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“Celebration of Tampa's Cuban influence”

Columbia Restaurant
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Ranked #19 of 2,580 Restaurants in Tampa
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $40
Cuisines: Cuban, Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Breakfast, Dinner, Delivery, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: Historic Ybor
Cross street: 21st street
Description: Open 365-days a year, including all holidays. Serving lunch & dinner daily. Reservations accepted. In addition to award-winning Spanish/Cuban cuisine, the Columbia features flamenco dance performances nightly, Monday - Saturday. The Hernandez Gonzmart family has been making restaurant history since 1905 when they opened their landmark Columbia Restaurant, which today is Florida's Oldest RestaurantSM. Today, 4th & 5th generation family members work hard to preserve the family's legacy that their great-grandfather Casimiro Hernandez, Sr. created over 113 years ago when he opened the Columbia as a corner café frequented by local cigar workers. Casual attire is fine, but we don't allow sleeveless shirts on men. Our guests enjoy many of the same century-old family recipes that have made the Columbia famous like Paella "a la Valenciana," Snapper "Alicante," and the Original Cuban Sandwich. Don't miss Columbia's Original "1905" Salad(R), prepared tableside.
Reviewed October 26, 2012

The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City is a Tampa institution! Our local friends strongly urged us to go there, and we're so glad we went. The atmosphere and the service were both fabulous. The servers are elegantly clad, but the clientele dress in every way imaginable from formal to summer casual. My husband ordered the famous 1905 salad and a Cuban sampler platter that allowed us to taste a little of everything. My shrimp dish was well-prepared and nicely seasoned. With seating for 1700 people in several dining rooms, my only regret is that we didn't get to eat in the patio dining room with its indoor fountain and balcony.

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Thank Pam B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,311 - 4,315 of 5,047 reviews

Reviewed October 25, 2012

We went for lunch and this is the second time dining at the Columbia. My husband had a gift certificate from work we wanted to use. I got an eggplant dish, which was breaded and had tomatoes and cheese and he got a pork sampler dish. They were both better than average. My husband loves the warm Cuban bread!

The 1905 salad was again our favorite part of the meal and its easy to see why it's so popular. The server finishes the salad table side - adds the dressing, cheese and pepper.

Most of the servers seemed very attentive to the guests, we tried to joke with our server, but I guess he didn't find us funny :). He was just all business and no personality...the drinks were never empty and he was prompt so I guess that's not a negative.

Although I would go back again, I would wait to take out of town guests to experience both the Columbia and Ybor city.

Thank Mrdate88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2012

From start to finish the meal was amazing. My Fiance and I shared a pitcher of Sangria and a trio of tapas. The scallops were to die for. The paella dish was huge and so glad we split that too because it left room for the most delicious dessert ever.....the chocolate bread pudding. We ended with an extremely strong Cuban coffee and strolled Ybor. We arrived at 4 pm and no wait but very long wait at the door as we left.

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Thank amberdaug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2012

The Columbia Restaurant is a beloved tradition in Tampa, that transports the diners back to the days of elegance and grace that once was Cuba. The food is traditional Cuban cuisine which is rich and flavorful with an enticing aroma that will make you eat more than you can hold. The Gonzmart family continues a tradition of a wonderful meal served by wait staff who care to give you a robust dining experience. Book reservations for the Flamenco show.

Thank Nan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2012

I went here with a large group of colleagues seeking an authentic Tampa experience. In that respect we were not disappointed! From the drive through Ybor to the Flamenco show at the restaurant we were much more charmed than ever before. Unfortunately the food was fairly mediocre. Tapas included croquettes, chorizo and a few seafood dishes and my entree was some type of fried chicken with manchego cheese and rice. Everything was good but not great. If I ever came back I would definitely try the paella but I won't push to come back next time I'm in town.

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Thank netgrl22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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