Columbia Restaurant - Sarasota

4.5
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3861 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Spanish
Family-owned and operated for more than 114 years, Columbia has earned acclaim for its old-world charm and award-winning Spanish/Cuban cuisine. Casual attire is fine, but we don’t allow sleeveless shirts on men. Join us for century-old family recipes like Paella "a la Valenciana," Roast Pork "a la Cubana,"and fresh seafood specialties. Don’t miss Columbia’s Original “1905” Salad®, 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 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.
What 3861 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.5
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
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C
Tallahassee
13 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We have been going here since 1998. We always get the 1905 salad. It's a staple for us. Sometimes it's not as good as other times. This last visit we had Anthony and it was AMAZING!

OT
Pittsburgh
4 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall4food5service4ambience4

We arrived at around 3 o’clock so the afternoon lunch hour rush was over and it was early for dinner. It was a welcome change to be able to walk right in and sit down and have the restaurant not as crowded as usual. The food was excellent, the service good, and we enjoyed the experience. Ty

OT
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Food was good. They forgot to put sauce on grouper jimmy. Desert was sub par. We had key lime pie and churros. Waiter was good.

l
Columbus
29 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

Definitely not as good as the Ybor City location. VERY loud and crowded and clearly a high volume, crank it out type of food. Very hit and miss. breaded scallop tapas as bone dry with no seasoning in sight. Chicken croquettes were like hockey pucks--rock hard, overcooked, no seasoning or sauce. Paella was good--alot of fish, great rice. Good sangria. No ambiance but good, efficient service.

JC
Tampa
2 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

The Cuban/Spanish cuisine is very good and the service is excellent. There are many choices on the menu that would be good for carnivores as well as vegetarians and vegans. Restaurant is always filled to capacity with diners. It was a bit too noisy and too crowded, but the excellent food was worth it.

E
Columbus
12 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Columbia is one of our favorite restaurants. Food is dependably good. Atmosphere is upbeat and fun. Good place to people watch. It’s our go-to place for dinner and lunch.

F
Tampa
4 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

My husband and I booked an early table the night of the St. Armands Holiday Lights event. The restaurant was slammed but our server, Lauren, handled the chaos with aplomb. My husband ordered his 2nd favorite meal (paella is #1) of black bean soup, 1905 salad, and Cuban sandwich. I ordered the salad and the Lobster Croquette and everything was delicious, as usual. The cheesecake with blueberries was a perfect choice for dessert - not heavy or too sweet - it was scrumptious. Unfortunately, a group of obnoxiously loud people arrived and were seated at the table behind us. The other diners at surrounding tables glared at them but the group was oblivious to the looks and whispers, so self-involved were they. We quickly finished our dessert and decided not to linger over a second cup of coffee. This experience will not keep us from returning but it did spoil what could, and should, have been an enjoyable prelude to a fun evening on St. Armands. It’s unfortunate that restaurants don’t have a “time-out” room for obnoxious patrons so considerate diners can enjoy their dinner in peace.

OT
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food4service4ambience4

The salad is a must! My crab croquettes were lukewarm at best but everyone else had delicious hot food.

OT
1 review
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

girls weekend for Christmas tree lighting

BS
Tampa
1 review
Dined on December 5, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We are lucky enough to live in Sarasota, so we can visit the Columbia often and we are never disappointed. The atmosphere transports you to an earlier time and the service is always excellent. The variety on the menu makes it difficult to choose one meal but, know that whatever you choose will be delicious. The 1905 salad is a must have for us. Then it's a toss up between a Cuban with black beans and rice, or one of the many other entrees. My favorite is Chicken Salteado and my husband's is Ropa Vieja. Whether you prefer chicken, beef, seafood or vegan, you'll find something to love on their menu!

OT
Cleveland
36 reviews
Dined on December 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always great service and food.

CR
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on December 4, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

We sat in the corner booth table which was a great place to sit for talking. Rest of restaurant was a bit louder. We ordered their famous salad which is always good. We also had the Valencia paella which we have had at other locations. It was good, but not as well prepared as we have had at the St. Augustine location more recently. It came out of the kitchen pretty quickly so maybe it was not all made to order like we have had it before when we have had to wait longer for it to come out of the kitchen. My sister had the Cuban combination and she also thought it was not as good as she remembers. We go here once per year so maybe the kitchen staff has changed.

A
New York Area
14 reviews
Dined on December 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love love love the salad!! I’m a vegetarian so I don’t take the ham and cheese. They make it at the table and it’s super yummy

SM
Louisville
12 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent service, food was amazing
I would go back over and over if I lived in the area

OT
Tampa
10 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It is a tradition to go weekly when the stone crab are in!

DR
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on November 30, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

There are many reasons why Columbia Restaurant is so popular, and it continues to be a favorite of ours. The food is delicious and diners have options of eating as much or as little as they'd like with small plates and larger entrées. Hot bread comes out right away, and service is polite and speedy. Our table this time was in a busy thoroughfare so the feeling was rather hectic, but the sangria helped with that.

JL
Detroit
2 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall3food2service3ambience4

Had a reservation and was seated fairly quickly. The restaurant was very busy. Server was very nice but had many tables ( not her fault). Took forever just to get water. Ordered paella and langosta ravioli. Lobster in the ravioli was so over cooked it was crunchy. The paella was too salty and the chicken was way overdone. Even the 1901 salad was way too salty. Not up to normal Columbia food standards.

r
New England
7 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience2

Very loud inside the restaurant. Can’t really have a conversation without asking others to repeat and repeat themselves.

Food was expensive (30$ for a piece of fish and a plate of rice).

I had snapper with artichoke and hearts of palm. The latter were obviously out of a can. The ‘good rice’ rice was a little too salty. The fish was well cooked. Juicy, not dry.

My mom had sea bass but it looked exactly the same as my fish. Seems like they were prepared the same way and then covered in different condiments - all somewhat poorly prepared (the condiments).

1940 salad was interesting but too salty. Table side preparation is obviously for show and people enjoyed watching.

I really don’t understand why so many people recommend this restaurant. Seems like 200$ can be better spent elsewhere.

200$: pitcher sangria, 1940 salads for the table, 3 mains, 1 shrimp tapas for my daughter.

CG
1 review
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food and friendly staff. I recommend this restaurant to everyone I know.

OT
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience2

An extended family gathering of 6. Waiter was useless. Salads came out AFTER food was served? WTH? When u said something I was told he mentioned that earlier and THOUGHT he heard someone say OK. Thought that he heard was wrong! The steak sandwich was fried in grease along with the seafood. He failed to mention this and as I’m highly allergic to seafood I had a life-threatening reaction. After my husband spoke to the waiter it was partially removed from the bill. But we were still charged for the salad that arrived late. Don’t bother folks, sub-par food and inflated prices.

KA
Tampa
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful dinner for Thanksgiving. We will be back very soon. My husband and I were very pleased.

OT
Orlando
3 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Felt less fancy and professional than the Ybor City one.

P
Orlando
6 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

This restaurant consistently provides us with a great experience. Food was amazing as always. We were a large group on a busy Saturday night but they were able to seat us together in a reasonable amount of time and provided excellent service. We will continue to visit every time we are together n the area.

LD
Tampa
8 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

We always like it at Columbia. The food wasn’t quite as good this time. The paella was a bit mushy or too over cooked. Given that they gave us two orders instead of one, we weren’t thrilled since we did not like it so much.

S
Tampa
33 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2019
Overall5food4service4ambience4

Great place to take out of town guests. Food is very good and different than they might find at home in the midwest. Menu is large and has a lot of choice. Interesting history. Decorated for Christmas right now - makes a very special dining experience ....

CB
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely love this restaurant. We came here twice within 3 days because the food was so good. We learned that even if there is a wait at the restaurant if you make a reservation on opentable while standing at the restaurant you get seated sooner. Definitely grab a bite to eat here. You won’t be disappointed.

JS
1 review
Dined on November 26, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

They had limited seating due to limited staff on Thanksgiving early in the day, so we booked a very early lunch. Our server, Roe, was great and she added to the whole experience of a very wonderful , relaxed sunny day luncheon .

SK
Tampa
1 review
Dined on November 26, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience4

While the vegetarian paella was overcooked, our server, Rod, was outstanding. He was friendly, attentive, informative, courteous--in short--an exemplary waiter who made our experience delightful.

v
Tampa
5 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Neighbors birthday

s
New England
1 review
Dined on November 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of the best restaurants/atmosphere/food anywhere in the Bay Area in my opinion. It's so nice to sit outside and enjoy delicious Cuban food! Our service from Rho was outstanding and the experience was just delightful. We are locals and it's wonderful to play "tourist" and sit outside to enjoy St. Armands as the real tourists do. Stinks that that have put paid parking meters everywhere but oh well. Don't miss the Columbia because of that-:)

BR
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It’s AWESOME. GREAT FOID, atmosphere and outstanding service.

DS
Ottawa
13 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Visiting again from Canada, we just had to come back to one of our favourite restos in Sarasota. We were not disappointed. We started with their famous salad made table side. My wife had the Grouper Jimmy which was excellent and I had the tournedos with a crab and lobster topping. It was cooked to perfection. Couple of glasses of wine and some key lime pie for dessert (which we carried home) and our meal was complete. Gold star service from Damian and his colleagues was impeccable. We’ll be back again!

NN
Pittsburgh
109 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Best 1905 salad and Cuban sandwich! A must to when we are in Sarasota. Very good service by Donnie!

OT
Orlando
2 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We always make a point to come for dinner when we are in town visiting family. I have never had anything bad here, always great food.

I’ve also sold the white sangria pitcher and the 1905 salad to a friend who is going to Tampa this weekend from her seeing my pictures I posted on FB.

OT
Tampa
16 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience3

As always an awesome experience at Columbia. My 1st time at this location. Place was very energetic, and quite noisy, but overall another great time.

OT
Tampa
61 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience3

The lobster crochettas (sp) were the true highlight. Very loud and compared to other local restaurants, expensive. I suppose you’re paying for the history of the restaurant.

OT
1 review
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Food was delicious

OT
Columbus
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food

C
Tallahassee
14 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I always recommend Columbia's to everyone that is coming to Florida. Any one of the Columbia's restaurant's, they have best warm bread and 1905 salad.

RW
Tampa
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great dinner.

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