"Florida's oldest and most honored Spanish restaurant," this restaurant is consistently voted as being the best Spanish restaurant in Florida and they ... More
"Florida's oldest and most honored Spanish restaurant," this restaurant is consistently voted as being the best Spanish restaurant in Florida and they have been serving excellent Spanish and Cuban dishes since 1905. They are open daily for lunch and dinner.
The food was wonderful, but eventhough I made the reservation a month in advance and told them it was for our anniversary they stuck us in a room with the bar and several large noisy parties.
Highly recomend it for anyone who wants to have a nice dinner in a casual ambiance, not recomended for romantic diners.
Our waitress was the most inefficient one we have ever had. She only had a few tables and could not seem to handle that. We had no bread until she brought our drinks, which took 15 minutes. Our black bean soup arrived bearly warm. My wife's dish was a seafood medley cooked in parchment and was so over cooked the waitress could hardle get the parchment off. It was dry and unappetising. When she told the waitress about it the waitress said she would tell the chef and that was the last we heard. My dish was acceptable, but not up to what I expected of this restaurant.
We had gone to the Columbia in Sarasota when we lived there and stopped after several less than desirable meals. I now have crossed any of the Columbia restaurants off my list. We had better meals at TGI Fridays and better servers.
My advice is DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY AT ANY COLUMBIA RESTAURANTS. They are living off their reputation of many years ago.
Tried to order grouper but they were out, then tried red snapper but they did not have any. Finally had to create a dish with mahi-mahi. Crowded table placement made us move when someone from the next table got up. All this for a pricey meal that really was not that good. They do have a nice gift shop.
We stopped in St Augustine on the way back up north after spending the winter in FL. After talking to the Host at the Columbia we dicided to eat there. The Columbia has all the elegance of a 5 star restaurent and is perhaps the best meal we have ever had for $50.
Went to Columbia due to a recommendation. When my wife check to see how long for a table the hostess said 1 - 1.5 hours. When the wife had the hostess place our name on the wait list, the hostess then told her it would be 45 minutes. The hostess lied knowing people won't wait that long. Not a good start to our dinning experience.
Wife and I waited in the bar - the atmosphere was ok. Whe we finally got to our table wife and I waited about 5 minutes before our waitress decided to show up. She did not show up with something in her hands - bread. she said she ould return to get out drink order - about 5 minutes later she returned. It tool 15 minutes to get our drinks. Without going into full detail about the waitress - I will end it by saying the food was good. I will go back again - hopefully the service will be better.
I hadn't initially selected the Columbia Restaurant as one of the spots for our meals on a 3 day trip to St Augustine, but our friends who had been there before gave such high recommendations, that we changed our plans and ate there on our first night (also our anniversary meal.)
I'll have to say I was dissapointed. Although the surroundings are very nice; very authentic in the Ybor City vogue (if you've ever been to Tampa, Fl), the service, though friendly, was very slow. In fact, the kitchen even lost our order after waiting 45 minutes and we waited another 15 minutes until our main course arrived.
My wife selected an authentic Spanish dish; I selected the fish speciality of the house, and both of our meals were just "good." Nothing exceptional.
If you do go, be sure to get reservations. When we arrived about 20 minutes early, we were seated immediately, but others waiting for seating without reservations were told to come back in 2 hours.
Having grown up in New York City and eaten excellent Cuban food on and off all of our lives, my wife and I thought that we had made a great find when we perused the menu. The service was excellent, the drinks were fine and the salad was excellent. However, when the entrees arrived we were disappointed. I ordered a sampler platter consisting of boliche asado (beef stuffed with chorizo), a pastelillo (pastry stuffed with seasoned ground beef) and and roast pork. None of the three had the taste I know. The beef and pork were both dry and stringy. The yellow rice and black beans didn't work either - the beans were tasteless and the rice was soggy. My wife ordered one of the three entrees on my platter and her reaction was identical to mine. Only the service, the drinks and the salad forces this review up to average.
My family and I had dinner at the Columbia and they did not think much of their food and mine was one of the worst meals that I have ever paid for! The Red Snapper tasted rotten and aged. Sorry just informing others of my experience with the Columbia.
The menu looked good, but the food was just bad, bad, BAD.
The gazpacho was watery, the 1900 salad was made with an interesting, spicy dressing, but consisted of soggy, iceberg lettuce!
The Cuban sandwich didn't taste bad or anything, but it was far from the best I've had, and it was very difficult to eat because the ham and cheese kept coming out of the bread, because it is not the pressed Cuban bread that they use, it's French bread.
One of the tapas (can't recall the name) was just terrible- canned marinara sauce w/ some mozzorella cheese on top. Yuck! I have had this dish before at other tapas restaurants, and this one doesn't even compare, in fact, it was not even edible.
We were so disappointed with the food, we did not even order dessert.
Maybe I'm just used to good food because I'm from DC and we have good restaurants there. But we were expecting that St. Augustine would have good Spanish food.
The restaurant itself is darling. But the food is terrible. We will try someplace else next time, hopefully St. Augustine does have good Spanish food, you just won't find it at Columbia.
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