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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. 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 …

  3. Elevage at the Epicurean Hotel

    Tampa : 1207 S Howard Ave., Tampa, 33606

  4. 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  …

  5. 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  …

  6. 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 …

  7. 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 …

  8. 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, …

  9. Bernini Restaurant

    Ybor City : 1702 E Seventh Ave., Tampa, 33605

    Back in the '90s, Bernini's lionhead roared with hipness, and it's still king of this jungle. The old gold interior is comfy now, the service is both old-pro and young. The menu's modern standards of crisp pizzas, rustic pastas and smart salads make it a fine room for dealmaking dinners or urban …

  10. Maritana Grille

    Editor's pick

    South Pinellas beaches : 3400 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 33706

    A major renovation in the dining room has made one of the area's more swanky restaurants more contemporary. The renovations made their way into the kitchen, too, where fruits are being compressed and fish are being cooked in warm water baths. The black grouper cooked sous vide and served over ri …

  11. Vernona

    Editor's pick

    Sarasota : 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Sarasota, 34236

    In the Ritz-Carlton. Put on the down-home Ritz in Sarasota and you'll taste local flavor as well as the chain's culinary fame. Almost everything but the salmon has Florida roots, from heirloom melons and tomatoes to Everglades bass and orange-braised veal shanks as the restaurant features locall …

  12. 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 opened on …

  13. Mise En Place Restaurant

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 442 W Kennedy Blvd. # 110, Tampa, 33606

    New American doesn't get old when Marty Blitz is in the kitchen and the likes of hamachi crudo with watermelon radish and cucumber salad are on the menu. He and partner Maryann Ferenc pioneered here 25 years ago; their spot is now a downtown Tampa shrine and the skillets still hot. Game, vegetab …

  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. Dessert takes more. …

  15. Pane Rustica Bakery & Cafe

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 3225 S MacDill Ave., Tampa, 33629

    South Tampa's beloved eat-in bakery has grown up to be a brave new bistro, and it has added sit-down dinners as high-end as you wish. A big, wood-fired oven cranks out a wild assortment of crisp pizzas and roast chickens, monster pork chops and robust pastas. Plus there are brilliant salads, irr …

  16. Della's After Dark

    Brandon : 608 Oakfield Drive, Brandon, 33511

    It would probably be cool enough to just hang out with a glass of wine and listen to the live jazz musicians in the dining room. But that you'll want to try one of the chorizo meatballs, or one of the other beautifully presented dishes from chef Alex DellaGrotta. And if the jazz trio doesn't mak …

  17. Gulf Bistro

    North Pinellas beaches : 15225 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach, 33708

    For years this cozy refuge was called Cafe de France. It was a reliable outpost of superb yet simple French fare. It served classic French fare (coq au vin, duck confit, lobster bisque, escargot)at a steady but unhurried pace. Don't worry: it has a new name but not much has changed. This cafe tu …

  18. Six Tables Restaurant

    Gulfport : 2937 Beach Blvd. S, Gulfport, 33701

  19. Cafe L'Europe

    Sarasota beaches : 431 St. Armand's Circle, Sarasota, 34236

    Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

  20. Michael's on East

    Editor's pick

    Sarasota : 1212 East Ave. S, Sarasota, 34239

    It's won best-of-Florida accolades from nearly everyone since its opening at the beginning of the 1990s — and it's kept up with all the newcomers, consistently pushing the envelope and wowing diners with its "New American' take and opulent decor. During the day it's a power-lunching crowd  …

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