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“Must Visit if in Tampa!”

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: Romantic, Large groups, Business meetings, Special occasions, Local cuisine
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.
Oldsmar, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Must Visit if in Tampa!”
Reviewed July 30, 2013 via mobile

We're prior Tampa residents and went to the Columbia with high expectations - we were not disappointed.
From the Blue Crab cake appetizers, 1905 salad, Entrees of Boliche(Chorizo stuffed Pork Roast), Mussels & Chorizo, Desserts of Key Lime Pie, Flan, and Carmelized Sugar(at the table) over Crema, and followed with Cafe con Leche's all around followed with visits to some local cigar factories in Ybor City. The food and service was amazing, first class quality and preparation were evident through the meal.
We'll definitely be back the next time we visit Tampa.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank GunnyS2862
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,430 reviews from our community

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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
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English first
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Sour Ending”
Reviewed July 29, 2013

For our birthdays, my husband and I made reservations for a party of 30. Our waiter did a spectacular job attending and serving us. The food was incredible. The flamenco dancers were also very entertaining. In short, we had an awesome birthday celebration. HOWEVER, that quickly changed at the end. As the busboys were cleaning up the dining room, our dwindling party of 10 shifted to the last of three large tables. We finished our drinks as the other two tables were disassembled and reset. We walked our friends to the door and talked for about five minutes. My husband and I remembered that we left a gift bag under the table. When we went back it was not there. We asked the manager, who then asked the busboys if they saw it. No one claimed to have seen it. They suggested someone else might have taken it. However, considering we were the last party in the room, and it was under the table out of sight, we find that very hard to believe. They asked us to call back the next day and we did. Then they told us to call back another day and speak with another manager. The manager apologized but offered nothing more. We spent $327.63 at their establishment for our ticket alone, yet they’re unwilling to compensate us for the $25 AMC gift card, Mad Libs book, and the bottle of wine that one of their staff members stole from us.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank SumerToogood
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, August 1, 2013
I am so pleased to read that you and your husband chose to celebrate your birthdays with us, and you arranged for a group of 30 friends to join you. It sounds like everyone had a wonderful evening of great food, friends and entertainment with our Flamenco dance show.
Then we let you down when you forgot a gift bag, and when you went back for it, it was gone. I am so sorry that one of our managers did not make more of an effort at that time to locate your missing gift bag. Please accept our apology for this unfortunate ending to your special evening.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southeast Florida
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“This is a "Must Go" restaurant!!”
Reviewed July 28, 2013

We had been to the Columbia a few times years ago, plus, my Dad was stationed in Tampa during WWII and loved to talk about the Columbia! We recently had occasion to be in Tampa a couple weeks ago and stayed in Ybor City just a few blocks from the restaurant, so we had to go again. It is still amazing!!! It's the oldest restaurant in Florida. We went on a Tuesday night and it was packed. We were seated in the beautiful Don Quixote dining room. We both started with the 1905 Salad which was delicious. I had a glass of the Sangria which was outstanding and for dinner had the fabulous La Completa Cubana, a sampler with roast port, boliche, empanada de picadillo, platanos, yuca, black beans and yellow rice. My wife had a grouper dish that was also fantastic. After dinner we walked around some of the other rooms all of which are gorgeous. Overall, you simply have to have a meal at the Columbia. Guaranteed, you will love it too!!

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
1 Thank SoFlaDave
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 6 Contributor
201 reviews
105 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
“Food, Dancing and Fun”
Reviewed July 27, 2013

Went to a pre-wedding Friday night rehearsal dinner here and we were seated in the room with Flamingo dancers. It was a set menu of tapas...all very good and lots of great wine selections.
And the restaurant is just lovely inside.

Flamingo show was a lot of fun --- and the whole experience a lot of fun for our group.

The flaming flan at the end --- was a real treat !

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Isabela, Puerto Rico
Level 5 Contributor
76 reviews
48 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“History buffs welcome!”
Reviewed July 25, 2013

I married into a Tampa cigar manufacturing family 20 years ago. When I visited Ybor City for the first time, it was a scary, graffiti covered, drug infested area. It had one or two places in town to eat. And then it had the Columbia. My husband's father and uncle and grandfather sat in there playing dominoes while on break from working in their family's cigar factory. There is history there that goes beyond the service one may get from one waiter, or one Cuban sandwich. Take the time in the NOW beautiful museum to learn how these people lived to give this luxury item to U.S. citizens. The Columbia is a part of my husband's Spanish heritage; it's a beautiful landmark building. It's not meant to be a Wendy's.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank beachcomber1313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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