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(ran GB edition)

The f llowing is a brief sampler of some recommended restaurants in the beach areas from Tarpon Springs south to Tierra Verde. The restaurants are selected by the news staff of the St. Petersburg Times, without regard to advertising. For days and hours of operation, call the restaurant.


BILL NAGY'S ON THE BEACH. The Sirata, a revamped landmark on St. Petersburg Beach, now has a restaurant that provides lighter, more creative beach fare from breakfast on. The latest project of restaurateur Bill Nagy, Sirata Sands has a pate plate and a spinach salad that make fine lunches and a seafood tureen that is a delightful dinner.

_ 5390 Gulf Blvd., St. Petersburg Beach; 367-2771. Full bar. Children's menu available. Dinners, $10.95 to $14.95.

BITE OF EUROPE. This Bohemian bistro is actually a large, affordable helping of Continental charm, borrowed from Eastern Europe as well as France and Italy. Start with baked cheese or soup and duckling or the special sauerkraut goulash. If dumplings or spaetzle aren't included, they're worth ordering a la carte.

_ 1301 Pasadena Ave S, South Pasadena; 398-7465. Prices, $8.90 to 11.30.

CIEGA BAY CAFE. New spot tucked in a shopping center keeps alive the spirit and service of Continental dining on the beach and modernizes it a little. Salads are contemporary but best bets are in traditional riches: pates, lobster tail, Caesar salad and red meats.

_ 672 Tom Stuart Causeway, Madeira Beach; 398-5385. Full bar. Dinner prices, $7.95 to $17.95.

DEBBY'S CAFE. This looks like an average diner for beach locals and motel escapees, but inside you'll find the creative, light cooking missing in most big-splurge spots. Prices are as lean as the '90s but you still get crisp vegetables, grilled tuna, fresh baked goods, pasta dishes, fresh herbs and Oriental spices. Plus you can sample it for great breakfasts and lunch.

_ 7370 Gulf Blvd., St. Petersburg Beach; 367-8700. Beer, wine. Dinners, $6.50 to $12.95.

HORSE & JOCKEY. The bay area's newest and largest pub has 11 British beers on tap and an extensive menu. There's always crisp fish and chips and meat pies, plus high tea from 3 to 5 p.m. on weekdays and dinner of roast pork or beef and Yorkshire pudding on Sundays.

_ 1155 S Pasadena Ave., South Pasadena; 345-4995. Reservations accepted only for parties of six or more for tea. Beer, wine served. Dinner prices, $4.95 to $7.95.

THE HUNGRY FISHERMAN. Landlubbers flock here for seafood the old-fashioned way: Take a number, wait your turn, buy some souvenirs and dig into a combination platter for less than $10. It's not all fried and true; there's fresh fish nightly and a bit of grilling, steaming and stir-frying. Give your visitors this taste of Florida.

_ 19915 Gulf Blvd., Indian Shores; 595-4218. No reservations. No credit cards. Full bar. Prices, $4.95 to $12.95.

KEEGAN'S SEAFOOD GRILLE. Size and decor are modest, but the menu's ambitious, and the kitchen usually delivers some of the most clever seafood on the beaches, from ceviche to grilled fish, for bargain prices. Checking the chalkboard is rewarding. Most entrees are modest in size, but linguine with mussels is a feast.

_ 1519 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach; 596-2477. Beer, wine. No non-smoking area. No credit cards. Prices, $4.50 to $8.95.

KELLY'S FOR JUST ABOUT ANYTHING. You can't have much more fun on your plate for $10 than at Kelly's, a Main Street cafe turned into a culinary toy box three meals a day. Sweet potato-jalapeno soup and grilled shrimp with strawberry salsa are my kind of delicious jokes. For serious eating, light and heavy, there's fish stuffed with fresh corn and grilled pork chops. Kelly puts the same zest into baking and breakfasting.

_ 319 Main St., Dunedin; 736-5284. Beer, wine.

THE KINGFISH. This fish house still specializes in the cheap seafood that has made it a landmark on the quiet side of John's Pass in Treasure Island. Best, freshest eating comes from the raw bar and some interesting concoctions with Italian, Cajun and Mexican modifications, cooked to order _ sometimes as you watch.

_ 12789 Kingfish Drive, Treasure Island; 360-0881. Full bar. No reservations. Non-smoking area provided. Children's menu available. Dinners, $3.95 to $12.95.

KINJO. Kinjo has first-rate sushi and a full menu of tempura plus meat, fish, shrimp and chicken fixed with usual samurai showmanship. Eat at the bar, on the floor in a tatami room, at a teppanyaki grill or a Western-style table; the lucky get water views.

_ 4615 Gulf Blvd, St. Petersburg Beach; 367-6762. Full bar. No reservations. Non-smoking section available. Dinners, $8 to $20.

MOONLIGHT BAY CAFE. This tiny beachside bistro stresses imagination, quality and freshness. Try homemade soups and pate, duck and seafood dishes. Food is cooked with style, but decor, dress and atmosphere are laid-back. A charmer.

_ 6690 Gulf Blvd., St. Petersburg Beach; 360-2978. Reservations required for dinner. No credit cards. Customers may bring beer or wine. Prices, $3.25 to $7.95 for lunch; $8.75 to 13.50 for dinner.

OMI'S BAVARIAN INN. The music is taped, and the decor is kitschy, but there's plenty of oompah on your plate: huge schnitzels, kraut, red cabbage and potato dumplings. Soups are homemade, and German hospitality is as genuine as the beer.

_ 14702 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach; 393-9654. No non-smoking section. Beer, wine. Dinners, $6.80 to $12.45.

PARADISE PIER. In the ramshackle setting of John's Pass, everything's supposed to look old, but this place is close to it in Florida terms. John and Dolly are New Englanders who have cooked fresh fish and steaks without much fuss for more than a decade. Don't be shy if there's a line, just enjoy the view from the pier.

_ 196 128th Ave., Madeira Beach; 393-1824. Beer, wine. Dinners, $7.95 to $14.95.

RED ROE RESTAURANT. Ozona sounds out-of-the-way and it is. This moss-draped chunk of Cracker coast is just the place to fill a picnic table with fried catfish, smoked amberjack and mullet and peel-your-own shrimp, some of it fresh off the owner's boat. No frills, but a genuine taste of old Florida.

_ 303 Orange St., Ozona; 784-0535. Beer, wine. Prices, $3.95 to $9.95.