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  1. Olde Bay Cafe

    Dunedin : 51 Main St., Dunedin, 34698

    Head here on a gorgeous evening with the marina spread out before you, corralled boats rocking on gentle swells. The lion's share of seating is outside on the covered patio, but step into the bar and glance around to the left and you'll see the microscopic kitchen. There's no deep f...

  2. Indigenous Restaurant

    Sarasota : 239 S Links Ave., Sarasota, 34236

    It's a lovely Florida bungalow just a couple of blocks off Sarasota's Main Street, with a rustic interior and great use of indoor/outdoor space, including an intimate "wine cottage." Because it's busy and tables are set fairly tight, it can seem frenetic at times, but serv...

  3. Floridian Cuban Sandwiches

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 4424 W Kennedy Blvd. # B, Tampa, 33609

    Harold Seltzer, co-founder and former president of the Sam Seltzer's Steakhouse chain, saw a gem called the Floridian. It is a Treasure Island old-timer founded by the Dilar family, distinguished by its long record of winning the title of best Cuban sandwich in the area. He licensed t...

  4. Parts of Paris

    Editor's pick

    146 Fourth Ave. N, Safety Harbor, 34695

    This charmer, set in a 1936 Florida bungalow, has a recently expanded menu of traditional French bistro fare, with steaks (entrecôte, ribeye, filet) that can be paired with optional sides (pommes Lyonnaise, haricots verts, little French lentils) as well as full liquor service, and an attr...

  5. Darwin's on 4th Peruvian Cuisine & Brewery

    Sarasota : 1525 Fourth St., Sarasota, 34236

    Darwin Santa Maria first introduced his stylish Peruvian vision to locals at Selva Grill, which he sold some time back. He now has inherited a fabulous Rosemary District restaurant space formerly occupied briefly by Mad Crow Brewery and Rustic Grill before that. He has lightened up the space bu...

  6. Jackie's on Corey Bistro & Catering

    South Pinellas beaches : 338 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach, 33706

    Chef Jackie likes to please, with a little bit of sweetness and big-hearted portions, but always with an eye to what's healthy. She's big into dishes that go light on carbs and gluten but focus in on gutsy veggies and fresh gulf fish. She respects her classical roots (steak Diane, an es...

  7. Capital Tacos

    Land o' Lakes : 6765 Land O Lakes Blvd., Land O'Lakes, 34638

    Bobby Heskett  and his wife Kristel opened Capital on a budget, and avid travelers both, they've spent time lingering in the taquerias of Denver, Austin and elsewhere, putting together a dream list of Tex-Mex dishes. There's regional Mexican thrown into the mix, and a little Baja s...

  8. Nordstrom's Bazille

    International Plaza District : International Plaza, 2223 N West Shore Blvd., Tampa, 33607

    In early 2013, as part of a major renovation, Nordstrom revealed its new cafe, Bazille. Replacing the more generic Cafe Bistro, Bazille is lovely, all curvy ceiling lines and warm chocolate browns. Although its interior is decidedly contemporary, there is something that makes one nostalgic for ...

  9. Il Ritorno

    Downtown St. Petersburg : 449 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 33701

    "Italian" is the kind of description that can get you into trouble, encompassing dozens of cuisines as it does. David Benstock's version is not fancy Northern Italian cream sauces, nor Sicily's big ol' bowls of meatballs. What he's doing is sensible portions at mo...

  10. Roux

    South Tampa : 4205 S MacDill Ave., Tampa, 33611

    Suzanne and Roger Perry (Datz, Dough) announced in early 2014 they were turning the defunct Wimauma space on MacDill Avenue into the Creole/Cajun-inspired Roux. They brought in gleaming pressed-tin ceilings and loads of wrought iron, but more importantly they consulted with folks in Louisiana a...

  11. Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe

    Editor's pick

    Seminole Heights : 5119 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa, 33603

    Ella’s has been embraced by...

  12. Crystal Dining Room at the Floridan Palace Hotel

    Downtown Tampa : 905 N Florida Ave, Tampa, 33602

    Looking up, it's a visual smorgasbord: shimmering chandeliers, ornate gilded wrought-iron balustrades and immense white and gold-trimmed drapes Scarlett O'Hara could have made a whole wardrobe out of. But the best is the ceiling, hand-painted medallions and cupids and scrolled crests th...

  13. Seabreeze Island Grill & Raw Bar

    North Pinellas beaches : 17855 Gulf Blvd., Redington Shores, 33708

    With roughly 200 seats and live music most nights, it's a rum runner kind of place. There's nothing cerebral about rum, blackberry brandy, banana liqueur, pineapple, orange and grenadine in a mason jar over lots of ice, but that's just fine. Despite a clear focus on value, the kitch...

  14. Meze 119

    Downtown St. Petersburg : 119 Second St. N, St. Petersburg, 33701

    Meze 119 is billed as "authentic Middle Eastern food with modern flair." That it is. What it may take the unobservant diner a while to figure out, though, is that it's 100 percent vegetarian. It's not that owner Dean Hershkowitz is being coy. It's as he says: "A lot o...

  15. La V

    Editor's pick

    Downtown St. Petersburg : 441 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 33701

    V is for Vietnamese, the stylish cafe proffering an expanded menu of the noodles, soups and banh mi sandwiches that made the lovely Thuy Le's 34th Street N spot a foodie destination. Le herself is a smiling presence in the dining room, where high ceilings and high spirits can make things no...

  16. Shrimp Boat Grill

    Brandon : 716 W Lumsden Road, Brandon, 33511

    When Al Paone and his son, Albert, opened Shrimp Boat Grill, it didn't look like much, tucked in a strip mall with several other restaurants, its decor a comfortable stew that says "mid-priced seafood restaurant." But this place gets cranking, maybe in part due to its drink specia...

  17. The Avenue

    Downtown St. Petersburg : 330 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg, 33701

    It's upscale burgers, a notch above nearby Five Guys, aimed to compete with Tampa's Square 1 Burgers or Burger 21. But more importantly, it's aimed to feed the hungry beer drinkers at WOB. They will deliver a burger or wrap directly to your bar stool at WOB, but there's plenty t...

  18. Trip's Diner

    2339 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg, 33704

    Look around the walls of the new Trip's Diner and you'll see wonderful black-and-white historic photos of St. Petersburg, with maps and other Florida ephemera adorning the tabletops. Owner Gordon Stevenson took over the space vacated last year by Dave's, a beloved but somewhat dilap...

  19. Cena

    Channelside : 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, 33602

    The Grand Central in Tampa's vital Channel District has been up and running for a while. There's the Pour House and City Dog Cantina on one side of a central courtyard, and Stageworks Theatre and stylish little Cena on the other side. The dinner-only menu is resolutely Italian, but very...

  20. Kurdi's Fresh Mediterranean Grill

    Downtown Tampa : 777 N Ashley Drive, Tampa, 33602

    Heveen Kurdi launched this spot several years ago, really a straight-up example of the foods from her home in Amman, Jordan. Like more familiar Lebanese cuisine, it was rife with kebabs, hummus, falafel and shawarmas. It became a go-to spot for business lunchers, but as the sophistication level...

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