The Restaurant offers Nuevo Latino Cuisine and authentic Cuban cocktails in a funky, distressed, casual setting. Havana has a large well-heated all-weather patio that is situated directly across from Grandview Park with a view of the city skyline and the Coastal Mountain Range.
Seems like just a little while ago that Havana was a new hot spot in East Vancouver, but it has now evolved into an old standby and minor institution. With a good-sized sidewalk patio, a warm and inviting interior dining room, plus art gallery space and a small theatre, Havana is a favourite hangout spot for many for many different reasons.
On a recent visit, I had the seafood paella and it was delicious, with just the right amount of spice.
While I drank a fairly-priced red wine by the glass, they have a reputation for some of the best mojitos and sangria in the city.
The waitresses and bartender were friendly and timely.
I've seen stuff at the little theatre a few times now and it is a good, intimate little space.
Note: Havana is about 10 short blocks north of the Broadway/Commercial Skytrain station.
My wife and I live off the Drive, and have been to Havana's for brunch many times, always getting our needs met with no hassles. Tonight we decided to go for a winter ale beer and appies. The beer was fantastic, the food we regretted. We ordered guacamole with tortilla chips and corn salsa, as well as short ribs. The guacamole was flavourless, very bland. The corn salsa was just that, corn and a bit of cilantro. I could've pulled out a can of corn and threw cilantro on it myself, waste of seven bucks! The short ribs tasted like Korean BBQ flavor, but very heavy on the salt. It was like someone dumped a bucket of salt on it. And the amount we were given was pretty small for thirteen dollars. The service was good, and the beer was great (who doesn't love winter ale?), but we will only be back again if we're going for brunch. Or mojitos. Or both.
My husband and I went here for dinner and the food was fantastic! The interior is pretty neat especially when we heard about the inspiration for the wall etchings. We will definitley be going back. I was surprised to see some older bad reviews, perhaps the restaurant has picked things up. When we went in early October it was solid all the way through.
This is one of the few places that is consistently busy on Commercial Drive -- on sunny days. It has a large patio and an interesting interior, but that's pretty much all it has going for it. There are about two dishes on the entire menu that are haflway decent, and everything else is just lousy and inedible. The crabcakes are rubbery and sit like a lead brick, but their pasta is sometimes okay. It's all extremely, extremely overpriced -- although I imagine the crowd it attracts wouldn't think so. Some of the staff are friendly, and the other half are horribly rude, so fingers crossed that you get the nice waitress who actually comes back to your tabel and takes your order within the first half hour.
I am very surprised by any good review of this establishment. Equally surprised that it won some Georgia Straight award (really makes me question integrity of award). And are surprised this place gets any customers.
It must be for the alcohol and deck since their food is REALLY bad yet they charge like they're the friggin' Four Seasons. Have been here twice (at friend's insistence) and have been disappointed buy the food each time.
They should have a menu or restaurant makeover...
Decided to check out Havana the other day ( it was between Havana or Fets )because every time I go by, it's always busy. I think next time I'll just go there to people watch and have drinks instead of having a meal. When I went mid-afternoon, the menu was really limited so I decided to get the sampler. Was not worth the price! It looked impressive but it was mostly inexpensive filler products- garlic bread, bruschetta, yam fries, nacho chips and just a pound of chicken wings. Service was average and most definitely a laid back staff - guess that's good for Commercial drive. I think for a happening place like Havana, I kind of expected more.
Rating this restaurant made me wonder why I keep going back.
The food never seems to live up to what I anticipate it to be on the menu. It's not terrible, not great, it's just decent. I think they have a flavouring issue here. All of the menu items read as if they are better, the menu is quite inticing. When the food finally arrives, however, it is like others have said, kinda blah. Not yucky, just no flavour sensation.
The service is not terrible nor great either. Everyone's playing up the cool thing, but they don't seem to realize that being warm and smiling more often doesn't compromise 'coolness'.
What I like about this place is the set up and the vibe and I guess I keep hoping that something will actually taste as good as it sounds on the menu (because everything sounds great). The gallery in the back - I love it, and I love supporting local art. And, oh yeah, the garlic toast is very good. I also like going for a drink and having a little snack here late at night. Come to think of it, I often end up here because nothing else is open (I seem to either come on the late or early side). Breakfasts are also disappointing. Maybe I come because I love black beans so much? Ha!
I have been here several times over the past few years and have both good and bad experiences. Service can sometimes be slow, but I am not hesitant to get up and get things myself or ask for them directly. I quite enjoy the distressed decor and find this place a good one to relax in. I always enjoy thier mojito's. The menu keeps changing which has it's up and down sides (good to have variety but the things I really like keep going away!), but at least I can always get edemame and those delicious sweet potato fries. I also enjoy the mussles and can often get by quite happily without ordering any entree at all.
Went for brunch on Sat. July 24 and sat on the patio. Well, I had to turn my chair sideways as the chair from the next table left me about 8 inches. My friend and I both ordered the Fritatta for 13.00 and it arrived fairly quickly, but was lukewarm at best and unfortunately was missing the promised goat's cheese and potatoes, so it was fairly small. The "grilled" tortilla that was mentioned on the menu was simply one taken from the package and folded...BUT as it turns out, this tortilla came in real handy to soak up the grease from the bottom of the bowl. The "roasted vegetables" had no taste and seemed like they were leftovers from the night before. The water was fine though. Why the patio was 3/4 full was beyond me!! My friend also had the iced coffee which seemed ok and was 3.99 Not again.........meh
Pushy disinterested staff and poor quality food that is overpriced. The veggie burger was boring with a waxy pickle and fries that were not quite as good as those at McDonalds, my paella was a dirty mound of rice with a few vegetables and way too much "sausage" which was really seasoned pork and ground beef, the mussles were decent but too few and the shrimp were so over-cooked you could bounce them off the wall. Our plates were whisked away while I was finishing my last mouthful and my partner's plate was taken while there was still food on it and no-one bothered to ask is she was finished. USed to like this place, more for brunch than dinner, but given the wait it is really not worth the time or money. Avoid it, there are better places to experience the Drive.
I love this place. It has one of my favourite patios in the whole city for people watching, cocktail drinking and enjoying the sun. They make the best mojitos and their coffee is fair trade. Everything I have ever eaten their has been delicious. Pretty much anything you order to eat or drink is going to be good. Inside has a great ambiance as well with the design giving off the perfect old Havana type vibe. Also, they have both an art gallery and theatre space in the back. There are shows 5 nights a week so you can take in a dinner and a show all in the one place. Couldn't recommend it more. :)
I've eaten there three times now because I really wanted to give this place a chance. I think it's great that they integrate a restaurant with a studio so that there can be some community focused content. My problem is that the food is really just not that great. I think it's the kind of patio place where people go to socialize and be outside when the weather is nice - I do not think it's a fine dining experience.
Every time I have gone the food has been slow to arrive, and the food itself is not justified by the high prices. The staff don't have the greatest attitudes, but it might be because they are overworked. One time I was there it was a full house but there only seemed to be 3 people working the floor. (My server got a sympathy tip.)
Aside from the social ambiance, I really don't understand the draw that so many people have to this restaurant. My observation is that it tends to be people coming from downtown to have a novel "Drive" experience. All of my local friends who live in East Van never eat there, and feel the same about the food quality vs. price.
I've never been to Cuba so I can't comment on the authenticity, but I HAVE been to many restaurants so I recognize quality when I see it. The service and food quality is more reminiscent of a bar atmosphere than finer dining.
I would only go to Havana if you want a lively, social atmosphere and a nice patio. The food is not worth it and neither is the attitude of the staff. Just my two cents.
We eat here a LOT and it is usually always consistently good. They might have their off night on a slamming busy Friday night but you can always rely on a good meal for the money. There are not a lot of other restaurants in town, at that price point, where you can get equally as good food. Yes, you can get higher quality meals elsewhere, but you pay a lot more for it. You can also pay a lot more elsewhere and get not as good as a meal as you would at Havana. The atmosphere is good, always feels lively and the patio and cocktails are fantastic in the summer. Actually anytime really as they have excellent heaters and you can sit outside almost year around. The staff are good as well and the kitchen is usually on top of their game. One of our favorite local joints. Love their strawberry ginger mojito, their yam fries are awesome and you can take your pick of several good entrees for dinner or brunch.
Pissy, rainy night outside. Warm and cozy inside. Food was terrific! Service was good. Atmosphere was fantastic. Was told by our server that there was a theatrical performance going on in the theater. (Didn't even know they had a theater). Will have to check that out sometime! Overall... very satisfied.
I love havanas on a sunny day. The patio has a great vibe. Everything ties in well with your pitcher of sangria. The food is mouth watering. Too bad the servers couldn't be nicer. I've gone to this restaurant many times, and i must say the last time i went was the best. I had a new server who actually enjoyed their job. Im an easy customer, I try not to make there life hard, keep orders simple, im polite, and i dont mind tipping. But still these servers one in particular which i've had a few times are hard to keep happy. Mind you i will continue going to havanas for the great food. But let it be known Its the food that keeps this restaurant going!
This place is so over-hyped and under-valued. The food is average at best but throw in their pricing and it's all of a sudden POOR. The decor is a little funky - but unfortunately, I CAN'T eat decor.
They are in desperate need of an experienced "Cuban-trained" chef that can replicate the flavors of Cuba. What they've done is more of a faux-Cuban.
With so many GREAT places on the drive - this is best to miss. GO to Stellas, Fets or Lomabardos instead - you'll thanks me
I heard a lot of rave for this place! From the tasteful interior, to the mouthwatering and authentic food.. But was I in for a turn?
- Great ambiance, it's nicely decorated. Very distressed, original. LOVE IT!
- Friendly service, always a smile on their faces, enthusiastic to please.
- Warm patio on a cold night, hurray!
- The flavours of the dishes were ordinary, NOTHING memorable. I could get tastier and AUTHENTICALLY AUTHENTIC food for under $15!
- Portions were shockingly small. My paella was the exactly the size of a closed fist. My friend's ropa vieja seemed like a lot of food, but it was all spread out on the plate. In reality, it was very thin and flat, but with the illusion that a lot of food was given. We felt ripped off! Our dishes were about $25!
- Left the restaurant completely starving! Had to grab a hot-dog downtown! That was enjoyable.
In the end, I would never come back! Their ropa vieja was supposed to be the star of the restaurant! And if that was disappointing, I'm pretty sure everything else on the menu is at the same level.
The food is amazing. They know what goes best and you have a wide variety of things to choose from.
From their dinner menu, I've had the chicken wrap and the burger... both of which were amazing.
The brunch is incredible. I've had the veggie has almost everytime and it is incredible.
Coffee and specialty drinks made here are fantastic too. A nice, bright and warm ambience is what to expect.
Havana is an icon on the drive, it certainly isn't because of the food though - some of the dishes are decent value, especially lunch-time, but you'll find much better food on the drive or anywhere in town for the same value.
The patio is great, and the drinks are really good, it's a great place to hang out, and for some reason you feel like this is what the Drive "feels like" and is all about.
We recently dropped in for dinner on a Friday night with another couple and luckily got the last open booth as the place was packed. The service and food was good, my wife was particularily happy with the veggie burger although I didn't pay much attention as I worked on a nice piece of salmon. I really enjoyed the mojitos with all the fresh mint leaves...delicious.All and all, a fun dinner with good company and good food.