6A15832F D1B1 41DF A16B B47EBCFEB947

Havana Vancouver

Havana’s is the well known Latin restaurant with Pacific Northwest influences. Easy to spot on Commercial Drive thanks to its lively exterior. The patio is consistently full and plenty of patrons can be seen walking in and out of the restaurant, or simply standing in wait for a table. Tonight was a Saturday, with a comedy show at their Theatre next door, which we too were here for, so they were especially busy.

I love the newer look of the place. Made less gloomy with the golden glow of wicker light fixtures and feathery ferns handing over the patio area. They matched the patio lights strung up on the trees that lined the sidewalk and drew you in. The similar, more bright and tropical feel carries into the back, past the restaurant’s iconic craved and marked walls.

As mentioned before, we were one of those who were here later, for the comedy show next door at Havana’s Theatre; and thought to grab a bite before. A true night out: dinner and a show.

I have previously attended a Joker’s Canada comedy set and liked what a saw, so thought to see if each show was just as enjoyable. I have attended large scale comedy performances held at much larger venues, so can safely confirm that comics are best in a an intimate setting. Intimate, where it feels like you are hearing their stories. And this was definitely the case for this latest Jokers Canada set. More on that in the post to follow.

But first dinner at the bar. We didn’t think to make reservations at Havana, believing the theatre and the restaurant were one and the same. Luckily the bar was first come first serve and there was actually an empty spot for this Saturday night.

We began with a couple of specialty cocktails, because weekends call for it, and comedy is a lot more enjoyable if you are just as, at ease as those performing it for you.

The Cuban Old Fashioned is brown butter Havana Club 7 year, Apothecary cacao-coffee bitters, angostura bitters, and honey. It has a warming kick to it, and still bites despite the smooth finish of the honey.

The Beer Colada is Havana Club 3yr rum, pineapple, lime, coconut, topped with Havana Pale. It drank like a mello-ed out piña colada, but instead of crushed slushie ice you get some chilled beer in the mix.
For dinner we went back and forth on what to order, as this time, on a busy night, things do sell out. No more plantain or tortilla chips for us.

The Pulpo y Chorizo was a nice start. Grilled octopus, Spanish chorizo, crispy confit potato, charred shishitos + cherry tomatoes, smoked romesco, and a herb + watercress salad. The dish was cold, I suspect from an extended await at the kitchen pass and a busier service. There were a lot of bodies on shift, moving about nonstop and without conversation. The bar and kitchen were clearly busy.

The flavours were all there, I just wished the tomatoes were bettered blistered, that the potatoes were crispier, for the chorizo to not be cold at the centrec and for everything to be better charred for a more enjoyable smokey flavour.

The Birria Tacos gave me the smokey and salty char I was left craving, due to the above. Tomato + chili braised flank steak, chimichurri picante, cilantro, red onion, and jalapeño jack; all wrapped up in 3 corn tortillas. I liked the ability to curate your tastes between the two sauces, although preferred the chimichurri over the roja tomato sauce for its acid balancing tang.

The 1212 Burger was your standard house made thick patty handheld. A pressed Cache Creek natural beef patty cooked medium-well, topped with a red pepper relish, caramelized onions, aged white cheddar, confit garlic aioli, iceberg, and tomato; all between a brioche bun.

The patty was a little too thick given how dry and ashy it was. The toppings did what they could to inject moisture and flavour, especially the caramelized onions with their sweet smokey finish. I could have passed on the sheet of ice berg lettuce opting for some leafy romaine instead. And I would have liked more of the tomato soup side to use a a dip for the burger, instead of just the fries. Although did appreciate the fun twist they offered instead of ketchup.

Overall, the lively energy of the room, with its roaring chatter and nonstop banter was a great precursor for the Jokers Canada show to come. It got us hyped up for the night’s festivities.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t necessarily visit Havana’s for the food, but can recommend them as a nice spot for a drinks and some rowdy conversation. Although more over as your first stop for show night. And not that we needed to exercise the option, if you are still eating when your show starts, you can bring the food into the theatre, or order once you are seated at your table within. For more on the Havana Theatre experience and the latest Jokers Canada live comedy set, visit the link below.

Havana Vancouver
1212 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 3X4
(604) 253-9119

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top