Sunday, June 7, 2015

Columbia Restaurant - Celebration

Earlier today, we had lunch at Columbia Restaurant in Celebration, a planned community near Disney World that was originally developed by The Walt Disney Company.  

We have dined at Columbia Restaurant locations in St. Augustine and Clearwater Beach, but this was our first time dining at their restaurant in Celebration.  According to their website, Columbia Restaurant, which was founded in Tampa in 1905 by a Cuban immigrant, is Florida's oldest restaurant, and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world.  

The four of us decided to eat family style, and share four dishes from their gluten free lunch menu.  

My husband's favorite dish was the Costillitas de Cerdo Habana, which is tender baby pork ribs slowly roasted and tossed in Mojo marinated sweet onions and pepperoncinis.  The portion was small, because it is a tapas option on the menu, but we all got to sample one of the ribs, which were tender and flavorful.  

Our first entree was the Palomilla, which is marinated top sirloin cut very thin and quickly grilled, topped with mojo crudo (chopped onion, parsley and lime juice), and served with plantains and rice.  Not a fan of raw onion, I removed the mojo crudo, but I loved the steak, plantains, and yellow rice.  

The only entree we chose that I might not order again is the Roast Pork "A la Cubana."  The marinated slices of pork and the plantains were good, but I did not like the yuca at all.  I preferred the yellow rice that came with our steak and chicken, but my daughters loved the black beans and white rice that came with this dish.  

Our final entree, the Chicken and Yellow Rice Ybor, a traditional dish from Tampa's Ybor City, might have been my favorite.  It is a quarter of a baked chicken with yellow rice, green and red peppers, onion, tomatoes, spices and virgin olive oil.  I cut the chicken off the bone and mixed it with the rice, which was moist and full of flavor.  

Columbia Restaurant has two gluten free desserts, flan and Crema Catalana, which is Catalan cream sprinkled with sugar, and caramelized tableside with a flaming torch.  The Crema Catalana tasted like a cross between vanilla pudding and creme brulee.  I did not like it enough to order it again, so the next time we eat at Columbia Restaurant, I will try the flan, or have dessert at Le Macaron, which will be opening soon in Celebration.  

Overall, we really enjoyed our lunch at Columbia Restaurant, and plan on dining there again soon.  You can read more about the restaurant, and view their menus, locations and hours on their website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Columbia Restaurant?  


  1. This is one of my favorite places. The sangria is the best I have tasted. Thanks for the review.