Cuba Cantina is now open in Gandy Street, Exeter.
Work has been going on solidly for a few weeks, and the restaurant finally opened on Thursday evening. I popped in to have a look and the decor is very colourful and rustic with a main restaurant area downstairs, and 3 rooms upstairs that are very relaxed, light and airy.
The new restaurant is owned by businesswoman Olivia Ambrose.
Mrs Ambrose, 51, who has lived in Exeter for over 25 years, said she is excited about bringing a taste of Cuba to the city centre. She said: “What gave me the idea was that I went to Mission Burrito in Bristol and it was really poor and dull. There was no flavour in the food and I just thought that this could be done so much better.
“The principle of what I am trying to do is to provide affordable dining and there is nothing like that in Exeter and if you have a family, then the bill can really add up.
“The style I am going for is that I am going to have a hot and cold counter where people can choose what they want to eat and it gets made to order in front of them.
“The look I want to achieve is a burrito bar style. We are going to offer burritos, nachos, Cuban salads and tacos with a choice of fillings.”
“We are also going to cater for vegans and vegetarians as well as offering gluten and lactose free food.”
“We are going to have South American beers and wines to drink and it is all going to be in bottles and cans, we aren’t going to have any glasses.”
The restaurant is going to seat 70 people and there will be two floors that will be the dining area.
“There is nowhere like this in Exeter and it is somewhere I would want to go to and I would bring my children.”
“Our ethos is to serve great food in a relaxed, contemporary environment with food that is great value for money, and that is what I want.”
“It is my first venture completely on my own and I totally believe in the concept and the food and I think it is going to be amazing.”
Their website and Twitter page are not currently active, but they do have a Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/cubacantina
Words & photos by Lauren Heath and quotes as seen in Express and Echo
June 2016 update – since opening, see my review here: https://eatingexeter.co/2016/06/27/cuba-cantina-gandy-street-by-lauren-heath/