If you ever craving some good authentic Mexican food, go to Vuelve al a Vida — which translates to “comes back to life.” If you are not looking for this place you will drive right past it. They have a sign placed on the street, but it isn’t the stereotypical Mexican restaurant sign — it’s just an octopus with a sombrero on its head.
When visitors walk in, you sit anywhere you like, and usually it’s pretty empty unless you come during lunch hour when there is more of a crowd. The kitchen is open, so you can see food being made — including watching them make delicious homemade tortillas. They have paintings on the walls of nautical scenes — most notably is the octopus that is the same as the one on the sign. The menu is full of many options, but the few items they are known for are their carnitas, tamales, and a side of their rice and beans.
The first thing that they bring out are the tamales — which are delicious. The taste of the pork and the maze around the tamale has such a distinct taste to them, they’re nothing like any other typical tamale. They also make their own sauces. One of them is a green avocado based sauce and is pretty mild, and the other is a spicy red one, but putting both of these on top of the tamales is delicious.
Next came the caritas which come with pico de gallo, jalapenos, limes, radishes and the homemade tortillas. Some people do not like to get carnitas because of how fatty the pieces can be, but at Vuelve a la Vida, the meal comes with nothing but good pieces of pork. The traditional carnitas, you just use the sides above plus any salsa, but what is Mexican food without rice and beans? Sometimes just to change things up a bit, you can add some rice and beans into the tortilla just to give the taste buds something new.
Vuelve a la Vida is the place to go if you really want great, authentic Mexican food in Tacoma. The prices are pretty fair for the amount of food you get. Expect to always have leftovers for the next couple of days. It is one of the few places that bring what true Mexican food really is without having to be in Mexico.
Vuelve a la Vida is located at 5312 Pacific Ave. Tacoma, WA 98408