Every time we visit the Sunshine State the Columbia is a must. Florida's oldest restaurant lives up to its reputation for the mouthwatering 1905 salad & divine sangria. Painted tiles adorn the outside of the restaurant with bright beautiful colors.
The atmosphere is classic like you have walked back into time to enjoy a drink with the founder Cuban immigrant Casmiro Herandez. Famous for the cuban sandwiches, cigars and that strong coffee that makes you jittery, the Columbia has evolved into a historical landmark in Ybor city. It survived the hard time in Ybor in the 50s & 60's & today draws tourists & locals alike.
The vibe inside is nothing less than classic. The waitstaff wear bow ties & chat with you about your day. The dining rooms have that old time feel that makes you wish you could have been here at its beginning. My family & I stopped by for lunch to get our Columbia fill. We ordered sangria with red wine & fresh citrus which is made right at your table.
For lunch, we ordered our favorite original 1905 salad with crunchy iceberg lettuce, fresh Florida tomatoes, swiss cheese & ham. The salad is mixed in a big bowl at the table with dressing full of garlicy goodness. We try to make this at home, but it never seems to compare. On the side, I ordered Caldo Gallego soup with delicious stock, ham, chorizo, potatoes, & greens. It was a perfect warm compliment to the refreshing salad.
If you want to experience a live flamenco show, the Columbia offers this while you eat in the evenings. There are several Columbia Restaurants in Florida, but the original offers you a look back into Cuban immigrant culture. Walk around Ybor before or after your meal & enjoy the colorful bars & old time cigar shops.
For more information check out http://www.columbiarestaurant.com.