Friends who live in the Tampa area took us to the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor (Eee-bore) City and I'm so glad they did. The beauty of the many dining areas, the decor, and the beautiful painted tiles are reason enough to stop in. Add the wonderful food and you have a match made in heaven.
Our stop was in mid-afternoon for lunch. Even at that time, there was a wait of about 1/2 hour. It was definitely worth it. We were seated at a table for four with lots of green foliage at our side as well as a fountain. So, in spite of the number of people in the dining room, it didn't feel crowded. Crusty, warm Cuban bread, wrapped in paper, was brought for each of us. It was delicious! Our order included a crab appetizer, a fish entree, and bean cakes. I ordered a half salad with a Cuban sandwich. What a surprise when the waitress came to the table to prepare my salad in a large bowl. She squeezed a fresh lemon over the lettuce, added some vinegar and shredded cheese, and lightly tossed it. Again, delicious!
Next door is a small gift shop that also sells cigars. I felt things were a bit overpriced, but the items do make a nice souvenir of a very unique restaurant.