Last Thursday we decided to drive into St Augustine to have lunch at Columbia Restaurant. Founded in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr. It is the oldest Florida restaurant and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world....read more of the history here,
We'd seen it on previous trips and learned more about it online and thought the menu was interesting.
We started with "Sangria de Cava, Spain's wonderful bubbling cooler made tableside with Jaume Serra Cristalino Spanish Cava (sparkling wine), Torres Brandy and Torres Orange Liqueur, with citrus juices"
I could drink this everyday! Very refreshing...we ordered a pitcher..just right for our luncheon. To get us started they brought out enough Cuban bread to make a sandwich with for each of us
The dining room was full of people so I didn't take any pictures except this one. These tile pictures were everywhere and we were seated in what looked to me like a courtyard. It was all enclosed but it had a skylight and fountain. Perhaps at one time it was all open to the elements.
We decided to try a trio of Tapa's,
Coca de Langosta
Coca, the Catalonian flatbread, is brushed with
our 1905 sauce, topped with Spanish chorizo,
diced vine-ripe tomatoes, Maine lobster meat and
Manchego cheese. Baked until crisp, drizzled with
Piquillo pepper alioli. This was my favorite.
Shrimp and Crabmeat
Baked casserole of shrimp, crabmeat and artichoke
hearts topped with grated Romano cheese. This was tasty but very rich for someone who doesn't eat a lot of seafood or cheese. Jim ate most of it
Ybor City was founded by Cubans, Spaniards and
Italians. Almost every meal, baptism, wedding
reception or any gathering featured Albondigas,
Spanish for meatballs. Our family recipe is made
with ground choice veal and beef blended with
our secret Columbia seasoning, simmered in a
mild Catalan tomato sauce. Very light and fluffy meatballs and the sauce was yummy.
We also tried their famous 1905 salad,
The Columbia’s legendary salad
tossed at your table. Crisp Iceberg
lettuce with julienne of baked ham,
natural Swiss cheese, tomato, olives,
grated Romano cheese and our famous
garlic dressing. With their secret ingredient, Worcestershire sauce splashed on. Very tasty!
We did not finish our tapa's, but we tried! And Jim decided I needed some flan for dessert...it was yummy!
If you visit St Augustine and want to treat yourself, this is the place!
El Galeon has contracted with the city to stay awhile. Someone has even booked it for a private party the 4th of July.
Before we drove over we stopped and got fuel paying $3.49 using the fuel perks from Winn-Dixie. $.40 off the price is a good deal!