Columbia Restaurant - Sarasota

4.4
2840 reviews
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$30 and under
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Spanish
Top Tags:
  • Authentic
  • People Watching
  • Great for Outdoor Dining
Family-owned and operated for more than 112 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," Filet Mignon "Columbia," 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.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Spanish, Cuban
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Hours of operation
Lunch Daily: 11:00am - 4:00pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 4:00pm - 11:00pm
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Phone number
(941) 388-3987
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Payment options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Jesus Padilla Jr.
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Private party facilities
The Columbia Restaurant in Sarasota on St. Armands Circle is the perfect venue for your special event. Our Old-World Mediterranean style dining rooms lend an atmosphere of warmth and elegance to any gathering. For a small groups of of up to 40, we offer private dining space.
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Private party contact
Erika K: (941) 388-3987
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Neighborhood
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Parking details
Free parking on the street, or in public parking areas surrounding St. Armands Circle.
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Entertainment
After your meal, stroll along St. Armands Circle, resembling an elegant European market with bright tropical landscaping. It is home to more than 130 shops that pamper guests from all areas of the world. Sarasota is a cultural haven with stunning beaches and superb shops and galleries. Outdoor activities like golf, tennis, deep-sea fishing and boating are also nearby.
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Special events & promotions
Although online reservations may not be available, we are still taking reservations through the restaurant.
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Reviews from verified diners
2,840 reviews
4.4 out of 5 Stars
Outstanding
62%
Very Good
24%
Good
8%
Fair
4%
Poor
2%
4.4
food
4.3
service
4.2
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
85% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined 2 days ago

We were celebrating our wedding anniversary. We had such a lovely time. Our waiter was phenomenal. We were unfamiliar with the dishes and he advised us. The Sangria was amazing. Honestly, it was the best either of us has ever had. The portions were bountiful. By the time the salad came we were already planning our next visit. We've decided to go again for lunch and we're going soon. Exceptional experience.

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4.0Dined 2 days ago

Food was fantastic, service was pretty good, and the atmosphere (as always) was remarkable. The only complaint I have stems from the online reservation. I made a reservation for my girlfriend and I to have dinner (for her birthday) and I put in the special instructions to have a slice of cake for her with her name written on the plate. I know it's specific but I was hopeful that it could be pulled off. After our meal I asked the waitress if they received the special instructions and she had no idea what I was talking about. 5 minutes later she returned singing happy birthday with 3 other waitresses and a complimentary plate of Flan. Great save. Overall it's a fantastic restaurant as my family has been coming there for years. My father even proposed to my mother there!

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2.0Dined 2 days ago

While we were there we saw a waitress drop silverware on the floor, pick it up, and put it back on the table for customers to use. Three different times during our meal, bottles of sauce were dropped by servers by our table shattering glass and splashing the sauce on our feet. Three different times...it was pretty unbelievable. And no one ever apologized either, they just swept it up and kept going. Our dinner at Columbia was not enjoyable. Seeing what we did in front of the customers in the dining room left us wondering what conditions were like where we couldn’t see. Overall it was disappointing and made us not really want to eat our meals.

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1.0Dined 2 days ago

Took forever. Food was gross and everyone in our party (7) had upset stomachs after .

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4.0Dined 3 days ago

Anniversary

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3.0Dined 3 days ago

Food was not what I expected presentation was terrible specially the tapas just place in a regular plate cut badly, over price for the quality and taste of food

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2.0Dined 3 days ago

The flies inside the restaurant were terrible. Management was discussing the firing of staff on the dining room floor!

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4.0Dined 3 days ago

The 1905 salad is just the best. I always come to the Columbia when I visit Sarasota. During the hot months, make absolutely certain that you ask to sit in the main dining room. The other sections of the restaurant have open glass doors, and those two rooms are quite hot and humid. One of my guests was so warm that she had to leave and go stand in the full-air conditioned part of the restaurant.

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5.0Dined 3 days ago

Awesome service and food

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2.0Dined 4 days ago

We have been eating at the Columbia for years and typically love it. The last few times we’ve dined there we have been rushed through our dinner. From the time we sat down until the time we were brought the bill was 40 minutes. The food was bland too. Very disappointing.

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5.0Dined 5 days ago

Love this restaurant! The 1905 salad is a must! Server was wonderful. Food delicious! Had a reservation through Open Table which was so easy. We were seated immediately when we arrived.

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5.0Dined 5 days ago

Family vacation to Sarasota! Came for the famous salad! Valet would have been a nice touch.

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2.0Dined on July 10, 2018

Loud. Chaotic. Under-enthused waitress. Couldn’t wait for dinner to be over😩

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5.0Dined on July 10, 2018

Food was outstanding! Salads were very large - we should have shared one. Our waitress was wonderful!

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5.0Dined on July 9, 2018

Outstanding service and food! A definite favorite

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5.0Dined on July 9, 2018

The Colombia Sarasota lives up to the Tampa Flagship's name. Good food, service and ambiance. It's a great place to renew an old friendship. Can't wait to return.

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3.0Dined on July 8, 2018

Lunch on Sunday at the Columbia is always busy, and, while the food was good, the service could have been greatly improved. Our server was a “drop and go” server. Our water glasses were never refilled, even after a direct request. He also never checked back with us after our meals were delivered to see if we needed anything (hot sauce, sangria, and more bread would have enhanced our meals). We understand that the poor service we received on Sunday is not the “norm” and we will be back.

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4.0Dined on July 8, 2018

Whenever I am in town I eat at the Columbia. This was a special occasion. It was my Birthday. I spent my 18th Birthday at the Columbia years ago and decided I wanted to do it again 39 years later. I feel the Columbia has lost some of its charm with so many
tables that you can hardly walk thru the restaurant. The food was good but not excellent this time. I will certainly try again sometime. Please take out some of the tables so when you dine your not sitting on top of each other.

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1.0Dined on July 7, 2018

My husband and I was disappointed in our food quality we paid good prices and expected better quality. The noise level was off the chart...definitely not a romantic restaurant.

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5.0Dined on July 7, 2018

Everything ordered was delicious. Service was impeccable. Sangria & salad prepared tableside was an enjoyable addition to the great service. Will surely dine at Columbia again in the near future!

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5.0Dined on July 6, 2018

Best food in town!! The bartenders were fun and pleasant. Huey was our waiter and he was great. Very attentive.

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5.0Dined on July 6, 2018

Our vacation is. Ever complete without a trip to Columbia!

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3.0Dined on July 6, 2018

I eat at columbia a ton. Everytime visitors come to town. The hostess was horrible! She treated us badly, and was very indifferent. Cant believe such a great restaurant has employees who make the first impression so bad I did tell the manager and he comped us each a free drink which was nice but probably did not solve the issue moving forward. Our waiter was wonderful! He apologized for her. Unfortunately that started our evening so not sure i will come back. Too many places to choose. I made a reservation, but she continued taking other people to tables without reservations. I brought it to her attention after she did this twice and she gave me no eye contact, did did not apologize, and barked at another seater to take care of us. Incredibly rude!!!

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5.0Dined on July 6, 2018

Great Place to have a launch on a warm summer day would recommend it for any occasion

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2.0Dined on July 3, 2018

Ordered the La Completa Cubana and was very disappointed. The plate was crowded making it difficult to discern the different items on the plate. The pork was the best item of the fish and the rest was not up to standard, I didn’t finish anything on the plate. Just a tip, raw onion on black beans is not enjoyable and over cooked yuca is unappealing to the palate. I also ordered the Flan for dessert and found it to be runny and not appetizing, ate a few bites and left the rest. Overall, a very disappointing experience.

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5.0Dined on July 2, 2018

The food is always great and the sangria is the best.

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3.0Dined on July 1, 2018

Would liked to have a good Margarita but not on the Menu.

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4.0Dined on July 1, 2018

Service was great food was ok could have been better

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5.0Dined on June 30, 2018

The food was great as was the environment. I've been there several times and it's always outstanding!

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5.0Dined on June 30, 2018

The atmosphere was fun and perfect for a date night while on vacation in Sarasota! Would definitely go back!

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4.0Dined on June 30, 2018

I loved the open feel of the restaurant. The only negative is that we were seated directly under an air-conditioning vent that was dripping onto our table. Even though we all ordered different entree selections, everything tasted outstanding and even my picky kids loved the "good rice". The sangria was my personal favorite though. My parents have raved about this restaurant for years and I am so glad we were finally able to visit.

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2.0Dined on June 30, 2018

Our service was horrendous, waited forever to be greeted once seated, waiter was inattentive, felt like we waited for everything including the check EVEN after manager approached. Only 1 out of 4 entrees was good. Chicken was dry-like it had been sat under food warmer for awhile. Gazpacho soup, salad and mojitos were delicious.

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2.0Dined on June 28, 2018

Seafood was not fresh at all. The paella was extremely fishy and salty. The crab ball tasted like canned crab. It was extremely disappointing for being by the ocean. I have had fresher fish in Colorado. The service was prompt but lacked any personality and the lack of interaction made obvious they turned and burned tables. There is much , much better food everywhere in Sarasota. Don’t waist your time here.

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5.0Dined on June 27, 2018

St. Armand's Circle, in Sarasota, is a hive of activity with quaint shops and restaurants. Tourists and locals mingle easily navigating the circle. In a prime, corner location is Columbia Restaurant with inside or outside eating available. There is no shortage of wait staff and all are smiling and personable. What a pleasure to have Arturo a wonderful waiter answer all our questions and serve us with ease. The food was delicious, fresh and beautifully presented. The 1905 salad, one of their highlighted items, is spectacular! We would highly recommend this restaurant and will definitely return for another wonderful meal.

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5.0Dined on June 26, 2018

We always love taking friends to The Columbia when they are visiting from out of town. It’s my favorite restaurant. The food is delicious, service wonderful and we love the location on St Armand’s. You have to try a pitcher of Sangria and the 1905 Salad. Both are made for you right at the table. You won’t regret going to The Columbia.
Have a great time!

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5.0Dined on June 26, 2018

Great food & good service!

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5.0Dined on June 24, 2018

Took visiting family members there and it was also the half-way point to meet up with other family in state. Had reservations on a Sun for an early dinner, got sat right away, inside rather than on their patio. Food was all very good...worth it just to get the warm Cuban bread and butter before the meal! Very good 1905 salad and Cuban sandwich. Ambiance was very nice. Nowhere to put your purse though, the chair backs at the tables are curved, and as a woman I don't like putting my purse on the floor. The only real "complaint" was our server...he did his job fine but was always looking towards outside, seemed like he'd rather be somewhere else and it felt like he was rushing us. We needed 3 separate checks for our party of 6, but after explaining part of the divide during ordering, he rushed off (got corrected at time of payment of course). We sat for a bit visiting after the check was paid, were never offered more water and it would've been nice to not have to ask for it. I expected a bit better service for such a well known establishment. However, we'd definitely go back, we like it there :)

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5.0Dined on June 24, 2018

Family get together

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5.0Dined on June 24, 2018

Very good menu, very scenic and authentic, can be very busy but still very enjoyable

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4.0Dined on June 23, 2018

Been to Columbia many times including Christmas. Usually the food is top-notch, but this day was not as good. Getting the food was slow, and the crab cakes were almost room temperature. The noise level on the enclosed side of the restaurant was deafening. I would not be seated there again. Certainly I will give it another try on the open side.

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