Best of Metro 2016: Dining & Spirits

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The Best of Metro Tampa Bay.

Best of Tampa Bay Metro 2016

the bay’s best


Tampa Bay Dining & Spirits




Rococo Steak
Best Steakhouse in St. Petersburg
Housed in a historical 1920s building, Rococo’s menu offers steaks and seafood for the discerning steak lover, using only the finest and freshest ingredients. The wine collection includes more than 650 wines from around the world. 727.822.0999;

Stillwaters Tavern
Best Modern Tavern
A gathering place for hipsters and those seeking delicious food. The rustic interior, hanging edison bulbs and white subway tile, set a great scene with the open view to the kitchen. Chef Jeffery Jew combines the familiar with a twist for tasty, daily specials and entrees. 727.350.1019;

Piquant Epicure & Cuisine
Best Patisserie and French Inspired Restaurant
The weekends are popping with couples and friends enjoying a delicious lunch or brunch. The menu has tasty egg dishes, sandwiches, along with delicious crafted cocktails setting the mood for a great weekend. 813.251.1777;

Locale Market
Best New Foodie Market
Located inside Sundial in downtown St. Petersburg, the coolest chef driven market around offers numerous food stations to have a freshly prepared meal or take-out. The grill created the St. Petersburg Burger, which is a must try. Go hungry as there are lots of tempting treats inside. The market offers fresh seafood, pastries, cheeses and more. 727.523-6300;

Cask Social Kitchen
Best Southern Cuisine and Hospitality in SoHo
Partners TJ Miller, Adam Itzkowitz and Buccaneer Vincent Jackson opened Cask to offer a hip take on Southern cuisine and hospitality. In the heart of SoHo, it’s a great place for dinner or to relax over a cocktail. The crab ’n cheese mac and spicy duck wings are favorites. The bar is a great perch to watch the games on the surrounding TVs. 813.251.0051;

Sea Salt St. Pete
Best Raw Oyster Bar in St. Petersburg
The 80 ft. raw bar has the freshest and largest variety of oysters from around the country shipped in daily. The flavors of the fresh catch and other daily entrees are seasoned with over 130 salt varieties. Chef Fabrizio Aielli owns and operates Sea Salt in Naples. 727.873.7964;

The Mill
Best New Restaurant in St. Petersburg
Opened in July 2015, The Mill has taken downtown St. Pete by storm with its well-designed interior and creative cuisine. Foodies are delighting in the concept  created by Chef/Owners Ted Dorsey and Jason Griffin. A Farm to Table concept with locally sourced and unique combination of ingredients are on the menu for weekend brunch, lunch and dinner. Try the in-house made duck bacon, pork cracklins or the Not Your Momma’s Grilled Cheese. 727.317.3930;

Dinner Done
Best Prepared Meals To-Go
Whether you want to have a cooking session with friends or pick up the meals already prepared, Dinner Done provides monthly selections with enough variety to satisfy the entire family. It makes dinner time so easy. 813.264.7700;

Annata Wine Bar
Best Place to Sip and Savor
Tucked into a strip center along Beach Drive, Annata’s is the ideal date night or place to gather with friends. A bottle of wine and the cheese and charcuterie plate will make your heart sing. Music on Monday nights. No reservations – first come, first served. 727.851.9582;

Anise Global Gastrobar
Best Chic Bar in Downtown Tampa
The vibe and chic interior attract a hip, up-scale crowd looking for hand-crafted cocktails along with innovative and fresh cuisine. 813.225.4272;

Coppertail Brewery
Best Brew in Ybor
The expansive location on the edge of Ybor City has created some great brews and community partners. Stop by for a brewery tour and a taste of four primary beers including Free Dive (IPA) and limited edition brews including an exclusive brew created for Tampa’s Oktoberfest. 813.247.1500;

Ava Restaurant
Best Inspired Italian in SoHo
Co-owned by baseball coach Joe Maddon and 717’s Michael Stewart, Ava’s offers rustic  Neapolitan pizzas and delicious handmade pasta. The Bucatini Alla Vaccinate Pasta with oxtail and pine nuts is a popular pasta favorite, along with the Funghi pizza made with cremini and shiitake mushrooms. 813.512.3030;

Ocean Prime
Best Restaurant Scene
The central location makes Ocean Prime the ideal meeting spot for business or pleasure. The popular bar offers live piano music inside or relaxing outside. Steaks, seafood and the Ahi Tuna appetizer are popular choices. 813.490.5288;

Pete’s Place
Best Karaoke Bar
Recent renovations and a new menu have made Pete’s Place a bit more upscale, but it is still the best dive bar in Tampa to get your song on. This place is not for amateurs, the regulars really can carry a tune. 813.282.9039;

Best New Wine Bar
A new concept from Bern’s serves 40 wines by the glass, 300 bourbons and  delicious and innovative small plates. The 60 cheese and charcuteries available are simply heavenly. 813.258.2233;

The Getaway
Best Tiki Bar
Enjoy great sunset celebrations, cocktails, music and new menu items from the on site kitchen. Located on Gandy Boulevard on the St. Pete side, lies an  escape to the tropics, without ever leaving the Bay area. 813.267.1602;

Best Tapas on St. Pete Beach
Located inside the Hotel Zamora, Castile offers a Spanish-influenced menu, small plates and spectacular rooftop lounge for stunning sunsets. 727.456.8660;

Seasons 52
Best Seasonal Restaurant
The ever-changing menu offers a reason to keep coming back with fresh salads, flatbread and entrees. The healthy offerings and mini-desserts are sized to satisfy the most discerning palate. 813.286.1152;

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
Best Seafood Restaurant in Westshore Business District
Enjoy the scene with live jazz music seven nights a week in the V Lounge for a great place to relax with a cocktail. Serving only delicious seafood and prime aged steaks. 813.877.7290;

BellaBrava: New World Trattoria
Best Italian on Beach Drive
Enjoy European-style dining inside or outside with a delicious menu of Italian pastas, meats, seafoods and pizzas. There is great people watching along Beach Drive. 727.895.5515;

Oxford Exchange
Best Atmosphere Lunch
The Oxford Exchange houses a restaurant, Tea & Coffee Bar, The Shop + Book in a stunning renovated building. Open for breakfast, lunch or high-tea with a tempting menu of sandwiches, soups and salads. Menu favorites include the Chicken Burger or lobster BLT. 813.253-0222;

Best Terrace View
Inside the Grand Hyatt on the 14th floor is a spectacular view from the terrace at Armani’s. The Northern Italian cuisine or the view never disappoints.  813.207.6800;

Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club
Best Hand-Crafted Cocktails in Tampa
While a password is required to enter, Ciro’s offers delightful and delicious hand-crafted cocktails by bartenders, who are passionate about their craft. 813.251.0022;

Cafe Ponte
Best Diverse Cuisine
The American menu is updated seasonally and continues to offer tantalizing dishes at Chef Chris Ponte’s Clearwater restaurant. The Bay area hot spot is a delight for the palate, open for lunch and dinner. 727.538.5768;

Edison: Food + Drink Lab
Best Creative Cuisine
Recently hosting a dinner at the James Beard House in NYC, Chef Pierola and her team continue to create a unique and interesting blend of flavors and provide guests a gastronomic delight with a menu of small plates that changes frequently. 813.254.7111;

CopperFish Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar
Best Wood Hearth Roasted Fish
The horse shoe shaped bar is a great place to gather with friends for an end of day cocktail, along with a delicious  skillet from the grill with choice of mussels, shrimp, clams or the freshest oysters from the gulf and both coasts. The fresh, contemporary décor is warm and inviting. 813.251.6789;

Best Waterfront Eatery
Open for lunch and dinner, the location in Tampa Heights offers stunning sunset views along the Hillsborough River. Owned by the Gonzmart family, the menu is inspired by Floridian native influences and a twist on southern classics. Fried Okra and the deconstructed seafood pot pie are menu favorites. 813.999.4952;

Mandarin Hide
Best Cocktail Culture
The generous pours and friendly bartenders make Mandarin Hide a watering hole that you don’t want to miss. On Central Avenue, tucked between two other bars, it’s a St. Petersburg gem. 727.231.4007;

Best Creole Nouvelle Restaurant
For Nawlins’ style food with a bit of a twist, Roux offers up delicious gumbos, po’ boys, shrimp & grits and oysters. Open for lunch and dinner and a great Happy Hour. 813.443.5255;

Rick’s On the River
Best Live Music on the River
A friendly place offering wings, oysters and traditional bar food and live music along the Hillsborough River. For those arriving by boat, dock slips are available.

Del Frisco’s Grille
Best Al Fresco Bar
Gather with friends for an evening and enjoy the setting sun and window on the Westshore Business district. Open for lunch and dinner, the American cuisine plates are large enough to share. 813.878.6890;

Cigar City Brewing
Best Locally Brewed Beer
The brew, Jai Alai India Pale Ale, honors the past of the Jai Alai frontons, a game from the Basque region of Spain once played in Tampa. The brew pairs nicely with spicy dishes and Spanish favorites of Deviled Crabs and Empanadas. Brewery tours available. 813.348.6363 ext. 206;

RumFish Grill
Best Restaurant with a Tank
The Guy Harvey restaurant serves up a delicious menu of seafood and steaks on St. Pete Beach, complete with a large fish tank that guest can make reservations to swim with the fish. The outdoor deck offers great cocktails. 844.786.3474;

Council Oak Steaks & Seafood
Best Steakhouse Inside Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tampa
The cut to order, in the on-site butcher shop, prime dry-aged steaks melt in your mouth. The Raw Bar Sampler with its display of Alaskan King Crab, Maine lobster, jumbo shrimp, and oysters is not to be missed. The Lounge offers a special menu and wines on Wine Down Wednesday. 813.627.7628;

Mazzaro Italian Market
Best Italian Market
The iconic St. Petersburg market offers the best of Italy with the finest meats & seafoods, homemade pastas, deli, bakery, cheeses, coffee and gourmet imports. The bakery offers over 30 varieties of Italian cookies and gelato. 727.321.2400;

Oceanic Oriental Supermarket
Best Asian Market
From the deli to the produce, shoppers will delight in all things Asian including fresh fish, duck, herbal medicines and teas. There is also a large selection of dishware and cookware.  813.228.8110;

Bern’s Steakhouse
Best Classic Dining
The iconic Tampa institution will prepare your steak exactly the way you like it. Great for any celebrations, Bern’s makes everything seem special. Save room for the classic Banana Cheese Pie with a   private booth in the Harry Waugh Dessert Room. 813.251.2421;

Caretta On The Gulf
Best Dining With Sunset View
Enjoy a magnificent sunset every night at Carretta, located inside the stunning Sandpearl Resort. The Sunday brunch offers an array of fresh seafood from the raw bar. 727.441.2425;

Boca Hyde Park
Best Rustic Farm Charm
The farm to table food concept is evident on the menu at Boca. The menu changes with availability of ingredients. The rustic casual, yet chic interior, is a great place for cocktails or enjoy a meal with friends. Open for lunch and dinner. 813.254.7070;

The Capital Grille
Best Dry-Aged Steak
The dark wood and elegant interior are cause to celebrate while enjoying nationally renowned dry-aged steaks. Toast to a great dining experience with a selection from the more than 5,000 bottled wine list. 813.830.9433;

Dunedin Brewery
Best Local Microbrewery
The Dunedin Brewery has been passionately brewing beer since 1996, as the oldest microbrewery in Florida. 727.736.0606;

Marchand’s Bar & Grill
Best Special Occasion Dining
Located inside the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, the elegant restaurant provides a sophisticated atmosphere and dining experience for that special occasion or Sunday brunch. 727.824.8072;

Tryst Gastro Lounge
Best Place to Rendezvous for Cocktails on Beach
The outside seating and music brings a fashionable and chic crowd to enjoy a seasonal, changing menu of small plates or entrees of beef, salmon, chicken or lamb. Enjoy 27 draft beers and 180 bottles or handcrafted cocktails. 727.821.4567;

Mise en Place
Best Modern American Cuisine
For 29 years, Mise en Place has been a Bay area staple on the dining scene as owners Chef Marty Blitz and Maryann Ferenc constantly evolve and innovate their offerings with the seasons. 813.254.5373;

717 South
Best South Tampa Spot
717 serves up a delicious menu of best of Italy and the Pacific Rim dishes created by Chef Robert Masson. Owner, Michael Stewart hosts numerous fundraisers to raise money for local charities. 813.250.1661;

Best Tapas in Town
Enjoy over 100 different hot and cold tapas, from garlic and olives, to oxtail and chicken livers at locations on both sides of the Bay. Relax in a unique Spanish atmosphere and ambiance, while sipping a glass of red, white or cava sangria. 813.250.0203 Tampa or St. Pete 727.209.2299;

Cru Cellars
Best Boutique Wine Bar
The Wine Garden offers the ideal spot to sip a glass of wine from the diverse and carefully selected list and share a small plate under the stars. Browse through the wine shop to purchase a favorite bottle and now offering wine delivery service. 813.831.1117;

Cantina Laredo
Best Sophisticated Mexican
At the Wiregrass Mall in Wesley Chapel, Cantina Laredo offers a blend of sophisticated and authentic Mexican food. Try the table side prepared guacamole or the sizzling fajitas. A variety of margarita flavors with specialty tequilas are available. 813.907.3068;

The Refinery
Best Revolving Menu
The menu changes every week to reflect food that is fresh from local farmers, and in season. From salad dressings to sausage, everything is made in-house by Chef Greg Baker and his team. 813.237.2000;

Ella’s Folk Art Cafe
Best Sunday Afternoon Escape
Sundays mean Soul Food with a chance to relax and tantalize the taste buds. Experiment with new combinations, such as fried chicken and waffles or chocolate covered bacon while listening to live music. 813.234.1000;

Sail Pavilion
Best Downtown Tampa Oasis
By land or sea it is easy to reach the Sail Pavilion along Tampa’s downtown Riverwalk with great food, music and views. This urban oasis is pet-friendly. 813.373.1193;

Wine Exchange
Best Wine and Dine
Located in Hyde Park Village, this bistro and wine bar offers a European experience with over 40 different wines and an inspired cuisine of pizzas, salads and pastas. Indoor and outdoor seating, along with a full service bar. 813.254.9463;

Best Foodie Fix
The ever evolving, Datz mixes up the menu to provide tempting food and events for local foodies. There are classic mouth-watering sandwiches, including Cue the Brisket and Birds of a Feather ­– a delicious chicken salad – to the great wine bar and craft beers on tap. Portions are over-sized, so come hungry or willing to share. 813.831.7000;

Byblos Café
Best Mediterranean Cuisine
Enjoy a menu of hummus, falafel, dolma or delicious kabob or gyros and other authentic Lebanese favorites. Open for lunch and dinner. Belly Dancing show on Saturday nights. 813.805.7977;

Pelagia Trattoria
Best Modern Italian
Pelagia is a hidden treasure of culinary delights offering great salads, sandwiches and homemade pastas for lunch, and stone-oven pizzas for dinner, tucked inside the Renaissance International Plaza Hotel. The menu changes each season, but the Italian and French influences never go away. 813.313.3253;

Best Creative Cuisine
Chef Zack is always on the hunt for new flavors and combinations. Z Grille is a hip and trendy restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg that serves up creative food for brunch, lunch and dinner. Try the Dirty D’s Deviled Eggs, or classic Dr. Pepper BBQ ribs. 727.822.9600;

Hula Bay Club
Best Laid-Back Eatery
Escape to Hula Bay for lunch, dinner and boat drinks with the scenic water views, island-inspired cuisine, and cool pool. Live music and DJ’s down at Dukes, provide a Hawaiian casual atmosphere. 813.837.4852;

Salt Rock Grill
Best Seafood Dining
Offering one of the best wine cellars on the beach in Indian Shores and a go to restaurant for fresh, local seafood. Land lovers can enjoy steaks cooked over the natural oak and citrus wood pit fire. 727.593.7625;

Columbia Restaurant
Best Spanish Cuisine
Owned and operated by five generations of the Gonzmart family, The Columbia Restaurant has been an Ybor City culinary delight since 1905. The Spanish cuisine includes the famed 1905 salad, chicken and yellow rice and ropa vieja. The Sangria is not to be missed. Be entertained by talented Flamenco Dancers. Ybor City – 813.248.4961;

The Canopy at The Birchwood
Best Roof Top Lounge
The weekend hot spot above the chic boutique hotel has a hip rooftop bar  complete with cabanas, living room seating and fire pits for those cool evenings. The four stories above Beach drive provide breathtaking views of Tampa Bay, Straub Park, and downtown St. Petersburg.  727.896.1080;

Souzou Fusion
Best Asian Cuisine
Signature sushi, hot plates, cold plates, noodle & rice sections are sure to please the palate. St. Petersburg’s newest and hottest place for sushi lovers, will delight those looking for a fresh take on sushi.  727.823.4050;






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Tampa Bay Metro Magazine & Blog

January 6, 2016 |

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