Family-owned and operated for over 100 years, Columbia has earned acclaim for its old-world charm and award-winning Spanish/Cuban cuisine and wine ... More
Columbia Restaurant - Sarasota
Family-owned and operated for over 100 years, Columbia has earned acclaim for its old-world charm and award-winning Spanish/Cuban cuisine and wine list. Join us for century-old family recipes like Paella "a la Valenciana," Filet Mignon "Columbia," and fresh seafood specialties. Don't miss Columbia's Original "1905" Salad(R), prepared tableside with our delicious, freshly-made dressing, a 100-year-old family recipe of fresh garlic, oregano, wine vinegar and Spanish extra virgin olive oil. Be sure to sample a fine Spanish wine like Torres, Montecillo or Campillo. Relax outdoors on our patio, or inside our Mediterranean-style dining rooms filled with hand-painted tiles and family heirlooms. We are a sister to the Columbia in Tampa's Ybor City, founded in 1905. Children's menu available. Open 365-days a year, including all holidays.
This is the ultimate Cuban restaurant and the source of the perfect mojito. Always crowded (open 365 days), always a tad slow, always delicious. Try the Cuban combo for a little of everything. Any of the fish dishes prepared Caribbean style will please.
When walking past the Columbia restaurant, I was always surprised by the number of customers the Columbia restaurant seemed to entice. One would think the restaurant would have to be first-class. The clientele always looked well-dressed and sophisticated. So, when my husband and I had the chance to dine during the Christmas holiday, we thought we would splurge.
To shortly summarize, the Columbia restaurant was a huge disappointment. The service was mediocre at best. When we asked our waitress for a straw, she made it clear that she would have to walk all the way across the restaurant and it would be several minutes until she returned. After her dramatics, we decided not to ask her for anything else. We couldn't ever expect her to do her job now, could we?
The food was as good as our waitress: pitiful. The steak only tasted edible with ketchup. And, my dinner...well, it was over-cooked rubber lobster placed inside of some undercooked thin pasta shell. In all honesty, I do not believe I have ever had a meal that tasteless and poorly cooked in my life.
The Columbia restaurant has now become the punch-line to many inside jokes between my husband and I. In addition, we have also included dining at the restaurant a form of punishment.
We had such high hopes for this place given its history and the excellent reviews. Our experience was just not good overall. We were a party of 4 adults and a toddler (in a high chair) but they had us wait for a long time while seating other parties of 4 DESPITE the fact that we said the baby won't be needing a place setting. Someone who was paying attention to their customers' needs will quickly make the correct call. On top of that they served me BAD FISH!! I mean fish that smelled like it was rotten. They took the fish back, gave me a substitute dish but by then I'd lost my appetite. Get your act together Columbia! Pay attention to your customers and just because there's so many waiting in line doesn't mean you can treat them any less.
My mom and I took two of my aunts and two of my cousins who were visiting from Ohio here for lunch and it was terrific. The food was great and so was the service. I love Columbia Restaurant though, both here in Sarasota and in Tampa too.
The only reason I wold give this place one star is because we didn't have to wait to be seated. Other than that it was awful. The service was less than par. They wanted us to rush and just free up the table which would have been better than eating the food. The salad had no life to it. Roasted pork was just tasteless. Last time we go to this place.
Well the service was good, but are food was awful. Black bean soup no flavor, cuban sand was hard, and the chicken and yellow rice very salty. Needless to say we won't be taking any friends or family there soon.
Two stars is being kind to the Columbia. We had several problems with this restaurant. The first is that St. Armand's Circle sometimes has a sewage problem and was a strong odor near all the sewer drains when we visited. This isn't Columbia's fault, but the Columbia did choose to leave all their sliding doors open so the diners got to smell it. The food was terrible. Ordered talapia for around $20 and received a bland half piece of fish that couldn't have been more than 3 ounces. The plantains that came with it were pretty good though. Our server was so slow that we were left with empty glasses (cokes) for the first half hour of our visit. So we ordered a pitcher of Sangria so that we could just have something to drink a that wouldn't be consumed as quickly since our server wasn't likely to return again. The sangria was absolutely terrific. Back to the service... the only reason I didn't order the paella is because I didn't want to wait 30 mins for it as noted on the menu. This was a blunder on my part since it turned out that we had to wait more than 30 mins for our food anyway. In that time, our server came by only once which is when we ordered the sangria. In most restaurants where the service is rather slow, having a pleasant server goes a long way to ease the frustration of the diners. Unfortunately, our server was as unpleasant as one can be. I give the Columbia two stars just because the sangria was so good. But this is an overpriced, overrated restaurant with underwhelming food, service and ambiance. I will never, ever return.
This is a awesome experience and great food. Their drink and wine selection are fantastic. Make sure you come hungry because their is alot to choose from. I recomend the Black Bean soup and the 1905 salad you cannot go wrong.