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  1. Edison food+drink lab

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 912 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, 33606

    Edison embodies what was most exciting and new in 2012. I’ve heard restaurant industry folks grousing: How does Jeannie Pierola keep the prices so reasonable at her inventive Kennedy Corridor newcomer, opened in August (foie gras dishes under $20?!)? To them she might ...

  2. 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...

  3. Eddie V's

    International Plaza District : 4400 W Boy Scout Blvd., Tampa, 33607

    Opened early in 2013 across from International Plaza, it is the ninth Eddie V's nationwide and the first east of Texas. Orlando-based Darden (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52) bought the chain in 2011 and this is the first one open...

  4. Oxford Exchange

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 2420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, 33609

    Vacant for decades, it was originally a horse stable. If the horses could see it now: marble and brass, soaring ceilings, flickering gas lamps and a black-and-white checkered floor that attract hungry souls like moths to a flame. It's straight-up gorgeous, with a kind of retro-chic that is ...

  5. Ciccio's California Cuisine

    190 37th Ave. N, St. Petersburg, 33704

    Upper West Side roots, pump-you-up health trends and culinary imagination make the menu mostly Italian, with wild swings from crispy risotto cakes to Atkins-friendlier lettuce wraps. It's part of a restaurant group that includes the Lodge, The Lime and Daily Eats.

  6. Tarpon Turtle Grill and Marina

    Tarpon Springs : 1513 Lake Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs, 34689

    Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun.-Thur., until midnight Fri.-Sat.

    Read a review here.

  7. Bamboozle Cafe

    Editor's pick

    Downtown Tampa : 516 N Tampa St., Tampa, 33602

    It's Vietnamese quick-service downtown in all its vibrant, punchy glory, but served up in a way that's accessible and not intimidating. Step in line and order from the board. Fresh rolls are customized to suit, a water-moistened rice paper round cradling vermicelli, green leaf lettuce, ...

  8. Eat Here

    Manatee beaches : 5315 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, 34217

    The people behind the venerable Beach Bistro are behind this spot on the Manatee County coast, serving demystified versions of the classics that made them famous. The bouillabaisse  that is a budget buster at Beach shows up at Eat Here with some ingredient substitutions for a third of the ...

  9. Donatello Restaurant

    Editor's pick

    232 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, 33609

    The blush is not off the rose at this nearly 30-year-old Tampa original. In the dining room, tuxedoed waiters have the assurance only longtime employment provides, whether that's guiding guests through the menu or whipping up a tableside Caesar (the best in town). The food is rigorously tra...

  10. Armani's

    Editor's pick

    Rocky Point : 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa, 33634

    One of Tampa's top special-occasion and I-need-to-clinch-this-deal restaurants, Armani's has undergone major renovations and has seen new faces in the kitchen in recent years, but some of the traditions at the top of the Grand Hyatt remain unchanged: the antipasto offerings still have a...

  11. 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. ...

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

  14. Rococo Steak

    655 Second Ave. S, St. Petersburg, 33701

    From side dishes to musical selections, Rococo has brought a subversive eye to reinventing the steakhouse, its presence alone a novelty in downtown St. Pete, where there is an odd paucity of steakhouses. Rococo Steak offers no creamed spinach, no boats of béarnaise, no baked potatoes, no...

  15. 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...

  16. Station House

    260 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg, 33701

    They’ve kept the cool basementy ratskeller feel of Cafe Alma, but broken up the center of the room with circular booths and, through a combination of new upholstery and blue-gray wainscoting, given the whole thing a higher level of sophistication. The best seats are at the bar, partly bec...

  17. Brix 33 Fine Wines and Bistro

    8351 State Road 54, New Port Richey, 34655

    One side is a smartly curated wine shop and the other is a warm and convivial wine bar and restaurant. Together, it is a prime opportunity to drink something wonderful paired with salads and shared plates, cheese and charcuterie. Any bottle from the retail side is available in the dining room a...

  18. Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe

    Editor's pick

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

    Ella’s has been embraced by...

  19. Rusty's Bistro

    Editor's pick

    North Pinellas beaches : 1160 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater, 33767

    In the Sheraton Sand Key. Too many locals pass by the finest cooking on the beaches. Chefs on John Harris' crew give Sand Key an exquisite taste of cooking that's seasonal, handcrafted, local and up-to-date. Even the vodka is infused.

    Read the

    Fresh Bites

    Westchase : 116655 Countryway Blvd., Tampa, 33626

    It's a modest space with ambitious aims. Adhering to many of the nutrition ideas of Orlando-based Maximized Living (an organization that advocates a fitness, nutrition and lifestyle regimen), it's straight-up traditional Lebanese food made from organic produce, grass-fed beef and lamb f...

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