Open for a month now, Vida & Comida is nestled in the old Massa spot on Butler Ave. AroundAmbler decided to visit co-owners Chef Manuel and Cindy Jimenez and find out more about this new restaurant in Ambler.
Upon entry, you are greeted with an elegant décor, the walls adorned with modern art and impressive chandeliers hanging from the ceilings. The waiters are dressed in black, Chef Manuel in white and the whole scene is warm and inviting.
Turns out this isn’t their first restaurant. The husband and wife duo opened a location in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1992 that they had for 5 years. After, they moved back to Ambler and Chef Manuel became Executive Chef of San Marco in Spring House for over a decade.
Chef Manuel grew up on a big farm in Spain but knew early on he didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps. He moved with his brother to Switzerland where they both attended culinary school and eventually became executive chefs. Chef Manuel moved to America in 1979.
Cindy came to the United State in 1975 with her parents. She worked at Merck in Lansdale until 2014 when she and Chef Manuel decided to retire, sold their home and moved to Spain. After two years, they missed their children and grandchildren still in America and decided to return. Chef Manuel didn’t want to be back with idle hands and so began the story of Vida & Comida.
Since Cindy knew the Ambler area well, upon returning to America, they focused on our area when searching for a space for a new restaurant. and found the old Massa spot was available.
Cindy describes style of Vida & Comida is American with a Spanish flair.
“We have a lot of the appetizers, especially, Cindy said. We carry the Octopus which is a BIG thing in here, everyone eats the Octopus. We serve the Octopus the way they serve it in Spain, Galician style, which is served on top of a bed of sliced boiled potatoes, sprinkled with paprika, sea salt and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.” The Octopus, of course, is from Spain.
Speaking of the Octopus, we were lucky enough to have the Chef cook up the Octopus (Pulpo A La Gallega) for us to try. Delicious! Another dish of note is a Paella that “flies out of the door” on weekends.
“He [Chef Manuel] puts a lot of love in his food. Cindy told us. Everything is fresh, fresh herbs…nothing from the can.” We certainly could verify this after eating he Octopus. Nothing is better than a dish served with fresh ingredients.
You can find the Lunch and Dinner menu here on the Vida & Comida website. They are open for lunch too on Fridays and Saturday and serve brick oven pizzas.
Vida & Comida
TUES, WED, THURS
11:30am-3pm & 5pm-10pm
Located: 131 E. Butler Ave.