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“SO much food (but its great!)”

Columbia Restaurant
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Ranked #11 of 2,430 Restaurants in Tampa
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $40
Cuisines: Cuban, Spanish
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Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Large groups, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, 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.
Reviewed March 15, 2013

The portions are HUGE! Everything is yummy and the service and ambiance play a BIG part in the experience. I recommend the sangria with champagne - great table side presentation!

Thank Lrichardson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (4,493)
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3,590 - 3,594 of 4,493 reviews

Reviewed March 15, 2013

I think this place takes up a whole city block! We read that this is the oldest restaurant in Florida, and we love Cuban sandwiches, so we headed to Ybor City/Tampa to check it out. We were comparing this sandwich to the one we adore at a Cuban restaurant in Key West. The one in Key West won, hands down. We were a bit surprised because since the Columbia says they serve 'The Original Cuban Sandwich,' we thought it would be superb! One of our orders was the 'Half and Half Combo,' half "1905" Salad (which was excellent!!) and a half Cuban. The other order was a whole Cuban. The half wasn't bad, but the whole sandwich did not have enough filling (and it didn't cover all the bread), was dry, the bread was too done, which made it even more dry, and it was almost the same size as the half sandwich. Sangria was strong and not as fruity as I would have liked, but can't fault them on lack of wine content! On a more positive note, the restaurant itself is a sight not to be missed, mostly because of the colorful hand-painted Spanish tiles. We didn't actually get to experience the awesome looking room shown on the website as we were seated in the bar area of the restaurant which I didn't think had a lot of charm. Wait-staff and hostess all wore impressive black and white uniforms. A generous portion of warm Cuban bread for each person was brought to the table wrapped in paper, along with butter at the perfect consistency - yummy!!! White tablecloths and napkins. The service was fine. We thought the lunch prices were very reasonable. Since the restaurant takes up the whole block, parking is available in a lot across the street (am not sure, there may be more than one).

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Thank windgail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2013

We went with reservations for a Saturday evening dinner. The service with the dance show is in a separate room with stage, everyone seated and served at the same time so you are eating during the show which worked out very well. The menu is extensive with many specialty dishes - you could dine with just a selection of small plates or have good sized entrees. We five in our party and shared six small plates as well as three entrees which was more than enough food. The dance show which was about an hour was entertaining although the dancers varied in ability and one man seemed to be less capable or practiced.

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Thank Jeanne J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2013

I have to say we were very pleased with our meal and service even tho our wait time was over an hour. We had no plans and went to YBor Cituy on the recommendation of our receptionist at our hotel a few miles away. Originally we had intended to eat at the Casino but decided to walk around the Historic City and just find a place to eat there. It was nearly 7pm when we walked into The Columbia Restaurant on a Sat night so we knew it would be crowded. The interior was very interesting and full of history. We were invited to walk around the 12 different rooms while we waited. While waiting to be seated we looked over the very extensive menu. I thought for sure with sooo many things to choose from......they "can't" have any one thing that is "that" good...HA!! Were we surprised! OMG! Our dinners we OUTSTANDING!! We started with Calamari as an appetizer.....very tender, lightly breaded and wonderfully seasoned with a citrus sauce. My husband got theFilet Mignon “Chacho” -- filet mignon with shallots,mushrooms & a bourbon sauce...it came to the table in flames. The steak was 3 inches thick and cooke perfectly. I went for the Cannelloni de Langosta
“7 Portes” --3 baked Cannelloni stuffed with Main, Lobster, scallops, shrimp and I can't remember what else in a delicious cream sauce. It was AWESOME! Then we actually had desert..but were so full we could only split an item. We had the Key Lime pie with guava sauce...yummmm.....tart & sweet! Our waitress was very pleasant and accomodating. We had a wonderful time and look fwd to going back again to try some of the other meals they offer.

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Thank JLynGSD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2013

Ate here on a recent visit to Ybor City and I can't say enough good things aboutmy experience. It was a crowded and busy Sunday afternoon/evening - and the energy of the place was overflowing. The hostess was working her best to get people seated (Catherine is a sweetheart) - and while we ended up sitting at the bar, we were hardly disappointed. The Sangria - delicious..the 1905 Salad - Yummy and can be a meal in itself! I had a chicken/rice dish - just the right portion and full of flavor! The bartenders really hustled and kept their clients seated at a large bar well served - friendly and fun! Our hotel recommended this place - and now I see why!!

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

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