The most exquisite dish to spice up your spring season awaits at Mi Vida, a modernized Mexican restaurant at The Wharf serving up flavorful dishes and striking views of the District’s nightlife.
Between the bustle of other popular joints along The Wharf, like the music venue The Anthem and Lebanese restaurant ilili, Mi Vida is located at 98 District Sq. SW, a 30-minute Metro ride away from campus. Swarms of pedestrians curious for a taste of fine dining with contemporary displays of paintings, chandeliers and lights make this an energetic public scene.
The restaurant hosts an ensemble of modern and elegant art on each floor with chandeliers hanging with a golden glaze, cactus paintings across the walls and a lofty sculpted tree sitting center stage on the first floor.
Immediately upon entering the towering open space, I was mesmerized by the exhibit of innovation popping out at every corner of the restaurant. The windows and assortment of transparent bottles hanging at the bar gave the building a glass-like feel, with pink and orange luminaire filling the room with color.
The restaurant provides ample seating for large group dinners, starting with the bar near the front door with dazzling drinks to show, adjacent tables and a vast array of seats surrounding a second bar upstairs. On the third floor, the lights gleam with show-stopping golden chandeliers that hang as if Jay Gatsby himself was about to throw a party at the restaurant. We ascended the stairs to the third floor as our feet met a fluorescent glow of yellow lights under each step.
To start off, Mi Vida’s drinks menu is packed with both fruity and stronger options depending on your preference. Opt for the piñada ($16) for a sweet, tropical drink or choose from one of their more than 20 mezcals.
Though seafood and meat are the stars of the menu, I still found a decent number of vegetarian choices. The tacos looked appealing for meat and veggie lovers with protein options like steak, pork and grilled chicken and an alternative with mushroom and grilled pineapple, all served with black beans.
From the section to share with others, I ordered the tatanachos ($14), and my dinner companion decided on the adobo-rubbed spicy chicken wings with an avocado mousse dip ($13) along with some fried plantains ($6) as a side dish.
I’m not usually one to enjoy the overtly sweet taste of plantains, but I was pleasantly surprised by the optimal amount of sweetness accompanied with a little savory touch. They were served alongside cream and cotija cheese, which are traditionally paired with the dish in Mexican culture.
Served on a large plate, the nachos are stunningly displayed with greens from the salsa verde and cilantro, a red special sauce and the creamy homemade white drizzle. The crispy tortillas are dressed with black beans, topped with melted chihuahua and oaxaca cheese, crunchy ancho peppers, pickled jalapeños, cilantro and salsa verde and finished with a glaze of red sauce and cream. As I bit into a chip, I could taste all of the savory flavors complemented flawlessly with a hint of spice.
The blend of melted cheeses provided a lovely balance to the sauce combo and the cilantro on top. A single sauce would have been better to appease so many flavors happening at once, but the black beans and crispy tortilla chips made every bite worth it.
The jalapeños and red sauce added a spicy kick to the dish for those interested in a meal with a bit of heat. Do not take the dish’s “to share” caution lightly – the tatanachos are really meant for more than one hungry diner.
Mi Vida’s lively yet classy environment and exemplary Mexican cuisine fashions a relaxing and ravishing atmosphere to experience the next time you’re out at The Wharf.