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Florida Guide > Dining

One of our favourite restaurants is the Columbia which is located on Front Street in the town of Celebration. The restaurant overlooks Celebration’s main lake so it's a great setting for a fantastic meal.

The Columbia is one of a chain of seven restaurants scattered across Florida the original in Ybor City (Tampa) is said to be one of the oldest restaurants in the state. The restaurant serves mainly Cuban and Spanish cuisine in really nice Mediterranean style surroundings in fact you could easily think you were in Barcelona or Seville rather than Celebration!

There are several dining areas for you to choose from, the main restaurant, the outdoor terrace, the lovely courtyard or you could just enjoy a drink and a snack in the Tapas Bar.

Delicious Tapas, Paella’s and authentic Cuban dishes are made to order so be prepared to wait up to 30 minutes if you order the Paella. The salads (try the original 1905) and Sangria (three types) are prepared tableside as are the flambéed dishes. If you like wine they have an extensive wine list and to top it all off the service here is second to none.

On our last visit we chose Gazpacho to start served with a garnish of fresh chopped vegetables and a large chunk of warm Cuban bread. We followed this with an entrée of Salteado, this is a sort of Cuban stir fry, your choice of Chicken, Steak, Pork or Shrimp is sautéed in olive oil along with onions, green pepper, mushrooms, diced potatoes, chorizo and a splash of wine (delicious). This was served with yellow rice and more warm Cuban bread. This was washed down with Sangria de Torro made tableside by our very polite and attentive waiter.

The deserts here are to die for, Crema Catalana, Cheese Cake Cuban style, Bread Pudding etc, etc. In the interest of research we opted for the “Brazo Gitano Cien Anos” to share. This is the 100th anniversary signature desert and is sponge cake soaked in syrup and sherry, filled with Spanish cream and strawberries, topped with soft meringue and then served with strawberry sauce before being flambéed…wonderful, I can almost taste it!

This really is a great place for a special occasion or maybe just for a light lunch, you don’t have to eat as much as we did!

They also have a gift shop selling cigars, “1905" Salad Dressing, sangria mix, Cuban and American roast coffee, hot sauce and seasonings, a variety of hand-made and hand painted ceramics, so you can take home a souvenir.

It can be a little more expensive than some of the other local restaurants but it is different and it is worth it, note the lunchtime menu is almost the same as the dinner menu but about a third cheaper. It's well worth a visit if you are in the area, we will certainly be going back.

Hours: Sunday - Saturday (11:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.)
Open 365 days of the year.
Serving Lunch & Dinner daily.

Author: Steve and Julie Roach (Villa link: click here)
Other articles by this author: click here

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Page added on: 9 November 2005
Viewed 4018 times since 1 September 2008.

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The Columbia Restaurant
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