Vida Cantina

What they say

“We bring a Mexican heritage and appreciation for local seasonal New England product to every plate. As an entire staff, we are participating in a seacoast commute smart program that encourages us to cut down on fuel emissions by carpooling, using public transportation, or biking to work.”

Signature Dishes

Tacos; vegan jackfruit “carnitas“; steak plato (steak cooked sous vide for two days and served with avocado radish salsa, Ibarra mole powder, and epazote brown butter).

What we say

What was once a Friendly’s is now David Vargas’s colorful modern cantina, where local ingredients are used to make fresh, boldly flavored Mexican fare. The tortillas for doublewrapped tacos are especially good, made with locally grown flint corn that Vargas and his staff mill by hand. Tucked inside those tacos you might find tasty cubes of pork belly confit topped with Cotija cheese and a spicy mango habanero salsa, or mezcal battered fried fish with Vargas’s Baja slaw. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten and dairy-free options are plenty.

Cocktails lean heavily to tequila and mezcal-based offerings, dressed up with showy flavors that make choosing a challenge. Try El Matador: mezcal with sweet vermouth, grapefruit shrub, and lemon, or the Smoke Show: blend of mezcal, fresh chilies, and Cointreau with a chili-salt rim.


Restaurant celebrating modern Mexican cuisine using adventurous flavors & local ingredients


David Vargas, chef/owner


Dinner, daily, lunch Friday to Sunday


2456 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth, NH 03801


+1 603 501 0648



Price guide