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“One of the single greatest meals of my life”

Columbia Restaurant
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Ranked #10 of 2,490 Restaurants in Tampa
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $40
Cuisines: Cuban, Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Large groups, Romantic, Business meetings
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 August 9, 2013

Found myself at this restaurant with my husband and some friends we were in town visiting upon reccomendation from a friend who used to live and work in Ybor. Hands down, this was one of the single greatest meals I have ever had, and that is really saying a lot for me. We showed up, a party of 6 plus a newborn baby, with no reservations. This was no problem, they found us a table within 10 minutes. The main menu consists of Tapas and Cuban/Columbian/Latin fusion entrees. Let me just say, everything on the menu sounded amazing, so it was very hard to choose. We ordered several tapas for the table, and each ordered an entree. This was MORE THAN ENOUGH food! The prices were fair as well: my husband and I ordered 3 tapas for the table, 2 entrees, 3 draft beers (Cigar City Brewing Company), and a wonderful margarita made with tequila, fresh lime juice, and orange brandy for just around $100. The most popular items at our table were the chorizo kebabs (tapas), scallops (tapas), empanada (tapas), puerco ropa verde (entre), and last but not least, the Langosta Caneloni...single greatest thing my tongue has ever had the pleasure of tasting! The atmosphere, food, service, everything about this place is one-of-a-kind and wonderful. Absolutely go if you have the chace.

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2  Thank Ashley J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,770 - 3,774 of 4,828 reviews

Reviewed August 8, 2013

I would have rated the Columbia higher if they had not had problems with who was going to wait on us, so we just sat there for a few while waiting for a waitperson to pay attention to us. The Cuban sandwich and soup is excellent, along with the sparkling sangria. We devoured the Rum and meringue cake while watching it flame away. Jesse, the waitress at the table next to ours was very informative, and our waiter was good as well. We'll be back!

Thank steelpanwoman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2013

The Columbia is a Spanish Restaurant in the Ybor City area of Tampa. It has been in business since 1905 and owned by the same family. The food was very good except the Emplanadas which were tasteless. The floor show was a poor shadow of its former self. Still - it's worth going for the Caldo Guyago and the cuban bread which are excellent! Expect a $50.00 dollar tab per person with drinks or just a bit more.

1  Thank Darius M
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 August 9, 2013

I am pleased to read that you enjoyed most of your meal, except for the empanadas. I am sorry that you found them to be tasteless. We do thank you for taking the time to let us know about your visit.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2013

The roast pork and bolice were dry and seemed like processed meats. Way overpriced for what you get. The waiter volunteered to bring hot sauce for the calamari, but we didn't see him again for at least 10 minutes. Calamari was gone and glasses were empty. We will not likely return.

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Thank 71GRR
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 August 9, 2013

We appreciate hearing from our guests who let us know how we can do a better job. I am sorry that on your visit your server did such a poor job of taking care of you. You should not have had to wait in vain for hot sauce and drink refills. We do read all comment here, good and bad, and will use your comments to remind all of our servers of the importance of taking care of guests throughout their meal.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2013

The food is always very good. Do not miss the "1905 Salad". The server was outstanding. She let my business associate taste 3 or 4 wines before picking one. I always try to eat at a Columbia when I am in a city that has one.

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Thank davidc60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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