Columbia ~ A Perinnial Florida Favorite

It’s one of 7 Columbia Restaurants in the state of Florida, but it’s heretical to call The Columbia a chain!  As the state’s oldest restaurant, it’s a family-owned gem!  The decor and menu reflect The Columbia’s 100+ years of history, and endear visitors, by including photos and stories.

Many start their dinner with the signature 1905 salad or Columbia’s sangria pitcher.  Last Saturday, Lynda and I departed from the usual and tried the black bean cakes ($5.95).  The texture and flavor were both right on.  The guacamole served on the side was fresh and tasty- they were delish without the sour cream.  We ate after our Villa Zorayda tour, so we were pretty hungry.  We’d already eaten 2 when I stopped for the photo.


I love Columbia’s soft, sweet platanos {the plantain is a starchier cousin of the banana} so much I often order a side of these with a bowl of black beans for dinner.  Yum.  But when I saw eggplant breaded with plantain crumbs, I was intrigued!  Eggplant Riojana ($18.95) was essentially a Hispanic eggplant parmesan- move over Olive Garden!  (ha! no contest!)  Fortunately for me, Lynda doesn’t like eggplant, so I enjoyed every.last.bite.  The next morning I still smelled like garlic, a sign of authentic Cuban dining!

Lynda ordered “Palomilla” ($17.95), a thin cut of top sirloin grilled and topped with mojo crudo (chopped onions, lime and parsley).  The menu said topped… but really it was smothered.  After brushing most of the onions aside, she enjoyed both the steak and the Spanish rice that accompanied it.

The Columbia was always on the agenda when we vacationed in St. Augustine as a kid.  Service then was impeccable and the food was always delicious.  The food remains fresh and creative and the service is pleasant enough.  We enjoyed our last visit and look forward to more dinners at The Columbia Restaurant in St. Augustine.


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  5. Ramon Pons says

    Thanks for the inormation. Very interesting. Anyway, we are an spaniard couple with a 10 years son pretending to move to JAX area for a few years. We re traveklling on Aug,2913 for 10 days trip to know better that area. Could anyone be so kind to have free time to help us by email regarding items like taxes, school tips, place to live,etc. etc. Thanks in advance. Ramon

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      Ramon- You’ll find excellent schools in St. Johns County. If you’ll be primarily spending time in Jacksonville, CR210 may be a helpful place to look for great schools, safe community & an easy drive to both Jacksonville & St. Augustine. Welcome to the US!

  6. Ken says

    We went to Columbia tonight for our anniversary and had a great time! We enjoyed the sangria, 1905 salad, Empanadas de Picadillo, Pampano “Jimmy” and Paella. We also tried the Guava Turnover “Carmita” which was excellent and the White Chocolate Bread Pudding.

    This was my first time there and my wife’s second (other time was in St Petersburg). Thanks for the review!

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