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Columbia Restaurant

Map & Directions
(18 Reviews)

2117 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605

(813) 248-4961

Today: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
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General Info
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.
Regular Hours
Mon - Thu:
Fri - Sat:
Extra Phones

Fax: (813) 248-1718

TollFree: (800) 435-7352

Payment method
visa, amex, discover, mastercard
Northeast Tampa, Historic Ybor

Columbia Restaurant Cigar Str

Columbia Restaurant - Ybor City

Other Email

Cuban Restaurants, Caribbean Restaurants, Caterers, Family Style Restaurants, Latin American Restaurants, Restaurants, Spanish Restaurants
Other Information

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Parking: Free

Bike Parking: Yes

Cuisines: Cuban, Spanish, Caterers, Family Style, Caribbean, Latin American, European, Continental

Alcohol: Beer, Full Bar, Wine

Wi-Fi: No

Attire: Casual

Takes Reservations: Yes

Outdoor Seating: No


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Provided by Citysearch - 

Maybe there was a time when the food here was good, but it isn't these days. You can tell from the physical beauty of the restaurant that someone loved it back in the day. We started with a $26.95 tapas which turned out to be three items in small portions - fried squid, meatballs, and an artichoke dip - none of them in the least remarkable, not even up to Applebees standard I would say. Then we got a meat paella, a sirloin tips dinner, and a seafood dish, most of which was left on the plates. I know the food was better when I was in Spain. The food was so pedestrian no one had any desire to actually finish their food. The service was sorely lacking - such as when the waiter took our used butter knives from our bread plates and just laid them on the table cloth when removing the bread plates - we were expected to use them again for our dinners. Most of the silverware was pretty dirty to start with. They do have a wonderful wine list and decor, but that's not enough when you are going to a restaurant to eat - first the food, then the service, then the embellishments.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Cold food. Dirty silverware

Dirty silverware and cold food for the prices that are charged don't add up for a good evening. Save your money it’s not worth it. As far as authentic Spanish food goes it was far from my expectations perhaps others not use to this type of food may find it more appealing



Provided by Citysearch - 
Very Poor Service

Food was good, but a wednesday luncheon took 3 hours. Waitress had to be asked repeatedly for refills straws etc. Meal was served piecemeal with some getting soup first and others after the main course. The place was crowded when we arrived, by the time we left, we were the only diners left and staff was setting up for dinner. This was a very disappointing.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Tourist Trap!

All the food tasted the same, bland, tasteless, salty, and disgusting. Nice presentation, good waitress, really bad food. I hope I will not get sick. I am writing this as soon as I got back to my hotel room because I want you all to be warned!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great food, good service, good value

The Columbia has been around forever, and is still one of the better places to go for any size group. Can't speak to having children along, but they should do fine (so long a Mom and Dad keep them in check). Great selection and deserts.



Provided by Citysearch - 
NIce ceramic panels

I loved the outside ceramic panels -- although covering one panel of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza with a bolted bench is really stupid -- and I loved the ambiance inside. One of the few decent looking places in Tampa. My snapper was outstanding and reasonably priced. Unfortunately my wife got very sick the next day. I don't think it was the airplane food. So, not even two stars for Columbia.



Somehow manages to remain exce...

Somehow manages to remain exceptional even while being a tourist destination. Delicious food and wonderful service and beautiful surroundings.



Provided by Citysearch - 
0 because i cant give a -10 gave me and my party food illness

when i contacted the restruant i got no apology and was told they never had this kind of problem. when i told my story to others, others have told me they got sick there also was once told by a person whos father was a prominent baker in tampa the cooks used to make jokes about the dirtiest kitchen in tampa and city officials wouldnt do anything because the owners had so much pull in the city. DONT EAT THERE FIND ELSEWHERE IN YBOR CITY



Provided by Citysearch - 
Really bad food

My family and I have been going to the Columbia on and off for at least 20 years. This year was no exception. The food this time was simply miserable. My husband's order appeared--and tasted--as though it had been sitting under a heatlamp for a couple of hours. His plantains were so tough that we thought he had accidently ordered banana jerky. My mother and I ordered tapas--hard to say what we were eating. The waiter, bless his soul, forgot our wine order and although we asked, never brought us the dessert menu. Alas and darn, this will be our last visit to the Columbia. No kidding.

Seriously, there are much better places to eat with as much if not more authentic atmosphere. Look for them in Tampa--I know I'm going on the hunt as soon as I can.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Big bucks for atmosphere

I have lived in Tampa for over 30 years and had eaten at most Spanish restaurants in the area except this one. This was primarily because everyone always recommended other Spanish restaurants and all personal reviews of the Columbia were less than complimentary. Well, now I know why. I had family coming from out of town so I thought the atmosphere and the show would offset the cost and mediocre food. I am disappointed to say it did not! The Sangria (regular because we don't think good Sangria needs brandy in it) tasted like a generic fruit juice and we had to ask for extra fruit (1 piece in each small white wine glass). The entrees were bland in taste and moderate in portions and did not come close to meeting the expectations of the menu or the price. It turned out to be a very expensive lesson. Also, I have been to Spain so I do have a fairly good idea of what the food should taste like. As for great Spanish food locally, might I suggest Viscaya in Carrollwood.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Spanish, not Mexican

I loved the food, service and decor. Advice - order and entree for lunch instead of a tapa. More food for the same price! the gaspacho was perfect, as was sangria. For a nearly empty restaurant, we were not seated for almost 10 minutes! The free bread was WONDERFUL! I want to go back.



Provided by Citysearch - 
its alright

I had the paella and it was delicious. it was pricey but a very beautiful spot. I would recommend it more as a lunch place if you want to save a little money and be in a more relaxed atmosphere- its great to go there for lunch and then walk around ybor.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Maybe next time

My wife and I were recommended The Columbia from family members in Tampa. The house special filet mignon the size of a child's fist came cooked in bourbon and it tasted just like that, a shot of bourbon in every bite. This most expensive cut of meat on the menu was so rubbery, my wife had to ask for a steak knife which barely got the job done. The house special paella was nothing to write home about and i did ended up doing just that, bringing most of it home. Make sure you get a good nites rest before you see the show(add. $6 pp) because if you've seen one flamenco show, you've seen them all. The restaurant is beautiful and service was ok. Highly recommend trying somewhere else.



Provided by Citysearch - 
I coulda saved a ton o' money!!!

Recently I traveled to Spain, from every guidebook came ""you must try the paella in Spain"". So, listening to that advice I went to Marbella Spain (which I highly reccomend) and asked the hotel staff where the best paella anywhere can be found, Everyone I asked pointed us to the same restaurant. We get there, I ordered Paella Mixda. Halfway through the meal, I'm approached by the owner (knowing I was an American tourist) asking how the meal was....My reply, ""Well, there's this great place in my hometown called The columbia, and frankly................."" He didn't want to hear the rest. hahaha This is a very true story.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Knocks my socks off still

How to describe the beloved Columbia? My husband took me there for Homecoming dinner when we were 16 and just started dating... had our wedding reception there with over a hundred guests 8 years later. Still love to go there... the atmosphere is astounding... service terrific. Our favorite is the Chicken and Shrimp Barcelona, which we served at our reception. The sangria, 1905 salad and tapas (appetizers) are wonderful. Don't miss the fried plantains, and try the creme catalana for dessert. Sadly, we moved a thousand miles away, now we have to use the Columbia cookbook and try to copy the dishes. The Columbia will forever be in our hearts. THE place in Tampa to go!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Flamenco, arriba!

This is by far my favorite Tampa restaurant; I think I'll go there tonight. I wish I could make gazpacho the way they do - both that & the 1905 salad are prepared tableside, as is the fantabulous sangria (you get to keep the bull from the wine bottle). Then move on to the Ropa Vieja, or something else for you creative types (I stick to what I like). Definitely try to catch the Flamenco show - always exciting & new. There is often live music in their bar as well - which features a great atmosphere & people-watching views of the street.

This one beats all other Columbias (was very disappointed with St. Augustine)!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Tampa defined...

If you had three hours to introduce someone to Tampa, Florida, the Columbia would be the place to go. From the historic significance, location, decor, and most of all, the great food, it is Tampa defined in a nutshell.

Try the 1905 salad, and follow it with a half of a Cuban with a cup of Spanish Bean soup. After eating the Cuban, whenever you visit a Subway or Blimpie thereafter you will either cry, cuss, or use the word 'blasphemy' to describe them. No other sandwich comes close.



Provided by Citysearch - 
a pleasant surprise

the quality of the food was very good. the interior of the building was authentic and well kept. there is also a show offered, but we left before it started.