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“Always Great Colombian food...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cali Viejo

Cali Viejo
436 E Brandon Blvd, Brandon, FL 33511-5318
813-685-3715
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Ranked #48 of 260 restaurants in Brandon
Cuisines: Colombian, Latin
Restaurant details
Tampa Bay
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Always Great Colombian food...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

I am Colombian and when I came here I missed not eating some of those iconic dishes like the Colombian tamales, Consome de Carne (Beef soup), palomilla steak and beef empanadas (the Colombian way). All these are delicious here. I noticed they have made some dishes very American friendly by turning some dishes into sandwiches and adding salads and fajitas, which I understand since we are not in Colombia, but the flavors stay the same, the ingredients are right and taste delicious. I usually go for the dishes that stay authentic in form and flavor which are my personal favorites.

All the pastries are delicious, specially the tender warm pan-de-yucas (yuca-chessee rolls).

The service was a little slow but it was not too bad waiting with a jugo-de-lulo (Lulo juice, a fruit native from the Andes)...

The waitress was friendly, a little distracted in my opinion but the food was so good and hard to find that I wasn't focused on that.

Price-wise dishes are in my line of cheap and expensive. Dishes are in the 8 to 12+ dollar range. It is OK but for special occasions. Not too OK if you think about all the easy-to-find cheap Cuban buffets around town.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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27 reviews from our community

81% Recommend
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    2
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Tampa, Florida
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Great Colombian Food, Friendly Service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

There are two sides to this restaurant... The cafe side and the bar side, as I refer to them. I believe the kitchen is shared between the two.

When you approach the building, the cafe side is to your left. You can see the dessert display through the big open window and this is a good place to have lunch. They have televisions here that usually display sporting events, like soccer. I have always had good service here and the food is delicious, it seems like they put a lot of time and care into preparing it.

If, however, you make a right upon approaching the building, you will find a door leading into a dimly lit room that has a full-liquor bar and dining area. The food is the same here and it is a good choice for dinner, but I have found the service is slower and less personal on this side.

Overall, Cali Viejo is a great choice for authentic Colombian food in this area. The menu has so many choices, I often find it hard to decide. My favorite is the Bandeja Paisa, which has a little bit of everything (flank steak, arepa, sausage, pork rind, salad, sweet plantains, beans & rice, etc.) The BBQ pork ribs are also fabulous. Everything I have tried here is delicious, so you really can't go wrong. I believe they also have happy hour specials with two-for-one sangrias on some days. They also have a list of authentic Colombian drinks/cocktails for those who are feeling adventurous.

Try it, you will like it.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brandon, Florida
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Good food (great for takeout etc)”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2012

The food was OK, very small dining room. We thought it was a Cuban restaurant but it is not (I think it may be Dominican), nothing wrong with that except we were looking for some good Cuban sandwiches and they did not have them. Prices weren't bad, but the place had no character or ambiance.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brandon, Florida
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Avoid this restaurant!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2012

We went there late afternoon on Mother's Day, a party of six. We had to complain to the manager when, after one hour of being seated our food had not arrived. The manager offered a discount but it was not given when we paid the bill, so we had to protest again. It took almost an hour and a half to finally get our orders. The food was mediocre. Beef had to be sent back to be cooked as it was raw. They had run out of "tostones" but the waitress had not told us that when we ordered. Half of the "maduros" were soggy, over-ripe, not worthy of being served to customers. The "arepa" appeared to be old and barely reheated. The waitress did not check if we needed refills for our beverages.. We were not informed why our food was taking too long to be served until we protested and were told that they only had one cook in the kitchen serving both sides of the restaurant. Later in the day we were told by a relative that, if she had known we were going there, she would have told us not to go as she had a similar experience. She also told us that the restaurant had been recently closed due to poor sanitation and that, after reopening they have been struggling to stay in business.

  • Visited May 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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Brandon, Florida
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Excellent food, service is spotty”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2012

There is no question their menu includes authentic Colombian food. You will be hard pressed not to enjoy the food. The lunch experience is a little different. Sometimes I get great service, sometimes they are super slow.

  • Visited April 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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