1. Stonewood Grill & Tavern

    New Tampa : 17050 Palm Pointe Drive, Tampa, 33647

    Like staring into a glass of Merlot, Stonewood offers dark comfort, with cherry wood and low-lit eating and drinking areas. Four-seater booths and hardwood floors orbit an oval bar, and little jail-cell-looking cabinets hold liquor bottles overhead. A wine case the size of a king-size mattress h …

  2. Stonewood Grill & Tavern

    Bradenton : 7110 Cortez Road W, Bradenton, 34210

    Like staring into a glass of Merlot, Stonewood offers dark comfort, with cherry wood and low-lit eating and drinking areas. Four-seater booths and hardwood floors orbit an oval bar, and little jail-cell-looking cabinets hold liquor bottles overhead. A wine case the size of a king-size mattress h …

  3. Carne Chophouse

    Ybor City : 1536 E Seventh Ave., Tampa, 33605

    It's official. Jason Fernandez has an empire. Bernini, Green Iguana and Hot Willy's in Ybor City were joined in 2012 by Carne Chophouse in the historic 1912 El Centro Español Building. Steaks and chops take center stage, supported by nostalgia-inducing classics like garlicky escargots and …

  4. Eat Here

    Sarasota : 1888 Main St., Sarasota, 34236

    Second location for Sean Murphy's eat here restaurants; try a pineapple martini at the upstairs bar area; classic cuisine with a twist includes poutine frites, island ribs, Gulf Coast oyster fry, with local farm products, locally-caught seafood.Hours: 5:30-10 p.m. nightly.

  5. The Living Room

    Editor's pick

    Dunedin : 487 Main St, Dunedin, 34698

    Sarah Johnson wants people to hang out in the Living Room, and Dunedin residents have responded favorably. The affordable small-plate menu has been embraced for its novelty and vegetarian friendliness. A plate of snappy haricots verts is perfectly paired with almonds and shallots in a classic br …

  6. Blue Martini

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

    Blue Martini calls its fare heavy appetizers, but there's not a chicken wing or onion ring in sight. Instead, the short menu features contemporary Asian-Mediterranean fusion: sesame-seared tuna, sliced beef tenderloin, hummus, calamari salad. And don't miss the killer 6-inch-tall chocolate cake. …

  7. Flamestone An American Grill

    Oldsmar : 4009 Tampa Road, Oldsmar, 34677

    FlameStone is lovely, with a masculine, clubby design that includes dark wood floors, fieldstone walls and a sleek stainless-steel open kitchen, tiny glass pendant lamps warming the space with golden light. The menu consists of mid-priced steaks, rotisserie meats and an appealing lineup of frouf …

  8. Lobby Bar

    Downtown St. Petersburg : 217 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 33701

    This unpretentious bar adjoining the Garden Restaurant is classic St. Pete — no need for a sports theme, blaring jukebox or gimmicky shot specials here. If you're a whiskey drinker, get an Old Fashioned: they do it right here. If you'd rather take the lighter route, there's a homemade, che …

  9. Bar Louie

    Editor's pick

    International Plaza District : 2223 N West Shore Blvd. # B202, Tampa, 33607

    This IP hot spot is more bar than restaurant. It offers $1 burgers on Tuesday nights. Also, there are tater tots. Napoleon Dynamite would approve. The '80s soundtrack is a guilty pleasure, especially delicious when taken concurrently with a couple of the 40 beers on tap. The vibe is all funky ar …

  10. Lobster Pot

    North Pinellas beaches : 17814 Gulf Blvd., Redington Shores, 33708

    Lobster Pot has been a favorite of returning snowbirds and beach vacationers since opening in 1978. It got a remodel with new owners in 2009, but the best dishes are still the classics. A whole steamed Maine lobster arrives like a page out of a New England magazine, split down the middle and spi …

  11. Bonefish Grill (Sarasota)

    Sarasota : 3971 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 34231

    Bonefish Grill's mother ship opened on Fourth Street N in St. Petersburg in 2000. Now more than 150 locations strong, it was selected the best value in the seafood category by Consumer Reports in June 2009. The menu at Bonefish has been fairly steady, but there is some movement in a new directio …

  12. Starlight Lounge at Timpano's Chophouse

    South Tampa : 1610 W Swann Ave., Tampa, 33606

    At Timpano's Chophouse.

  13. Garden Restaurant

    Downtown St. Petersburg : 217 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 33701

    The former steak and burger joint that once hosted acoustic and blues acts was reborn in 1993 as a Mediterranean bistro under the new ownership of downtown restaurant pioneers Emmanuel Roux and Frank Bouvard. The dinner menu features pastas and chops. The setting under the banyan tree is a perfe …

  14. 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 drin …

  15. Mattison's Forty-One

    Sarasota : 7275 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 34231