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“Worth The Wait”

Salento Colombian Steakhouse
Ranked #101 of 2,310 Restaurants in Jacksonville
Certificate of Excellence
Restaurant details
Reviewed May 14, 2017

So I have a crazy old redneck buddy whose favorite statement is: " The worst part is the wait." The worst part is the wait but all is redeemed by the experience inside I always say. Such was the case for Salento Colombian Steak House at 11018 Old St Augustine Rd in Jacksonville, FL.
I took my native Cuban wife here for mother's day on her recommendation. The small 50 seat restaurant is in a typical Florida Strip plaza and is easily accessible and parking was no problem.
After the 20 minute wait outside we were greeted by Silvo (The owner) and taken to a table just inside that clearly had a homemade and homey kind of feel to it. It was a handmade table (Pine with Jacobean stain and finish) and two burlap finished benches on each side. Really nice touch. After dinner Silvio explained he made them himself. I'd like to think I kind of knew that before he said it, but hey either way it was a really nice touch to the atmosphere. At just the right level was Colombian music as my wife verified, coming from two speakers hanging from the ceiling at just the right volume. AC at a perfectly cool level too and the decor true to a Colombian bistro. AC, music and decor can ruin a place in 30 seconds as you know but not here.
The restaurant had a small six or seven tables in the front room and a side room with about 6 wall tables so it's quaint, comfortable and authentic. The crowd there was a slight mix of Latino's with families including small children and I did see an Asian family there when we walked in. I think I was the only gringo there and yea, I'll be there again. The vibe was very friendly Latino: People taking their time to eat, drink and converse and no one was annoyed at the wait time at the front. The staff was super polite and quiet but timely and aware.
Our waitress Mariana was concise, polite and well timed with her service and she spoke to my wife in Spanish and me in English with no problemo. She brought me a cold Corona with Lime and my wife and son two homemade drinks: one was a tart lemonade and the other a Mango juice blended with milk in a cool kind of miniature Mason jar.
The food was ordered and of course I like some time to sip the Corona and then switch to house Pinot Grigio. Mariana didn't miss a beat with timing. For those of you who drink before meals, you know what I am talking about. And as Tony Montana from Scarface would say about Mariana's timing : "Shee Knowsss"
I ordered the Flat Steak (medium) with three sides: Green Plantains, a vegetable kabob and a side salad with two sides of Chimichurri.
Once again the timing was great. As I sipped the second glass of Vino the food came out on these wonderful cast iron steak plates with wooden bottom. The Flat Iron cut was impeccably pressed and seasoned with what I guess was salt and pepper and of course I coated it with the house Chimichurri sauce. What a great pairing it was with the 3 inch Green plantain patties gently fried and a very petite but delicious vegetable kabob with Zucchini, yellow squash, onions, red and green peppers and a light oil: A perfect pairing to an incredibly great Flat Steak. The steak was trimmed to perfection, had just the right amount of fat and a good texture to make it taste authentic Colombian. After dinner, Silvio was kind enough to bring some complimentary Rum with Raisin cake which we ate at home. Again it was authentic and delicious.
My wife told me later that she overheard a Venezuelan lady tell Silvio that she drove 5 hours yesterday and stayed in a hotel just to dine there tonight, which of course made me feel guilty as we drove literally a 1/4 mile.
After I met Silvio at the end I understood quickly why this place was as good as it was. A native born Colombian "He Knowsss" (to quote Pacino again) "He Knowss!"
5 Stars and two big thumbs up for this place for its atmosphere, timing, food staff and it's owner Silvio. Thank god he's across the street.
And yea, it was definitely "worth the wait"

Date of visit: May 2017
    • Value
    • Service
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Thank LDLTV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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29 - 33 of 76 reviews

Reviewed April 19, 2017

I have no words, you better come and try it, they improve themselves every time. Everything is fresh, made at the moment, excellent!!! supremacy!!! I am scared that because of the good comments they will run out of space because the place is so tiny, they will be overbooked, but I have to scream to the world that this is a hidden jewel of restaurant in JAX.

Date of visit: March 2017
    • Value
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Thank Amy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 19, 2017

I have no words to describe how you will eat at this place, you will just have to go there. It's different than any other thing you might think. This is quality! Top quality! OMG, i have gone to many other places in JAx and everything is the same, greasy, salty, fried and re fried ughhhh, this one not! Even one block around this place you will feel the smell of the food.
The only thing I dont like about it is the place is super tiny, super small, and you have to wait long lines to be seated because every body wants to eat there, also the AC is a bit cold for me and my family. But other than that, i don't need any other place to eat in Jacksonville, try it! you will NOT be dissapointed :)

Date of visit: April 2017
    • Value
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1  Thank charlid999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2017 via mobile

Delicious food and great service! They always greets you with a smile and try their best to make you feel comfortable. They have good specials during the week. If you go with a big party I recommend to call ahead since is not a big place. Sometimes it gets crowded mostly Saturday around 3. I highly recommend the corn cake with cheese on top, the beef and chicken empanadas, the bandeja paisa and the tiramisu.

Date of visit: April 2017
Thank Ivelisse P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2017

Our waiter was everything you would wish for in a waiter--helpful, pleasant, menu savy. I had high hopes for the food. I would guess that the empanadas came in to the restaurant frozen and they put them in the oven to warm--if they want to present frozen food, they need to find another vendor because they lacked flavor and good texture. The corn cake was dry and tasteless. The lamb chops were seasoned well, but the quality of the meat was low as was the rib eye steak. The tossed salad was fresh and tasty. There is no wine list except in the mind of the waiter so you really don't know what to expect. The restaurant was crowded for a Thursday evening, but we will not be returning.

Date of visit: January 2017
    • Value
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Thank r0ckinn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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