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  1. Ciro's Speakeasy & Supper Club

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 2109 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa, 33606

    Buy into the pervasive Prohibition era theme and it will pay off. The fare ranges from high-class finger food like truffled popcorn and manchego soft pretzels to seared tenderloin with a stack of fries cooked in duck fat. All that comes after a pick from an extensive cocktail menu where the dri...

  2. 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 ...

  3. Datz

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 2616 S MacDill Ave., Tampa, 33629

    Tampa now has a road trip-worthy deli, the vision of founder Roger Perry. It's like Zingerman's in Ann Arbor meets Zabar's meets Carnegie Deli: a theme park of gorgeous grocery items with a cheese counter, a bread counter, desserts, and a wide counter of prepared food items. But tha...

  4. Boca Kitchen Bar Market

    South Tampa : 901 W Platt St., Tampa, 33606

    Along with a growing group of Tampa Bay restaurants, the new Boca Kitchen Bar Market isn't satisfied with a little local lettuce and some backyard herbs—it sources locally, Big Time. The locavore fervor wouldn't mean much if what Boca did with all this bounty was ho-hum. Executive...

  5. 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...

  6. 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...

  7. Ulele Native Inspired Food & Spirits

    1810 N Highland Ave., Tampa, 33602

    Richard Gonzmart spent $6 million to get the doors open at Ulele and in just about every way it shows: It is a project of prodigious moving pieces, a thousand stories — an intricate cogs-and-wheels front door made by Dominique Martinez of Rustic Steel Creations; furniture and decor elemen...

  8. Ocean Prime

    Editor's pick

    International Plaza District : 2205 N West Shore Blvd., Tampa, 33607

    This new high-end steakhouse may not seem like the most prudent choice in this economy, in this restaurant climate, even in this steak house-choked town. But it’s fabulous, with a la carte prime meats and fresh fish cooked at 1,200 degrees and served simply. Many of the sides are stunning...

  9. Rooster and the Till

    6500 N Florida Ave., Tampa, 33604

    Without calling it this, Ferrell Alvarez and Ty Rodriguez have launched the most diligently local-farm-to-table restaurant in the area, its name a veiled reference to farm animals and fertile earth. They use Buddy Brew coffee; Hooker Tea Company; local craft beers; pork from Pasture Prime in Su...

  10. 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 ...

  11. 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...

  12. Seasons 52

    Editor's pick

    Westshore : 204 N West Shore Blvd., Tampa, 33609

    It’s a chain concept with no deep fryers, a heavy reliance on seasonal and sustainable ingredients, a commitment to serving no dishes over 475 calories, with any number of subtle strategies for giving diners lots of flavor and drama without a lot of fat and calories. Darden Restaurants &m...

  13. Chouinard's Cuisine

    9617 Bay Pines Blvd., St. Petersburg, 33708

    It isn’t in a location that you would expect to find fantastic food, but if you make the effort to get there, that is what you’ll find. Chef Joseph Chouinard’s St. Petersburg dining roots go back to his days as the original chef of then-landmarks Redwoods and Pacific Wave down...

  14. Marchand's Bar & Grill

    Editor's pick

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

    The Vinoy has undergone a major makeover that includes retooling of Marchand's, showing off the central Vinoy Bar. A small wine cellar room provides an enviably intimate dining space for four. But perhaps the biggest change is the dining concept: One side used to be Marchand's, with a M...

  15. 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.

  16. 1200 Chophouse

    South Pinellas beaches : 5007 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 33706

    1200 Degrees Chophouse opened in 2013 in St. Pete Beach, a town not swimming in steak houses. It feels charmingly retro, tiny and intimate, with just 48 seats and a wall of faux cowhide that sets off a little "moo" in your mind. It's not just the restaurant's size that's d...

  17. 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 ...

  18. Local Public House and Provisions

    East Pasco : 32750 Pennsylvania Ave., San Antonio, 33576

    Curtis and Rebecca Beebe of Pearl in the Grove in Dade City debuted Local in the summer of 2014. Residents of San Antonio sniffed around for months as the Beebe team set about transforming the century-old former general store. It's a cavernous space with enough residual rough-hewn folksy ch...

  19. 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, ...

  20. Ha Long Bay

    Editor's pick

    5944 34th St. N # 41, St. Petersburg, 33714

    It has an expansive Chinese menu with a smattering of Vietnamese dishes. At lunch look for well-formed har gau (shrimp dumplings), pillowy pork buns, slithery rice noodle rolls and shu mai (crimped dough blossoms with ground pork jutting out the top). And in the evenings you’ll find styli...

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