Learn All About Columbia Restaurant in St. Armand’s Circle and Plan Your Visit Today!

St. Armand’s Circle is a cultural hub in Sarasota. When you visit and stay at a vacation rental near St. Armand’s Circle, you will find that there is so much to do! You can walk the circle and explore all the shops, visit one of the many Lido Ke attractions, and sample some local cuisine.

Lido Key restaurants are known for being some of the best in the area. If you’re looking for a unique experience, you will want to try the Columbia Restaurant in St. Armand’s Circle! This classic restaurant is full of years’ worth of history and culture and is a must-stop when you book a St. Armand’s Circle vacation rental!

Lido Key Beach with clear blue and green water with rows of buildings and homes along coast
Photo from Shutterstock

History and Locations

Columbia’s origins date back to the days of the Great Depression, when the quaint cafe, holding only 60 seats, gained recognition in the area for its delicious Cuban coffee and authentic Cuban sandwiches. Perhaps another element of this restaurant’s credit relates to the fact that it held the first air-conditioned dining room in Tampa Bay!

In 1959, the doors to Columbia Restaurant in St. Armand’s Circle opened. Columbia proudly holds the title of Sarasota’s oldest restaurant. Stop into the restaurant and transport back in time with its’ old-school feel and flair. 

In addition to its presence in Sarasota and Tampa Bay, Columbia Restaurant has additional locations in St. Augustine, Sand Key, Celebration, the Riverwalk in Tampa, and even the Tampa airport. If you love the fare Columbia offers, there are certainly plenty of Florida locations to choose from, but none quite as unique as St. Armand’s Circle

Columbia now stands at the ripe age of 115 years old, and it has maintained ownership within the family. Currently, the fifth generation of the family owns and operates the Columbia Restaurant. Most of the family lives and works out of the Tampa Bay location. The Columbia Restaurant has attracted athletes and entertainers of all ages. Babe Ruth, Derek Jeter, Bruce Springsteen, Marilyn Monroe, and more have all graced the inside of the Columbia Restaurant throughout the years.

What to Expect in St. Armand’s

You can expect a truly memorable experience when you come to the oldest restaurant in Sarasota! This legendary St. Armand’s Circle restaurant has so much to offer when you walk through the doors. You’ll walk in and admire the vintage photographs on the walls from the restaurant’s early days. While Tampa Bay is home to the original Columbia Restaurant, many locals and tourists claim that Sarasota’s location is the most stunning. The massive tiles are hand-painted and cover the dining room. You’ll be able to feel the intimacy of the indoors with the gorgeous outdoor patios. The menu here highlights only the best in Spanish fare. Every menu item pairs with a pitcher of Sangria. You’ll be able to sample the freshest seafood caught from the Gulf of Mexico and relax in a Mediterranean-style dining room.

The Columbia Restaurant has a parking garage that features 484 parking spaces! There are five electric vehicle charging stations for hybrid vehicles. If you choose to bike to the restaurant, bicycle storage and repair stations are there for you to use. You can also use their public restrooms if needed. 

Awards and Acknowledgements

A restaurant that has been around for 115 years is not without its awards and acknowledgments. They have been awarded as one of America’s Most Historic Restaurants by USA Today. Many of their other awards involve their historical presence, and they have even been named one of the 21 Most Legendary Restaurants! Columbia has earned the Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award of Excellence in 2005 and every year since. This award is one of the most prestigious in the fine dining industry and shows Columbia’s impressiveness. 

Columbia has been named the Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame. They have even gained awards from magazines and other publications for having the best salads. Others have awarded them with the “Favorite Regional Tastes” for Spanish and Cuban cuisine. With all their awards, it’s hard to say that the Columbia Restaurant is anything but impressive!

Famous Dishes to Try

The Columbia Restaurant has many famous recipes and dishes that you need to try when you come to Columbia in St. Armand’s Circle. They are most known for their 1905 Salad, a salad blended with lettuce, tomato, ham, and cheese. You have to try one of the original sandwiches that made the restaurant known if you’re going to Columbia. The Cuban sandwich is a crowd favorite with its fine ham, Genoa salami, mojo-marinated roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. Some prefer the Cuban smashed, which is the sandwich heavily pressed. For a divine dessert that is sure to please, the flan is a must-have. The flan has caramelized sugar layered on top to make a soft and sweet bite every time.

Cuban sandwich served with greens and pickles on a charcuterie board with a refreshing cocktail on the side
Photo from Shutterstock

Your Lido Key Vacation Rental

After a long day of exploring St. Armand’s Circle, you need a luxurious place to rest! With your Lido Key vacation rental, you have the best of it all. These beachfront and pet-friendly rentals are perfect for your group of any size. Each rental comes with beautiful, spacious rooms for you to relax in after a long day. You can live it up and enjoy the cultural festivities of the Columbia Restaurant, and then come back to your vacation rental near St. Armand’s Circle to refresh at the end of the day. Then, you can rest up and do it all again the next day! You can also cook right in your Lido Key rental with state-of-the-art and newly remodeled kitchens, perfect for entertaining all your guests. You can try some of the recipes from the Columbia Restaurant and then bring the spirit of the dining experience back to your vacation rental with you.

Plan Your Trip

If you’re ready to get started on booking your vacation rental so you can get to your first Lido Key dining table, head to our website to find all of the information and resources you need!

So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today to get your Lido Key vacation started today!