Atlanta >Food & Dining > Pura Vida Tapas & Bar
656 N Highland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA | Directions 3030633.772361 -84.352519
Neighborhoods: Poncey Highlands, Eastside, Eastside
PERFECT LIVING THE GOOD LIFE AT PURA VIDA
This city is loaded with stellar chefs and many have settled into their culinary niche, but not Chef/ Owner Hector Santiago of Pura Vida. Always searching for intriguing tastes to uplift the already remarkable menu line-up at this North Highlands eatery; this master chef recently took a culinary adventure to some remote villages of Peru.
The menu is comprised of mouth watering shared plates or tapas each with exhilarating Latin American flavors, but whatever don’t overlook the “one of a kind” charcuterie offering. Hector has partnered with butcher and charcuterist Colin Miles of Leon’s Full Service to create savory meats that will fire up the palate like none other. These meats will surely have the taste buds jumping to the beat of a sassy salsa, and if you get the urge why not join them?
A classic Peruvian raw fish dish that reflects the influences of the Japanese immigrants on Andean cooking is Tiradito. This version is a sashimi cut black gulf grouper loin that’s drizzled with a passion fruit and aji amarillo leche de tigre or tiger’s milk (In Peru, this invigorating potion is believed to be both a hangover cure as well as an aphrodisiac). A perfect follow-up to the tiradito is the Local Sungold Tomato Salad – firm sungolds are halved and served with a roasted pimento and hand squeezed mango juice, with finely sliced jicama and Spanish anchovies- totally a yum.
Eating at Pura Vida is like a thrilling roller coaster ride as each food has an exciting twist or turn that one would not expect; for the ultimate scream try the Coconut Goat Stuffed Jalapeños – after stewing a goat for 12 hours in coconut water, it’s blended with a Puerto Rican adobo then stuffed into the peppers and topped with Chihuahua cheese, the tastes are simply spine-tingling. There seems to be a special thrill whenever Hector digs into his Super Pan bag of goods. The Taco al Pastor is full of lip-smacking flavors. This Mexican street food corn tortilla is grilled then stuffed with slow cooked pulled pork that’s marinated in a guajillo chili and pineapple marinade, and topped with grilled pineapple, queso fresco, micro-cilantro, and a touch of sriracha making it a fiesta for the taste buds.
After tasting Hector’s mind-blowing foods at this ultra-cool Poncey-Highland eatery, perfecting the good life becomes a bit easier; so why wait to enjoy it?
Nice – I had a great experience here in Pura Vida Tapas and Bar The service is great and the crew is very helpful and kind
I loved the food, the ambiance and the service. Everything was just so right in this place. I am always satisfied every time I leave this restaurant. Two thumbs up!
Sophisticated Latino Small Bites – Taking up storefront space adjacent to San Francisco Coffee Co. on N. Highland Avenue, Pura Vida offers up expertly crafted Spanish/Latin tapas concocted by head chef Hector Santiago. It's cozy, romantic vibe makes it an excellent pick for date three (and-beyond). Dishes meant to be shared like charred mushrooms in butter or local trout ceviche go excellent with the spot-on sangria. Toss in some flirty conversation and the night is yours.
Atlanta's best true tapas shine in VaHi. – This cozy Virginia-Highland spot ranks high on the romantic-o-meter with its restored brick, rich colors and large picture windows facing the trendy North Highland Avenue. Atlanta’s most sophisticated take on Latin flavors, the tapas are some of the best in the city, though prices have risen in recent years and authentic bites like roasted goat have been replaced with slightly more Americanized choices like pizza Latinas. While chef Hector Santiago does everything fantastically well, you didn’t come here to get a burrito. Traditional staples like ceviche or pinchos--delicate slices of hanger steak marinated in a chimichurri sauce--give reason to cheer, though los riburgers (sliders) seem like a desperate attempt to be something Pura Vida isn’t. Thankfully, nothing has changed with the sangria and mojitos--still wonderfully presented and delightfully loaded.
Flavor, fun and fabulous! – I loved this place. I was seeing people of all kinds here. Out of town, family, friends, first dates....good people watching. Great place to meet up. Easy to find. You can tell that they care. The staff has fun but the real WOW factor is in the freshness of the ingrediants. You can just tell that everything is hand picked and super fresh from the beans and produce to the meet. Really authentic and the best part is you can afford it!
RE: ABSOLUTE RIPOFF.OVERHYPED – Dear Mr. buckheadman,
Might I suggest, next time you go to a restaurant you're not familiar with, read the menu as soon as you walk in the door. Also, if it was such a bad experience, why did you stay and go through with the dining experience?? My guess is that you couldn't afford it and you didn't want to embarrass yourself in front of your date?! Or, maybe your date was terrible and you just needed to vent your frustrations.
Mr. Buckheadman, you need to find something to do with your time! There's way to many restaurateurs that will always venture and frequent Pura Vida. The buck doesn't stop with you!!
Hands down best tapas in Atlanta – I have been a devoted fan of Hector Santiago for years. I have never had a bad experience at Pura Vida. This restaurant has something that is so important yet lacking in so many restaurants and that is consistency. Also, chef Hector deserves the utmost respect for using fresh local ingredients and supporting our local farmers and small businesses. I went in today to try their acclaimed brunch menu which was what I expected, nothing less than spectacular. I originally wanted to write about all of the great items we tried but am choosing instead to use my words to respond to the incredibly rude and INACCURATE review written by jerkoffman, excuse me, I mean buckheadman. Sir, you sure sound like an awfully miserable person. I pity you for that. I'm sorry that your life is so lousy and dull that you have nothing better to do with your time than try and trash a local business and it's hard working chef. Hector Santiago is extremely talented and your hateful ranting is completely fallacious and ridiculous. If you've ever eaten tapas, like you claim you have, you would know the portions and prices there are average. There is a reason Pura Vida has won NUMEROUS awards and the chef is one of only 3 Atlanta chefs who are semi finalists for a James Beard award. Since you obviously don't appreciate creative and innovative cuisine, I'm sure you'd be a much happier person if you stuck to the boring cookie cutter restaurants in Buckhead, or maybe try a Happy Meal at McDonalds. Better yet, why don't you just cook for yourself? And what exactly should Pura Vida be ashamed of? Receiving the first honored AJC Restaurant of the Year? Star Chef award? Or maybe making the best of tapas list year after year in Creative Loafing and Atlanta magazine? You sir, are the one who should be ashamed for wishing failure on an established restaurant and it's dedicated employees. I am appalled that during these difficult financial times someone would say something so malicious.
ABSOLUTE RIPOFF. OVERHYPED. – I'm completely baffled as to how people can give excellent reviews for this place. In addition, to whomever wrote the citysearch review saying that the tapas plates are a steal, WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING??? Give me whatever you're smoking because this place is a complete rip off. It is SEVERELY overpriced and SEVERELY underportioned for even TAPAS CUISINE. Yes. Duh. I know this is not a place to gorge or pig out at and that is why I capitalized tapas cuisine. For that specific standard, it is still outrageously subpar.
I will never recommend this place to anybody. I will exert all effort to persuade people to steer absolutely clear of this place. Pura Vida should be ashamed of themselves, and they have earned themselves a customer who will try with all his power to negatively affect this restaurant. STAY AWAY and I hope they go out of business.
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