Both Kells & I have been to Havana (Cuban Restaurant on Commercial Drive) several times. And, since we were having out-of-towners join us, we wanted to take them somewheres new!
Because we were going to a show, we were hoping to make reservations. I checked online 2 weeks before. Son of a buggerball: no reservations during peak times, such as Friday & Saturday after 6 pm. Open Table was right on their site so I tried to book anyways. It wouldn’t allow me to book after 4:45 pm. Our show was at 9 pm so 4:45 would be way too early. I also went to the Open Table app, thinking it might be different. And, nope. Grrr.
The Waiting Game
Half of our party got there before 6 & told that it would be an hour wait to sit inside. So they were seated outside, waiting for us. K&I joined and the 4 of us planned our drink orders (mojitos, V&T, margarita). Things were going ok.
As per the timeline above, we had 20 minutes left to wait for a table inside… but were told by staff that it’d actually be another 40. And apparently, once we ordered patio-side, we’d have to stay put.
The patio seating was assembled-to-order and so it wasn’t 100% comfortable. 2 of us felt that we were in the walkway. But our waiter assured us that we weren’t. And the heaters were keeping us warm. And we were hungry pups. So we figured we’d stay.
However, after another few minutes, our bottoms got cold. Our Gentleman Out-of-Towner got up to speak with the inside folks. He asked for our table listing back. We were told it’d be 1.5 hours. So he reminded them that we were already on the list, just a few minutes prior. Then they said 40 minutes.
When our waiter returned, we again inquired. She checked and told us 1.5 hour wait, even though at this point we were there over an hour. She said once we had ordered the food, inside folks assumed we’d just stay outside and took us off the list… and plus the restaurant had full reservations. Hmmm…
Eat Drink Man Woman
Drink and food service was slow. We ordered appies and said we would all share. Kells hates cilantro, so the waiter made suggestions. I ordered poblano & corn dip. K ordered the avocado tostones. And, the tostones came with cilantro. The waiter apologized and sent it back. Our out-of-towners got mussels, which were fab.
Our Gentleman Out-of-Towner ordered a 3rd beef taco, which never came. Me n Lady Out-of-Towner ordered the flat iron steaks, which were salty but good. The side was a fantastic cauliflower number. K ordered the prawn tacos, which were good with tasty sides.
Mains came 10 mins after appies – which was poor timing. Seemed like we waiting forever for our drinks… then our appies… then it all came spilling out on small table. (For comparison: There were other folks on the patio as well, and they received their food & drinks in a timely manner. One of the tables had 7 or 8 people.)
Would we recommend this restaurant?
K&I have been here before and it was an enjoyable experience. My last time was years ago, just before the fire. Kells’s last time was more recent: after the renos and change in ownership. So, this experience was different and not 100% positive.
But if you’ve never tried Cubano food, definitely go – especially for brunch. And if it’s peak dinner time, we would recommend making an early reservation. That way you’ll get a seat inside, and hopefully your food in a timely manner. If 4:45 is too early for dinner, go anyways. Then take an after-dinner stroll through The Drive, and get yourself a delicious Italian espresso or gelato… or do some window shopping and people-watching.