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“A bit of in Tampa”

Columbia Restaurant
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Ranked #26 of 2,748 Restaurants in Tampa
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$15 - US$48
Cuisines: Cuban, Spanish
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Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Local cuisine, Special Occasion Dining, Romantic, Groups
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, After-hours, Delivery, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighbourhood: Historic Ybor
Cross street: 21st street
Description: Open 365-days a year, including all holidays. Serving lunch & dinner daily. Reservations accepted. Casual attire is fine, but we don't allow sleeveless shirts on men. 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 more than 114 years ago when he opened the Columbia as a corner café frequented by local cigar workers. Our guests enjoy many of the same century-old family recipes that have made the Columbia famous like Paella "a la Valenciana," Red Snapper "Alicante," and the Original Cuban Sandwich. Don't miss Columbia's Original "1905" Salad(R), prepared tableside.
Reviewed July 8, 2018

Been there numerous times, the Flamenco show is always fun. Great classic Cuban sandwich, chicken and yellow rice is a Tampa standard. Excellent paella. The list hours on

Date of visit: March 2018
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Thank ossid3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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330 - 334 of 5,479 reviews

Reviewed July 8, 2018

I have been here several times, and I highly recommend this restaurant on a trip to Tampa. The flamenco dancing is beautiful and entertaining, so find out when there is a show and plan your reservation around it (usually evenings around 7 or 7:30, if I remember correctly). I recommend a reservation for the evenings, but I have walked in with a small group of around four people during lunch on a weekday and been seated immediately.

The sangria is amazing, as is the 1905 salad, Spanish bean soup, salteado, and chicken with yellow rice. I am not a huge seafood fan, so I have never ordered the paella, but I have been told by several family members I have dined with that it is delicious. I recommend the flan for dessert, however I have tried the creme brulee and although they torch it tableside, I found it to be rather gummy compared to creme brulee I have had at other restaurants. Stick with the flan.

Anywhere they seat you will be beautiful, in my opinion. The restaurant building is truly special and takes you back in history to a more elegant, bold, and colorful time. Check out the store next to the restaurant, too!

Date of visit: June 2018
    • Value
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Thank Allthewiser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 8, 2018 via mobile

My husband and I had dinner at the historic Columbia restaurant . Our dinner was delicious , our server Lorraine was so very nice and even treated me to a Birthday flan and had the piano player sing me happy birthday !

Date of visit: July 2018
Thank dcmathNashville_tn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 7, 2018

Ordered yellow rice a chicken for dinner. Growing up in Tampa and eating yellow rice a chicken my whole life I can't figure out why my dish had chunks of ham in it. The ham changes the delicate flavor of the chicken to one dominated by ham. I have the Columbia Restaurant cookbook and the yellow rice chicken doesn't include ham.
Upon talking to our server she explained that's the way they have been making it since she had been working there. ( I didn't ask long that had been ). She also told me if you order yellow rice and chicken at lunch it dose not have the ham chunks.
Overall I would say the Yellow Rice and Chicken I was served last night was very close to the worst I had every eaten. I've tasted many home chefs version that where superior.
I am adding to my husband's post, I was also disappointed with my meal. I ordered the pompano in parchment which I have ordered at other establishments and have always enjoyed. I found the fish to be very dry with very little shrimp and crab definitely not what I expected from the Columbia.

Date of visit: July 2018
    • Value
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Thank alan 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 July 13, 2018

Thank you for your comments. We actually do serve our Chicken and Yellow Rice “Valenciana” with smoked ham. We use our founder, Casimiro Hernandez, Sr.’s original recipe for this simple yet classic dish that helped make the Columbia famous. One half bone-in chicken with green peppers, Spanish onions, tomato, smoked ham, hearts of artichoke, garlic, herbs and extra virgin olive oil baked in a casserole with Valencia rice. Then splashed with white wine and topped with green peas and red pimentos.
We are sorry that you and your wife did not enjoy your meals. Our server should have had a manager speak with you when you asked about the ham. They could have then asked and you could have let them know that both you and your wife didn't enjoy your meals, and we could have offered something else. We hope to welcome you back in.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 6, 2018 via mobile

I had lunch and dinner here one day during our meeting. No complaints from me! It's hard to beat the 1905 Salad, but I also enjoyed a shrimp version. Actually, I don't think any of us had anything we didn't like to eat and drink. Hoped to eat again as I flew home, but I was on American so couldn't get to the Delta terminal. Bummer!!

Date of visit: June 2018
Thank Irene L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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