After a day of hitting the links on the championship golf course at Grande Villas at World Golf Village, Bluegreen vacationers have a tasty variety of dining options to choose from that is sure to please the palate. No doubt, your taste buds will rejoice when you eat the best Florida fresh seafood and other popular southern foods during your stay. What if you crave something more spicy? Looking for a meal with distinct style and flair?
A bastion of exceptional Cuban cuisine, Columbia Restaurant was founded in 1905 in Tampa, Florida. This Latin eatery, the nation’s oldest Spanish restaurant, is still owned and operated by the Hernandez-Gonzmart family. The Columbia Restaurant family now has five additional locations spread throughout Florida, and one thankfully, is near our St. Augustine resort. With the festive atmosphere and superior eats, you will surely discover why the restaurant has been a local favorite for over 100 years!
It all started with the 1905 salad recipe that has patrons singing “Olé!” The scrumptious salad is made right at the dinner table and features lettuce, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, ham and olives. The piece de resistance is the dressing, mixed ingeniously with the surprise ingredient of Worcestershire sauce. So popular is the concoction that you can find it online as one of the featured Bobby Flay recipes. Now you can learn to prepare the delectable dish just like the Food Network star!
The exquisite establishment fits in perfectly with the exotic Spanish influence of St. Augustine, America’s oldest city. On the menu are tasty tapas, including Shrimp and Crab meat Alcachofas. This dish offers you a baked casserole of shrimp, crabmeat and artichoke hearts topped with grated Romano cheese that is truly divine. Try Columbia’s take on the traditional Spanish dish of paella. In the Paella A la Valencia, you feast on clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, chicken and pork, baked with a variety of spicy herbs and topped off with a splash of white wine. Travel back in time to the 1940’s with the throwback dish Pompano en Papillot, and marvel at the boneless fillet of Pompano stuffed with a seafood buffet of shrimp, crabmeat, and artichoke alongside yellow rice. If there’s room left for dessert, satisfy your sweet tooth with the Guava Cheesecake prepared with a Cuban twist or the Crème Catalana, a type of Spanish cream topped with crystallized caramel.
After dinner, take a walk through the historical landmarks, including Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, the Spanish Quarter, and Casa Monica. Dining on the culinary creations of the Columbia Restaurant will leave you fully satisfied with an appreciation of the success of Florida’s oldest and most honored Spanish eatery. Visiting this exceptional restaurant is a must during your next St. Augustine vacation.