Columbia Restaurant - Sarasota

4.4
2900 reviews
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$30 and under
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Spanish
Family-owned and operated for more than 113 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
What 2900 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.4
food
4.3
service
4.2
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
87% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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1
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P
New England
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We are visiting for my brother’s birthday and this is our favorite place.

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CT
Orange County
2 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ben, our server was excellent and the portions were generous!

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VK
Tampa
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service was excellent, waitress was Chelsa, I think.

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RM
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 2ambience 5

I take all my budiness meetings with out of town guest. Go at least once month or more. Food has always been perfect. Milue is nice as well. The service is usually always on tops, this visit waiter wasn’t really busy but not on his game as others. (jack). Didn’t really check on us we always had to get his attention for service. I usually spend 4-5 hundred $ each visit and believe in tipping well 25/30% but this visit only did 20% should have been less. I entrrtained a party of 8. I WILL be back again, always impressed and enjoy the food. Next time I will request another server. Thank you kindly.

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RH
Tampa
2 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

always a great meal and service. Highly recommended

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OT
1 review
Dined on September 10, 2018
Overall 1food 4service 5ambience 4

Food excellent. Drinks way over priced. Martini at $5 to $7 OK> Not $12.00. Beer $5.00 when the same beer can be brought at PubLix for $1.00. No thanks we won't be back to be robbed.

Ed King

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BM
1 review
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

We were a party of four celebrating a birthday. The best Margaritas I ever had. I had Barcelona Shrimp and Chicken which was good. Ordered some Tapas for appetizers and churros for dessert. It was pricey, but will go back only for special occasions.

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OT
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Nasty, big black FLIES were everywhere inside the open air portion of the restaurant (table was INSIDE the restaurant - not off the sidewalk)!
We had to take our food to-go because we were so busy swatting the flies away, we couldn't enjoy the food. So disgusting!!! Server said "Sorry, I can't do anything about the flies problem... '.
I won't go back.

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r
Tampa
33 reviews
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

My spicy seafood dish has been consistently good. The bread is fabulous.

However, both visits have disappointed my friends (one chicken (said it tasted undercooked), one gazpacho (said it was not as tasty as Ybor location); both had the Columbia salad and it looked completely different both times (first encounter oversaturated with dressing, second time mostly lettuce and olives).

Our server on this occasion was perfunctory. The flies (not the servers' fault) were a bother during our meal in open air (yes our choice, but they might want to warn patrons in advance).

I'll be back because I know what to order and will try to counsel friends to do likewise.

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OT
1 review
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Husband 50th Birthday

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e
Naples
3 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was delicious. Our waitress was very friendly and full of suggestions, both for the menu and sights around town.

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A
1 review
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 3

The food was so salty it was inedible. A few of us left hungry because we couldn’t eat our dinners. And, the server handed me the bill at the end of the meal. I was sitting with 4 other men. On what planet is that acceptable?

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KK
1 review
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I have only been 3 times. Each time I have come, the experience was exceptional! We are from out of town and the only thing I wanted to do was go to Columbia. HOWEVER, this experience was kind of disappointing. The food was phenomenal, no doubt about that.

We called for a reservation and without hesitation, they said they were sold out. Seemed like she just wanted to get us off the phone and didn’t even check the reservation list. At the same time, my fiancé was able to book a table on Open Table with zero issues. Ok. No problem. Maybe we just snagged the last table. Staying optimistic.

We showed up about 5:15 (reservation was at 6) just to let them know we were there and we were going to relax a bit. They said they had plenty of tables and we can sit. Great! We were so excited! But....We were extremely rushed to our table, we could barely keep up with the hostess. I’m pretty sure we almost ran into a couple of food runners. Then we were rushed to order before we even had our waters. Before we were finished we were asked if we wanted dessert and then asked if we wanted the check. We still had half our plates and 3/4 of a pitcher of sangria. We hurried up and ate and chugged the sangria and left. We were there maybe a whole 30 mintues from when we walked in the door to when we walked out. Part of the reason we go is to enjoy the fun and energetic environment.

I’ll always recommend this place. Hands down. It was Saturday night on Labor Day weekend. I understand that sometimes to keep up with scheduled reservations, you have to turn tables as quickly as possible. We love that place and hoped this was a one-time thing so we didn’t really mind. However if we were first timers, I’d be a bit disappointed.

All-in-all, still 5 stars and we will definitely return.....but maybe not on a weekend.

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ED
Philadelphia
15 reviews
Dined on September 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great place for Cuban/ Spanish food. The Sarasota sun is hot. If you're into that, sit outside or next to a window (inside). If not, ask to be seated toward the back away from the windows to maximize air-conditioning. We've frequented this restaurant over the past several years and have not been disappointed.

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NA
Tampa
2 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and ambiance. Personalized service, anazing food— lots of choices. Knowledgeable wait staff! Delicioso!

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JC
Tampa
5 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food. Have to have the 1905 salad. Great food and service.

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MB
1 review
Dined on August 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Columbia is always a must do every time I am in Sarasota. The food and ambience is incredible and their service is always exceptional!!

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OT
Charleston
1 review
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 2

We have had great meals here and this time my meal was great . Unfortunately, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law were visiting and her red snapper was brown. We were in the room with a high noise level for the first time and had a hard time hearing each other. Will return but ask for the nicer room.

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m
Mississippi
3 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

Excellent as always When visiting sarasota always go there. Love this one at st Armand's key

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MI
Baltimore
13 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service was incredibly exceptional,

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D
New England
25 reviews
Dined on August 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent as always, a classic that never changes

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KM
Philadelphia
4 reviews
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Columbia is our go-to spot on St. Armand’s Circle, and they never disappoint. Excellent food, as always!

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JP
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was great as always. Our waitress, Roe was excellent, very attentive!!

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D
Tampa
154 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Great spot to watch people, have a sangria and enjoy a Cuban tapas. Nothing fancy but good food.

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1
Raleigh
13 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved the southern atmosphere and historical building. Fun place to dine in casual environment. Bartenders were excellent and wait staff really work hard. Overall, service was great and food was delicious. Definitely lived up to its reputation.

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VB
Tampa
5 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Columbia’s is always outstanding no matter if you visit St Armand’s or St Augustine, the food is always outstanding and service excellent.

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OT
Tampa
1 review
Dined on August 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great Dinner as usual.

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JB
Tampa
2 reviews
Dined on August 5, 2018
Overall 1food 2service 2ambience 1

Terrible. Very loud. Food way to expensive for the quality that includes ambiance to enjoy it in. Ask for a quiet corner table they sat us next to toddlers and young kids who were loud. That family started to complain about the food etc etc. Will never go to this chain ever again. Have never written a bad review but this place deserved it

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KW
Cleveland
9 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Always look forward to dining here. Authentic Cuban/ Spanish cuisine.

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SR
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

My Mom and I went to The Columbia on the recommendations of many friends. It was our first experience with the restaurant. Overall it was a lovely lunch. Our server was very attentive and we didn't wait very long at all for our meal. The food was very good. As it was a very hot afternoon we decided to sit inside and were seated by the window to watch the vibrant world of St. Armand's Circle go by. Our server even brought us a complimentary flan for dessert after my Mom mentioned that it was my birthday! The ONLY thing we didn't like were the chairs, of all things. I managed okay, but my Mom was fairly uncomfortable by the time we left. The outside chairs did appear much more comfortable, but we chose air conditioning. I offered to ask if she could have a different chair, but she didn't want to make a fuss. We'll have to go back when the weather is more conducive to sitting outside.

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LF
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 2ambience 5

We loved the history, we love the food and ambience.

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PS
1 review
Dined on August 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my favorite restaurants. It is ageless classic and consistent Spanish food. From tapas to paella and the house made sangria, you just can’t go wrong.

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A
Miami
36 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Located in the Gold Quadrant of St. Armand’s Circle, it’s a great location. Food is regional (Spanish/Cuban) and delicious (don’t miss their special salad or their great bread), sangria was good, service was excellent and interesting (thanks, Norbert), eating outside was lovely, ambience was great, and I even bought a beautiful pitcher in the gift shop. Afterward we strolled around and checked out the multitude of stores in the circle. A lovely evening.

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OT
1 review
Dined on July 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious Spanish food. Great service.

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L
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on July 29, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 1

If you make the right food choice and sit in the right location your experience will be much better than ours since we have gone to this Resturant multiple times. On a weekend, the Resturant is very crowded and the semi private rooms in the back can get very hot. The Restuarant is also very loud. Drinks are excellent, Paella is fair, other dishes are very good.

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HM
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

We had 7:00 PM reservations and had to wait about 20 minutes to be seated. The restaurant was very busy and extremely noisy. A nearby table of rowdy drunks made conversation at our table nearly impossible, and that was unfortunate because we were celebrating our wedding anniversary, my brother-in-laws birthday and his recent recovery and clean bill of health from cancer treatment.

We had previously enjoyed lunches and dinners at the Sarasota Columbia Restaurant, but this time our experience did not live up to our expectations.

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C
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our server Chris was amazing! He was very helpful and kind! Our dinner was delicious and the drinks were top notch !! ❤️

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B
Tampa
12 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Reservations are an absolute must even during our off-season.

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CG
Nashville
8 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Columbia is an iconic part of Sarasota's history and has been around for a long time. My family first started going there when I was a little girl over 50 years ago. If you're in the Sarasota area, you definitely want to put this restaurant on your itinerary.

The empanadas which are on the appetizer menu are a must !! They are exceptional. Their "1905" salad is also a must and very delicious! My husband ordered the Paella Campesina which was just marginal. The flavors were pretty good but the meat was over cooked and tough. I ordered the Filet Chacho and it was good but not great. For the money, I would have thought it would have been exceptional!!!

We had a terrific waitress named Catie. She was delightful. Overall, we had a pleasant experience celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary.

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MB
1 review
Dined on July 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We were in Sarasota for a family vacation and Columbia Restaurant was on our must-visit list. We had a wonderful experience and amazing food. The service was excellent and our waiter was super helpful and fun.

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