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“Disappointing”

Columbia Restaurant
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Ranked #12 of 2,435 Restaurants in Tampa
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $40
Cuisines: Cuban, Spanish
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Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Large groups, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Late Night, Delivery, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: Historic Ybor
Cross street: 21st street
Description: Open 365-days a year, including all holidays. Serving lunch and dinner daily. Reservations accepted. Children's menu available. In addition to award-winning Spanish/Cuban cuisine, Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City features Flamenco dance performances nightly, Monday - Saturday. There is no show on Sunday. The Café offers live jazz Tuesday through Saturday. The Hernandez Gonzmart family has been making restaurant history since 1905 when they opened their landmark Columbia Restaurant in Tampa's Historic Ybor City, 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 112 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" Pompano en Papillot, The Original Cuban Sandwich, and Filet Mignon "Columbia". 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. Enjoy an ice cold pitcher of Sangria or Mojitos, or sample a fine Spanish wine like Montecillo or Campillo from our award-winning wine list.
Reviewed October 27, 2012

We went ther for cuban/spanish food and it was very disappointing. Guide books said their paella was the best to be found----not true! It was blah. Spouse had the Marilyn and Joe and didn't like it at all. Boring. Best part of the dinner wer the flamingo dancers. The rest, very disappointing.

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Thank SusanEleanor
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 1, 2012

We never want to read that we let our guests down. We stress to our employees that we MUST provide a great meal and service for everyone who chooses to spend their time with us, and I am sorry that we got it wrong on your visit. I am happy to read that you enjoyed our Flamenco dance show, it’s a dynamic show, performed every night except Sunday.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,816 - 3,820 of 4,543 reviews

Reviewed October 26, 2012

What I enjoyed was the date i had, he had the knowledge of every dish
I felt it was casual too, I was not over taken by the wine list, started off with a chard, followed by a blk. bean soup, and dinner was shared. wanted room for desert, but only got to the desert wine.

Thank connie m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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 amberh281
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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