Vacation Guide to Southwest Florida

Columbia Restaurant Sarasota: Taste of Spanish Tradition

In the heart of Sarasota the Columbia Restaurant is a very old and famous place to eat. It has been around for over 100 years and is known for its great food from Spain and Cuba. When you go inside it feels like you are in a special place where they have amazing food and a warm welcome. This place is all about tradition and in this article we will talk about its history, it’s nice atmosphere and the delicious food that makes it special. So let’s explore the Columbia Restaurant Sarasota and the Spanish and Cuban taste that it offers.

A Century of Tradition

The Columbia Restaurant Sarasota holds a rich and storied history that spans over 100 years. It all began in 1905 when Casimiro Hernandez Sr. and his wife Adela opened the first Columbia Restaurant in Tampa’s Ybor City.

It quickly became a hub for Cuban immigrants that served up traditional Spanish and Cuban dishes with a flair that made it a unique destination.

In 1959, the family decided to extend their food tradition and opened a branch in Sarasota where it still stands today. Over the years the restaurant has been passed down through the generations.

Maintaining the same dedication to authenticity and excellence that has made it a Florida institution.


People enjoying their lunch in family friendly atmosphere of Columbia Restaurant Sarasota
People enjoying their lunch in family friendly atmosphere of Columbia Restaurant Sarasota

Walking into the Columbia Restaurant Sarasota is like stepping into a time capsule. This restaurant’s décor is reminiscent of the old world charm of Spain.

Complete with hand painted tiles, rich woodwork and stained glass windows the warm and inviting atmosphere will make you feel as if you have been transported to a traditional Spanish tavern.

One of the standout features of the restaurant is the courtyard where diners can enjoy their meals in a lush open air setting surrounded by greenery and the soothing sounds of a fountain.

The courtyard provides the perfect backdrop for a romantic dinner, a family celebration or a casual lunch with friends.

Live Entertainment

To complete the immersive experience the Columbia Restaurant Sarasota offers live flamenco shows. These passionate and energetic performances bring the spirit of Spain to life with dancers twirling in lively costumes and musicians playing traditional Spanish melodies.

It is an entertainment experience that adds an extra layer of authenticity and excitement to your visit.


Pollo Manchego breaded chicken breast topped with citrus sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil
Pollo Manchego breaded chicken breast topped with citrus sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil

Now let’s start to discuss the menu and food of Columbia Restaurant Sarasota. The menu of this restaurant is a food journey through the taste of Spain and Cuba with a focus on traditional recipes passed down through generations.

If you are a seasoned foodie or someone looking to explore new tastes. Then this restaurant has all the things for everyone that everyone wants.

1. Original 1905 Salad: This iconic salad is a must try in this restaurant that has iceberg lettuce, baked ham, Swiss cheese, tomato, olives and Romano cheese all tossed in the famous 1905 dressing. At your table we make the dressing or a secret family recipe that creates a dramatic and tasty experience.

2. Paella “A La Valenciana: For a taste of Unique Spanish dishes the Paella A La Valenciana is a crowd pleaser. Saffron seasoned rice is combined with mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops and other fresh ingredients to create this colorful and tasty dish.

3. Cuban Sandwich: The Cuban Sandwich is a delightful fusion of Cuban and Spanish taste. Cuban bread is used to press layers of roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. That creates a delightful combination of textures and tastes.

4. Ropa Vieja: This traditional Cuban dish is a slow cooked, shredded beef stewed in a rich tomato sauce that results in a hearty and satisfying meal. It is often served with white rice, black beans and sweet plantains.

5. Arroz con Pollo: A Spanish classic Arroz con Pollo is a comforting dish made with saffron seasoned rice and tender chicken pieces all cooked to perfection with a medley of vegetables and spices.


Don’t forget to save room for dessert as the Columbia Restaurant Sarasota offers a variety of delectable options including:

1. Flan: A silky and creamy caramel custard that’s the perfect ending to a Spanish meal.

2. Churros: These fried dough pastries dusted with sugar and cinnamon are a delightful treat especially when served with a side of rich chocolate dipping sauce.

3. Tres Leches: A moist sponge cake soaked in three types of milk creating a sweet and creamy indulgence.

Wine List

To complement your meal the Columbia Restaurant Sarasota boasts an impressive wine list that includes a wide selection of Spanish and international wines. The knowledgeable staff can help you find the perfect pairing for your chosen dishes.

Bottom Line

To sum up, the Columbia Restaurant Sarasota is more than just a restaurant. It’s a Food and cultural experience that transports diners to the heart of Spain and Cuba. Its rich history, Amazing atmosphere, live entertainment and a menu showcases the best of Spanish and Cuban dishes. It is no wonder that this restaurant has stood the test of time.

If you are looking for a memorable dining experience that combines tradition, taste and warm hospitality. Then the Columbia Restaurant Sarasota is the perfect destination for you.

So next time if you find yourself in Sarasota. Then don’t miss the opportunity to savor the tastes of Spain and Cuba at this iconic establishment.

Read More Articles

If You want to know about more restaurants in Sarasota and Fort Myers. Then read more articles to get the wealth of information about these restaurants. Some of them I mentioned below for you.

And if you want to know about things to do in Sarasota. Then there are a lot of things to do in this city like Parasailing Adventure above the Gulf of Mexico. Also Paddleboard Tour Through Lido Mangrove Tunnels and Kayak Paddling Experience at The Bay Park.

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