photo credit: Vamos Vamos

Vamos Vamos image

Vamos Vamos


Santa Monica

$$$$Perfect For:Drinking Good CocktailsDate NightEating At The BarPeople WatchingLiterally Everyone
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Vamos Vamos straddles the line between beachside hang and see-and-be-seen restaurant. The menu here reads like something you’d find at a college town cantina. But getting a table inside this narrow sliver of a dining room—located smack dab in the middle of Santa Monica's Main Street—could take hours on a Friday night. We’re not exactly sure why there’s so much buzz around this neighborhood spot from the team behind Everson Royce Bar and Triple Beam Pizza, or how long it’ll last. But we do know one thing: Vamos Vamos is a fun place for people who care about having a good time more than they do eating a ground-breaking meal.

Vamos Vamos image

photo credit: Vamos Vamos

At its core, Vamos Vamos is a nacho and margarita bar. They offer five different platters of cheese-covered tortilla chips, and the best ones come topped with New Mexican specialties like hatch chile verde with shredded pork and tender carne adovada. Ironically though, our favorite dish on the menu isn’t a nacho at all—it’s the green chile cheeseburger. This fantastic riff on the nearly perfect Everson Royce burger swaps out cheddar and pickles for monterey jack and chopped hatch chiles. Flexitarians might appreciate the meat-free pizzas, tostadas, and salads here, but we found them all underwhelming. Margaritas take up the biggest chunk of the menu and they happen to be tremendous, with flavors ranging from spicy pineapple and smoky watermelon to tart hibiscus and juicy passionfruit. Ordering one is a non-negotiable element of any visit.

The bar food and cocktails at Vamos Vamos are perfectly solid, but there’s nothing here anyone needs to drive across town for. Despite the wait times, we wholeheartedly recommend it for a fun date night or a margarita-dominated meal with your newly single friend who considers exclusively hanging out on the Westside a personality trait. To snag an indoor table, your best bet is to book a reservation ahead of time—but during the week, you can usually score a spot on their huge sidewalk patio in less than thirty minutes. Even if you do wait a while to get in, know that there’s a great burger (and a pumped up crowd) waiting for you as the best kind of consolation prize.

Food Rundown

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With nearly nine or so different variations to choose from, you might feel a tad bit overwhelmed by the margarita section of the menu. Fortunately, you can’t go wrong. They’re all expertly made cocktails that live in that harmonious space between sweet, sour, and potent. Our favorite is the watermelon one made with mezcal, which has made every other margarita we’ve tasted before or after seem disappointing in comparison.
Vamos Vamos image

photo credit: Vamos Vamos

Fish Tacos

Crispy fried cod, cabbage slaw, and avocado puree—there's not too much happening with these simple fish tacos. That said, you'll probably enjoy snacking on them at an outdoor table as you sip on your third margarita. It’s just science.
Vamos Vamos image

photo credit: Anise Mariko

Green Chili Cheeseburger

The burger at Everson Royce Bar has been on our list of the best burgers in town for years, and since Vamos Vamos shares the same owners, it's no surprise that the very similar one here is also a beefy masterpiece. We love how the smoky hatch green chili, creamy aioli, and melted jack cheese smoosh together on the soft egg brioche bun. It's got a bit of heat and a touch of sweetness, but doesn’t overdo it.

Chile Verde Nachos

Without a doubt, these are the best nachos at Vamos Vamos. They come topped with a pile of hatch green chile-coated pulled pork that tastes like it’s been stewing for hours. There’s also some hefty refried beans, melted cheese, and tomatillo salsa layered on top for added heat.

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