Mi Vida has been on my list of restaurants to try ever since the Mexican Ambassador said it was her favorite restaurant in Washington DC. However, I don’t get to the Waterfront area often. Recently I was in that area for a show, so I took the opportunity to try the place. Mi Vida is as good as the ambassador said.
Mi Vida is a Mexican restaurant, the brainchild of Chef Roberto Santibañez . Chef Santibañez is originally from Mexico City and is famous for his New York City restaurants,. He opened Mi Vida in February 2018, in partnership with Knead Hospitality + Design. It must be pretty popular as I’ve also seen construction for 2 new locations, one on 14th Street (where Matchbox used to be) and one on 7th Street near Chinatown.
You’ll find all the standard dishes common in American Mexican restaurants: nachos, queso with sausage, tacos, and enchiladas. But you will also find a broad range of Mexican fare, providing a variety of fish and meat dishes. Examples are enchiladas de mole, Coctel de camarones (shrimp), Chamorro (Slow-Cooked Pork Shank) , and Birria (Slow-Braised Beef Short Rib). I didn’t order it, but the person at the table next to me did get the Short Rib and said it was delicious.
Enchiladas de mole is one of my favorite Mexican dishes, but I had to go with the dish the Ambassador said was her favorite: the Pescado Veracruzana. (I should point out that she is from Veracruz.) The dish consists of pan seared cod that is covered with a roasted tomato sauce. The cod was perfectly cooked, very light and tender, and the assortment of vegetables — carrots, cauliflower, and pickled jalapenos — went well with it.
I also wanted a side dish and went with a salad called the Sandia. It primarily consists of queso fresco cheese and watermelon but there is also some finely chopped cucumbersl. It is a nice, refreshing, summer salad with plentiful amounts of cheese, cut into large chunks. It was a little salty, especially as I got near the bottom, but otherwise is a fine salad.
My main meal was light, so I had plenty of room for dessert. Choices included the Mexican standbys Churros, flan, and tres leches. There are also a couple of ice cream options. One of those stood out to me: Volcán de Helados (ice cream volcano).
It has three scoops of ice cream — vanilla, lemon, and chocolate, with medium sized chunks of chocolate brownie mixed in, drizzled with chocolate sauce, and served with two sticks of pumpkin seed brittle (which do make it look a little bit like a Vulcan). The ice cream is absolutely fabulous. The lemon has a nice zing without being overpowering and the chocolate has a dark, rich taste. The vanilla has the most neutral flavor. All three are extraordinarily creamy. The chocolate brownie has a deep rich taste, almost like that of the truffle. It complemented the ice cream well. The brittle is good, but feel that it is not well integrated with the rest of the dish.
Mi Via has an extensive drink menu with several cocktails and a large selection of Margaritas, Mezcales, and Tequilas. My first drink was the Cielo Rojo (Red Heaven), a Margarita made with Bribon Blanco Tequila and serano infused watermelon. It is fantastic.
However, a couple at the next table were drinking an orange colored drink that looked quite tasty. I asked them what it was. The said it was called La Frozen and that it was Mi Vida’s signature drink. After that recommendation, I had to order it. The drink is a frozen Margarita made with Sauza Blanco Tequila, mango, ginger, and passion fruit. It too is very good, but as I prefer less citrusy drinks, my favorite of the two is the Cielo Rojo.
Mi Vida has an incredible atmosphere. Located right on the Potomac, they have a splendid view of the river. I had a leisurely meal, watching boats pass by and paddle boarders frolicking along. As Reagan National Airport is just on the other side of the river (on the other side of East Potomac Park), I also had a good view of incoming and outgoing aircraft but was far enough away that I heard no noise from them. The service is fantastic as well. Our waiter was so charming that I have to mention him by name: Oscar. He provided prompt service and spent much time engaging us in conversation. He was such a delight that my newfound friends at the next table want Oscar to serve them every time they came. All in all, it was a perfect summer dining experience.