Buena Vida - Arlington

4.3
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199 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Mexican
At Buena Vida the cuisine featured is traditional, indigenous fare incorporating recipes that have been handed down through generations. One will have an authentic experience, tasting a Mexican cooking that transcends what one expects from most Mexican restaurants in America. For example, there is no flour used in any savory dish as seeds are ground and incorporated, as is the tradition for authentic cuisine from this country. The restaurant takes pride in using fresh, seasonal ingredients as well as sustainable and socially responsible cooking methods. All items are made from scratch including organic corn tortillas, house-made sauces and made-to-order salsas.

Specials

Christmas Eve Special Menus & Offers

Buena Vida will be open for Christmas Eve from 5 pm to 10:30 pm. We will be offering Fiesta Experience menu-unlimited small plates for $35 per person with the addition of a few Christmas Eve special Chefs creations.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Day Special Menus & Offers

Buena Vida will be open for Christmas Day from 5 pm to 10:30 pm. We will be offering Fiesta Experience menu-unlimited small plates for $35 per person with the addition of a few Christmas Day special Chefs creations.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

Buena Vida will be open for New Year's Eve from 5 pm to 10:30 pm. We will be offering Fiesta Experience menu-unlimited small plates for $35 per person with the addition of a few special Chefs creations.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

What 199 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.2
food
4.2
service
4.5
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on November 27, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience4

To be honest, this meal was mediocre at best. The food went from having over powering seasoning to bland. On top of that, the service was not good. We sat for over 15 minutes before anyone came to take our drink order. When we asked to see the a la carte menu the server gave us some attitude and then brought one copy (there were 3 of us). From there we sat for long periods and had an item we ordered missed. When our server finally came to check on us after we were long finished with food and our only drink order, we were asked if we wanted dessert without any idea what was available. One of these service misses I would understand, but all together bubbles into an unexceptionable experience.

BD
Washington DC
36 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of our favorite places in Arlington. The small plates are creative, tasty and varied. Something for everyone. Service was attentive, and the server helpful in navigating the menu.

RG
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience5

Enjoyed the unlimited tapas option. The drinks were great! I got the pear ginger margarita, it was delicious. A great place for a group of friends or a date.

j
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nice little spot where you can candlelight dine or just sit and have a drink and eat tacos. And the Mix-and-Match is amazing when you want different options.

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Great service

OT
Miami
1 review
Dined on November 14, 2019
Overall2food1service2ambience3

The food was mediocre at best. Afterwards we were too full but not satisfied. Wouldn’t go back.

b
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely loved our waitress, Nika, and when our food was late she gave us a dessert crepe free of charge! She was very considerate and friendly. Our food was delicious and arrived hot. I love their brunch menu!

CB
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience5

Service could be better .. sometimes the food comes fast and sometimes it arrives slow

f
New England
8 reviews
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience2

We were a party o 7, they sat us at an oval table under the staircase which felt really claustrophobic. We were moved, which was great, although the hostess did not tell anyone we moved. Eventually, our server came over to bring menus, but could not articulate clearly the difference between the $35 per person menu and the alacarte menu, so our ordering was very confusing. The dishes came out in a disorganized manner, empty dishes were not cleared at all. Overall, not a great experience.

OT
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Our waitress was great
We waited for one friend who was
having a hard time getting there
and she was understanding and
very nice about the wait
Loved the chips and we ordered
Guac to go with

OT
Richmond
3 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall2food2service1ambience4

I made an 11:30 Sunday brunch reservation for three people but we did not get seated until 11:50. The only reason that we got seated was because we got the attention of one of the bartenders and we were promptly seated afterwards. The service was inadequate - it took around 15 minutes before someone asked if we were ready to order. We had a few people check in on our tables during our meal, which was a good attempt at service, but then when we were wrapping up our meal, the person started taking away our plates without even asking and we were not finished with our meal.

Funny enough, I had a coworker passively recommend this place. Another coworker noted their distaste for this restaurant because of subpar food and service, but I was just hoping that her experience was a one time occasion and I decided to visit this restaurant anyways. I should have listened to my second coworker’s advice and picked a different restaurant other Buena Vida. I will not come back.

DC
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a lovely time at BV this past weekend. We did the unlimited $29 small plates option and really enjoyed having the opportunity to try all kinds of different things. The waiter was wonderful--just the right amount of attentive but didn't hover. He was also very good about pacing and spreading out the dishes so that everything didn't come at once. We especially liked the salmon, chicken enchilada, and grilled shrimp. Definitely will be back!

CS
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

We were attracted by the Restaurant Week menu that features unlimited "small" plates for $29/person. The "small" plates include at least 30 different options. We sampled ten of these options - all were excellent. Standout dishes included the tuna ceviche, the grilled salmon, the chicken skewer (with mole sauce) and the soft taco with shaved brussel sprouts. This Restaurant Week menu is currently available through November 4th; we have encouraged others to try Buena Vida; and we will return to sample this menu again. We recommend that the restuarant consider making this sampling menu available all the time - like its neighbor Ambar. At $35/person, this would still be a terrific value!

GJ
Raleigh
18 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience4

Got excited when I saw they were doing unlimited small plates for $29 for 2 weeks. Overal the atmosphere and service were good but I was a little disappointed with the food. It was good but some of the plates were hit and miss and it felt like the flavor pallet on each was missing something.

LC
Brisbane / QLD
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a great night out at Buena Vida. The food was delicious and the cocktails were even better! The tuna tartare was so fresh and the pulled pork was incredible. Service was impeccable. We tried the limitless menu and our waiter was extremely attentive - we certainly didn’t leave the restaurant hungry or thirsty! Love the ambience. I’d come back in a heartbeat.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We checked this place out for Arlingtons Restaurant Week and fell in love! The food was delicious, the service was great and the ambiance was cozy. Beautiful decor as well! Will be back!

M
1 review
Dined on October 24, 2019
Overall2food1service4ambience3

The food lacked flavor overall. Since we did the unlimited option we tired to find items that we liked. The empanadas were basically the only food option I found to be palatable.

L
Washington DC
14 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience5

I ordered the fried chicken with plantain pancakes which was too dry. It required a sauce. I was so desperate I was using the leftover jam and butter from the complimentary biscuits. My friend got the mushroom Benedict that did not look appetizing. Interesting that the Benedict came over cornbread. The effort was there but the execution was mediocre.

OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great experience. The manager was really nice and was checking with us all the time. He also told us a funny story and offered us drinks and dessert. We had a great time!!!!

GE
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience4

I'm sad that they switched to a tapas format. Many of the different dishes tasted the same - I'm thinking of the raw seafood especially. Oh well.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing place, I really enjoyed the new menu. I’ve been there three times and this is beyond the best menu I’ve seen. I work in the industry and have gone to culinary school and the best hanger steak I’ve had was at Buena Vida on Friday night. Compliments to the great waitress that was from Honduras (didn’t catch her name) - had a wonderful time !

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding!

KC
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Great unlimited brunch! Where we were seated was a bit warm, but the food and drinks were delicious. Our food orders got confused a couple times with other tables or we had to ask a few times about our food, but overall a good experience and would return.

l
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

We have been to Buena Vida 4 times, and we ordered something different each time. It's always delicious, no matter what we get.

EZ
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great experience! We were celebrating a birthday and were gifted two free rounds of shots and free dessert, including a gluten free option for one of our guests. Our server Ryan was very attentive and offered great suggestions. The guacamole and chicken enchiladas were delicious! Will definitely be visiting again!

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food is excellent! The service was fantastic! Very kid friendly.

F
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Good for the price but nothing stood out but the chocolate tart and the service was only adequate. It was good but not great. I’ll try one more time because the menu had many interesting items.

OT
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Enjoyed the food here with a friend in Saturday night. Not too crowded, send like they want more individual customer service. I had the shrimp esleño and the la reforma drink. The snapper looked good too.

KP
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service, delicious food, gorgeous restaurant. We’ll definitely be back!

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience4

A tasty place but be prepared to spend over 70.00 for two.

DF
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on September 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was delicious. Service was excellent without being intrusive. I definitely will return to the restaurant.

JG
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on September 15, 2019
Overall3food4service2ambience5

Beautiful place with amazing decor. They’re on to something with the bottomless apps and drinks. However food comes out slow. Drinks that are available other than mimosas aren’t eventful. Would try again because it wasn’t horrible. But it won’t be anytime soon

V
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall2food2service1ambience5

Beautiful restaurant but the service was terrible and seared tuna had no flavor.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall2food3service3ambience4

drinks were terrific, menu was well conceived, food was served luke warm and was under seasoned. waiter was overly familiar. very nice setting. no better than fair

OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience2

It’s hard for me to be fair, since the noise level was so loud that I couldn’t really communicate with the friends I hadn’t seen for 2 years. Please use your ample profits to install baffles in the ceiling, and rugs on the floors.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2019
Overall2food5service1ambience3

Amazing food but terrible, TERRIBLE service from the server.

NA
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Our service (from Dushan) was exceptional, as were the salsas that came with the chips. Very good guacamole and cocktails, too. The duck enchiladas were quite nice, although the duck could have used more seasoning. The enchilada sauce was great, though. Disappointed in the birria. The flavor of the various chiles used to cook the lamb meat was barely perceptible. Would definitely go back to try something else. Our biggest complaint is the music, which was dance music--or at least from what we could hear of it, which was a throbbing, never-ending beat--couldn't hear any of the music. It was monotonous and irritating.

JZ
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love this new concept from the people who brought us Ambar and Baba.

PM
Washington DC
58 reviews
Dined on September 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As always, terrific. Great food, great service, and a pleasant atmosphere. The staff is friendly and the overall experience is first rate.

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on September 2, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Food was luke warm at best, and the eggs and tortillas in the Chilaquiles was cold. While service was friendly, it was slow considering it wasn’t overly busy.