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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 41 - 60 of 68 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Size matters
By hippy of Vanocuver (1 Review)
Submitted Saturday, October 18, 2008 - 12:28am [Dine in]

These guys are a joke. They want to be a high-end restaurant, but they haven't got a clue how to go about doing it. They think that by shrinking the entree size down to an appetizer, and boosting the price that they can bring in the right clientele. Like I said, a total joke. We ordered a pork entree, and were astonished at the tiny size. I left the restaurant, shaking with hunger. The waiter was a funny guy---when we asked if they mistakenly gave us a appetizer, he pointed out that there was some bean paste on the dish, and the bean paste made it an entree. Man, that bean paste was paper thin! These guys are out of their league. They are small time--wanna be--big time. I have never, never seen such an outrageously small entree. Never. Never. And I will never be insulted by their high prices and small, small, small dishes again. Size matters.

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Hotday sangria
By snoopy1835 of kitsilano (3 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, September 5, 2008 - 10:23am [Dine in]

This place has awesome sangria. Somehow its busy all the time so if you are in a rush its probably not the best place to be. Its understandable after working in the industry its very hard to seat everyone and give everyone quick service even when you have the staff for it.

The portobello mushroom sandwich is my favorite sandwich there and goes really well with a pitcher of sangria and that spicy sauce they have on the table.

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Okay food, good drinks, ugly service
By Raven01 of vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Sunday, August 17, 2008 - 1:01am [Dine in]

This was my first and last time at this restaurant. The restaurant was semi-busy but not overly, and the server was seemingly cheerful and "ready to help" in our experience at this restaurant. Drinks were ordered and the mojito's were fairly nice, and prompt. Appetizers arrived and were fairly small in portion for a group of four. But the taste and plating was refined and made up for it. Our server came back and forth several times and was fairly intrusive, constantly checking on us. And when one of my friends requested yet another glass of water, it took a good 20-25 minutes for the server to return, This all being after dinner was served and consumed. It really shouldn't take a server that long to return to refill a glass of water, and still the restaurant wasn't that busy. To top it all off, we all agreed that an underaverage tip would be sufficient considering that the service and food was sub par and should be reflected into the tip. After we exited the restaurant, the same server who had intruded on the meal, took 20-25 minutes for water, and did not have plates and such for us until after the appetizers were finished, had the gall to come out of the restaurant and then harass myself and my friends for a tip! I personally will never return to this place, the service was shoddy, the food, though acceptable is not palatable enough for me to withstand such substandard service, and I wouldn't set foot in the door even if the manager of the bar had paid me and my friends to return.

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If you want service, go elsewhere
By bt227 of Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, May 8, 2008 - 11:12pm [Dine in]

Reasonable, quality food and decent atmosphere. But the service just killed it for us.

First off, we waited nearly an hour for a table on a weeknight. We were a party of six and they don't take reservations, which is fine. But when the restaurant is just a little over half full, any sound minded manager would have shuffled the tables around to create space for us. Nobody came to ask if we were ok, or to assure us that our table will be ready shortly. We were just left waiting outside.

After a brutal wait, we were already not in the best of mood. We were seated and did not see our waitress for nearly 15 minutes. Nobody came to take drink orders, offer to tell us about the specials, nothing. After desperately flagging down one of the other servers, she helpfully said she would find our waitress (thanks!)

The food and drinks took a long time to arrive. Fine. No big deal. At least the food was decent. The server just put food on the table, didn't bother asking which of us ordered it. Our water was never refilled, no one asked if the food was ok or if we needed anything.

I think any one of these things would have been tolerable, but when you add it all up it was just too much. I have to agree with many of the reviews here. The service totally ruined our dining experience.

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Not bad for commercial drive fare.
By tgfdriv of West end, Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, April 16, 2008 - 5:08pm [Dine in]

I come here every couple of months and have not been overly impressed. The food is nothing to write home about but it's pretty good sea fare. The service is spotty despite being well staffed which is the biggest turn off. The patio for brunch most days of the year(very well heated) is great for people watching and having mohitos. I'll be back.

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Rubbish
By bablu of Unknown (1 Review)
Submitted Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 9:36pm [Dine in]

After years of living on the drive we decided to give Havana a second chance. Big mistake. The food is horrible as ever and the service is a joke. In a restaurant that was not busy at all, it took us close to 20 minutes to get our food. We watched as the 'cooks' and serving staff stood around and did nothing while our food waited to be delivered to us. I had the Tito Puente, a chicken burger slathered in what they call chilli. My partner had the chicken wrap, which is basically a bread chicken breast, probably from a Costco bulk box, wrapped in a tortilla. Oh, yeah did I mention the chicken was cold. She also ended up with a stomach ache afterwards. This place is hideous, too much attention paid to image and not enough time spent on putting out some decent food.

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A taste of Cuba
By doublejack of vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 12:57pm [Dine in]

I lived on the drive for years and Havana has always been a great spot to sit and people watch while enjoying a refreshing drink and some great food.The service isn't the best but the atmosphere more than makes up for it.IF your in a rush then this isn't the place for you.Just pretend your in Cuba relaxing and enjoy the experience.

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Stay for the patio
By junebug of Vancouver (6 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, December 7, 2007 - 4:22pm [Dine in]

The reason we all go back is because of the patio. The service is crazy! Everytime it's different, which is fine because they hire people not robots. I've been to the Havana many times but I never go there because I know my service will be great, or my food amazing. It's just about the environment they've created...

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Consistently Offensive Service: the Hostess Yelled at Me!
By Witness of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Monday, August 27, 2007 - 7:01am [Dine in]

I have had dessert and drinks at Havana three times now, and the service has been consistently odious to the point of seriously ruining my evening. Besides the insulting rude behaviour of at least three staff members (all those I’ve had contact with) the restaurant presents an otherwise wonderful atmosphere with a lot of character.

It is almost worth the visit for the shocking experience of misanthropic wait-staff and in hind-sight, it really is humorous. In the bratty way our hostess ‘greeted’ us, in the pretentious and unapologetic airs that our error-prone server ‘served’ us and the indecisive—but to be fair, congenial—chap who moved us from table to table, seated us these experiences were definitely comical. The best part was the ‘greeting’ of our young hostess who walked by us three times. When disapproval must have been displayed in my expression she yelled angrily at me as I stood waiting at the door, “You’re going to have to wait!” This was shocking to say the least. Needless to say I didn’t wait but went elsewhere for my dinner.

Now being a server myself I’m very forgiving as I understand the difficulties and intricacies of a busy dining room. That being said I have some expectations that I consider industry standards:

1. When I arrive at the restaurant door I like to be received with a greeting, even if it’s only a “Hi, I’ll be with you in a moment.”

2. When there is an error in the order that I receive, the server bringing me the order should apologise for this error, even if a short and simple, "sorry." (A sneer just doesn't have the same effect, call me crazy.)

The atmosphere is by far the best part of Havana though, and should be experienced at least once: the Cuban music, the collage wallpapering and the art gallery in the back. And despite the comically poor service I may return—but this time with a preparation for the hideous personalities that make Havana a memorable East Vancouver spot.

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Gross
By yesplease of West End (3 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - 10:43pm [Dine in]

Had such a disappointing experience.

We were seated on the patio right away, which was nice, but then waited far too long for our server. She was very friendly, and the red sangria she served us was good, but that's about it for positive things to say about the place.

I felt like eating light, so I ordered the pan-seared squid with a side salad. What came was a tower of pre-frozen, giant rings of overcooked squid that were impossible to chew. Since when do cubans eat inner tubes?

My partner had a lamb tagine that he didn't mind, but why on earth is there a north african dish on a "cuban" restaurant's menu?

I won't go back for food ever again, those squid make me shudder!

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Not like Cuba at all
By teachersrool of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - 3:38am [Dine in]

Slow service, not so great food...this is not a Cuban restaurant. This is 'they're-Canadians-they-won't-know-any-better" restaurant. I agree with previous comments; the serving staff were trying to be a little too cool. It won't work, you need to actually BE cool. Acting won't help, unless you're waiting for your next big background role on Stargate SG1.

In a word, crap. Wouldn't go there again.

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over-rated.
By bigcup of East Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, April 5, 2007 - 8:48pm [Dine in]

i've been to havana tons of times and every time i feel like it gets worse and worse. i keep trying it because my friends love it. every time i think to myself: this is the time havana will be as good as everyone says (or the first time i came, but maybe that was because i was drinking before i ate). the patio is great, especially in the summer, and it has a good atmosphere. i've had service here ranging from pretty good to pretty bad. the food, though, is really poor quality. people may disagree with me, but the burgers are nothing out of the ordinary: go to red robin for a better burger, even. everything else is really expensive. last time i ate there i had a salad for $13 that was a pile of spring mix (straight outta the box) with a few pieces of (i'm pretty sure) pre-frozen pieces of fried chicken. oh, it came with some mayo-ish salad dressing and a few pieces of mango too, i guess to spruce it up a little. not worth the money though. i like the yam fries and the mojitos and that's about it. if you're looking for a great meal, go across the street to stellas or up the street to wazuubis.

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Drink, and thats it
By duckygirl of West Van (8 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - 1:44pm [Dine in]

Sitting across from the park on commercial is a nice way to spend an afternoon, but not when you have to look at the world crooked, through a split drink and 2 peoples dogs menacing at one another.... my fries were ok, but the garnish of a full police raid across the street left a little to be desired. Overworked, uncaring staff don't help. But my drink was cold.

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Nice place to sit; the food not so great
By zoobie of Vancouver (9 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, July 2, 2006 - 8:07pm [Dine in]

The patio is great at Havana. We went there on a hot summers day to see the art gallery opening of a friend.

We got ourself a table on the patio, ordered some drinks and food and then got up to look at the art while waiting. Upon returning 10 minutes later we see that our table is gone and taken by another group of people.

Upon asking the staff they finally got us another table. No apologies, nothing. It was odd to say the least. When the food arrived it was fine, but really nothing great.

We had a spicy chicken salad, which was tasty, but the lettuce was warm and soggy. Flavours were there, but texture obviously wasn't. The tuna was okay, yet the yam fries were decent.

Food was an average to less than average experience, but the location is great. However, it would've been better if we actually didn't lose our table mid visit.

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Not bad
By OotAboot of Vancouver (4 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 9:32am [Dine in]

The food here is pretty good. Just had a plain old burger. Thats all I wanted. Came with shoe string fries. Good drinks. Zesty Cuban flair.

As for the smokers lounge right in the front. Well lets just say, If you dont abuse your body you get to sit in the back. Too bad huh.

Ambiance is ok. I mean its set up as old school Havana. So thats been accomplished. They also have an art gallery / dance theatre in the back. Nice!.

As for the service. Typical Vancouver service. Dont hold your breath.

Overall, c'mon in and dont be shy. You'll have a good meal.

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Surprised By Good Reviews
By foodologist of Vancouver (15 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - 6:52am [Dine in]

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...

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Excellent Ropa Vieja at Havana
By wwl of richmond (14 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - 10:07pm [Dine in]

On Friday I sat on Havana's patio and enjoyed a great crowd, close company, and excellent food and plenty of drinks. Even on a rainy Nov night the patio is one heck of a place to hangout, probably my favorite on the drive.

This visit I had the Ropa Vieja and the plate was outstanding. Plenty of meat on this plate served perfectly. The Red Sangria was on par as always served in a generous pitcher. My guest were very impressed. Goodtimes as always.

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I ve had bad days but ........
By nothin-buta--review of West Vancouver (16 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, February 1, 2008 - 5:24pm [Dine in]

Ive had a bad day, from time to time, so i am assuming our server was having one of her own 'bad days'.
I went to Havana for the first time in the summer or early fall (it took me a while to post this). We were greeted and seated on the patio, and from there on it was the wiating game. We waited at least ten minutes for somebody to approach our table to even take a drink order ( I was surprised because the restaurant nor the patio were even close to half full) At that point I decided to get up to perhaps place a drink order inside. As I entered the dining area, a server with shoulder legnth curly blond hair, gave me a sort of 'glare' saying 'be right out'. We procceded to wait other 10 minutes. She came outside, and said with a hint of sarcasm 'Well you're certainly ready to order arent you?" . I felt like saying 'Well 20 mintues certainly gives one enough time!"
We placed our drink and food order at the same time and once again waited and waited for our drinks. The food however came out with perfect timing, and was great.
When it came time to pay, we again, I kid you not, waited yet another ten- fifteen minutes to the server to pick up our money and then deliver our change, and when she did drop it off, she said she could not break any of our bills down into change.....and handed us three five dollar bills...to me..that's asking for a five dollar tip. All in all the food was great, and the patio was awesome, but the service was really poor.....Id have a hard time going back.

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Best Chicken wrap in the city!
By Katy of Vancouver (10 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, November 29, 2007 - 1:28pm [Dine in]

I have to agree with the comments below regarding the service. The service is terrible at this place. I've sat for over 25 minutes without a menu before and finally had to go looking for someone, I've frequently been forgotten when I've put my name on the list and once you receive your food, you rarely see a server again. HOWEVER, the chicken wrap and mojito's are so delicious I will continue to frequent this place...that and the wonderful patio on a sunny day.

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Fun in the Sun!!
By stevenwise of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 2:17pm [Dine in]

Third time here since the new year. Usually go for breakfast, but decided to go for the afternoon. The patio is awesome. Afternoon sun! Always been a fun place to sit and people watch. Had tuna ceviche and mojitos. Reasonably priced and delicious. Server was super friendly even though she seemed pretty busy. Will definitely be back. Best patio on the East Side, hands down.

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