The city of Tampa is becoming more and more renowned for its culinary scene. Tampa’s notoriety grows with each new esteemed new restaurant, and Bib Gourmand Award, but the legacy of our foodie scene begins with two foodie icons. Trips to Discover recently wrote a list of the most iconic restaurants in the state of Florida, and two of them are in Tampa, and a third is in the Tampa Bay region.
You can probably guess the first restaurant that made the cut. Columbia Restaurant, an institution with more than a century of experience here in the Sunshine State. The Gonzmart family are tied into the DNA of Tampa. The outstanding paella, famous black bean soup, and legendary Cuban sandwich are all staple entrees at the restaurant.
Columbia Restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in Florida
“Coupling as one of the most historic and most beautiful restaurants in Florida, Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City has been owned and operated by 5 generations over 110 years,” writes Trips to Discover. “Said to be the oldest restaurant in Florida and the oldest Spanish eatery in the United States, this restaurant offers guests the chance to dine on fresh paella and sangria to the sounds of castanets and flamenco dancers.”
Columbia Restaurant Group has expanded with even more concepts here in Tampa. There are now multiple Columbia Restaurants in Tampa; CRG has also opened Ulele in Tampa Heights, Goody Goody Burger in Hyde Park, and Casa Santo Stefano in Ybor.
Visit the original Columbia Restaurant at 2117 E 7th Ave.
Visiting the beautiful Bern’s Steakhouse
Another institution in Tampa is Bern’s Steakhouse. This celebrated dinner destination is renowned for its massive wine selection, and decadent dessert room. “An iconic restaurant in Tampa, Bern’s Steak House is internationally known for its vast collection of wine, perfectly aged steaks and upstairs dessert room,” writes Trips to Discover.
“It boasts the largest private wine collection of any restaurant in the world and has been in operation since 1956, offering its guests a unique dining experience with locally grown vegetables and 21 choices of caviar. The restaurant will lure you in with the opportunity to indulge in its meticulously cooked steaks, while the top-notch service is what keeps patrons returning every decade.”
The restaurant has since opened Haven, and now enjoys being neighbors with the luxurious Epicurean Hotel.