Need a little fire in your next dining experience without your wallet set aflame? Head on down to a little restaurant on Main Street in downtown Annapolis called Vida Taco Bar.
The Tex-Mex inspired eatery has created a fresh take on everyone’s classic favorite: tacos. Opened in 2014 by Foxboys Hospitality Group— the same masterminds behind two other Annapolis favorites Fox’s Den and Level— Vida Taco Bar brings new flare to the historic streets of Annapolis.
Vida Taco Bar was recommended to me by a fellow taco-loving friend who told me they loved Vida not only for their food, but for their fresh, local ingredients. Their commitment to buying almost all of their ingredients fresh and from local farms was indeed accurate as their menu reads, “We are a farm to taco joint,” and, “We source our ingredients as much as we can through our local partner farms.” This gave me another reason to try them out.
When I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by the no-wait seating despite the fact that it was a buzzing Saturday night in Annapolis. The restaurant was cheery and festive, painted with fun, carefree skeletons and a large chalkboard menu— a trend around many restaurants recently.
To start, I ordered two items off of the appetizers menu. The first appetizer I knew I had to try was Vida’s chips and guacamole. The second one I ordered I had only tried once before, and I was eager to try another variation— ceviche. The food arrived quickly, and I was amazed that Vida’s fresh-made tortilla chips were still warm. The chips and guacamole were wonderful— the chips crisp and the guacamole was loaded with garlic, lime, and big chunks of avocado.
The ceviche, a raw fish dish, was also delicious. Served with chips as well, the ceviche was a generous helping of fresh raw tuna covered with squeezed lime juice and mixed with avocado pieces and corn nuts. My only complaint is that it was a little fishy, but this was easily resolved with a squeeze of lime from the extra lime slice served on the side.
Then, I ordered my tacos. Vida Taco Bar had an array of unique tacos to choose from. The idea is to order two to four tacos, depending on your appetite, each priced at $4.50 or $5.50. Another great thing about Vida are the taco shell options— you can pick a corn, flour, or lettuce tortilla for your taco.
I landed on the carne asada taco first. The carne asada taco was loaded with juicy, tender sliced steak and a bold, flavorful pico de gallo salsa. It had just enough spice, but I also loved the soft notes of sweetness coming from some sauteed sweet peppers tucked into the taco’s authentic blue corn tortilla shell.
My second taco was the fried avocado taco. While this was still good, I would not get it again, and this was my least favorite part of my meal. I was really expecting the fried avocado to be flavorful, but unfortunately I just found it plain and flavorless. I also did not care for the cinnamon mole sauce drizzled on top, but this is mostly due to the fact that I am not a fan of cinnamon in savory dishes. Despite these drawbacks, I could still appreciate the black bean and corn salsa layered beneath the fried avocado— it was delicious.
Most of everything that I tried at Vida Taco Bar was something new and absolutely mouthwatering. Vida was a fresh, modern take on tacos accompanied by a friendly staff and a mood-enhancing atmosphere. Vida’s pledge to support local farmers through purchasing their produce is also respectable. If you’re looking for an exciting new restaurant to try in Annapolis, stop into Vida Taco Bar!