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“Not as tasty as the price”

Columbia Restaurant
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Ranked #68 of 610 Restaurants in St. Augustine
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Cuban, Spanish
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Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Breakfast, Delivery, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Description: Family-owned and operated for more than 113 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 and fresh seafood specialties. Don't miss Columbia's Original "1905" Salad(R), prepared tableside with our delicious, freshly-made dressing, a 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 in our courtyard or Mediterranean-style dining rooms, filled with hundreds of hand-painted tiles and Spanish-style fountains. We are a sister to the Columbia in Tampa's Ybor City, founded in 1905. Children's menu available. Casual attire is fine, but we don't allow sleeveless shirts on men. Open 365-days a year, including all holidays. Please visit our website for the most current menu listings.
Reviewed November 26, 2012

I don't mind paying for a pricey meal every so often, but it should be "Ah-mazing!" when I do.

Quality: The food did not taste bad at all, but it lacked spices, flavor, and the quality of the chicken tasted like I should've paid 8.95 at a lower end place. The flavor the food overall was... not there at all. Very bland, tasteless and boring. The yellow rice was sticky and tasteless. If I had my eyes closed, I couldn't tell you what was what on my plate.

Service: great service, but giving me a run down of 4-5 plates before I'm asked for a drink is just too excessive.

Cleanliness/Decor: The place was very pretty, romantic and inviting, except for the ugly water fountain of the upsidedown lady in 2 tubes.

Overall: I'd never go there again. I was suprised for being around so long the food wasn't going to be as bland as it was. The price was not a problem, but what I got for the price was. I've had better cuban food with drinks for under $50. We spent as a couple an average of $22 a plate. It tasted like 6.95 a plate. Sorry guys, get a new chef or have a meeting and help your chef cook the food with atleast one spice that can be tasted. We dine out and travel a lot, this was one of the worst besides actual bad food.

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Thank TryNewPlacesBeach
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 reviewResponded November 30, 2012

The good news for us is that you took the time to point out our mistakes. This gives us a chance to find out what went wrong in the kitchen. We had one chance to make a good impression, and we did not deliver, and I apologize. The statue that you mentioned is called "Love and the Dolphin" and it is a replica of a sculpture found in Pompeii.

We do read all comments here, and when we get a review such as yours where we need to do better, we make sure the folks preparing our meals are aware that recipes are not being followed.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,100 - 4,104 of 4,863 reviews

Reviewed November 24, 2012

I have been to the Colombia restaurant several times, and it is always a great experience. Food and service is always excellent.

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2  Thank TampaGuy01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 24, 2012

Reservations are usually advised but you never know - the food is plentiful and delicious! Don't forget to finish up with the flan! It's not inexpensive, but the good things in life rarely are....and one entree is plenty to share between two people.

2  Thank Lrankin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 23, 2012

We ate here for Thanksgiving dinner, which is certainly an out of the norm occasion, so our experience is most likely not typical of a normal night at the Columbia. It's a beautiful restaurant, and the sangria mixed tableside is delicious.

We ordered the traditional turkey and sides Thanksgiving dinner. While our bread and salad arrived relatively promptly, our dinner took a ridiculous amount of time to arrive. Once it did, we took a look around. Other diners had their dinners on large, round, painted Spanish-style plates with generous sized portions. Our dinners arrived on small, plain, oval-shaped plates, with small portions all crammed on top of each other. My portion of sweet potatoes was gone in literally three bites. We wondered if maybe we were served child-sized dinners instead, but didn't want to cause a fuss. The reason we didn't want to cause a fuss was that our waitress tended to disappear for 10-15 minutes at a time, while we sat with empty water glasses, so I knew that trying to find out what was going on with our dinner would be an exercise in frustration.

Our theory as we left was that they had run out of plates and had to scramble a little in the back. That would account for the long wait and the odd-looking plates. Not an unforgivable offense, but not a mistake that a restaurant of this caliber should be making.

2  Thank jeneralee
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 reviewResponded November 26, 2012

We are happy to read that you choose to spend Thanksgiving with The Columbia. But I am sorry to read that your server didn’t take care of you….leaving your glasses empty and not checking on you is not the service that we pride ourselves on. I’m also not sure why you were served your Thanksgiving meal on the plates you described. We value each and every one of our guests and we hope to have a second chance to serve an outstanding meal on your next visit.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2012 via mobile

We ate the Paella, the only authentic Spanish dish on the menu, and it was delicious. My partner ordered the palomilla steak (Cuban) and was perfect.
We had the imported sangria which was to die for! The overall experience was very pleasant.
This restaurant is in the touristy part of town but it preserve some of the colonial feeling. Service was fast and friendly. Highly suggested.

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2  Thank Stefy211
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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