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  1. Oystercatchers

    Editor's pick

    Rocky Point : 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa, 33634

    The Grand Hyatt puts hotel quality at sea level with a wide range of smart fish and seafood, including a mix-and-match market of choice style and sauce choices for the day's catch. Great view from top-dollar Sunday brunch to rosy sunsets.

  2. Byblos Cafe

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 2832 S MacDill Ave., Tampa, 33629

    The local rebirth of Middle Eastern cuisine gets its most stylish display thanks to smart Lebanese entrepreneurs. Yogurt, grape leaves and kibbe are deliciously fresh. Stay late and finish with intoxicating bellydancing or a dreamy draw on the water pipe (hookah).

  3. SideBern's

    Editor's pick

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

    Where Bern's is the big-name brawn in wine, steaks and overindulgence, SideBern's is the modern brains and R&D lab. The next generation of Laxers caught up to contemporary cooking and turned SideBern's into a culinary academy. On the plate, that results in mind-bending entrees, especially gr …

  4. German Bistro 2

    Editor's pick

    Largo : 1300 E Bay Drive, Largo, 33771

    Irena Hoxie performed a Teutonic transformation with new sconces, paint in a warm orange-red-cream palette, ficus and trellising greenery, and a soundtrack of oom-pah and Bavarian polka music. For newbies she'll explain what spaetzle is (you have to get it: soft, irregular nubbins of buttery han …

  5. Columbia Restaurant

    Editor's pick

    Ybor City : 2117 E Seventh Ave., Tampa, 33605

    The granddaddy of them all, Columbia Restaurant bears the distinction of being the oldest restaurant in Florida as well as the nation's largest Spanish/Cuban restaurant, with 13 rooms extending one full city block. Some of these waiters have been here a lifetime, there are stirring flamenco show …

  6. Salt Rock Grill

    Editor's pick

    North Pinellas beaches : 19325 Gulf Blvd., Indian Shores, 33811

    This gorgeously designed collaboration between Frank Chivas and Tom Pritchard is renowned for its straight-ahead grill cookery, fresh seafood, raw bar and deep wine list. The restaurant also has a fantastic patio bar that overlooks the Intercoastal Waterway, and an outrageous early-bird special  …

  7. Roy's

    Editor's pick

    International Plaza District : 4342 W Boy Scout Blvd., Tampa, 33607

    It's hard to resent chain restaurants when Outback can bring a chef like Roy Yamaguchi and his jeweled fusion of French polish and Asian flavors to our table. Love rack of lamb or Hawaiian fish? Roy's local partners do them up teak-brown, with orchids, breezy guitars and a happy crowd of casual  …

  8. Roy's

    Editor's pick

    Sarasota : 2001 Siesta Drive, Sarasota, 34239

    It's hard to resent chain restaurants when Outback can bring a chef like Roy Yamaguchi and his jeweled fusion of French polish and Asian flavors to our table. Love rack of lamb or Hawaiian fish? Roy's local partners do them up teak-brown, with orchids, breezy guitars and a happy crowd of casual  …

  9. Cafe Largo

    Editor's pick

    Largo : 12551 Indian Rocks Road, Largo, 33774

    Cafe Largo, a fixture since 1986, is aging beautifully. And while menu choices aren't vast, each one gets the same careful treatment: An included house salad is napped with a model Dijon vinaigrette, with a handful of house-roasted sweet peppers, a cube of roasted beet in a sweet-tangy Bagnol v …

  10. Cafe Ponte

    Editor's pick

    Clearwater : 13505 Icot Blvd., Clearwater, 33760

    Cafe Ponte is still a yardstick against which the area's other fine dining restaurants may be measured. The dining room looks positively spruce, its red, sage and black color scheme crisp and stylish; linens and table appointments are top-notch. Servers are courteous and professional even when s …

  11. Parts of Paris

    Editor's pick

    Safety Harbor : 146 Fourth Ave. N, Safety Harbor, 34695

    Scandinavian cuisines were super trendy in recently (in a recent S. Pellegrino's annual World's Top 50 Restaurants awards, 10 percent of them were Scandinavian, with Denmark's Noma at the top of the heap). Not much of that fervor made its way to our area, but one of the most exciting recent open …

  12. 717 South

    Editor's pick

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

    Read a review here.

  13. Capital Grille

    Editor's pick

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

    When you need a $47 steak to make your Neiman Marcus purchases seem a mere pittance, this is the place to go. It's a national dry-aged beef chain with a 400-plus label wine list. Capital Grille offers top-notch service and a steak menu that's more inventive than many (see: the dry-aged sirloin c …

  14. E & E Stakeout Grill

    Editor's pick

    Largo : 100 Indian Rocks Road N, Belleair Bluffs, 33770

    After many years in the same location, E & E Stakeout has done a major renovation. The kitchen received the bulk of chef Erwin Scheuringer's attention, with a complete gut and rebuild, but the rest of the building got new plumbing, air-conditioning, carpeting, banquette upholstery and other  …

  15. Council Oak Steakhouse

    Editor's pick

    Tampa : 5223 Orient Road, Tampa, 33610

    Council Oak has managed to assemble a competent, thoughtful service staff and to train them well. Owned by the Seminole tribe (as is the restaurant of the same name in Hollywood), Council Oak is a new contender in the great American steak house wars. Morton's, Sullivan's Steakhouse, Don Shula's, …

  16. 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-owner Wilto …

  17. Grille 54

    Editor's pick

    Westchase : 11935 Sheldon Road, Tampa, 33626

    Kobe burgers to Maine lobster rolls, sushi and Italian specialties, specialty cocktails.Hours: 4 p.m.-3 a.m. Mon.-Sun.

  18. Mykonos

    Editor's pick

    Tarpon Springs : 628 Dodecanese Blvd., Tarpon Springs, 34689

    Loud and crowded and why not? Tourists who squeeze in among the locals get a true taste of Greek in anything grilled in lemon and oregano along the Sponge Docks. Andy Salivaras has been in Tarpon a long time, having opened Mykonos in 1991. It's been one of the anchor restaurants on the main drag …

  19. Restaurant BT

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 2507 S MacDill Ave., Tampa, 33606

  20. Dunedin Brewery

    Editor's pick

    Dunedin : 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin, 34698

    The Scottish regalia is fitting, since the stone-walled Dunedin Brewery looks a bit like a highlander's castle. Equally breathtaking are the ginormous brewing vats inside, which are known for producing nine phenomenal, award-winning beers like the Redhed Red Ale, as well as a swimming selection  …

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