|Address||649 Front St.|
Columbia is the oldest restaurant in Florida, but not this location. The original in Tampa's Ybor City has been around since 1903 (although, until recently, it was thought it was established in 1905). The Celebration restaurant has had its high and low moments in the past 15 years; lately it has been doing better. The menu is not as authentically Spanish as they would like you to believe. It's not even all that Cuban. But the creative stylings at least get the spicing right. Try the red snapper Alicante or the scallops Casimiro. Desserts are less satisfying.... Read more
|Address||8700 E. Colonial Drive|
9101 International Drive
It's big and splashy, but early indications are that more effort was put into the ambience than into the food, which is under the direction of James Beard Award-winning chef Guillermo Pernot. It would seem the vibrant flavors of Cuban cuisine have been dumbed down for the tourist trade. Even the drinks are disappointing. It's bad enough that they can't seem to make a decent mojito, but you'd think they could at least have a stellar Cuba Libre.
We started with a salad of watercress with crumbles of Cabrales, the tangy blue cheese of Spain. Fresh, but indistinguished.
A fish course followed comprised of sea bass a la plancha a Chino-Cubano. Yes, a Chinese version of a Cuban dish, complete with fried rice and a sesame sauce. I found it rather strange, although the quality of the fish was good.
The meat course had grilled skirt steak on a sugar cane skewer paired with roast pork stuffed mofongo -- not an ingredient in the bunch that I don't love. Yet it was all almost flavorless, without any seasoning. It looks like this will be another Latin restaurant that's afraid of offending the delicate palates of tourists. That's a shame.... Read more
|Address||7579 S Orange Blossom Trail|
|Address||7339 E. Colonial Drive|