Cuisine Cookbook

4 Authentic Columbia-Spanish Restaurant Cookbooks & Recipe Books

Founded in 1905 by a Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., the Columbia Restaurant has earned acclaim for its old-world charm and award-winning Spanish/Cuban cuisine. At first, this cafeteria is a small 60-seat corner cafe known for Cuban coffee, and authentic Cuban sandwiches serve immigrant cigar workers located in Tampa’s Ybor City.

Gradually, the Columbia Restaurant has spread and become the oldest and largest Spanish cuisine destination in the US as well as worldwide with 1,700 seats in 15 dining rooms in six locations. With beloved authentic Spanish recipes, dishes from this restaurant are enjoyed by gourmets every time. As a result, if you intend to challenge yourself with making these perfect dishes at home, let’s check out 4 Columbia Restaurant Spanish cookbooks introduced in this article.

The Columbia Restaurant Spanish Cookbook

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“The Columbia is one of my favorite restaurants, so it is no surprise that I would love this book. A nice combination of recipes and recollections. Charming.” – Culper, Jr.

Being a Casimiro’s daughter witnessing his way to set up a longstanding historical Spanish restaurant, Adela’s affair with food is a family legacy that has begun more than 90 years ago. To maintain her father’s motto in making Columbia restaurant become the Gem of All Spanish Restaurants and out of secrets and dreams, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart and Ferdie Pacheco memorialize their passion for the Columbia in this narrated cookbook.

Readers will find this book is both about a history of the elegant family restaurant and a collection of 178 recipes that make them famous. The signature of Casimiro dishes that can not help mentioning is Spanish bean soup, his hearty creation that combines sausage, garbanzo beans, and potatoes in beef stock. Another unique one is the 1905 salad, dressed with the family’s unique blend of fresh garlic, oregano, wine vinegar, lemon juice, and Spanish olive oil. 

Moreover, the book is also the biography of Adela, the heart of the Columbia, with commentary by Ferdie Pacheco. All these revelations allow lovers of good food to bring home the aroma, the seasonings, and the glamour of the Columbia, the gem of all Spanish restaurants. 

About the author: The two authors of this cookbook are Adela Hernandez Gonzmart and Ferdie Pacheco. Adela Hernandez Gonzmart was born two blocks from the Columbia Restaurant. After graduating from the Juilliard School of Music, she toured the United States and Cuba as a concert pianist and received several awards for this role.

Ferdie Pacheco grew up together with Adela in Ybor City and worked in the Columbia Restaurant as a waiter during his teenage. Served as Muhammad Ali’s personal physician, Ferdie Pacheco publishes some books as Ybor City Chronicles (UPF, 1994), Muhammad Ali: A View from the Corner, Fight Doctor, and Renegade Lightning. He is also a painter, exhibiting one-person shows in London, Paris, New York, and Miami, and a boxing color commentator on television. Now he lives in Miami.

The Columbia Restaurant: Celebrating a Century of History, Culture, and Cuisine (Florida History and Culture)

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“very good, makes me want to go eat at the restaurant” – T. Funk

For gourmets worldwide, it is needless to say much about the popularity of Florida’s oldest and most honored restaurant. Handed down from generation to generation, the Columbia remains family-owned and operated, with six locations from St. Augustine to Sarasota. With a historian’s eye for accuracy and a storyteller’s ear for delicious anecdotes, Andrew Huse provides a thorough look at the people who made the restaurant great from Casimiro Hernandez Sr, to his great-grandson, fourth-generation restaurateur Richard Gonzmart.

In this cookbook, the Columbia’s history is rich with stories of waiters who never forgot an order, business challenges from the Great Depression, and urban renewal. Indispensible parts of this book are favorite recipes from across the years, along with hundreds of color and black and white photographs that trace the Columbia’s evolution across the century.

About the Author: The author of this cookbook is Andrew Huse. He is a librarian at the University of South Florida’s Special Collections department and gives lectures across Florida food and foodways across the state.

The Gasparilla Cookbook

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“It includes a fantastic history of the book along with so many great recipes!” – M. Young

This cookbook is a part of a series on Tampa cuisine from The Junior League of Tampa. Initially published in 1961, this timeless cookbook has become a regional classic with its blend of Spanish, Italian, Greek, Cuban, and Southern influences. Due to the sale of exceeding 100,000 copies and featured in multiple magazines, this book is a winner of the Southern Living Hall of Fame Award and nominated to the McIlhenny Hall of Fame.

Writing about Tampa’s culinary, readers will absolutely find recipes of The Columbia Restaurant with its first location here. The Columbia restaurant has somehow contributed to a favorite Florid West Coast dishes with their unmistakable recipes.

About the author: The author of this cookbook is The Junior League of Tampa. This name is also the author of different books on the land Tampa such as Tampa Treasures, The Life of the Party: Junior League of Tampa Culinary Collection, Capture the Coast, EveryDay Feasts and Savor the Seasons. 

Best-Loved Recipes from The Columbia Restaurant

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“Love the collection of postcards receipts highlighted from the Columbia Rest. 1905 salad excellent” – Ann henkel

Evaluated by worldwide gourmets and food critics, the Columbia Restaurant has been named for many glossy titles such as an All-American Icon by Nation’s Restaurant News, “A delicious read.” by Jacksonville Magazine, or “A magical creation of food and entertainment.” by Tampa Bay History.

If you have enjoyed the food there, you will find it is not a boast. This book brings the savory comfort and culinary excellence of the Columbia Restaurant into your home with these twelve cherished recipes. Featuring longtime menu favorites, this collection includes the Original “1905” Salad®, dressed with the family’s unique blend of oil and spices; arroz con pollo, a traditional chicken and rice dish; paella-the Spain’s national dish, and decadent white chocolate bread pudding.

About the Author: The author of this cookbook is Richard Gonzmart. He is the great-grandson of Casimiro Hernandez Sr. and a fourth-generation restaurateur of the Columbia Restaurant. We hope you like this post and finally find out your favorite Columbian Spanish restaurant cookbooks. Meanwhile, we welcome you to explore our site and discover more cookbook recommendations from the same cuisine below.

Doris Frasier

Hi. I'm Doris! I am a foodie that has traveled to 78 countries and loves trying cuisines from different countries. I try anything related to food and share my opinions on this blog. Send me a message with any requests!
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