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  1. Iavarone's Steak House & Grill

    Editor's pick

    3617 W Humphrey St., Tampa, 33614

    What makes Iavarone’s endure is its palpable sense of history. Carmine and Frances Iavarone chucked their grocery business and started Carmine Restaurant in Tampa in 1948. Their kids carried on, opening Malio’s Restaurant and Lounge at S Dale Mabry and Azeele in 1969, Carmine’...

  2. CopperFish Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar

    South Tampa : 1502 S Howard Ave., Tampa, 33606

    Gordon Davis and SoHo Hospitality partner Kevin Enderle brought on partners Chas and Kyle Bruck to put together a new concept: craft cocktails like sister restaurant Ciro's, farm-to-table fare like Boca, with a focus on super-fresh, largely local fish grilled simply over hardwood. There'...

  3. Haven

    South Tampa : 2208 W Morrison Ave., Tampa, 33606

    Hours: 5-10 p.m. Mon.-Wed., until 11 p.m. Thur.-Sat., closed Sun.

    A 2015 newcomer set in the old SideBern's location, this Bern's sibling less old-school fancy than Bern's, and less expensive than SideBern's, but no less ambitious than either. It has without a doubt the...

  4. Cafe Dufrain

    Editor's pick

    707 Harbour Post Drive, Tampa, 33602

    Boasting one of Tampa's best views, this Harbour Island bistro is one of downtown's best getaways. Get smart eating from lemongrass soups to diver scallops, risotto, short ribs and salmon with frizzled leeks. Flavors come from the Pacific and the Americas, but the style is Tampa lofty. ...

  5. Mad Dogs & Englishmen

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 4115 S MacDill Ave., Tampa, 33611

    Mad Dogs and Englishmen has a sense of humor. Perhaps that explains its longevity. Its new menu sports the old joke: "Two cannibals eating a clown. One says to the other, 'Does this taste funny to you?' " Talking about things tasting funny on a menu? Is this a good idea? Co-ow...

  6. Marchand's Bar & Grill

    Editor's pick

    Downtown St. Petersburg : 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg, 33701

    The central Vinoy Bar shows off a small wine cellar room that provides an enviably intimate dining space for four, with a seafood focus, and dishes that reflect a stylish and loosely Mediterranean sensibility with saucing and garniture.

    The bar scene: It feels like som...

  7. Peg's Cantina & Brew Pub

    Editor's pick

    Gulfport : 3038 Beach Blvd. S, Gulfport, 33701

    Notice first the crazy-fabulous beer list: an array of Belgian ales and lambics, as well as all those American microbrews with the adolescent names (Butthead bock, anyone?). During the week, the menu is healthy, homey Mexican; on the weekend, they crank up the pizza oven and turn out unfussy, s...

  8. Queens Head

    Editor's pick

    Grand Central District : 2501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 33713

    The work of Darren Conner and Paul Smith, Queens Head is an adorable, cheeky and emphatically stylish addition to St. Petersburg's Grand Central district. The small bar-restaurant is a delightful addition, a British pub with a little South Beach glamor and New York club smarts (it's har...

  9. 717 South

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 717 S Howard Ave., Tampa, 33606

    Read a review here.

  10. The Living Room

    Editor's pick

    Dunedin : 487 Main St., Dunedin, 34698

    Sarah Johnson wants people to hang out in the Living Room, and Dunedin residents have responded favorably. The affordable small-plate menu has been embraced for its novelty and vegetarian friendliness. A plate of snappy haricots verts is perfectly paired with almonds and shallots in a classic b...

  11. Aqua Bar & Grille

    Editor's pick

    Rocky Point : 7627 W Courtney Campbell Parkway, Tampa, 33607

    What was Aquaknox at the Westin Tampa Bay was rechristened Aqua Bar & Grille in recently when parent company E-Brands was sold to Tavistock. Chef Matt Mangone unveiled a new menu with dishes like yellowfin tuna tartare, a lovely plate with daikon and pickled chiles and a swoosh of avocado m...

  12. BellaBrava

    Editor's pick

    Downtown St. Petersburg : 204 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg, 33701

    With its location along Beach Drive, it offers a hip yet affordable contemporary Italian menu that leans heavily on wood-fired pizzas (note especially the one with the fried egg on top) and boldly flavored and rustic pastas. Sidewalk seating expands the seating options, and a lively bar keep it...

  13. Mekenita Mexican Grille

    Editor's pick

    Lutz : 17623 N Dale Mabry Highway, Lutz, 33548

    Rand Packer, the celebrated former chef at Roy's in Tampa, chucked the fancy world of Hawaiian-style misoyaki butterfish for something new and different, aiming to fill a gap in the culinary landscape near his home in Lutz. It's a funky and affordable outpost of regional Mexican cuisine...

  14. Bern's Steak House

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 1208 S Howard Ave., Tampa, 33606

    Naysayers can grouse, but there's no denying the fine meat and one of the world's best and cheapest wine lists. You can drink back through 20 years in Spanish, Italians, Rhones and zins for $75 or less. Lighten up and relax; just exploring the menu's new additions takes time. Desser...

  15. Fly Bar & Restaurant

    Editor's pick

    Downtown Tampa : 1202 N Franklin St., Tampa, 33602

    The brainchild of Tampa native Leslie Shirah, this bastion of hip has gained a devoted following among Tampa foodies and revelers. Shirah honed the concept during a 15-year stint in San Francisco. And the concept is this: an all-day menu until late, late; a share-it-with-friends approach to wor...

  16. Grille 54

    Editor's pick

    West Pasco : 10900 State Road 54, New Port Richey, 34655

    It's not Tampa's MacDinton's/South Howard level of mayhem, but it's no small feat to get so many folks in southwest Pasco out on a Saturday night. And what's the draw? Sushi. Oh, and steaks. And Italian food. There's also seafood, raw bar items and a lot of dishes from t...

  17. Chez Colette's French Bistro

    Editor's pick

    796 Indian Rocks Road N, Belleair Bluffs, 33770

    Formerly Le Petit Bistro, the same owners owners kept their same menu and chef, but changed the name at the beginning of 2015.

    Read a review here...

  18. Lodge Restaurant & Bar

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 516 S Howard Ave., Tampa, 33606

    A ton of failed restaurants have called this address home in the past. But at the Lodge, the fun doesn't seem to be stopping - especially on the menu. Tater tots! Beans 'n' franks! A Twinkie-tiramisu hybrid called the Twinkimisu! A Key Lime Pie martini that smokes like a volcano! Th...

  19. Anise Global Gastrobar

    Downtown Tampa : 777 N Ashley Drive, Tampa, 33602

    A small posse of seasoned restaurant pros jumped on the gorgeous space at the bottom of SkyPoint, unveiling Anise Global Gastrobar early in 2013. Its focus is Korean-ish, with a southeast Asian palette of flavors that's fairly hard to pin down. With many of the share-friendly plates under $...

  20. Cigar City Brewpub

    15491 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, 33618

    In what was once a T.G.I. Friday's, Joey Redner has launched his first Cigar City Brewpub, the work of a brilliant team in fine fettle. Superbly designed, it's whimsical and lively with a short, affordable menu that feels like a breath of fresh air. It's gastropub fare with a spin, ...

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