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2.5
  • Food3
  • Service2.5
  • Value2.5
  • Ambiance3.5
  • Reviews68

Havana Restaurant

1212 Commercial Drive
Vancouver, BC V5L3X4
Tel: (604) 253-9119
Neighbourhood: Grandview-Woodland
  • Cuisine: Cuban, Latin American
  • Price: $$ ($15 - $30)
  • Reservations: Accepted
  • Service: Takeout
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Weekend brunch
  • Features: Ocean Wise, Patio
  • Hours: Mon - Thu: 11AM - 11PM, Fri: 11AM - 12AM, Sat: 10AM - 12AM, Sun: 10AM - 11PM
  • 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.

Reviews

Displaying 21 - 40 of 68 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
looks can be deceiving
By Munchies of East End, Van (15 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, September 22, 2007 - 1:53am [Dine in]

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.

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I'm not sure what I keep going back?
By pachowhi of Vancouver (13 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, August 24, 2007 - 12:59pm [Dine in]

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!

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Relaxing restaurant
By cododd of east van (19 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, July 24, 2006 - 3:22pm [Dine in]

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.

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Meh....not again
By Binky of Coquitlam (32 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, July 25, 2010 - 4:48pm [Dine in]

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

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Supper 5 March, 2009
By sumiln of North Burnaby (34 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, March 6, 2009 - 10:43am [Dine in]

A group of friends met here last night for supper and a chat. Haven't been here in a while... I really like it. The waitress was super in that she remembered which wine each of us were drinking and was helpful re menu items. I'd the polenta appetizer which was really delicious - it's hard to find really good polenta (yes, I know, that may sound a bit of an oxymoron to many) and more than enough to satisfy my somewhat small appetite. Everyone enjoyed their respective meals. I also enjoy the wee gallery at the back tho' currently the exhibit is a bit limited. The food here is far superior to anything ever experienced in our travels in Cuba but it has to be admitted that food in Cuba is pretty dismal!

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What happened????
By sambajammer of East Van (1 Review)
Submitted Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 7:12pm [Dine in]

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.

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One of my faves!
By ejd23 of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 10:41am [Dine in]

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. :)

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Not worth it
By DriveGuy of Vancouver (Commercial Drive) (4 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 11:51pm [Dine in]

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.

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Always Consistently Good
By preshis of van (4 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, January 29, 2011 - 11:51pm [Dine in]

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.

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Had a great time!!
By timmybrent74 of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Saturday, December 4, 2010 - 10:17am [Dine in]

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.

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awesome food, service could be better
By mdfood of Surrey , B.C. (5 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 12:28pm [Dine in]

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!

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Average At Best - Best A Miss
By dai_lo of Yaletown, Vancouver (26 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - 8:31pm [Dine in]

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

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Disappointment.
By bonmacaron of Surrey (1 Review)
Submitted Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - 7:23pm [Dine in]

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?

PROS:
- 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!

CONS:
- 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.

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Great place for brunch and a place to drink
By esman7 of Downtown, Vancouver (9 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, October 22, 2009 - 5:40pm [Dine in]

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.

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Great people watching, great drinks, great service, meh food
By diner50 of Kitsilano, Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - 8:45pm [Dine in]

Havana is a great place to go for a few drinks on the patio on a summer afternoon. Service is almost always prompt, courteous, and fun; drinks are delicious and not too badly priced. I'm always a little bit disappointed with the food though-- its not that it isn't usually good, as it is, (I went there for brunch and had the skillet eggs, very saucy but very good) but its also usually quite overpriced I find. It's decent food, but its not worth paying as much as you pay for it. The atmosphere is fun though, and I like the added touch of the art gallery in the back room.

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Come for the drinks, stay for the drinks
By luyendao of East Van, Vancouver (28 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, July 11, 2009 - 12:47pm [Dine in]

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.

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Havana Nights
By tripa of New Westminster (6 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, May 13, 2009 - 11:29pm [Dine in]

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.

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What a rip off!
By fujiwara of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Monday, April 13, 2009 - 12:18pm [Dine in]

Me and my husband went on late Saturday nite. I just felt the food was way over priced for what we had. A small basket of Yam Fries $9. (Steamworks serves double portion for only $6.) Tilapia fish /w veg and rice $17, Paella $19, They were both surprisingly SMALL portion (for even a tiny woman like me) and just very very SALTY that I couldn’t even finish. I expected some seafood on Paella as it's described on the menu but there were lots of cheap sausage pieces and only little bit of tiny shrimps. The only good thing I had was Sangria which was $8 a glass. This type of drink can't really go wrong anyway. We paid over $75 for unfulfillable food. I would never go there again.

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Only on a Sunny Day...
By manager of commercial drive (24 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, February 20, 2009 - 1:11am [Dine in]

I always have high hopes when deciding on Havana. It's always the same.

Friendly service.

Nice patio.

Disappointing food.

My crunchy chicken sandwich cost $13. Add another $2.50 for the yam-fries and the McChicken Sandwich i just ate cost just a little too much.

But you got to give it to the Havana patio. People waching doesn't get any better than this...unless you have magical powers to become invisible.

And you can always count on some dude to be smoking a joint just within smelling distance.

Next time I'll just have some beverages.

Werd Out.

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Very good experience
By secret_solitude of Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, November 6, 2008 - 11:10pm [Dine in]

It is a cozy reataurant with a lovely atmosphere. service was perfect and the waiter was really friendly. He knew what he was doing, he explained everything. The food was great, testing very good and looks good too. this is my second time there and both were very good experiences. I love going there.

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