravas (fries) generously drizzled with lemon aioli. Go big with a trio of paellas, including fresh seafood and meaty options, as well as whole branzino and tomahawk steaks fit for party animals. And for dessert, there’s the Bay Area’s current obsession: Basque cheesecake oozing dulce de leche and topped with a pinch of flaky sea salt. 

The restaurant started with dinner in February and added lunch in March, so techies can now power lunch over burgers topped with peppers and eggs.   

A gin and topic with butterfly pea which gives the drink a purple hue
Gin and tonics with a twist, such as this creation with buttery pea, star on the drinks menu at Vida. Photo credit: Vida

Mixologist Ociel Pedrosa pours variations on gin and tonics flavored with elderflower or tinted with butterfly pea, giving the latter an ultraviolet color that’s primed for Instagram. The house sangria has fruit fermented in red wine for a couple of days to develop a rich flavor. 

The pornstar martini, popular throughout Spain, shakes up vanilla vodka with passion fruit, adding egg whites for foam and a pop of cava for fizz. The Ibiza Old Fashioned feels like walking out of the fog machines at the club: Smoky mezcal is stirred with chocolate and orange bitters, poured over a serious rock of ice, and served at the table in a box of smoke (They blowtorch wood chips in order to capture the cloud of smoke inside the box).

The interior of the tapas restaurant Vida with wooden tables, green banquettes, and wooden chairs with leather cushions.
The spacious restaurant has four distinct spaces for diners to unwind. Photo credit: Vida

This empty storefront was formerly Xanh, a popular Vietnamese restaurant that shuttered during the pandemic. Architect Oswalda Mesia redesigned the generous 5,200 square feet, defining four areas for eating and drinking. Diners enter a lounge with live plants and a waterfall. A horseshoe bar stands at the center of the space fitted with white-tile floors and tan-leather stools. 

The dining room to the left, slightly separated behind the bar, reveals green velvet banquettes and chandeliers. A private room to the right hides black-and-white floors, ornate mirrors, and a digital projector. Another lounge in the back is a cozy outpost with tan leather booths. Chiloiro’s daughter Daniela Chiloiro painted two murals, one at the entrance inspired by a flamenco dancer and another in the back that resembles colorful Mediterranean tiles. 

Several blocks of Castro Street have already been closed to cars, and Chiloiro plans to move even more tables onto the street. He hopes to throw open the doors this summer, have a DJ spin records in the lounge, and let the music spill outdoors. “You know, booths with big leaves and twinkle lights. I won’t say tropical, but something a little different—Mediterranean,” he says.  

Vida is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Thursday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 4:30 to 10 pm, Friday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 4:30 to 11 pm, Saturday from 11:30 am to 11 pm, and Sunday from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm.

Book now

-Becky Duffett is a food writer living and eating in San Francisco. Follow her on Instagram at @beckyduffett.

Find your table for any occasion