The Original Columbia 1905 Salad - A Tampa Institution! (2023)

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Juicy tomatoes, crispy iceberg lettuce, salty green olives, sweet ham, and a variety of cheeses make up the Columbia 1905 Salad Recipe.

The Columbia Restaurant is a local institution in my hometown area of Tampa, Florida and it’s really no wonder this salad made the USA Today’s top 10 list of America’s Best Salads. It’s full of great umami flavor.

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The first time my son had the Columbia 1905 salad, he was hooked. It was his first visit to The Columbia and he was in first grade. While he was in elementary school I would make this for his lunch, at his request. He devoured it.

My Mom friends couldn’t believe my son ate salad for lunch at such a young age! Now that he’s almost in college I don’t send him with his lunch any longer but I do make it on a regular basis.

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The Columbia Restaurant

Steeped in tradition, Tampa’s Columbia Restaurant is a local treasure that has been family owned and operated since 1905. The Columbia is Florida’s oldest restaurant with seven locations throughout the state.

The original location in Ybor City, neighboring downtown Tampa, has grown through the years to become the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. Read more about Columbia’s rich history.

You can even enjoy live Flamenco dancers at the Ybor location. USA Today calls Columbia one of the most historic restaurants in America.

Columbia’s 1905 Salad History

This legendary Columbia 1905 salad is prepared and tossed tableside. The award-winning salad won honors from USA Today as “One of 10 Great Places to Make a Meal Out of a Salad.”

The signature 1905 salad, named for the year the restaurant was founded in Tampa’s Latin district of Ybor City, was inspired by immigrants to the Cigar City: Romano cheese from the Sicilians and the famous garlic dressing used by Cubans to marinate fresh roast pork, plus Florida tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, julienne of baked ham and Swiss cheese.

(Video) How to Make the 1905 Salad at Florida's Historic Columbia Restaurant - Tampa

Fun Fact:Every year on Columbia’s anniversary, they roll back prices to what they were in 1905. Every location is packed and they do not take reservations. Coffee is 5¢.

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1905 Salad Ingredients

There’s a reason for each and every ingredient in Columbia’s 1905 salad. No substitutions are allowed because then it would just be another salad and the Columbia’s.

  • Iceberg lettuce – Do not substitute other types of lettuce. Iceberg is fresh, crisp, and crunchy giving this salad great texture. It’s neutral in flavor and lends itself to the other wonderful flavors in the salad and dressing.
  • Swiss Cheese – Sweet, mild, and nutty, it pairs nicely with the saltiness of the ham and Spanish olives. Think ham and Swiss sandwiches.
  • Ham – Adds sweetness as well as a bit of a salty flavor. I love to use Honey Baked Ham and it’s a great salad to make using leftovers.
  • Tomatoes – Beefsteaks are the best because they are the most flavorful but I have also used cherry and plum due to availability and how they look at the store.
  • Spanish Olives – A firm texture yet soft and meaty and less bitter than black olives.
  • Romano Cheese – So there are different types of Romano cheese. I prefer Pecorino-Romano for its nutty profile. It’s another layer of flavor in this amazing salad.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – This can be an acquired taste but DO NOT skip it. It’s a unique flavor that can’t be duplicated. You don’t use much, a mere two tablespoons.
  • Lemon Juice – The acid perfectly balances the flavor.

1905 Salad Garlic Dressing Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil– Use one with a flavor you love! I’m a bit partial to Spanish olive oil since this salad is from a Spanish restaurant.
  • Garlic Cloves – It must be fresh, none of the jarred variety, and certainly not garlic powder.
  • Dried Oregano – Do not use fresh, it’s too overpowering.
  • White Wine Vinegar – A neutral vinegar that doesn’t interfere with the other flavors going on in this salad.


None. By making substitutions, you no longer have the authentic 1905 Salad recipe from the Columbia Restaurant.

I’ve tried adding other ingredients through the years, cucumbers, onions, and croutons, but always, and I mean always, go back to the original. While I make it with tomatoes, I leave them off of mine. I love olives but I’m the only one, so they get left off of other’s plates and mixed into my serving.

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The ONLY substitution I’ll make is to purchase the 1905 Salad Dressing from Publix because they carry it here in the Tampa area.

If you don’t live by a Publix, or they don’t carry it, you can purchase the salad dressing online from Columbia’s website. Don’t even try Amazon, they don’t sell it.

You may be wondering why I’d purchase a bottle of the 1905 salad dressing rather than make it from scratch each time. It’s because sometimes I’ll just make this as a side salad, not truly measuring ingredients and the dressing is just too much.

I will say in the restaurant, it’s a wet salad. I like a lot of dressing on my salads but not everyone does so I do like the option of serving it on the side.

I’ve tried to cut the salad dressing recipe in half and it just doesn’t taste the same.

How Can I Serve the Columbia 1905 Salad Recipe?

I serve this salad with just about anything. I’ll make it up for lunch to go with my Easy French Bread Pizzas or as a dinner side with my Chicken Cordon Bleu.

If I’m serving more than just my family of 4 then I’ll put Columbia’s 1905 Salad in a large bowl and let guests serve themselves. It’s perfect on a buffet but you really should have backup so you don’t run out!

If it’s just the 4 of us I’ll make it in individual salad bowls.

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My Family’s Ties to the Columbia Restaurant and This Iconic Salad

The Columbia 1905 Salad really has a history in our family. Living in the Tampa area all my life I’ve always liked this salad. It’s a must-have whenever I visit the restaurant, along with their pressed Cuban sandwich. The Cuban is the real deal!

(Video) Columbia’s Original “1905” Salad® - Prepared Tableside

When my boys were in elementary school, taking Spanish, they each had a field trip to Ybor City during their immigration unit and had lunch at the Columbia.

There’s a location in St. Augustine where I went to college and my friends and I would go often. I’ve introduced my husband and his family members who are all from the northeast, and now my boys.

Ever since I told my youngest son that I served this salad at his first birthday party, he has wanted to try it. News Flash: It’s a great salad to serve at a party!

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More Salads That Could Be Meals

I have been known to enjoy this Columbia 1905 salad recipe as a main course. At the restaurant, it’s often served as a side but I like salad for lunch and dinner.

Some other favorite main dish salads include:

  • Strawberry Salad with Candied Almonds
  • Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Salad
  • Chinese Chicken Salad
The Original Columbia 1905 Salad - A Tampa Institution! (7)

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(Video) How to Make the Legendary 1905 Salad - Tony Roca Prepares Tableside at the Columbia Restaurant

Columbia’s 1905 Salad Recipe

The Columbia Restaurant's 1905 salad is a classic and iconic dish that has been delighting diners for over a century. Made with crisp iceberg lettuce, juicy tomatoes, ham, Swiss cheese, and olives, all tossed in a tangy garlic dressing, it offers a flavorful experience.

Prep Time15 minutes mins

Total Time15 minutes mins

Course: Salads and Soups

Cuisine: American

Keyword: 1905 salad, Columbia Restaurant, ham, salad, swiss cheese, tomatoes

Servings: 2 main salads or 4 side salads

Author: Ellen Folkman


(Video) 1905 Salad


  • 4 cups iceberg lettuce torn into 1 ½ inch pieces.
  • 1 ripe tomato cut into eighths
  • ½ cup baked ham julienne cut into 2″ strips
  • ½ cup Swiss cheese julienne cut into 2″ strips
  • ¼ cup Spanish olives green olives
  • ¼ cup Romano cheese grated
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lemon

1905 Salad Dressing

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • cup white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Combine lettuce, tomato, ham, Swiss cheese and olives in a large salad bowl. Before serving, add “1905” Dressing, Romano cheese, Worcestershire and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss well and serve immediately.

  • Make the dressing: Mix olive oil, garlic and oregano in a bowl with a wire whisk.Stir in vinegar, gradually beating to form an emulsion, and then season with salt and pepper. For best results, prepare 1 to 2 days in advance and refrigerate.

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from The Columbia Restaurant.

(Video) Columbia Restaurant on Bloom - "1905" Salad


How much is the Columbia 1905 salad? ›

Of course we all had the 1905 salad ($1.95).

How many calories are in a 1905 salad? ›

Calories in 1905 Salad Columbia Resturant
Sodium792.8 mg
Potassium405.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate10.8 g
Dietary Fiber2.0 g
8 more rows

What is the most expensive salad in America? ›

At $US1912, the upgraded McCarthy salad may be a contender for the world's most expensive. The record was previously set in 2003 by French chef Raymond Blanc for a $1128 (£635) Florette Sea and Earth salad, which featured a range of rare caviars, langoustines, Cornish crab and lobster.

How much is the most expensive salad? ›

LA's Beverly Hills Hotel is marking its 110th anniversary by selling a 'special edition' of its iconic McCarthy Salad - with a price tag of $1,912 (£1,547).

How many calories should a salad be to lose weight? ›

If you're following a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet and are enjoying the salad as a meal, says Siegel, aim for no more than 500 to 600 calories per serving.

Which salad has the most calories? ›

Calories in Salad
  • Cobb salad: 1130 calories.
  • Greek salad: 500 calories.
  • Grilled chicken Caesar salad: 770 calories.
  • Oriental chicken salad with crispy chicken: 1440 calories.
  • Taco salad: 830 calories.
Mar 15, 2020

What makes salads high in calories? ›

Large amounts of prepared salad dressing or toppings such as cheese, dried fruits, and croutons can turn a healthy salad into a very high-calorie meal. Chunks of cheese, croutons, bacon bits, nuts, and seeds can increase the amount of sodium, fat, and calories in a salad.

What salads do Kardashians get? ›

7 years of KUWTK has taught us that Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall and Kylie all tend to opt for Health Nut's ultra-filling 'Chinese Chicken Salad'.

What is the most popular salad in America? ›

Caesar Salad

This may also have led to its immense popularity and its spot on many restaurant menus, including ours. Caesar salad is famous for its ingredients of romaine lettuce, olive oil, raw egg, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and Worcestershire sauce. Together, they make one of the most popular salads in the world.

What is the most popular salad dressing in North America? ›

The ranch is hands down America's most beloved salad dressings. It is made from a number of ingredients such as buttermilk, mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, onion, chives, salt, and pepper.

What is the most used lettuce in restaurants? ›

Iceberg is widely used in restaurants and grocery stores because of its long shelf life and low cost compared with romaine lettuce.

What's the most expensive soup? ›

It was made with shark's fin, abalone, Japanese flower mushroom, sea cucumber, dried scallops, chicken, huan ham, pork and ginseng and had to be ordered five days in advance due to the ingredients. In 2005, it cost $190 USD, which would be roughly $238 today.

How many pounds of salad per person? ›

When making salad for a large group, the rule of thumb is about 3 ounces per person. Some greens weigh more than others, however, so you'll need to tailor this figure to the specific recipe.

What is the unhealthiest salad dressing? ›

Generally speaking, the healthiest salad dressing will be a vinaigrette like balsamic or oil and vinegar, while Caesar, ranch or anything with the word “creamy” will be the unhealthiest.

What salad is good for belly fat loss? ›

Salads that contain fresh green leafy vegetables such as palak or spinach, cabbage and so on are especially great for burning down the fat that is stored around the belly area.

Will I lose weight if I eat salad everyday? ›

"Eating salads on a daily basis as part of an overall healthy lifestyle may support gradual weight loss over time," says Karnatz. "This is because leafy greens are low in calories and high in volume and fiber, which will keep you satisfied for longer," she adds.

What is the healthiest salad to buy? ›

Some of the most nutritious greens include spinach, kale, romaine, watercress, and arugula (see "Salad greens by the numbers"). They are rich in a combination of vitamins A, C, and K; several B vitamins (including folate); and potassium. But some greens aren't nutrient powerhouses.

What is the healthiest lettuce to eat? ›

So, to answer your question, the most nutritious lettuce is Romaine. Compared to red leaf, green leaf, butterhead (Boston and bib types) and iceberg, it delivers more folate, potassium, beta carotene and lutein.

What happens when you start eating more salads? ›

Salads made with a variety of fruits and vegetables make the perfect healthy lunch or dinner. That's because they're filled with tons of nutrients that benefit your body, like fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C. These nutrients can work to lower your blood sugar, regulate cholesterol levels, and help you lose weight.

Is a salad healthier than a burger? ›

A good burger gives you plenty of energy, protein and a lot of fibre; all of these help you feel satiated. Salads do contain a lot of vegetables that carry vitamins, minerals, and fibre. But the problem is they often lack overall energy and protein.

What happens when you eat a lot of salad? ›

They found that eating 10 portions per day was associated with a 24% reduced risk of heart disease, a 33% reduced risk of stroke, a 28% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and a 13% reduced risk of total cancer. That's plenty of reason to eat a salad every day, if you ask us.

Why are wedge salads expensive? ›

"The surrounding ingredients of a wedge salad are very expensive," says Couper. "We typically use two types of blue cheese that are not inexpensive. Plus, we use hand-cut Nueske's bacon that we fry to order, and that's not cheap.” You can find picture-perfect versions of the wedge at Kinzie Chophouse (400 N.

How much chopped salad per person? ›

For salad and other raw greens, aim for portions that equal about two baseballs. With cooked vegetables like broccoli, each portion should be the size of about one baseball.

What is the name of the salad that was invented at hotel Caesar's in Tijuana? ›

The original owner, Caesar Cardini was an Italian who had restaurants north and south of the border, but it was actually Chef Livio Santini that invented the Caesar Salad. Cardini saw the salad and elevated it to the tableside where it was made for the guests fresh each time.

Which Columbia Restaurant is the oldest? ›

The Hernandez/Gonzmart family opened this landmark Columbia Restaurant in Tampa's historic Ybor City in 1905. Today, it's Florida's Oldest Restaurant℠ and the world's largest Spanish restaurant.

Why do restaurant salads taste better than homemade? ›

Restaurants salt their salads.

In the restaurant I worked in, I also noticed that cooks seasoned every element with a pinch of salt — even the lettuce. This resulted in every bite tasting vibrant and flavorful. "Season your salad just like you would anything else," Simpson said.

How do restaurants keep their salads so crisp? ›

They Use Perforated Container

The use of perforated bins is the key to keeping lettuce fresh and crisp at all times. Restaurants keep them in perforated containers to allow air circulation in the refrigerator. To keep its crispness, lettuce requires air and a small amount of moisture.

What type of lettuce do most restaurants use? ›

Iceberg is widely used in restaurants and grocery stores because of its long shelf life and low cost compared with romaine lettuce. The biggest difference between the two is their nutritional content.

How many people will a 2 lb bag of salad feed? ›

Answer. Assuming a 'serving' of chopped romaine is 1-1/2 cups, a two-pound package should provide close to 11 servings.

What is 1 serving size of salad? ›

A standard serve is about 75g (100–350kJ) or: ½ cup cooked green or orange vegetables (for example, broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin) ½ cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils (preferably with no added salt) 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables.

How many pounds of salad do I need for 25 people? ›

1 (2 lb. bag) Tossed Salad/Chopped Romaine serves 16 (main course) to 25 (side salads).

Do Italians eat Caesar salad? ›

Caesar Salad: So you've overdone it on the gelato and pasta dishes that now you're craving a nice, reasonably light and healthy salad, so you go looking for a Caesar salad. You'll have to wait until you head back to the States for this one, as you will not find one on the menus of restaurants in Italy.

Did Mexicans create Caesar salad? ›

Caesar salad was invented in the early 1920s by Caesar Cardini, an Italian chef who owned a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico. He moved to Tijuana from California to avoid Prohibition, and it was here, on July 4th, 1924, where Caesar is believed to have invented the Caesar Salad.

Why are Caesar salads so good? ›

Caesar salads can be satisfying as a main dish or side. The fiber and water content in the lettuce and other added vegetables help you feel full. Plus, the crunchy texture of the croutons and raw vegetables may make salads more enjoyable to eat, according to researchers (10).

What is the oldest restaurant in the United States Tampa? ›

TAMPA, Fla. — The Columbia Restaurant in historic Ybor City is Florida's oldest restaurant and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. What started as a small 60-seat corner cafe in 1905 can now seat over 1,700 people in 15 different dining rooms.

What is the oldest running restaurant in Florida? ›


- The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City has earned some major bragging rights: not only is it the oldest restaurant in Florida, but it is also the largest Spanish restaurant in the world!

When was the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa built? ›

The Columbia Restaurant began as a dream.

For Spanish-Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., arriving in Tampa, FL, with his four young sons meant searching for opportunity and a better life. On Dec. 17, 1903, he helped to open the Columbia Saloon, which became the Columbia Restaurant in 1905.


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