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“Not what it once was”

Columbia Restaurant
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Ranked #3 of 35 Restaurants in Celebration
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Cuban, Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Families with children, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Front St. & Sycamore St.
Description: Family-owned and operated for more than 112 years, Columbia has earned acclaim for its old-world charm and award-winning Spanish/Cuban cuisine and wine list. Join us for century-old family recipes like Paella "a la Valenciana," Filet Mignon "Columbia," and fresh seafood specialties. Don't miss Columbia's Original "1905" Salad(R), prepared tableside with our delicious, freshly-made dressing, a 100-year-old family recipe of fresh garlic, oregano, wine vinegar and Spanish extra virgin olive oil. Be sure to sample a fine Spanish wine like Montecillo or Campillo. Relax outdoors in our cafe or courtyard, or inside our Tapas Bar or Mediterranean-style dining rooms filled with hand-painted tiles and family heirlooms. Casual attire is fine, but we don't allow sleeveless shirts on men. We are a sister to the Columbia in Tampa's Ybor City, founded in 1905. Children's menu available. Open 365-days a year, including all holidays.
Orlando, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
98 reviews
80 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Not what it once was”
Reviewed March 12, 2013

We recently dined at Columbia for the first time in a couple years. Unfortunately they now seem to be trading more on reputation than reality. In particular, the service was abysmal from the hostess at the front to the server. Indifference seemed to be a core value. The food was also not to the quality we've come to expect from dining here over the years. It was inconsistently prepared with the roast pork being incredibly dry.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank rhinodad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
guestservices1905, Public Relations Manager at Columbia Restaurant, responded to this review, March 14, 2013
We never want to read that we let our guests down, and I am sorry you were not greeted with a welcoming attitude by the hostess and that you were served a meal that you did not enjoy. We read all comments here, good and bad, and will share your comments with our general manager to make sure these mistakes are not repeated.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Midlothian, Virginia
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great Cuban Restaurant”
Reviewed March 7, 2013

We found this gem while vacationing in central Florida last year and had to go back. My wife ordered the salmon, while I had the grouper and both were fantastic. Our waiter was very friendly and the atmosphere is fantastic.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank tmnh6179_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Monroe, Connecticut
Level 6 Contributor
118 reviews
117 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Pretty good but good thing I was on a diet”
Reviewed March 4, 2013

I badly wanted to pay a visit to this restaurant from the moment I heard it carried faithful, Cuban and Spanish cuisine and for the most part, it didn't disappoint.

Ambiance is great. It has sort of an old Cuban colonial house decor though it wasn't as fancy as I thought it would be (the St. Augustine Lightner museum has spoiled me I guess).

Since I'm currently on a strict diet, I ordered their most popular salad (has a year number, can't recall it) and it was a very good one. It had plenty of lemon and Worcestershire sauce which made it more acidic that my usual salad fare, yet it was tasty enough for me to finish it all.

I also had two tapas (appetizers), one being the spinach-stuffed mushrooms (good, as expected) and the mixed pinchos with chorizo which tasted well but had quite a sad food-to-price ratio.

The tapas' size was the only problem I encountered. For the regular appetizer price of $7-$10 you get a very paltry amount of food. The pinchos had exactly two chicken pieces, two grilled onions (or similar vegetable) and one piece of chorizo (which was stellar, but geez, just one?). You get two mini-pinchos for a regular appetizer price. At least with the mushrooms we got 5 of them.

Come on, how expensive is it to make chicken, vegetable and chorizo pinchos? I would understand if it was something far more pricey and/or rare, but with just one measly piece of chorizo, I had to make sure I chewed it very slowly as to enjoy its fleeting existence.

If they had been more generous with the appetizers, I would have leaned closer to rating this establishment the big 5 stars, but they marked a noticeable, disappointing note. However, I liked the food and ambiance enough to give it another try at some other point. It doesn't hurt that its location is in a Stepford Wives-like portion of Celebration, which practically forces you to walk and relax.

For dessert, you may want to hop over to the nearby ice cream parlor. Yum!

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank AtnierR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orlando, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“FAV restaurant”
Reviewed March 3, 2013

This is one of my favorite restaurants. I grew up in Tampa and as a child went to the original Columbia. Was so excited when they built one in Celebration. Since then I have been to this one many, many times. I seem to order the same thing every time, bowl of Spanish bean soup, 1905 salad and of course some sangria! YUM! My husband loves the chicken and yellow rice. Fun time to visit this restaurant is during the Christmas season when Celebration has all the decorations up and snow!

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Kholysz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Ranks right up there with the best”
Reviewed March 3, 2013

The Gonzmart family have perfected the combination of food, service and ambiance and delver it to a combination of locals and tourists impecably. The Columbia was suggested by a friend before we left home. Four of us went to dinner on a Wednesday night. My wife had made reservations the week before with very specific instructions, and we were pleasantly surprised that they were followed to the letter. We were given a booth and were delighted with the food and the service. Khalil was our waiter and he patiently answered our questions about the extensive menu, and then prepared sangria, mojitos and salad tableside. A show in itself. I had the paella campesina which was superb and my wife had the shrimp salteado which she loved. Edward the manager came by the table to make sure everything was going well. We topped off a great meal with dessert (try the 3 amigos).
Our experience on Wednesday caused my wife and I to return on Friday by ourselves and were treated to another great dining experience. Edward greeted us at the door like long-lost friends and welcomed us back. Shafik prepared the white sangria and salad with the same panache as Khalil. I had the snapper alicante and she had the stuffed pompano, both of them terrific. We finished with a delightful dish of flan.
You pay up for meals like these, but in my opinion, it was worth every dime. The Columbia feels like the only real thing in the Disney version of a Florida town. This is a place to dress up and be treated like royalty.
One word of caution - the Columbia is not a place for kids that have trooped around a theme park all day. Kids aren't ready for fine dining after Space Mountain or Harry Potter. Bring them to lunch before going to the parks and tell them it's a theme park for adults.

Again - kudos to the Gonzmarts and muchas gracias. I'm warning you, we'll be back.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank cjones1913
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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