NAVIGATION

May 27, 2017

Top 200 Restaurants

Robert W. Tolf | 2/1/2000
Price Key
Price of complete dinners for two, including appetizer, entree and dessert (excluding drinks and tips):
$ = Less than $40
$$ = $40 to $60
$$$ = $60 to $80
$$$$ = More than $80
Golden Spoon Winners are listed in boldface.

Northwest | Northeast | Central | Southwest | Southeast
Jump to the 20 Best New Restaurants in Florida

NORTHWEST

APALACHICOLA

Chef Eddie's Magnolia Grill
133 Ave. E (U.S. 98) 850/653-8000
Eddie and Bettye Cass pay full tribute to the luscious bivalves in the oyster capital of our state, but they also blend beautiful seafood bisques, make a great gumbo, give dolphin the Louisiana Pontchartrain treatment and grill a superb New York strip. Not bad for a good ole boy from Massachusetts! Dinner $$

DESTIN

Destin Chops
320 East U.S. 98 850/654-4944
Local answer to the Morton and Ruth's Chris crowd with prime beef, but don't overlook the grilled or pan-seared veal chop, twin lamb loin chops, grilled salmon, black pepper-crusted yellowfin tuna or the eggplant medallions. Dinner: $$$$

Elephant Walk
Sandestin, 9300 U.S. 98 West 850/267-4800
Of course they serve the trendy tuna, but executive chef Matt Guiffrida calls his Tamari-seared tuna and grills a thick slab with jumbo sea scallops kissed with Asian wildberry sauce and served with stir-fried veggies. Dinner: $$$

Flamingo Cafe
414 U.S. 98 East 850/837-0961
Delightful setting with a solicitous staff and a menu that treats with respect its stock of land-locked meats and knows what to do with fresh fish, preceded by a notable Caesar salad for two. Dinner: $$$

Marina Cafe
404 East U.S. 98 850/837-7960
Executive chef Chris Dutka is in charge of a contemporary Continental menu utilizing fresh local resources and imports from Louisiana like crawfish and red fish, handled with liberal doses of TLC in a smashing mod setting to match the food. Dinner: $$$

Purple Rooster
1096 Old Highway 98 850/650-8999
Chef-partner Jeffrey McDonald ranges the continent if not the world in his made-from-scratch menu featuring freshness and innovation, presented in a smashing gulf-front setting with contemporary artists on display, live entertainment and a fine wine bar. Dinner: $$$

GRAYTON BEACH

Criolla's
Highway 30A and Road 283 850/267-1267
The incomparable chef-owner Johnny Earles continues to stun the locals --and folks further afield as a guest chef -- with his always innovative inspiration, utilizing with great skill the freshness from land and sea from Florida and beyond. Dinner: $$$

HAVANA

Nicholson Farmhouse
State Road 12 West 850/539-5931
An authentically old-timey hideaway that chargrills its steaks with great care, offering seafood and chicken as alternatives for fans who appreciate the down-home basics. Dinner: $

MARIANNA

Red Canyon Grill
3297 Caverns Road 850/482-4256
A surprising setting in the heart of the Panhandle, a place to indulge in the spices and chilies of the Southwest with wood-grilled quesadillas and such weekly specialties as crawfish and buffalo burgers. Dinner: $

PANACEA

Angelo's Seafood Restaurant
U.S. 98 at the bridge 850/984-5168
"Recipes are born, not copied" at this terrific water-hugging setting on Ochlockonee Bay where Angelo Petrandis prepares some of the best seafood in the state. Dinner and Sunday lunch: $

PANAMA CITY BEACH

Captain Anderson's Restaurant
5551 N. Lagoon Dr. 850/234-2225
This landmark closes in the off season, re-opening in February when guests can again watch the fresh harvests from the deep unloaded on the dock a few conch shells away. Shrimp dishes are a specialty, and so too are the breads and pastries. Dinner: $

PENSACOLA/PENSACOLA BEACH

Chan's Gulfside Seafood
and Oyster House
2 1/2 Via De Luna 850/932-3525
A double-decker smack on the Gulf of Mexico with al fresco seating and fresh fish carefully prepared Pensacola style, and a wine list that pays full compliments to the seafood. Lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch: $

Jamie's
424 E. Zaragossa St. 850/434-2911
With an extensive wine list and international mastery in the kitchen, this l9th century home is a perfect escape into another time, another clime as you explore the rich history of Seville Square. Lunch and dinner: $$

Jubilee Restaurant
400 Quietwater Beach Road 850/934-3108
Life's not a cabaret; it's a jubilee, a multi-barreled one with TopSide for fine dining, waterfront deck for snacking plus a sweet shop, bars and lounges and lots of special event happenings.
Lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch: $$

McGuire's Irish Pub
600 E. Gregory St. 850/433-6789
Florida's quintessential bit of blarney with a mind-boggling assemblage of Irish artifacts, mooseheads, hats, helmets and greenbacks, a Notre Dame room and Irish Politicians' Club, on-site brewery and imposing wine cellar dining room -- with more of the same in an offshoot in Destin. Lunch and dinner: $$

SEAGROVE BEACH

Cafe Thirty-A
3899 E. Scenic Highway 30A 850/231-2166
Close to Seaside and offering marvelous martinis, excellent wines, rotisserie grill and wood-burning oven for the pampering of fresh fish and quality meats and production of peerless pizzas, plus indoor-outdoor seating. Dinner: $$

Sandor's European Cuisine
2984 Highway 395 850/231-2858
Proud home of chef-proprietor Sandor Zombori who re-defines himself nightly as he puts to great use what he's learned from working alongside some of the great chefs in the U.S. and abroad, but he usually has something Hungarian on the menu and is always there to share his enthusiasm and knowledge. Dinner: $$

SEASIDE

Bud & Alley's
Route C 30-A 850/231-5900
More than a few Florida chefs who are now making headlines have trained alongside owners Scott Witcoski and Dave Rauschkolb, who continue to create their own brand of New World cuisine, grilling freshness from sea and land, blending superior sauces with judicious additions of wine and local herbs, and introducing their loyal clientele to fine wines. Lunch and dinner: $$

TALLAHASSEE

Andrew's Second Act
102 W. Jefferson St. 850/222-3444
Restaurants come and go, but this remains the class act in town, a reliable provider of wasabi-soy tuna and a unique mixed grill with pork and prawns, filet mignon and rack of lamb, saluted with fine wines. Lunch and dinner: $$

Chez Pierre
1215 Thomasville Road 850/222-0936
Karen Cooley and chef Eric Favier are the forces behind this indoor-outdoor retreat with the finest French-inspired food for miles around. The soups and breads are marvelous, the wines carefully selected. Lunch and dinner: $$

Silver Slipper
531 Scotty's Lane 850/386-9366
An old shoe beloved by legislators and lobbyists who like the private booths, the honest bar and old-timey super-friendly staff, the fillets of fresh fish from waters near and far, and the solid steaks. Dinner: $$

The Wharf
1480 Timberlane Road 850/894-4443
The fire of '98 is just a bad memory as the team in charge of this informal watering hole continues to provide the best seafood in town at down-home, pocket-pleasing prices. The shrimp is supreme but don't sell the rib-eyes and fried chicken short. Dinner: $


NORTHEAST
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AMELIA ISLAND/FERNANDINA BEACH

Beech Street Grill
801 Beech St. 904/277-3662
Rick and Elizabeth Erickson have brought new life to time-worn surrounds by introducing local palates to their own version of New World cuisine, whisking up imaginative and natural sauces, assembling a tempting array of desserts and selecting fine wines to accompany. Dinner: $$

Horizons Continental Cuisine
802 Ash St. 904/321-2430
The dynamic mother-daughter duo of Beebe and Courtney Thompson keeps local palates tickled with the likes of tequila-spiked gravlax on brie crostinis with Pommery mustard sauce, blackened snapper Oscar and tuna Napoleon layered with spinach with ginger-wasabi cream. Dinner: $$

Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island
4750 Amelia Island Pkwy. 904/277-1100
Flagship front-runner with impeccable service and superior cheffing in The Grill and Cafe 4750 with all kinds of cooking seminars, tea parties, wine festivals as extra reasons to check in for a day, week or month. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Cafe 4750: $$$, The Grill: $$$$

ATLANTIC BEACH

Ragtime Tavern and Seafood Grill
207 Atlantic Blvd. 904/241-7877
The Morton boys, Bill and Tom, keep this beach landmark a magnet with schools of fresh fish fillets flying off the grill to be consumed with a good selection of wines and beers -- straight from their AlA Ale Works in St. Augustine. Lunch and dinner: $$

CEDAR KEY

The Island Room Restaurant
Cedar Cove 352/543-6520
Chef-proprietor Peter Stefani exploits local resources for stunning seafood specialties like shrimp surrounded by flaky pastry and crab stuffed with more crab. His enthusiasm and desire to educate extends to his cellar and he sponsors various wine dinners throughout the year. Lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch: $

FLAGLER BEACH

Topaz Cafe and Porch
1224 S. Ocean Shore Blvd. 904/439-3275
Through a historic hotel lobby overloaded with antiques and interesting artifacts into a fascinating setting with a super-solicitous staff and a kitchen able to dance on the culinary cutting edge of New Florida cuisine. Desserts are decidedly decadent. Dinner: $$

GAINESVILLE

The Sovereign Restaurant
12 S.E. Second Ave. 352/378-6307
There's a welcome stirring in the city with trendy little cafes popping up here and there, but this landmark remains the most reliable place for classic Continental cuisine, delivered by Swiss chef Elmo Moser and wife Lupe who will soon be celebrating their silver anniversary in this historic setting. Dinner: $$

JACKSONVILLE

Marker 32
14549 Beach Blvd. 904/223-1534
A dramatic second deck setting overlooking the Intracoastal and the marsh with chef Ben Groshell in able command of the grill and saute pan producing top quality seafood, lamb chops, steaks and filets cut from Angus beef. Dinner: $$

Sterlings of Avondale
3551 St. Johns Ave. 904/387-0700
For a dozen years owner-operator Frank Gallo has tended his charming cafe with loving professionalism, always improving, always adding a few more touches to decor and menu, ably executed by chef Victor Jones who works wonders with something as simple as grits and as complicated as pairing lamb and goat cheese. Wine list is splendid and upstairs piano bar on weekends a real treat. Lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch: $$$

Wilfried's 24 Miramar
4446 Hendricks Ave. 904/448-2424
Frank Hall has joined chef-partner Wilfried Hausy in this Art Deco delight with such specialties as ostrich prepared any which way but on wing, and a Beggar's Purse rich with shrimp, scallops, salmon and lobster wrapped in thin-thin phyllo and blessed with brandied lobster sauce. Dinner: $$

The Wine Cellar
1314 Prudential Dr., Southbank 904/398-8989
Wines of course are a great strength here but the luncheon salads are superb, as are the jerk-seasoned tuna, tournadous au poivre and rack of lamb bordelaise. Where else can you dine under a 200-year-old oak? Lunch and dinner: $$$

JACKSONVILLE BEACH

Giovanni's
1161 Beach Blvd. 904/249-7787
The father-son team of Giovanni and Toni Acireale has the best of both possible worlds, old and new Italian, running the gamut from eggplant parmesan to shrimp tempura and scallopine crowned with crab ravioli and finished with cream. Dinner: $$

PONTE VEDRA BEACH

The Augustine Grille
Sawgrass Marriott Resort
1000 PGA Tour Blvd. 904/285-7777
Superluxe resort with golf greens galore provides the backdrop for a class dining room with a skilled staff and a back room up to the challenge of bringing New World cuisine and California cuisine to northeast Florida. Dinner: $$$

SAN JOSE

La Cena Ristorante
6271 St. Augustine Road 904/737-5350
Chef-owner Jerry Moran makes his own pasta, bread and desserts, selects the freshest of produce, the finest of seafood and quality meats, and oversees an outstanding wine cellar, heavy on the Italians -- all at modest prices. Dinner: $$

ST. AUGUSTINE

95 Cordova
Casa Monica Hotel
95 Cordova St. 904/810-6810
Formally of Old City House, but in new digs, John and Darcy Comptom have stuck with a few well-established winners from their old favorites but have added such excitement as herb-crusted yellowfin tuna on crawfish risotto with saffron and pernod cream sauce and spinach salad with strawberries and bananas drizzled with a coffee, papaya and lime vinaigrette. Dinner: $$

A1A Ale Works Brewery & Restaurant
1 King St. 904/829-2977
Sensational capstone creation of the Mortons, responsible for Atlantic Beach's Ragtime Tavern, and featuring wrap-around second-deck viewing of famous bridge and the old town. New World fun-filled menu and on-site shiny brass brewery. Lunch and dinner: $$

Gypsy Cab Company
828 Anastasia Blvd. 904/824-8244
Cadillac food in a '46 Chevy setting with chef-owner Ned Pollack having fun with Floribbean adaptations and island spices, transcontinental sauces, and southwest inspirations. Lunch and dinner: $$

Le Pavillon
45 San Marco Ave. 904/824-6202
Since April 1977 chef-owner Claude Sinatsch has been serving consistently reliable food at budget-pleasing prices, from crepes and omelets to trout almandine, schnitzels and sauerbraten. Wife Gisale is in charge of the front room filled with Old Country charm and son Claude, recent culinary school grad, helps Dad out back. Lunch and dinner: $

Raintree
102 San Marco Ave. 904/824-7211
Magically transformed Victorian survivor with lush landscaping and an appealingly varied menu, from classic steaks and rack of lamb to Norwegian salmon with crunchy ground toffee nut brittle with spicy cumin cream sauce. Solicitous service and good wines. Dinner: $$

Saltwater Cowboy's
299 Dondanville Road 904/471-2332
Rustic hideaway tucked into the marshes, serving good ole boy cracker cuisine, from the fresh seafood to the finger lickin' good ribs. Dinner: $


CENTRAL
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ALTAMONTE SPRINGS

Straub's Seafood
512 E. Altamonte Springs Drive 407/831-2250
5101 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando 407/273-9330
Chef-proprietor Rob Straub is the painstaking professional who takes all the extra steps necessary to ensure his two kitchens are regularly supplied with fresh fish -- the whole fish for filleting by his crew, be it New England scrod or Florida black grouper. Dinner: $$

Maison & Jardin
430 S. Wymore Road 407/862-4410
Handsomely landscaped country manse of great class with formal service to match and a menu with such standbys as filet mignon, rack of lamb, veal chop, seasonal game and an excellent wine cellar. Sunday brunch in season and dinner: $$$

COCOA BEACH

Bernard's Surf
2 S. Atlantic Ave. 321/783-2401
Now into its second half-century of success serving fresh seafood off its own boats, with an adjacent raw bar as casual as its spin-off on the docks of Port Canaveral. Order the catch of the day, some rock shrimp or those super succulent Calico scallops. Lunch and dinner: $$

The Mango Tree
118 N. Atlantic Ave. 321/799-0513
One of the most lushly landscaped restaurant settings in the state, an enchanted garden with more magic coming from the kitchen, where the accent is on continental cuisine. Pasta is particularly easy to recommend as are the desserts. Dinner: $$$

COCOA VILLAGE

Cafe Margaux
220 Brevard Ave. 321/639-8343
Pamela and Alexander Litras are the happy owners of this little gem, polishing it to perfection organizing exciting wine dinners and serving such surprises as coriander-roasted breast of pheasant bedded down on buckwheat blinis with red cabbage slaw, and Norwegian salmon in pastry with spinach and arugula. Lunch and dinner: $$

DELEON SPRINGS

Karling's Inn
4640 N. U.S. 17 904/985-5535
The Caeners' son, Wayne with wife Heather, is now in charge of this happy little home, and he's added some contemporary fun to a menu that still shines with the joys of the German kitchen -- jaegerschnitzel with red cabbage, duckling and fillets of fresh trout. Dinner: $$

LONGWOOD

Enzo's On The Lake
1130 S. Hwy. 17-92 407/834-9872
Celebrating its 20th anniversary with a first-time Golden Spoon, this felicitous encapsulation of all good things Italian happily watched over by chef-owner Enzo Perlini is the perfect place to learn all about the magic of Italian cuisine and Italian wines and Italian charm. Dinner: $$

MELBOURNE

Conchy Joe's Seafood
1477 Pineapple Ave. Eau Gallie Causeway
321/253-3132
Frederic Ayres is the main man here as he is at another Joe's in Jensen Beach (3945 N. Indian River Drive; 561/334-1131) bringing breezes from the Bahamas with good conch, Bahamanian peas and rice, fresh fillets of fish. Lunch and dinner: $

NEW SMYRNA BEACH

Norwood's Seafood Restaurant and Wine Shop
400 2nd Ave. 904/428-4621
Seafood is only one of the specialties in this landmark rustic rambler. Others are the wine list, wine shop, mail- order business, the fact that it's the very model of a good-value-for-the-money discovery. Lunch and dinner: $

ORLANDO

Arthur's 27
Wyndham Palace Resort & Spa, Lake Buena Vista
1900 Buena Vista Dr. 407/827-3450
Panoramic views of sunsets and Disney fireworks are only two of the reasons to put this recently renovated landmark on your gastronomic grand tour. Food and service are reasons enough, whether you order the ubiquitous Chilean sea bass or the excellent beef. Dinner: $$

Chatham's Place
7575 Dr. Phillips Blvd. 407/345-2992
The staff is all smiles in this delightful little refuge from all the theme park hoopla, and they do a super job on shrimp and rack of lamb and serve black (not the lesser gag or red) grouper, sauteed and slathered with pecan butter. Lunch and dinner: $$$

Christini's Ristoranate Italiano
7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd. 407/345-8770
There can't be a restaurant award that over-achieving proprietor Christini has not received and does not have displayed on his walls, and you'll give your own after working through the extensive, classic menu, and the good wine list, served by a very professional staff. Dinner: $$$

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House
729 Lee Road 407/645-4443
There's top quality prime beef backing up all the hype as well as Down Under lobster tails and a good wine selection in this classic, high-energy, All-American winner. Dinner: $$$

Dux at The Peabody
9801 International Dr. 407/352-4000
You'll go quackers over this stunningly attractive enclave of elegance with fine offerings from the world's cuisines -- everything but duck -- presented with a good deal of fuss and finery. If you tire of that, try the excellent Italian grand ristorante alongside or the B-Line Diner. Dinner: $$

La Coquina
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort
Lake Buena Vista 407/239-1234
Hyatt pulls out all the stops at this flagship that has the best of Sunday groaning board buffets, a well-supervised staff working in a romantic lakefront room complete with piano and a menu that sparkles with New World finds. Sunday brunch and dinner: $$$$

Le Coq au Vin
4800 South Orange Ave. 407/851-6980
You'll be happily transported to the French provinces by Louis and Magdalena Perrotte, he whisking out back and she running front room with great elan, serving the namesake chicken in wine, braised rabbit, rack of lamb with rosemary-freckled potatoes. Lunch and dinner: $$

Le Provence Bistro Francais
50 E. Pine St. 407/843-1320
Two-story space with upfront lounge and Lyon native chef Laurent Carillon in command of a menu headlining seared snapper with a fine red pepper sauce, grilled lobster with a light saffron cream sauce, roasted veal chop and special creme brulee. Dinner: $$

Manuel's on the 28th
NationsBank Building
390 N. Orange Ave. 407/246-6580
The name honors the father of super-restaurateur Manuel Garcia, responsible for the peerless Pebbles group and a few other winners and now this capstone creation with impeccable service and a menu that defines what much of contemporary world cuisine is all about. Excellent wines. Dinner: $$$$

Nicole St. Pierre
1300 S. Orlando Ave, Maitland 407/647-7575
George and Monique Vogelbacher moved into this distinctive old house after their Cordon Bleu burned out in Winter Park, and they're performing the same superlative services, front room and back, with great breads and good wines. Lunch and dinner: $$$

Parramore House Cafe
625 Main St., Windermere 407/876-4488
New American Cuisine as interpreted by chef-owner Elliot Gonzalez,who salutes his fresh catch of the night with three citrus sauces, his salmon with blueberry boosted peach brandy and his New Zealand lamb with mustard honey glaze and rosemary au jus. Lunch and dinner: $$

Pebbles
2516 Aloma Ave., Winter Park 407/678-7001
17 W. Church St., Orlando 407/839-0892
2110 W. S.R.434, Longwood 407/774-7111
12551 S.R. 535, Lake Buena Vista 407/827-1111
Marvelous Manuel Garcia, a marathon runner on the side, masterminded this mini-chain, a fine value-for-the-money clump of cafes where the friendly professionalism of the wait staff is emphasized, the wine list is select and the kitchen creates a bounty of boredom-breakers. Lunch and dinner: $$

Sergio's Fine Italian Cuisine
355 N. Orange Ave. 407/428-6162
Chef Supreme oversees the delights that live up to his name at one of the best Italian grande ristorantes in the land. Chicken, veal and seafood are given special treatments and the wine list is a wonder. Lunch and dinner: $$$

ORMOND BEACH

La Crepe En Haut
142 E. Granada Blvd. 904/673-1999
There's far more than Breton pancakes in this gem, and at night the pancakes are strictly for dessert, served after entrees of filet mignon, shrimp and scallops or the signature fritata crab cake. Lunch and dinner: $$$$

SATELLITE BEACH

The Dove Restaurant
1790 Hwy. A1A 321/777-5817
This bird is really an eagle, flying high in the Italian sky, pointing the way to excellent pastabilities, very good shrimp creations and a zuppa de pesce assemblage of seafood that's sensational. Very friendly service and good wines. Lunch and dinner: $$

TITUSVILLE

Dixie Crossroads
1475 Garden St. 321/268-5000
The long lines usually stacked up tell you that here's a terrific value-for-the-money hideaway that's serving superlative rock shrimp, good grouper and fried mullet in the most honest of settings. Lunch and dinner: $

WALT DISNEY WORLD

California Grill
Contemporary Resort 407/824-1576
Penthouse panorama is as dramatic as what's prepared in the display kitchen, where top Disney toques bring the West Coast to the East using California produce, California culinary creations and California wines. Dinner: $$

Flying Fish Cafe
BoardWalk Resort 407/939-3463
Freshness is the word in this strikingly designed and enthusiastically cheffed -- John State deserves the credit -- stunner with such temptations as Peeky Toe crab cakes with ancho chile remoulade, potato-wrapped red snapper, and diver scallops with rock shrimp risotto. Dinner: $$

Victoria & Albert's
Grand Floridian Resort & Spa 407/824-1089
With superior everything, a changed-daily menu, chef's table for those who want to watch Mickey's master chefs in action, formal service to the nines and a great wine list, this is the most expensive Disney World restaurant on any campus -- and worth every penny! Dinner: $$$$

WINTER PARK

Maison Des Crepes
348 N. Park Ave. 407/647-4469
An always-fresh surprise tucked into the avenue's hidden garden with fine salads, excellent spinach souffle, seafood and soups and, of course, a tempting array of crepes filled with savories and sweets. Lunch and dinner: $$

Park Plaza Gardens
319 S. Park Ave. 407/645-2475
Neatly landscaped glassed-in courtyard with courteous service and a menu bristling with Dijon-zapped rack of lamb, pork chops splashed with Calvados and horseradish-coated salmon with good garlic-kissed mashed potatoes. Lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch: $$$


SOUTHWEST
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CLEARWATER/CLEARWATER BEACH

Alfano's
1702 Clearwater-Largo Road 727/584-2125
Neighborhood favorite since the early '80s soars to the Italian-American heights with careful preparation of most classics, perfect pastas and a caring, knowledgeable staff in charge of a splendid, reasonably priced wine cellar and a fine selection of grappas. Lunch and dinner: $

Bob Heilman's Beachcomber
447 Mandalay Ave. 727/442-4144
Now in their second half century of pleasing their legions of fans, the Heilmans must be doing something right -- like providing piano music and keeping the back-to-the-farm chicken dinner on the menu, enlivening it with more modern culinary departures. Lunch and dinner: $

Tio Pepe Restaurante
2930 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd. 727/799-3082
One of the great Spanish restaurants in Florida and still serving the classics in style, from white and black bean soups to bacon-wrapped shrimp and overloaded plates of paella, followed by flan and accompanied by sangria or Spanish wine. Lunch and dinner: $$

DUNEDIN

Bon Appetit
150 Marina Plaza 727/733-2151
Gulf-front panorama views are dramatic at any time of day, but great for sunset-watching when you can dine in great style on Continental offerings with a few nouvelle twists. Lunch and dinner: $$

Kelly's for Just About ... Anything
319 Main St. 727/736-5284
Chef-owner Virgil Kelly cut his culinary teeth at Sabal's next door and he's having a lot of fun in this happily funky setting, serving good wines with his homemade everything from duck sausage to eggplant-portobello-tomato Napoleons, flavorful salsas and sauces. Breakfast, lunch and dinner: $$

FORT MYERS

Peter's La Cuisine
2224 Bay St. 941/332-2228
The most sophisticated setting in Fort Myers with one of the most sophisticated menus in southwest Florida, one with nouvelle French accents added to the contemporary interpretations. Lunch and dinner: $$$

Johnny Brown's
Gulf Harbour Yacht & Country Club
15000 McGregor Blvd. 941/433-5111
The spirit of Addison Mizner is alive and well in this waterfront memory bank named for Mizner's pet monkey and featuring fine pastas, seafood with a variety of sauces, duck Chambord and jerk-spiced chicken. Lunch and dinner:$

HOLMES BEACH

Beach Bistro
6600 Gulf Dr. 941/778-6444
With unerring skill and a multitude of talents, owner Sean Murphy has assembled a staff of great competence and a wine cellar of great distinction and depth, inspiring the kitchen crew to create consistently exciting interpretations of his "Atlantic Rim" culinary escapades, all worthy of another Golden Spoon award. Dinner: $$

Bistro at Island's End
10101 Gulf Dr. 941/779-2444
Opened in October 1998 by the incomparable Sean Murphy to take some of the pressure off his Beach Bistro and to showcase new departures like classic onion soup with vidalias in duckling stock, grilled salmon with tamarind barbecue sauce and fresh grouper fillets coated with crushed cashews and coconut. Dinner: $$

LAKE WALES

Chalet Suzanne Country Inn & Restaurant
3800 Chalet Suzanne Dr. 863/676-6011
For 70 years one of Florida's true treasures in a fairyland setting with soup and sauce cannery, private air strip, unique menu that starts with broiled grapefruit and chicken liver and ends with crepes Suzanne and in between filet mignon, lamb chops, baked chicken like no other in the land, great rolls and good wines. Breakfast, lunch and dinner: $$$$

LONGBOAT KEY

The Colony Restaurant
Colony Beach & Tennis Resort
1620 Gulf of Mexico Dr. 941/383-5558
Into its second quarter century as a premier tennis center and home of contemporary Continental cuisine with annual festivals celebrating stone crab, wines and tropical fare in a stunning room perfect for the nightly ritual of sunset-watching. Lunch and dinner: $$

Euphemia Haye
5540 Gulf of Mexico Dr. 941/383-3633
Unique in every sense of the word, owners Ray and D'Arcy Arpke strive to perfect an already outstanding menu, while organizing cooking classes and doing TV to share the discoveries and delights. The second floor Haye Loft with live entertainment is perfect for lite bites and incredible desserts. Dinner: $$$

Harry's Continental Kitchen
525 St. Judes Dr. 941/383-0777
For two decades Harold and Lynn Christensen have been steadily growing their catering business, expanding into deli and take-out, then adding a restaurant where the operative words are freshness and friendliness. Lunch and dinner: $$

MARCO ISLAND

Marek's Collier House Restaurant
1121 Bald Eagle Dr. 941/642-9948)
Chef-proprietor Peter Marek is preparing his classics in a most historic setting, the home of Captain Bill Collier whose memory he salutes with the likes of lobster thermidor, sauteed scallops, rack of lamb and great desserts. Dinner: $$

NAPLES

Bistro 821
821 5th Ave. 941/261-5821
Owner Chip Shumway runs a class act with a young crew of enthusiastic chefs and servers who execute with precision and professionalism their mission of providing the locals with boredom-breaking food at all levels and good wines. Lunch and dinner: $$$

Chardonnay
2331 N. Tamiami Trail 941/261-1744
A garden-embraced gazebo that's distinguished by the glories of Gallic cuisine supplied by the joint talents of owners Rene Nicolas and Jean-Claude Martin, who have a staff of compatible servers and a good wine list. Dinner: $$

Ritz-Carlton
280 Vanderbilt Beach Road 941/598-3300
A superluxe star in Restaurant, Grill and Cafe with a fine wine cellar, a superlative level of service and the kind of kitchen expertise one has learned to expect when putting on the Ritz. Dinner: $$$$

Terra
1300 Third St. S. 941/262-5500
The terrific threesome of Tony Ridgway, Mary Brown and Suki Honeycutt continues its winning ways with a Mediterranean approach to the grilling of quality seafood and meats, operating with great skill their adjacent deli-wine shop, Tony's Off Third, with sidewalk tables for lunching and munching. Lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch in season: $$

PALM HARBOR

The Blue Heron
3285 Tampa Rd. 727/789-5176
Chef-partners Larry Lloyd and Robert Stea gird the globe for their fresh fare inspired by the cross-culinary currents of Asia and France flavored by New American innovations, favoring fowl in particular-honey crust duckling, cumin to spice chicken. Dinner $$$

PALMETTO/ELLENTON

Crab Trap
Hwy. 19, Terra Ceia Bridge, Palmetto 941/722-6255
4815 Memphis Road, Ellenton 941/729-7777
Casual rustic retreats with cracker menus of gator tail, perch, shad roe and crab in many wondrous ways. Lunch and dinner: $

PINELLAS GULF BEACHES

La Vigna Ristorante
17807 Gulf Blvd., Redington Shores 727/392-8001
Owners Sal and Cara Rando soar past the standard Italian-American cliches with such Neapolitan favorites as sauteed broccoli rabe with fennel sausage, roast pork and porcini, supreme seafood bolstered pasta. Dinner $

The Lobster Pot
17814 Gulf Blvd., Redington Shores 727/391-8592
Fritz Reiter is the omnipresent owner who takes the pride of Maine waters to the ultimate, steaming, sauteing, stuffing and saucing the red knights of the banquet table. Swordfish and snapper are also worth the trip and so too is the key lime pie. Dinner: $$$

Salt Rock Grill
19325 Gulf Blvd., Indian Shores 727/593-7625
An immensely popular and striking waterfront oasis with well-schooled grill chefs committing chicken, steaks and, above all, fillets of fresh fish to the open pit flaming with citrus and oak logs. Dinner: $$

The Wine Cellar
17307 N. Gulf Blvd., N. Redington 727/393-3491
Despite the high volume popularity and the extensive catering business, this is still a splendidly evocative setting with a series of Old Country rooms for outstanding European cuisine with good wines. Dinner: $$

SARASOTA

The Bijou Cafe
1287 First St. 941/366-8111
Owner-chef Jean-Pierre Knaggs presides over a downtown historic sentinel from the past with great style and substance. Start with crab cakes and proceed to his veal creations or one of his waist-watching entrees. Lunch and dinner: $$

Cafe L'Europe
431 St. Armand's Circle 941/388-4415
Pace-setter of the prestigious circle with a veteran, professional staff, good wines and a New European Cuisine menu without a single survivor from what put them on top for the past quarter century. The dazzle departure extends to table settings and the best cheese offering in the state. Kudos to owners TItus Letschert and Betsie Coolidge and chef Jeff Trefry. Lunch and dinner: $$$

David Michael's
328 John Ringling Blvd. 941/388-4429
New owners Didi and Danny Novak have taken over this prime second floor space complete with balcony overlooking the circle and the stimulating menu developed by David with its "flavors of the harvest and tastes of the planet," which they execute and deliver with great style accompanied by Danny on the piano. Lunch and dinner: $$

Michael's on East
1212 East Ave. 941/366-0007
Still the best show in town and certainly the best catering service and party venue with main restaurant a splendid capturing of Manhattan supper club and Normandie era ships. Service is the best in the area. Lunch and dinner: $$$

Michael's Seafood Grille
214 Sarasota Quay 941/951-2467
Partners Michael Klauber and Philip Mancini from the in-town Michael's have another winner on the waterfront, one with a Down Under Jazz Club and the same kind of professional service and supervision as the parent. Lunch and dinner: $$

SIESTA KEY

Ophelia's on the Bay
9105 Midnight Pass Road 941/349-2212
Owners Stan and Jane Ferro are responsible for this splendid little waterfront gem with a fine cellar and a kitchen that knows how to handle soft shell crabs, pork chops and pompano baked in the bag. Dinner: $$

The Summerhouse
6101 Midnight Pass Road 941/349-1100
Over-achieving executive chef-owner Paul Mattison and partner George Perrault are in charge of this stunning indoor-outdoor landmark as well as the informal Coasters and Sarasota Bread Company, while somehow finding enough time to run a class cooking school. Dinner and Sunday brunch in season: $$$

ST. PETERSBURG/ST. PETE BEACH

Keystone Club
320 Fourth St. N. 727/822-6600
Downtown discovery proudest of their prime rib but don't sell short the steaks, the fresh fillets of fish or those gator nuggets as kickoff to the feast. Lunch and dinner: $$

Maritana Grille
Don CeSar Beach Resort
3400 Gulf Blvd. 727/360-1881
The 1928 Pink Palace is extremely well-served by this signature sensation with dramatic aquatic-inspired decor and a talented executive chef, Eric Neri, hosting chef table performances in his kitchen. Fine wines. Dinner: $$$

Native Seafood & Trading Company
5901 Sun Blvd. 727/866-8772
Pedro Alvarez is the very definition of "hands-on" owner, designing and decorating his superb space with seafood market, spiffy service and his own "Scratch & Sniff" test with the seafood brought to the table before it proceeds to the kitchen. Dinner: $$

Pepin
4125 Fourth St. North 727/821-3773
Prime location for power lunches and authentic Spanish dinners built around fresh fish, quality beef and pork, and fine Spanish wines. Lunch and dinner: $$

Redwoods
247 Central Ave. 727/896-5118
Super chef-partner Joe Chouinard has raised the bar for St. Petersburg dining to heavenly heights with his happy Hawaiian menu accented with Asian and New Florida finesse. No one is doing a better arugula-spinach-Fuji apple-bacon salad with Maytag blue and guava balsamic vinaigrette or garlic-ginger-infused rack of lamb or wood-grilled fresh catches. Dinner: $$$

Renaissance Vinoy Resort
501 Fifth Ave. 727/894-1000
A magnificently restored and reborn landmark with top-rank Marchand's Bar & Grill, The Terrace Room and Alfresco doing so many things to perfection, including special menus, wine tastings and banquets, thanks to executive chef Tom Chin, who's been in charge since the reopening In 1992. Breakfast, lunch and dinner: $$$

TAMPA

Armani's
Hyatt Regency Westshore
6200 Courtney Campbell Cswy. 813/281-9165
Hyatt at its highest, from penthouse location to the top performance of staff, front and back, that mastermind the memorable osso buco, Barolo-blessed filet mignon and the stunning array of desserts. Dinner: $$$

Bern's Steak House
1208 S. Howard Ave. 813/251-2421
Our perennial Golden Spoon winner is not resting on laurels, not with the signing on of cutting edge chef Jeannie Pierola, who's doing marvelous things at SideBerns as well as introducing caviar bar, cheese-aging cave and shellfish display in the open-to-all kitchen. Dinner: $$

Columbia Restaurant
Seventh Ave. and 21st St. 813/248-4961
Florida's oldest restaurant is forever young with today's generation of the founding Gonzmart family always looking for ways to improve -- and to expand with spinoffs across the state, most recently in Disney's Celebration. Lunch and dinner: $$

Mise en Place
442 W. Kennedy Blvd. 813/254-5373
Chef-owners Marty and Maryann Blitz are the leading proponents of New Florida, New World, New Everything cuisine on the west coast with a fine selection of wines and innovations that are always in overdrive. (And for bistro-market excitement, don't miss their beautiful branch at 2616 S. MacDill in Tampa, 813/839-3939.) Lunch and dinner: $$$

Oystercatchers
Hyatt Regency Westshore
6200 Courtney Campbell Cswy. 813/281-9116
Water-tickling fish house of great class and dash with seafood selections so extensive and varied that you could dock here for weeks and never get bored. Lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch: $$$


SOUTHEAST
Back to Top

BOCA RATON

Arturo's Ristorante
6750 N. Federal Hwy. 561/997-7373
Vincent Gismondi of Arturo's clan is now in charge, with his wife at his side out front and his daughter in the kitchen, proving her northern Italian credentials, re-enforced by extensive experience in the Old Country and formal training this side of the Atlantic. Lunch in season and dinner: $$$

Boulevard Grille
Royal Palm Plaza 561/391-7734
A very well-served haven of heavenly food flowing out of a talented kitchen handling fresh fish with liberal doses of TLC and total mastery of farinaceous fare. In season there's sidewalk cafe sitting. Lunch and dinner: $$

Chef Reto's
41 E. Palmetto Park Road 561/395-0633
Chef-owner Reto Demarmels, aided mightily out front by wife Lynne, adds nouvelle and New World accents to a wide-ranging continental menu, complemented by fine wines and friendly service. Dinner: $$

Kathy's Gazebo Cafe
4199 N. Federal Hwy. 561/395-6033
Kathy is gone but her children, aided happily by the same competent Continental staff, keep all flags flying with fine wines and made-from-scratch freshness that can be observed up close at the counter. Lunch and dinner: $$$

La Petite Maison
366 E. Palmetto Park Road 561/750-7483
French charmer with spring bright colors, caring service and skilled chefs capable of adding nouvelle niceties on the Gallic classics, providing good wines as well as value for the money. Lunch and dinner: $$

La Vieille Maison
770 E. Palmetto Park Road 561/391-6701
The capstone of restaurant/wine guru Leonce Picot with a wonderful wine cellar, formal, experienced staff and a sensationally upscale setting providing a sophisticated stage for the Provence performances of chef de cuisine Richard Ruiz, a master of French Mediterranean cuisine. Dinner: $$$$

Max's Grille
404 Plaza Real, Mizner Park 561/368-0080
Serious competition from Mark's and Gigi's a few feet away has forced the Grille to share the summit, but they still boast a good staff of servers, an inviting bar and a crew of chefs in the display kitchen defining daily what has made so many Max restaurants successful. Lunch and dinner: $$

New York Prime
2350 N.W. Executive Center Dr. 561/998-3881
In its downtown decor, its staff of polished pros, a well-stocked wine cellar and chefs who treat beef and king-size lobsters with great respect, this is prime all the way. Dinner: $$$

Ristorante Sapori
Royal Palm Plaza
301 Via de Palmas 561/367-9779
The name means "tastes" and there are plenty of those -- all good -- in this felicitously served retreat of chef-proprietor Marco Pindo and wife Mara. In addition to a menu that always has some kind of reliable fresh fish, there are special event evenings featuring one or another ethnic cuisine. Lunch and dinner: $

Trattoria Romana
499 E. Palmetto Park Road 561/393-6715
Quintessential trattoria cheffed by Arturo Gismondi and watched over by father Giuseppe, both formerly of Arturo's in Boca. Pasta is perfect and so too the oversize mussels and soft shell crabs -- there are none better this side of the Chesapeake. Dinner: $$

COOPER CITY

Churchill's
10076 Griffin Road 954/680-0226
There's a medieval room with halberds and armored knights standing guard, an inviting pub and a namesake room with a bit more formality. Only in America! But it's fun even if it is in the most unlikely of places. Dinner: $$

La Brochette
2635 N. Hiatus Road 954/435-9090
Chef-proprietor Aboud Kobaltri is true to the name, specializing in everything grilled on the skewer, but his other creations are also memorable, especially his fresh fish of the night Mediterranean style. Dinner: $$

CORAL GABLES

Caffee Abbracci
318 Aragon Ave. 305/441-0700
The incomparable Nino Pernetti is the force behind this champion -- from the personal greeting at the door, to repeated table-hopping in very sophisticated rooms, and the all-seeing supervision of a fine staff, in back as well as front. May the force be with you! Lunch and dinner: $$

Christy's
3101 Ponce de Leon Blvd. 305/446-1400
A paragon of consistency serving properly prepared steaks embraced by great Caesar salads and baked Idahos. Some seafood, but if you want that try their 2-year-old Red Fish Grill in Matheson Hammock Park (305/668-8788). Lunch and dinner: $$$

Giacosa
394 Giralda Ave. 305/445-5858
Chef-owner Alfredo Alvarez is the main man here, and he shows a sure mastery of seafood, including a Spanish-inspired, salt-encrusted whole snapper baked in a brick oven. Good wines and a new Giacosa's Back Alley lounge with live weekend salsa. Lunch and dinner: $$

John Martin's Irish Pub and Restaurant
253 Miracle Mile 305/445-3777
John Clarke and Martin Lynch are the squires who brought the best of the Auld Sod to Miami -- an authentic Irish pub and casual dining room, recently adding a Saturday night cabaret complete with Irish Step Dancing. Lunch and dinner: $

La Palme d'Or
Biltmore Hotel
1200 Anastasia Ave. 305/445-8066
The Golden Palm is the best French restaurant in the state, and with its crew of French and French-trained chefs, its monthly Tour des Toques happening, and its special wine and food festivals, one of the best in the country. Dinner: $$$$

Mozart Stube
325 Alcazar Ave. 305/446-1600
"Gott sei dank" for Harald Neuweg who blesses us with this cozy Old World import, complete with steins of foamy beer and baskets of dark bread to complement platters of the best wurst and heroic shanks of pork and veal. Lunch and dinner: $

Norman's
21 Almeria Ave. 305/446-6767
He's here, he's there, he's everywhere, the trail-blazing guru of the south Florida breakout chefs who have devised cutting edge creations, putting the area on the world's gastronomic grand tour. Dinner: $$$

Restaurant St. Michel
162 Alcazar Ave. 305/444-l666
In a gloriously designed Art Deco Mediterranean setting, chefs Jean Claude and Jacques please the palate with the likes of Lillet-laced lobster bisque, sesame-coated tuna, chipolte and honey-roasted free range chicken. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch: $$$

Ristorante La Bussola
264 Giralda Ave. 305/445-8783
Now in her l6th successful year, owner Elizabeth Giordano is the happy empress of a noteworthy "nuova cucina," specializing in modern accents and interpretations of the classics of the Italian kitchen. Lunch and dinner: $$

DAVIE

Armadillo Cafe
4630 S.W. 64th Ave. 954/791-5104
Omnipresent chef-owners Eve Montella-Smith and Kevin McCarthy are responsible for this outstanding outpost of Southwest U.S. cuisine with everything regional from the land of cacti and chilies but armadillo. Dinner: $$

DEERFIELD BEACH

Brooks Restaurant
500 S. Federal Hwy. 954/427-9302
The Perron clan with Bernard at the helm have reinvigorated their Benvenuto in Boynton but not at the expense of this flagship, with its fixed price, great-value-for-the-money menus, carefully supervised service and a new wine cellar featuring no fewer than 80 select wines under 25$. Dinner: $$

DELRAY BEACH

Splendid Blendeds Cafe
432 E. Atlantic Ave. 561/265-1035
Chef-owners Richard and Nellie Lemon continue to polish their little gem with appealing sidewalk sitting, the friendliest of servers and menus bright with rack of lamb, perfect pastas, grilled yellowfin tuna with fresh garlic and balsamic syrup. Lunch and dinner: $$

32 East
32 E. Atlantic Ave. 561/276-7868
Located across from Old School Square, this two-story mecca has catapulted onto Golden Spoon turf in three short years, and they're expanding to a nightclub next door and a spin-off complete with market in West Delray, but super chef Nick Morfogen remains to work his wonders here. Dinner: $$

FORT LAUDERDALE

Bistro Mezzaluna
741 S.E. 17th St. Cswy. 954/522-6620
Perfectionist George Mayo oversees an upbeat, high energy happening with superior servings of anything that comes out of executive chef Michael Siegel's kitchen, from coriander and pepper-encrusted seared tuna to one-pound veal chops. Dinner: $$

Bimini Boat Yard
1555 S.E. 17th St. 954/525-7400
Marina-front location with an immensely popular social shopping scene on the weekends and over-active bars, but also serious cheffing and serving of fine salads, burgers, seafood specialties and pizzas from an oak-burning oven. Lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch: $$

Bongusto! Ristorante
5640 N. Federal Hwy. 954/771-9635
Chef-proprietor Antonia Cerone defines his title by meticulous attention to freshness, picking his own produce and growing his own herbs, and using a made-from-scratch approach. Good service and wines. Dinner: $$

Burt & Jacks
Port Everglades, Berth 23 954/522-5225
The views, especially on moon-bright nights, are what sells this Burt Reynolds-backed waterfront mission, but the outdoor lounge seating is stimulating and the rack of lamb and steaks easy to recommend. Dinner: $$$$

Cafe de Paris
715 E. Las Olas Blvd. 954/767-2900
I've been eating at this Las Olas landmark since 1971, and it's never been better thanks to the diligence of Louis Flematti, who also is responsible for the nearby French Quarter. Great sense of Parisienne place and good wines. Lunch and dinner: $

Cafe Martorano
3343 E. Oakland Park Blvd. 954/561-2554
Steve Martorano is the owner-chef of this storefront, which has the magic formula for success -- and long lines. Buy fresh, make it from scratch, change the menu daily and keep it honest to South Philly Italian standards. No wonder he's doubled his space. Dinner: $$$$

California Cafe
Hyatt Regency Pier 66
2301 S.E. 17th St. 954/728-3500
An independent operation on the shore of the Hyatt campus with a big money marina alongside and chefs who supply the indoor-outdoor tables with a California-inspired compilation of salads, seafoods and grilled meats. Lunch and dinner: $$$

Casablanca Cafe
A1A and Alhambra St. 954/764-3500
A model of adaptive restoration, a two-story reminder of the simpler past with patio panoramas of the beach and sidewalk people parade and with a marvelous menu skillfully executed by a highly competent kitchen. Lunch and dinner: $$

Casa D'Angelo
1201 N. Federal Hwy. 954/564-1234
Angelo Elia is back in his old digs and with wife Denise, a new partner and ultra-capable staff he's working his usual miracles with grilled veggies, fish and chops from the grill and wood-burning oven, super desserts and fine wines. Dinner: $$

Darrel & Oliver's East City Grille
505 N. Ft. Lauderdale Beach Blvd. 954/565-5569
Indoor-outdoor oceanfront spinoff from Cafe Maxx and like its parent, a Golden Spoon winner. Good service, good wines, good cheffing, good menu -- I can never pass up the oyster stew, the humongous salads or the knockout desserts. Lunch and dinner: $

Eduardo de San Angel
2822 E. Commercial Blvd. 954/772-4731
Chef-founder and family head Eduardo is back! Commanding the best Mexican restaurant in the state, executing his own time-tested recipes and techniques to perfection. Dinner: $$

15th Street Fisheries
1900 S.E. 15th St. 954/763-2777
Mike Hurst, professor at Florida International, former head of the National Restaurant Association and seminal force in the industry, is the main man here, and he runs a fine ship with fresh seafood, good wines, great breads and a lot of promotional imagination. Lunch and dinner: $$

Food Lovers American Cafe
1576 E. Oakland Park Blvd. 954/566-9606
Agnes Gallo, "the kitchen elf," is out back and husband Rene in the front of this straightforward no-nonsense nugget, a delightful value-for-the-money discovery with good rib-eye, salad presentations and baked salmon on a bed of creamed spinach. Dinner: $

French Quarter
215 S.E. Eighth Ave. 954/463-8000
Green thumb owner Louis Flematti spun this romantic retreat off from nearby Cafe de Paris and installed a largely New Orleans menu with good creole creations, fine wines, eye-popping desserts and professional staff. Lunch and dinner: $$

Grill Room on Las Olas
Riverside Hotel
620 E. Las Olas Blvd. 954/467-0671
Graces the ground floor of the landmark hotel with formal service, great wine cellar and a splendid menu with such specialties as Kobe beef, buffalo and giant Maine lobsters. Start at the bar with its Singapore setting. Dinner: $$$$

Hot Chocolates
3101 N. Federal Hwy. 954/564-5552
World class chef-partner Ulrich Koepf is the over-achiever who merges the world's cuisines for a magical evening in a highly professional presentation, both service and setting. Dinner $$

Il Tartufo
2400 E. Las Olas Blvd. 954/767-9190
There's no better courtyard setting in the state, with twinkling little lights everywhere, outdoor bar and indoor formality with super-solicitous service, good wines and a center stage wood-burning oven where excellent fish and meats are carefully prepared. Dinner: $$$

La Coquille
1619 E. Sunrise Blvd. 954/467-3030
Jean Bert is the chef-proprietor of this attractively situated slice of something special in the provinces, one with good wines, good service, good food, especially the fillets of fresh fish and anything with veal. Dinner: $$

La Ferme
1601 E. Sunrise Blvd. 954/764-0987
Count your blessings! The Terriers are back, Marie-Paule out front and chef Henri in the kitchen producing a fine pre-theater menu along with a carefully considered combination of the classics with some nouvelle accents but nothing excessive. Dinner: $$

La Reserve
3115 N.E. 32nd Ave. 954/563-6644
A romantic waterfront setting with formal service, an excellent wine cellar and a kitchen that handles the French-American classics with skill and consistency. The Teboul brothers, Guy and Richard, who have been on the scene since l972, deserve a standing ovation. Dinner: $$$

The Left Bank
214 S.E. Sixth Ave. 954/462-5376
Super energetic chef-owner Jean-Pierre Brehier is a Jacques of all trades with cookbooks, TV series and a widely circulated newsletter plus this anchor operation where his carefully trained staff performs with professional aplomb. Dinner: $$$$

Mai Kai
3599 N. Federal Hwy. 954/563-3272
This best of all Polynesian supper clubs is in its 44th year and it's as fresh as ever, from the famous Mystery Drink at the Molokai Bar to the exotic menu of Pacific Rim specialties, some of them from the Chinese wood-burning oven. And don't forget the fascinating show! Dinner: $$

Mark's Las Olas
1032 E. Las Olas Blvd. 954/463-1000
Chef-owner Mark Militello, founding member of the Mango Mafia, is seldom content to have just one outlet for his trail-blazing talents, and those of his skilled lieutenants, and he's cloned again with a Top Newcomer in Boca, but here he continues to define and refine New Florida cuisine at the highest level. Lunch and dinner: $$$$

Primavera
830 E. Oakland Park Blvd. 954/564-6363
Chef Giacomo Dresseno is now the master of this surprise with its attractive antipasto table and too-too tempting dessert cart, flanking his excellent creations featuring pasta, seafood and veal. Dinner: $$

Rainbow Palace
2787 E. Oakland Park Blvd. 954/565-5652
The challenge of sensational setting and formal service is met by a kitchen capable of turning out the best Chinese food in the county. Well worth the price and not a steam table in sight. Lunch (Thurs.-Fri.) and dinner: $$$

Sea Watch
6002 N. Ocean Blvd. (A1A) 954/781-2200
Fascinating tribute to the sea and nautical designers in an oceanfront two-story rambler with open-air porch, spiffy staff of servers and good value-for-the-money prices. Start with daiquiris on the second deck and proceed to some very good black bean soup or conch chowder followed by salmon paillard or something with shrimp. Lunch and dinner: $$

HOLLYWOOD

Giorgios Mediterranean Village
606 N. Ocean Dr. 954/929-7030
This $6-million spread on the Intracoastal by George Bakatsias and Peter Tsialiamanis, encompassing a terrific Taverna Opa, the spacious, bustling Giorgios Grill plus Bakery & Market, is a real happening and the most exciting development to hit the city in many a mango season. Dinner and Sunday brunch: $$

JENSEN BEACH

11 Maple Street
3224 N.E. Maple St. 561/334-7714
Progressive American Cuisine is what owners Mike, Margie and Nita Perrin produce with grand style in a sentinel to the past filled with antiques and nifty nuggets of nostalgia. Dinner: $$

KEYS/KEY WEST

Atlantic's Edge
Cheeca Lodge
Mile Marker 82, Islamorada 305/664-4651
Seafood from near and far is handled with great skill and given Floribbean flourishes in this attractively positioned tropical treasure on the ocean side of the island necklace stretching to Key West. Dinner and Sunday brunch: $$$

Cafe des Artistes
1007 Simonton St., Key West 305/294-7100
The menu is as French as its name with cognac-flamed seafood and the kind of creole sauces and candied pecans you'd expect to find in New Orleans. Dinner: $$$

Cafe Marquesa
The Marquesa Hotel
600 Fleming St., Key West 305/292-1919
The most upscale eating experience in town with fine wines, formal service and lots of fresh seafood -- a specialty is the buttermilk-soaked fresh yellowtail snapper served with a unique lemon-ginger butter. Dinner: $$$

Frank Keys Cafe
100211 Overseas Hwy., Key Largo 305/453-0310
Nestled into the trees away from highway roar, this little house is home of carefully prepared fresh fillets of locally caught fish plus a variety of seafood freshly shucked from the shell. Dinner: $$

Little Palm Island
Mile Marker 28.5, Little Torch Key 305/872-2551
A unique, historic treasure reached only by boat and with chef Michel Reymond in charge of a surprisingly ambitious menu complemented by fine wines and delivered by a professional, proud staff. Breakfast, lunch and dinner: $$$$

Louie's Backyard
700 Waddell Ave., Key West 305/294-1061
An early pacesetter of New Florida Cuisine and still blazing trails in a handsomely maintained old house with a fine seagrape-surrounded outer deck, which is always tempting but especially during the sunset ritual. Lunch and dinner: $$$$

LANTANA

Crab Pot's Old House
300 E. Ocean Ave. 561/533-5220
Yet another remake and upgrade inside and out with a new crew in charge, taking full advantage of one of the best waterfront settings in the state and delivering a menu featuring harvests from the deep. Lunch and dinner: $$

LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA

Aruba Beach Cafe
One E. Commercial Blvd. 954/776-0001
Super chef Chris Nealon is the main man here and he's in charge of a fine menu with sushi style starters, great luncheon burgers, numerous salads and pastabilities plus steaks and fillets of fresh fish. Lunch and dinner: $

Blue Moon Fish Company
4405 W. Tradewinds Ave. 954/267-9888
Special Waterway setting with display kitchen and inviting bar presided over by a pair of chefs who bring their island experiences to bear on the handling of fresh seafood. Pan-seared fish fillets are special, as are lunch salads. Lunch and dinner: $$

LIGHTHOUSE POINT

Cafe Arugula
3150 N. Federal Hwy. 954/785-7732
The Cingolanis, Carolann in the well-appointed dining rooms and chef Richard in the kitchen assembling a grand variety of such fusion specialties as pecan-crusted snapper and Cajun-spiced shrimp with andouille sausage and pecan-coated snapper. Dinner: $$$

MIAMI/MIAMI BEACH

Casa Juancho
2436 S.W. 8th Street 305/642-2452
Handsomely designed Spanish sensation with an upfront tapas bar filled with local movers and shakers there to meet and greet or to move on to dinners of excellent Florida lobster, paella or one of the signature fish dishes. Lunch and dinner: $$

Chef Allen's
19088 N.E. 29th Ave., North Miami Beach/
Aventura 305/935-2900
Allen Susser is a great chef, a leader of the south Florida restaurant revolution in recent years, a master of fusion fare, always creating along the cutting edge but never falling off as he goes through his paces in one of the best display kitchens in the land. Dinner: $$$

China Grill
404 Washington Ave., Miami Beach 305/534-2211
An immensely popular powerhouse place that sets its own paces while building its own empire with spinoffs and new departures in South Beach. The menu is always changing and always exciting and the place is always packed. Lunch and dinner: $$$$

Crystal Cafe
726 41st St., Miami Beach 305/673-8266
In the tiniest of kitchens chef-proprietor Klime Kovaceski produces some of the most stunning dishes for miles around. Not Asian fusion or New Floribbean but classics like osso buco and oven-roasted fillets of fresh fish blessed with lime juice and ginger. Dinner: $$

Doral Golf Resort and Spa
4400 N.W. 87th Ave., Miami 305/591-6616
There's a fine assortment of resort foods on the dinner menu, but the real appeal of this superluxe resort is the luncheon buffets and the eye-popping, table-bending Sunday brunches, complete with sushi bar and a dessert parade you won't believe. Lunch and dinner: $$

The Forge
432 Arthur Godfrey Rd., Miami Beach 305/538-8533
With museum collections of modern art, stained glass and a walk-in wine cellar, this is a must-see experience whether you waltz around the upfront lounge or retreat to one of the cozy banquettes for grilled beef and chops. Dinner: $$$$

Il Tulipano
11052 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami 305/893-4811
Ron Wayne is commander of this class operation with a stunning wine room backed by a fine list and a menu ably executed by chef Giovanni Moreno, who uses ingredients as fresh as the signature tulip on each table. Dinner: $$

Joe's Stone Crab
11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach 305/673-0365
Now in its 87th year, Joe's is bigger (475 seats) and more accessible with a Take Away & Coffee Bar and it's still THE place in the state to consume the claws, but don't forget other seafood selections. Lunch and dinner: $$$

Nemo
l00 Collins Ave., Miami Beach 305/532-4550
A seven-room ramble indoors and out by partners Myles Chevetz and chef Michael Schwartz, ably assisted by chef Frank Jeannetti. Together they merge and meld Caribbean accents with pan-Asian, watched over by a top team of servers. Lunch and dinner: $$$

Oggi Cafe
White Star Center
1740 79th St. Cswy., North Bay Village 305/866-1238
A simple storefront in a strip of no distinction except for that provided by the staff, front and back, and a menu that is skillfully executed, be it farinaceous fare, something with fresh seafood or a veal chop. Lunch and dinner: $

Osteria Del Teatro
1443 Washington Ave., Miami Beach 305/538-7850
Dino Pirola works the magic of producing a purse from a sow's ear of surrounds, creating a little gem, one with a superior wine list and unbelievable desserts. Dinner: $$$$

Pacific Time
915 Lincoln Road S., Miami Beach 305/534-5979
Chef-owner Jonathan Eismann pioneered the Pan-Asian phenomenon in south Florida and is still leading the pack with masterful and respectful handling of fresh Florida fish, be it black grouper from the Keys or soft shell crabs. Lunch and dinner: $$

Two Chefs
8287 S. Dixie Hwy., South Miami 305/663-2100
A blessing for south Miamians bemoaning the absence of fine dining, a mecca for anyone who wants to experience meals in which a multitude of ingredients are all held in balance and somehow come out wonderful. Appointments are as appealing as the presentations. Lunch and dinner: $$

Yuca Restaurant
501 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach 305/532-9822
Cutting-edge Cuban food with the imaginative ingredients and recipes never dreamt of in run of the mill Cuban beaneries, but then it's intended for the Yucas: the Young Upscale Cuban Americans. Lunch and dinner: $$$

PALM BEACH

Acquario
150 Worth Avenue 561/655-9999
International star chef Theo Schoenegger has a double-edged treat with his full-blown, formal room and a Mediterranean Grill alongside where you can find cassoulet, bouillabaisse and other down-home classics prepared in a new lighter way. Save the calories for Theo's incomparable risotto and the marvelous chocolate mousse. Lunch and dinner: $$$$

Cafe L'Europe
331 S. County Road 561/655-4020
An eye and spirit-pleasing slice of sophistication admirably suited to the area. The elegant decor, the flowers, the caviar-champagne bar, the superlative well-supervised service and the kitchen all perform to Golden Spoon perfection. Lunch and dinner: $$$$

Chez Jean-Pierre
132 N. County Road 561/833-1171
Nicole out front and Normandy native Jean-Pierre in the back make a terrific team, providing excellence everywhere, from the friendly, knowledgeable wait staff to the masterful executions of such stunners as onion soup, seared scallops with mushroom confit and honey-heated duckling. Dinner: $$$

Renato's
87 Via Mizner 561/655-9752
Part of the Desiderio grouping of restaurant success stories (Quisana in Manhattan and a trio in Capri), this one in an al fresco courtyard in the shadow of Addison Mizner's apartment tower. The service is splendid, the wines fine and the Italian kitchen skilled. Lunch and dinner: $$$$

The Restaurant
Four Seasons Resort
2800 S. Ocean Blvd. 561/582-2800
The world class oceanfront setting is almost as stimulating as the world class culinary compilations of executive chef Hubert des Marais, who also oversees the excellent bistro with outside patio, organizes fascinating wine dinners and other special events and conducts cooking classes. Lunch and dinner: $$$$

PALM BEACH GARDENS

Cafe Chardonnay
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R/V W.T. Hogarth Christening Ceremony
R/V W.T. Hogarth Christening Ceremony

With the crack of two bottles of champagne and the blessing from a local priest, Florida’s newest research vessel, the R/V W.T. Hogarth, was christened and launched for the first-time this week. The W.T. Hogarth will be used by the University of South Florida as well as more than two dozen institutions across the state.

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