The Columbia Restaurant: Recipe #1 – 1905 Salad

Recently while vacationing in Florida, my In-Laws took my husband and I to a marvelous little Spanish restaurant in St. Augustine called The Columbia Restaurant. This place is owned and operated by a sweet Cuban family and man-oh-man is the food good. Authentic Spanish cuisine with a home-cooked flavor and presentation. Wonderful!

We discovered that they actually share some of their family recipes in a cookbook that you can get in the restaurant’s gift shop. Being the foodie that I am and because every bit of food I had was absolutely incredible, I just had to get it. And I am SO glad that I did because the recipes are both incredible and incredibly simple. And now I am pleased to be able to share some of the recipes with you.

So, to start with I will share the recipe for the “Columbia’s Original 1905 Salad” – the first course of our meal. This makes a great side dish to any meal you would usually serve with salad. It’s light enough to not be overwhelming, but delicious and filling enough to make a whole meal if you want to just eat salad.

Now, you may initially turn up your nose at some of the ingredients as I did when I first saw the salad being made because it is a bit of an odd combination. But trust me… the flavors come together to make a salad unlike any I have tried. And it seriously may be my favorite salad EVER. So, before you pass it over, give it a try sometime and if you are anything like me, your opinion of this salad will increase dramatically with the first bite and every bite thereafter.


  • 4 cups iceberg lettuce, broken into bite size pieces
  • 1 ripe tomatoes, sliced into wedges or bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup baked ham, julienned (2″ x 1/8″ pieces)
  • 1/2 cup swiss cheese, julienned (2″ x 1/8″ pieces)
  • 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1 cup “1905” dressing (see below recipe)
  • 1/4 cup romano cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
“1905” Dressing
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/8 cup white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/8 teaspoon each)
Mix all dressing ingredients together. For best results, prepare 1-2 days in advance and refrigerate. (Double recipe to make 1 cup of dressing as called for in the salad recipe.)


Combine lettuce, tomato, ham, swiss cheese, and olives in a large salad bowl. Before serving, add “1905” dressing, romano cheese, worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. Toss well and serve immediately.

Makes 2 full salads or 4 side salads.

Tips & Alterations

  • The original recipe actually calls for 2 cups of the “1905” dressing. But trust me, 1 cup is PLENTY! Just double the dressing recipe (because it only makes a little more than 1/2 cup) and you will be good to go.
  • I added extra tomatoes to my salad because I love tomatoes. Extra ham and swiss cheese are also good. Just put as much on of each as you would like.
  • You can substitute turkey or shrimp in place of the ham if desired.
  • We are not olive people, so I leave the green olives off. But I am sure they make a nice addition if you are in to olives.
  • Although there may seem to be a lot of garlic in the salad dressing, don’t skimp on it. It really does make a difference and it is not as strong as you might think.
  • If you do not have romano cheese, you can use parmesan cheese instead.

And now for a few photos of the process and final product…

Everything collected and ready to go.

The ingredients... I used bottled lemon juice because I forgot to buy a lemon. Still good.

Lettuce... chopped and placed in the bowl.

Swiss cheese, ham, and tomatoes - all sliced and diced.

Salad assembled.

The "1905" dressing all mixed up. I went ahead and mixed the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce in with the other ingredients.

A dressed salad is much better than a naked one.

Tossed up and ready to serve.

And there you have it... The Original 1905 Salad. Not the most flashy side dish, but oh-so-delicious!

Bon appetit!



3 thoughts on “The Columbia Restaurant: Recipe #1 – 1905 Salad

  1. My friend makes the salad a lot. She had originally used regular olive oil even though the cookbook says Spanish olive oil. It was not quite right. She called the restaurant and they said you must use Spanish olive oil. She has since and the salad is perfect. I am serving it tomorrow for book club and will let you know. Visited the restaurant in April twice so have the salad flavor fresh in my mind. Am also making the white chocolate bread pudding. Yum!

  2. Got the original recipe from the chef at Columbia ( he used to bowl with my husband) and it included soybean oil. That is how I made it for the last 10 years. It amazing!!!!!!

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