This restaurant has been a staple on The Drive for 19 years. In a city like Vancouver that’s known for opening restaurants in the blink of an eye (and closing them just as fast), it is obvious that Havana is doing something right. I came here for Richard Wolak’s Vancouver Taco Challenge to try their Pacific Cod Taco – The creation of Chef Jeff Grant, this is panko crusted pacific cod served with sundered tomato aioli, pickled cabbage, lettuce, fresh guacamole and finished with gherkins for a nice bit of crunch. The Taco Challenge might be over, but there are so many tasty dishes to try at Havana this summer, like their Tostones ($8.95) which are perfect for sharing. Tostones are a typical Latin snack food. Plantain chips served with chipotle mayo for a bit of heat. I should mention that Havana does a great job with their cocktails. They have a fantastic sangria that’s guaranteed to clench your thirst this summer, or you can opt for a delicious Mojito like I did. This has got to be one of the best mojitos I’ve ever tasted. And that includes the ones I had in Cuba! I highly recommend this next tapas: the Garlic Chili Prawns ($13.99) with green onions, chilies and cilantro. I’m salivating as I write this. They were so good. Such a good blend of spices and the prawns were cooked perfectly. For what I hear, this is a crowd favourite and one of Havana’s signature dishes.Another dish we tried was the Crudo ($13.99) – Albacore tuna with garlic, lemon, jalepenos with crispy tortilla chips. This was my least favourite dish, not that it was bad, but there wasn’t much flavour to it. I think if we had it before the prawns, the experience would’ve been better? The prawns were so spot on and so full of flavour, so by following them up with a much milder dish, we missed the mark.Overall, the patio experience at Havana in the summer time is something that must be experienced. They have such a great patio and such a great cocktail list, it’s worth it to spend an evening with a friend people watching on “The Drive”. Their menu is on the moderate price point, but the tapas portions were good for two people. Between the two of us we left with happy tummies.
Follow them on Twitter @HavanaVancouver