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Robert Trigaux

Columbia Restaurant at TIA makes quick impression for good eating among global airport eateries




The Columbia Restaurant on Concourse E at Tampa International Airport. Photo: Daniel Wallace, Tampa Bay Times.

Wake up and good morning. Kudos to both Tampa's Columbia Restaurant folks and Tampa International Airport for its thinking-outside-the-box style in getting a Columbia site to open at TIA. That idea helped nail the TIA's Columbia a sport at No. 25 on The Daily Meal's recent ranking of the 31 best airport restaurants in the world. It's all the more impressive since the Columbia only opened at TIA earlier this year. Read more of the TIA opening (along with a bunch of other classy places to feast) in the Tampa Bay Times.

The Daily Meal says it took six months and lots of input to cull it list of best restaurants from an initial global list of 100. Cuisine and service were both judged. The list of 31 restaurants is interesting for a couple points:

1. Of the 31 restaurants honored, about half are based at domestic U.S. airports, with the remainder scattered across Europe, Asia and Latin America.

2. Eight of the 31 restaurants ranked offer Spanish or Mexican cuisine.

3. Three of the 31 restaurants are at Florida airports. In addition to the Columbia at TIA, Miami International boasts two: Cafe Versailles (an extension like the Columbia of a Miami landmark Cuban restaurant on Calle Ocho) at No. 15, and the Icebox Cafe at No. 17.

My only gripe is that somehow the Five Guys burger chain joint -- certainly delicious but a top global restaurant offering? -- landed at No. 7 at Dulles Airport serving the Washington, D.C. area. (There better be a good place nearby to buy gum and breath mints.)

Anyway, another thumbs up to TIA chief Joe Lopano for keeping things interesting, tasty and competitive on an international scale at TIA.

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times

[Last modified: Monday, December 3, 2012 8:00am]


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