Buena Vida is BACK – Feels, Tastes Like Tulum

One of our favorite places to feast in Clarendon not only recently renovated all three floors, reopened a rooftop lounge with long-range views, and brought back its ultimate unlimited tasting menu — but we also just found out that Buena Vida is celebrating National Tequila Day with $55 flights. Is there anything this Mexican gastrolounge can’t tempt us with?! 

Buena Vida Gastrolounge (2900 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, Virginia 2220) serves lunch, dinner, weekend brunch, and late-night fun. Recently redesigned to showcase its honest Mexican experience tied to natural ingredients, there is also now more booth seating, plush comfortable chairs, and other atmospheric reasons for lingering. But let’s be honest, it’s the food that gets you there and keeps you.

Cascading greenery drapes the bars, there is open-air dining and drinking revelry on the rooftop, and climbing the wooden staircase may just feel like transcending into a Tulum treehouse. But it’s Buena Vida’s Unlimited Tasting Menu that ultimately transports you to Mexico.


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And the best part is that you don’t have to agonize over which delicious dish sounds the most appetizing! Executive Chef Jaime Pelayo’s menu (which offers temptations for everyone, including creative options for vegans and vegetarians), is unlimited to explore for two hours at the unheard-of value of lunch, $25, dinner, $44.99, and brunch, $39.99, excluding tax and gratuity.

“It is time to bring our unlimited tasting menu here and revive Buena Vida,” says Ivan Iricanin, Buena Vida owner. “Our guests will explore modern presentations of authentic dishes that have many years of history in their creation and evolution while enjoying music and craft cocktails.”

Among our personal favorite dishes are the Chicharrón Prensado (pressed pork belly) which requires four hours of confit-style cooking of the meat which is then mixed with an Adobo marinade that takes three hours to make and where it rests for three days to develop the characteristic flavors; chef’s mother’s recipe for Tortilla Azteca, a corn tortilla layered with guajillo spiced tomato broth, combined with sautéed spinach, collard greens and shallots, sour cream, and cheese; and the Conchinita Pibil 

Enjoy any and ALL of these with mixologist Felix Meija’s signature Oaxacan Express ($14), which combines Hierba Loca tequila with Granada valet, chartreuse, pineapple-coconut syrup, rosemary, lime, bitters, and a mezcal float. Or — if you are visiting between July 24th and 31st, 2022 — don’t miss out on Buena Vida’s tequila flights in honor of National Tequila Day ($55 per person during lunch and dinner service).

Buena Vida Gastrolounge is located just two blocks from the Clarendon metro. Lunch is served Monday through Friday, from 11 AM to 3 PM and dinner Sunday through Thursday, from 4 PM to 10 PM; Friday and Saturday, from 4 PM to 11 PM. Brunch is available on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 AM to 3 PM.