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“A Lifetime Memory Tarnished” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Columbia Restaurant

Columbia Restaurant
Ranked #40 of 571 Restaurants in St. Augustine
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Spanish, Cuban
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Local cuisine, Large groups, Kids, Families with children, Business meetings, Special occasions
Dining options: Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Off-Street Parking, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Parking Available, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Dining
Description: Family-owned and operated for over 111 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 110-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 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.
Fort Myers, Florida
Level Contributor
23 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“A Lifetime Memory Tarnished”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 21, 2013 via mobile

I grew up with the Columbia Restaurants. From my fathers experiences in the '50's thru my life time. It was a place we went for wonderful food and the experience of fine dining. This was not that!
I could have been at any chain.
The service was "get them in and get them out!"
It was a $200 dinner that I was held back to not tell the waitress what to do!!
She brought bread with no butter....Served 2 tables flaming dessert and table side salad and we finally had to ask for butter again!
Then we saw the writing on the wall and ordered only our salad and soup thinking it would"slow the pace" to what it should be.
Nope!
She brought our soup and salad at the same time! Salad was great but the soup was cold by the time we got to it.
We should have stopped then. But, we ordered mains...
After the 45 min wait on the mains (despite telling her that we wanted a "time to prepare" dish earlier to cut that time) we had nibbled bread and wine and could not enjoy eat the mains.
No desserts or coffee. We just wanted out.

I have such find memories of 3 different Columbia's. They should be humiliated. They have betrayed their history and roots here.
After 46 years of special meals and memories- I wanted to share with my family in St. Augustine for a wedding.
I will not go back to this Columbia and tell others not to waste their time nor money here. I am so saddened to say that....

  • Visited July 2013
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank FishinNoles
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, July 25, 2013
We love to hear from long time guests such as yourself, and thank you and your family for your many years of visiting us at our restaurants in Florida. I am so sorry to read about the many ways that we let you down on your recent visit. I don’t know what went wrong with your server, but please know that we read all comment here, both good and bad, and will share your comments with our general manager. With the details you provided about the problems with service during your meal, our general manager can look into these issues and make corrections. We hope to have a chance to provide you and your family a better experience on a future visit.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,046 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Winchester, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
12 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Crystal made the visit wonderful”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 21, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I stopped in for dinner a couple of days ago. We were told the wait would be about 30 minutes so we went to the bar to wait. While there we decided to order a drink and some tapas. Immediately we were greeted by Crystal who was terrific. She suggested the langosta (lobster) flatbread and we were so glad we took her advice. It was light yet flavorful. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Then Crystal brought us some piping hot bread. Wow. At that point we decided to stay right there and forget about dinner. We finished our night there with another tapas item, the stuffed pepper which was delicious. We had already had an appetizer elsewhere so these dishes really complemented the evening. Columbia was excellent and Crystal made the experience over the top.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Ps59_15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
42 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Great experience and great food.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 21, 2013 via mobile

The Columbia is a favorite of mine and I always have a great experience there. The atmosphere is bar none and food is always good. If you are looking for a restaurant that is nice but not over the top expensive look no further.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank SchrumEric
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Central Florida, Florida
Level Contributor
50 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Unforgettable meal”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 20, 2013

There are meals that come along in ones laid that are unforgettable and the dinner at The Columbia Restaurant is one of them. Our waiter was attentive and seemed to have a sixth sense about when we desired his assistance. The cocktails, specialized of the house were perfect, the monitor and the margarita were smooth and well mixed. We stated with Tapas at the suggestion of our server and were delighted with the brilliant blending of flavors of the seasonings. We had the ponchos mixta and the empanadas. Truly a delight and excellent way to start a meal. We ordered the paella with various meats, only one for the two of us to share,which was a good thing as the serving size was plenty. The paella is delicious. No disappointment at all except that we could not have eaten more from the nearly fourteen page menu. We will just have to go again and again. Finally the desserts, we chose the flan and the churos with three dipping sauces: a brilliant guava, yummy caramel and a divine chocolate. Absolutely perfect. No question about it this was a memorable meal. Although St. Augustine is a tourist destination we did not feel this restaurant represented anything but an authentic feel of Spanish and Cuban cuisine served in a respectful and beautiful environment. We were dressed up as others were, but many folks were in shorts and tee shirts and we were comfortable. The black bean soup that we did not have this time is spectacular and should not be missed. It was our anniversary and the server brought us a complimentary flan. Very nice and unexpected.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Lorene d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Just what we were looking for”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 19, 2013 via mobile

We wanted to get inside out of the heat for lunch and had trouble finding a veg-friendly menu. We chose the Columbia because of its bright, cool atmosphere, prompt service, and expansive menu. Our server, Michael, was pleasant and professional and our food arrived in about fifteen minutes. Everything was delicious and we left full and happy with the amount we paid.

We live near another Columbia location and laughed at the idea of driving hundreds of miles and eating at a restaurant that is also just two miles from our home. We wanted good service and good food, and we got it!

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Bedwards C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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