Just below the bluffs of Palos Verdes on the lively Riviera Village strip of South Catalina Avenue, a new taqueria has opened in the heart of the bustling stretch of shops and restaurants. A few blocks from the beach, VIDA Modern Taqueria is a fun addition to the South Bay neighborhood and local taco landscape.
The debut concept from local hospitality veterans Mickey Mance (Mickey’s Italian Deli) and Justin Essman (formerly of Baja Sharkeez Restaurant Group), VIDA is a Baja-inspired taqueria that serves contemporary interpretations of traditional south-of-the-border dishes.
The menu is a compilation of traditional Mexican street food classics featuring 16 types of tacos made with housemade, hand-pressed tortillas including chicken with mole, a crispy cinnamon carnitas taco, Mexican red snapper, and birria de res. Standouts include vegan tacos like the tempura cactus tacos, one of the best nopales interpretations in Los Angeles. Tender fried cactus strips come in a crispy taco with avocado, shredded cabbage and pico de gallo topped with a bright and spicy prickly pear glaze.
Beyond the tacos, appetizers include queso fundido and nachos por Vida, as well as ceviche dishes, including octopus, spicy shrimp and Peruvian scallops, plus larger entrées like a rib-eye steak, seafood al mojo de ajo and pan-roasted red snapper.
The low alcohol by volume Sabe-based craft cocktail program offers twists on classic margaritas like the El Pistolero, Tulum 75 and Poquito Mas as well as two different small-batched, fruit-infused sangrias, such as the white Pecadora and red Mas Malo. The beer list is a selection of local favorites like Golden Road Mango Cart Wheat and King Harbor Redondo Special Lager, as well as imported Mexican varieties.
The Baja-inspired breezy indoor/outdoor space designed by Vanrooy Design is punctuated by turquoise wooden dining chairs, upholstered sandy brown leather booths, distressed wood dining tables and black-washed pendant lighting, opening up to an outdoor patio and parklet overlooking the bluffs and rolling hills of the peninsula.
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