Columbia Restaurant - Sarasota

4.5
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3763 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 3763 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
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Louisville
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good food and service, it's clear why Columbia is a mainstay for this area.

N
Tampa
4 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 1food 5service 1ambience 5

We chose the Columbia for our 18th Wedding Anniversary dinner. We have eaten there for over twenty years. THIS WAS NOT OUR WAITERS FAULT, but they were under staffed. It took years to get our order, food , check. My wife ordered a side salad for her entre and was given AND CHERGED for a dinner salad.
We walked out, never to celebrate an occassion there again.

KB
Chicago
20 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Very accommodating. Suggestions made that enhanced experience. Always a favorite

AM
Savannah
4 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

My husband and I brought my daughter, her husband and two small children for dinner on a Saturday night. Options for kids were great. Food selections and taste of the food was amazing. We loved everything we tried! Our only dark spot of the evening was our waiter. He seemed put out by serving us and made rude comments at times. We weren't sure if he just had a dry sense of humor or he was having a bad day. Overall we would definitely return!

D
Tampa
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

It was very crowded. Our server was overworked and we didn't see her for long periods of time. My Sea Bass a la Rusa was dry and the glass of sangria that we bought separate from the pitcher of sangria didn't taste as good as the brandy prepared in front of us. It tasted like the brandy was missing. Normally, this is a consistent restaurant but it was a zoo this weekend.

DB
Las Vegas
3 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food & service even though it was very crowded. The 1905 salad is superb!

RM
Tampa
7 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

We had reservations for our anniversary. We had to wait a while for our table and was placed at an undesirable table right outside the kitchen, my view was directly into the kitchen. It really wasn’t a great location for a table with all of the traffic, just seemed like a place to squeeze in another table. In the future I would refuse that location.

Our server was nice enough but didn’t make any suggestions or check on us other than to take order and deliver food and check at the end. The food was very good, no complaints there.

We would go back but probably not for a special occasion, it’s location and setup isn’t good for a relaxing meal. Just felt very rushed and hectic.

OT
Naples
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Very busy, noisy, food is just ok. Not a special occasion gourmet restaurant.

G
Chicago
42 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

1905 Salad is always a great choice

OT
Orlando
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food good location and friendly people

OT
Fargo
4 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Food was really good, the seafood items were unique and surprised our palate!!

SM
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We love this restaurant, and try to take our visitors there when we can. It was VERY busy on the Friday night we were there, so I was glad we had a reservation! Because of how busy it was, the ambiance was a little affected, but the service was still excellent somehow. We’ll definitely be back!

JL
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I brought a friend and a relative visiting from Boston. We were a few minutes late for our reservation time and called. They held our table despite a full restaurant. The wine sangria we had was too delicious and the salad and Cuban sandwich was prepared perfectly. My friend thought she ordered a soup and sandwich. The waitress brought my friend a sandwich. I have never seen this done. Our lunch here was a fabulous experience. I would differently go back.

N
Western NC
7 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Columbia is one of my favorite restaurants because the food is consistently excellent, yesterday our waiter was delighful, came by periodically when appropriate, was attentive but gave my girlfriend and I time to talk (we had not seen each other in years), and realized I was not going to eat all of my salmon and came with boxes to take home. The atmosphere at Columbia is terrific, there is nothing like sitting on the out skirts of the patio dining area and still feeling the breeze, seeing people walking by, etc. It is lovely and I am sure it will be packed a season will soon be upon us, so we were glad we were able to get in for a wonderful lunch.

DC
Tampa
7 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The sweet husband and I enjoy dining at Columbia every couple of months. The salad, the flan, and the cafe con leche are a must each time with a different entree. When we have out of town guests you can be certain we introduce them to the Columbia. Thank you.

OT
Miami
10 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 4ambience 4

Since food was awful there was no value. I've been to the Columbia years sgo in ybor city. This was awful. So sad

OT
Cincinnati
5 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Everything was delicious

OT
Tampa
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 5ambience 5

I don't believe it was the Columbia's fault or mine, but after making the reservation a week ahead and confirming it via text sent to me the day before, the Columbia did not have me on their reservation list. Luckily, they saw me waiting and sat us quickly. Thank goodness it wasn't tourist season.

KS
Orlando
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

We've eaten here before, even though it's a 2 hour drive for us. Norwegian cousins are in Ft Myers and we drove down from Orlando area. My only complaint, tables WAY TO CLOSE together! We could hardly move and it was very tight getting into our seats. Please take a few out.

OT
Tampa
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Columbia it's a great place to go and enjoy good food with friends. You can't miss with the 1905 salad! We love the open air atmosphere and friendly service.

OT
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always amazing!!! My wife and I make it a point to have dinner here whenever we’re in town. Our server Michael was outstanding!!!!

OT
Cincinnati
8 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and service.

US
Tampa
5 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Benjamin was our waiter.....we never had service at Columbia like we had with him. He payed attention to ever detail of our meal.....he was very accommodating......much enjoyed his service and of course our meal!!!

P
Tampa
1 review
Dined on September 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

spectacular cuisine and absolutely spectacular service.

L
Kansas City
96 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 3

Nothing was ever even mentioned about our anniversary. You need to have a Happy Hour. It’s terrible for you to be in such a nice area yet not have a Happy Hour.

Also your prices were a bit high.

OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Always love the atmosphere at Columbia. Two sisters & our 95 year old Mom were allowed to pick our table away from other diners, which we truly appreciated. Had cocktails & a light early dinner of soup, salad and Tapas. Plus we asked for 5 loaves of Cuban bread to go, it’s that good!
Our server, ROBERT! We adored him from the moment we met him. Professional and charismatic.......perfect!
It wasn’t our first time, and it won’t be the last. 🥂♥️

LW
Tampa
2 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a wonderful birthday celebration at the Columbia! Chris was an exceptional waiter. I loved my birthday flan!

VO
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 1

I grew up going to the Columbia restaurant and wanted to celebrate an occasion there so purposely made a reservation. The Columbia restaurant is essentially two restaurants now. A really noisy "patio" type tourist trap that is like the worst of a Disney restaurant...but even more over priced, crowded and understaffed. Then, there's the old Columbia with white table clothes and what appeared from the outside to be good service etc... what I expected when I made the reservation. So, my warning to you. If you want the actual restaurant, perhaps you have to call ahead and ask for it? Rather like when you are insulted and it doesn't occur to you until later to say something, it wasn't until after we had been seated on the tourist side that it was not going to be a good experience...by then, it was too late. And quite frankly with the attitude of the hostess, I doubt I would have gotten anywhere. Very, very disappointing evening. Food was disappointing as well.

j
Columbus
1 review
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

We sat next to a table with 14 people. It was very loud. Probably should have asked to be seated somewhere else as it was hard to hear my table mates.

MM
New York Area
17 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was great and service was very good

OT
1 review
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 1food 5service 1ambience 4

Waitress was horrible. Manager gave each of our party of 7 a free dessert of our choice to compensate.

D
Tampa
11 reviews
Dined on September 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My out of town friends ALWAYS want to go to The Columbia when they visit Sarasota. And this visit didn’t disappoint. From the table side mixed white Sangria and salads, or the tasty Tapas - it was an outstanding lunch.

S
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 1

Highly disappointed in this place after close to 30 years of constant patronage. The service has fallen off dramatically, the management is terribly inept at fixing problems with the order (raw grouper and I didn’t order sushi), zero ability to correct, extremely slow at bringing basic condiments, just pass. This institution will remain but your dining options are too good on the circle to continue to return.

e
Charleston
4 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was good as always! And you can never go wrong with a pitcher of Columbia’s white sangria (or maybe too)

S
Chicago
33 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The atmosphere was wonderful. The service was excellent and the food was amazing!

OT
1 review
Dined on August 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good food with friendly staff and great ambiance. Can’t wait to return.

DD
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Great dining experience. Amazing food. Sangria outstanding. Highly recommend! A Florida tradition not to be missed.

L
New York Area
21 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food and service were excellent. Highly recommend.

OT
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 4

Right out of the box our server appeared to be stoned. As the meal progressed it became more apparent. Didn’t get the drink order correct and then couldn’t remember what was actually ordered. He completely forgot an entire appetizer course after our Salad. Never cleared plates, he just moved them to a space in front of an empty seat. The table behind us was having trouble with there order and there was a lot of vocal complaining from them. Their server had an apron on that was filthy. The food was so so. I have eaten here several times in the past and it has always been good. Very disappointed.

GH
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

We enjoy the Columbia and have visited both the original Tampa location as well as the St. Armand's location. Our only complaint during our recent visit was with our waiter. The waiter did not make eye contact and was not personable. At the end of the meal he dropped off a box and bag and did not offer to box the leftovers. Every other waiter or waitress we saw was gladly performing this service. No enthusiasm was shown for the job.

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