Open Sunday 4-10 p.m., Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2.30 p.m. for lunch. 5-10 p.m. for dinner. Carte Blanche, Master Charge, American Express and Bank Americard accepted. Accessible to the handicapped. No reservations. Phone 941-5494.
Don't be put off by the garish red sign announcing Viva's on Little River Trunpike in Annandale. The place is quiet, relaxing, tastefully decorated and, most important, the food is good and reasonably priced.
We arrived at Viva's one rainy evening at about 6:30, were shown to our table promptly and asked it we'd like a drink. The children ordered cokes, which came with not one but two straws. Anyone who has small fry knows that's a treat, and it started the evening off on just the right note. My husband and I ordered Carta Blanca beer, $1.50 a bottle, and perused the decor and the menu.
Viva's has done the interior of the restaurant with an adobe look. There are in tin lanterns and masks on the walls, as well as a nice collection of Mexican pottery displayed on one side of the large room.
The menu is a large plastic laminated affair with colorful pictures of Viva's specialties. Appetizing if you like that sort of thing and useful if you, like me, get tamales and enchiladas confused.
We decided to skip the first course offerings - which included nachos, for $1, guacomole, $1.45, and bean dip, $1, - and concentrate on the hot sauce with corn chips that our waitress had brought us along with the menus. The children concentrated on the chips and left my husband and me with most of the hot sauce, which lived up to its name.
We ordered a variety of main courses. Viva's offers four $1.75 children's plates, which include a choice of hamburger, enchilada, taco or tamale. They are served with refried beans and rice. Surprisingly, the boys chose the enchilada and the taco, in preference to the hamburger. The taco proved the more popular.
I ordered the special combination plate for $4.95, which included a cheese enchilada, a beef taco, a tamale, and a chili relleno (stuffed pepper). All were tasty, especially the chili, which was the hit of the order. My husband ordered a plate of two chilis relleno, for $4.05, one filled with meat, the other with cheese, covered with a red sauce. They too were delicious.
The orders came with refried beans and rice. My husband's included a salad.
Other items on the menu included a Topopo, a big salad, for $4.75, burritos for $3.95, and chicken chalupas for $3.40. There's also something called the Mexican Flag Plate for $4.75 which includes a cheese, a beef, and a chicken enchilada, with red, green and white sauce, respectively - hence the "flag" name.
Viva's does not serve desserts, except for ice cream and sherbert, which we decided to skip. The check came to a very reasonable $16.64, without tip, for the four of us.
Viva's serves lunch too.Burritos, tacos, enchiladas, etc. are the noontime specialties.