The best dining experience we had during our recent trip to Florida was at Columbia Restaurant. There are several of these Cuban themed restaurants around the Tampa Bay area, but we ate at the one in Clearwater Beach (Sand Key).
(Interior of Columbia Restaurant, Clearwater Beach)
The restaurant is situated on the Intracoastal Waterway and waterside dining is an option. We ate in the elegant spacious dining room, with beautiful Spanish tiles on the walls and lovely Mediterranean decor. The waiters and waitresses took wonderful care of us. So good was the food that we had dinner here twice during our five night stay in Clearwater Beach.
(Cuban Black Bean Soup)
(Spanish Bean Soup)
We started with soup both nights, one night having the delicious Cuban Black Bean Soup, served with raw onion on top, a soup so thick you could eat it with a fork. The second night we enjoyed the restaurant's famous Spanish Bean Soup, a richly flavored concoction of garbanzo beans, ham, chorizo sausage and potatoes.
(Shrimp Supreme -- shrimp wrapped in bacon and fried. Impossible to beat!)
For main course I'd really recommend the wonderful Shrimp Supreme. Fresh shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico, wrapped with thin bacon, seasoned and fried. How can you not enjoy that wonderful combination of shrimp and bacon? Served with a vegetable and yellow rice, but I'd recommend you try the "Good Rice" (yes, that's what it's called).
(Mahi Mahi “Cayo Hueso", with fried plantains and Good Rice)
Another night we tried the mahi mahi, which was good although a little dry. Shrimp Supreme was definitely the better choice. There are large selection of seafood, chicken, beef and vegetarian that I think almost any tastes would be pleased here.
We were so full after our meal we couldn't eat desert, although that key lime pie looked awfully tempting. In any event, visit Columbia Restaurant when in the Tampa area. Don't think you'll be disappointed!