Last night we drove over to Ybor City for dinner at The Columbia. I started getting ready around 3:00 PM–it’s a two hour drive and we had reservations at 6:30PM! I NEVER get ready for anything that early lol
We drove over to Groveland to pick up my best guy friend and then began our drive to Ybor City!
We arrived early (this almost never happens with the traffic here in Florida) so we took a couple photos before heading inside. Founded in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., the Columbia Restaurant is Florida’s oldest restaurant, and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world.
Then we headed inside to the bar! I ordered their house Sangria and it was spot on! They use their own wine and if you order a pitcher of Sangria they make it table side and it’s served in a large hand-painted pitcher.
We decided to also order some appetizers since we knew we had about a half hour wait. However, by the time we figured out what we wanted our table was ready! So our appetizers were brought over to the table and we cleaned each plate! I ordered the Empanadas and Pincho Mixta. The empanadas were warm and filling with a homemade corn and bean salsa on top. The Pincho Mixta was my favorite though–tiny tiny serving but the chorizo was absolutely perfectly cooked!
The restaurant is definitely overpriced but the food is excellent. I knew I wanted to order the 1905 salad first. It’s a family recipe that was the first salad used on the original menu with ham, cheese, olives, ginger dressing and it’s actually dressed and tossed table side.
We were thinking about ordering the paella, since it is a speciality of theirs, however, we saw some neighboring tables ordering it and the plates just didn’t impress. I switched up last minute and ordered the Arroz con Pollo. It was is made to order and so it requires an extra wait time for cooking. It was worth it!
The Arroz con Pollo is actually cooked in a clay dish but they plate it table side. My best friend got the filet and it was also finished table side–I tell you what the service wasn’t so great, in fact, it was awful, but the table side service was excellent! His filet was flambéed table side and it was quite a show! They use a whiskey to flambé the meat and sauce and he even got a shot for himself!
Overall, I’d give it an 8. The food was great but the service sucked. Really. Thank goodness I had great company and good wine!
To finish off the night we grabbed a dessert (to-go) of Churros! They came with chocolate, caramel and guava sauces. The Guava was actually REALLY great with the Churros and I was surprised that I actually enjoyed it.
and I’ll end this post with more interior pictures. Have a great Monday!