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“Slow service lets down good food”

Columbia Restaurant
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Ranked #12 of 2,416 Restaurants in Tampa
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $40
Cuisines: Cuban, Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Large groups, Special occasions, Romantic, Business meetings
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, 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.
South Florida, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
56 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Slow service lets down good food”
Reviewed February 16, 2013

Lunch pricing is much better than dinner pricing for similar amounts of food.
Slow service lets down the great food they serve here (my fave is the chicken with chorizo dish)
For a downtown location, there is ample free parking which is nice (2 car parks!)

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Somebodytolove
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,432 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Level 6 Contributor
223 reviews
165 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
“A Tampa Tradition, great food, but expensive”
Reviewed February 15, 2013

I ate at this restaurant with a friend who suggested it, he paid. The Cuban food here was great, but expensive.

Visited December 2012
Thank kaiserdr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Succasunna, New Jersey
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Very disappointing”
Reviewed February 13, 2013

We decided on this restaurant (Ybor City) to celebrate our anniversary (we were visiting from out of state and my husband had read great reviews about it). We were very disappointed. We ordered a bottle of wine and the waiter brought the wrong bottle. Unfortunately we didn't realize it until after the bottle was opened but they were very gracious and brought us the correct bottle. The food was just OK; nothing like the reviews. The 1905 salad was good but that's about where it ended. I ordered the Bambino but the waiter obviously hadn't heard me correctly because he brought me something else. I sent back the wrong dish and had to wait while they cooked the Bambino. I told my husband to eat his paella instead of waiting for me because then his meal would get cold. So, we had to eat our anniversary meal 'separately'. He wasn't very impressed with his paella nor was I with the Bambino once they served it. The Flamenco dancers were very good, probably the only good thing of the evening. Oh, the restaurant did provide us with a free dessert in celebration of our anniversary which was a nice gesture. However, we would not recommend this restaurant and would not go back. Definitely not worth the cost.

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Liz C
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, February 14, 2013
We are happy to read that you and your husband choose to celebrate your anniversary with us. But I am sorry to see that we made so many mistakes and ruined your special evening. We are Florida’s oldest restaurant, celebrating our 108th anniversary this year, and we would not have reached this milestone if we did not care about our customers. We do read all comments here and use them to make improvements where needed.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
76 reviews
49 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2013

Don't be confused the name, this isn't Columbian food - it's Cuban. And its very good. This is the main attraction in Ybor City. Definitely stop here before going anywhere else on 7th Ave. You won't regret it.

Visited January 2013
Thank Tom S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Radford, VA
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Nice dining experience”
Reviewed February 12, 2013

Eclectic decor. Sangria so good, we were trying to squeeze the last drop from the fruit. Good service. Broad menu. My meal was excellent (veal w/crab). Prices reasonable. Would return.

Visit their shop as well.

Visited February 2013
Thank pickytraveler70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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