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“Great food and lots of interesting options...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Columbia Restaurant

The Columbia Restaurant
2117 E 7TH Ave, Tampa, FL 33605-3903 (Historic Ybor)
813-248-4961
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Ranked #15 of 1,974 Restaurants in Tampa
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Cuban, Spanish
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Large groups, Doing business, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Delivery, Late Night, Dessert
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: Historic Ybor
Cross street: 21st street
Kentucky
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Great food and lots of interesting options...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013 via mobile


We had the Coca de Langosta for an appetizer. It is a flatbread with Spanish chorizo, diced vine-ripe tomatoes, Maine lobster meat and Manchego cheese. It came out luke warm and was lackluster. We thought we were doomed and lured in by the hype of it being the oldest restaurant, until our main dish arrived. On the recommendation of the waiter, we got the Mariscos “Diablo”, which is a Combination of sautéed prawns, shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams in a spicy tomato sauce with blue crabmeat, onions, green peppers, garlic, white wine and chili peppers. Instead of the pasta, he suggested yellow rice, which gives the dish a paella feel without the 30 minute wait. It was outstanding and probably one of the best diablo dishes we have had.

Make a visit...it's worth it.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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1,461 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
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    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Umatilla, Florida
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Good restaurant, great Cuban sandwiches!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

We came here after visiting their St. Augustine location several times and wanting to see the original. We were promptly seated even though we showed up early for our reservation. There was plenty of free parking which was nice. There are many different rooms inside. We were glad to be seated in the middle room behind the hostess podium because it had beautiful décor and natural light. Some of the side rooms including a large one I walked through to get to the restroom were dark and wide open, less intimate. We ordered our usual, a half Cuban sandwich and half 1905 salad. Both were excellent. The staff could use more training on food allergies, however, Despite informing my waitress of an allergy, my food arrived with the item I requested them to hold. However, they promptly prepared another meal. I still prefer the St. Augustine location because I found the city itself to be far superior to Ybor City which was pretty dumpy, but in the unlikely event I return to Ybor I would visit this restaurant again.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirkland, Washington
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Worst meal of our trip, will never go back”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

I grew up in St. Petersburg and remember going to the Columbia for nice meals. Weeks before our trip from Washington State we reserved a table for the flamenco show. I confirmed that our table would be right next to the show and they said yes. We checked in exactly on time for our reservation and waited 15 minutes before they gave us our table. They took us to our table and it was on the second floor in the back. The show was on the first floor and I asked the hostess if she was seating us for the show and she assured me we could see from our table. We sat down and could not see the stage. We were also sandwiched beteween two other tables and right next to the waiters main route from the kitchen/back area to the other 8 or 9 tables on the second floor. First the waiter kept bumping my purse so I moved it. It took forever to place our drink order. I moved my purse, then both waiters started bumping my chair, I don't blame them it was a very tight space! Our first drinks were like kids daquiri's we couldn't even tell there was alcohol. My husband ordered something else that had really cheap tequila in it and didn't even taste like a margarita. The show started and the building is not designed for a show like that becuase the accoustics were absolutely awful for those of us upstairs hearing the magnified sound of feet stomping on the stage. Probably a great experience for those on the same floor as the show but for those of us upstairs that were standing to even see the show but having the sound magnified 100x from the cement walls it was a terrible experience. My daugther was fascinated by the show, she could not see even standing from our table so we went and stooed on the the stairs becuase standing anywhere else would have blocked other people's view. So for the whole show either my husband or I stood on the stairs with her while the other sat at the table. We took turns eating the appetizers. After teh show was over and 105 minutes after arriving at the restaurant our meal finally came. My daughters kids meal was on a VERY HOT plate, how hard is it to move it to a room temp plate? My palomilla was good but the plaintains were two bite full and my husband's steak was the fattiest steak I have ever seen. He did order a Ribeye and yes there should be some fat but it was 80% fat and grease and not edible. This was a terrible experience. At one point earlier the waiter asked how everything was but didn't even wait for an answer. He did ask this again after our meals were served and I told him everything was terrrible from the table to the food and most definitely the service. My husband told him to just please give us the check so we can leave, we did not want ot eat our entrees. At that point I left to go to the bathroom so we could leave after paying and when I returned there was a manager at the table. He did not apologize to me or say anything. My husband said he comped us the meal and we didn't pay but really this was suppsoed to be a great night out and while not paying made it a little less enfuriating I owuld have much radther paid the 200-300 we had planned it would cost to have a nice dinner with drinks and watch the show. It was really a terrible night and the whole time we were watching from the second floor standing we could look down and saw two empty tables with reserved signs on them during the show that no one ever sat at. We also saw another party sitting right next to the show that we saw check in without a reservation. They had a larger party so I'm thinking the restaurant likes to seat larger parties next to the show, I don't understand any other explanation of why we had made a reservation weeks in advance and were given the absolute worst table. We also saw two other tables send a food item back. Our waiter was so overworked there was absolutely nothing special or personal about his service he was simple moving as fast as he could to try and handle the crowd. The restaurante overstuffs the place and does not staff it appropriately which is not fair to the customers or the wait staff. I think our waiter would have been a good waiter if he had a reasonable load. Terrible service, terrible food, terrible experience and definite dissapointment. We will not go back. Not paying for the meal really does nothing because it was a terrible evening on a our vacation. We wound up buying our daugther a happy meal in a drive through down the street and going for drinks and appetizers somewhere else.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
guestservices1905, Public Relations Manager at The Columbia Restaurant, responded to this review, July 25, 2013
We always enjoy hearing from guests who have visited us before at one of our locations in Florida. I am so sorry to read though about the many ways we let you and your family down on your visit. You took the time to make a reservation, and requested seating for our Flamenco dance show during your dinner. And we seated your family on the upstairs balcony overlooking the stage, instead of offering you a table on the first floor, closer to the stage. Then there were problems with your meals, and your tables were too close together. I am happy to read that when you let your server know about all these problems, a manager came out to your table and took care of your check. This still does not erase the disappointment you all felt after looking forward for so long to dinner and the show, and we apologize. I will share your comments with our general manager so he can look into preventing these mistakes from happening again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Westford, Massachusetts, United States
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
56 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“Disappointed!”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2013

I dined at The Columbia in Clearwater Beach years ago, and my husband and I both enjoyed it very much. However, we visited the original restaurant in Ybor City last Fall and wasn't as impressed with the food. In addition, although the restaurant is very beautiful, the service was absolutely terrible! That being said, however, we once again decided to try it during our last visit to Tampa in May. This time though, we went to The Columbia Café on the Riverwalk. We sat outside which was nice, but the food and the service was terrible. I will never go back.

Visited May 2013
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guestservices1905, Public Relations Manager at The Columbia Restaurant, responded to this review, July 25, 2013
We never want to read that we have let our guests down. You and your husband have enjoyed past visits at our Columbia in Clearwater Beach, and then you visited our Columbia Ybor City and had bad service. Then you gave us another chance when you recently visited us at our Columbia Café on the Riverwalk, Tampa, and we let you down again. Please know that we do read all comments here, good and bad, and we apologize for this lapse in service.
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Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“OMG Good food!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2013 via mobile

Second time guest....there so many choices food and wine! Lots to choose from chicken, beef, pork, sea food...you name it. I had the "complete Colombian". It had a little of everything :) they had one wine that part of the purchase went towards a scholarship fund. Its a little expensive but very nice. FYI the bread pudding is so good but a very large portion!

  • Visited July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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