Welcome to Metro’s Best 2011.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite businesses
and services in arts & entertainment, dining, shopping
and health & beauty. Here’s our guide to the best,
we’ve found 81 great reasons to call the Bay area home.
Arts & Entertainment
Chihuly Collection - Morean Arts Center
Best Center for Colorful Glass
A spectacular and brilliant collection of world-famous artist Dale Chihuly’s arwork in a space specifically designed to display the permanent collection.
Call 727.896.4572 or visit www.moreanartscenter.org.
Progress Energy Center for the Arts - Mahaffey Theater
Best Bayside Broadway
European box-style seating and views overlooking the St. Petersburg waterfront make this theater optimal for watching Broadway performances, the Nutcracker or The Florida Orchestra. The whole family will enjoy a trip to this beautiful theater.
Call 727.892.5767 or visit www.mahaffeytheater.com.
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Best Animals and Attractions
Get an up-close view of tigers, white rhinos, koalas, Toucans, and hippos at this world-renowned zoo. At the end of the day, let the kids go wild in the Wallaroo Station area complete with slides, tunnels and ladders or splash around in one of two water play areas.
Call 813.935.8552 or visit www.lowryparkzoo.com.
Best Place to Find Fame
Students of all ages will learn lifelong skills and reach their creative potential from world-class artists in the fields of music, dance and theater.
Call 813.222.1002 or visit www.patelconservatory.org.
Salvador Dali Museum
Best Surreal Museum
Showcasing Salvador Dalí’s work, the brand new museum houses the largest collection outside of Spain along the St. Petersburg waterfront. The new museum includes 96 oil paintings, over 100 watercolors and drawings, 1,300 graphics, photographs, sculptures and objects d’art, and an extensive archival library.
Call 727.823.3767 or visit www.thedali.org.
Best Classic Date Night
Built in 1926, this movie palace screams romance with its outside courtyard feel and nighttime painted ceiling with twinkling stars. Enjoy classic black-and-white films, such as Casablanca, Gone with the Wind and Sing-Along Wizard of Oz.
Call 813.274.8981 or visit www.tampatheatre.org.
Tampa Museum of Art
Best Public Art Museum
A cornerstone for downtown Tampa’s art culture, the museum recently closed an exceptional Degas: Form, Movement and the Antique exhibit after nearly a three month show. The permanent collection includes an extensive collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities, paintings and photography.
Call 813.274.8130 or visit www.tampamuseum.org.
The Florida Aquarium
Best Wildlife Encounter
The perfect place to swim with fish, meet penguins, dive with
sharks and see stingrays and sea turtles. For extra adventure,
take a 90-minute Wild Dolphin Ecotour.
Call 813.273.4000 or visit www.flaquarium.org.
The Glazer Children’s Museum
Best Place to Let the Kids Play
The perfect place to let your child explore and learn at 170 fun, interactive areas within 12 themed areas. Be careful,
they may never want to leave.
Call 813.443.3861 or visit www.glazermuseum.org.
David A. Straz, Jr. Center for Performing Arts
Best Theater Experience
Enjoy Opera Tampa, Broadway performances, concerts and shows in five unique theaters. Stroll down the beautiful Riverwalk after a performance to end an elegant evening.
Call 813.229.7827 or visit www.strazcenter.org.
Museum of Fine Arts
Best Comprehensive Collection
Admire the Gold Effigy Beaker made of Peruvian Gold in the permanent collection or view works by Georgia O’Keefe and Monet. For an extra treat, enjoy lunch in the MFA Café.
Call 727.896.2667 or visit www.fine-arts.org.
Best Local Art Gallery
An urban gallery features rotating exhibitions for contemporary glass artists, painters and photographers. Located in historic Grand Central Place, world-class artists receive recognition for their prestigious work. Call 813.250.1511 or visit www.baisdengallery.com.
The Palladium Theater at St. Petersburg College
Best Summer Jazz
The Palladium’s Side Door Summer Jazz Series runs through September 4, showcasing different artists each weekend. Ease your mind with blues, jazz and Hawaiian guitar tunes all summer long.
Call 727.822.3590 or visit www.mypalladium.org.
Best Hotel for Family Escape
Cozy up by a fire pit on the beach with the family and roast marshmallows over an open flame with the sounds of waves
crashing in the background. Reserve a room and escape to a
perfect summer getaway.
Call 1.877.726.3111 or visit www.sandpearl.com.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Best Play and Stay
With thousands of slots and live-action game tables to choose from, seven dining options to satisfy any taste you desire and
luxurious rock star accommodations, there’s never any reason
to leave the property.
Call 1.866.502.PLAY or visit www.seminolehardrocktampa.com.
St. Pete Times Forum
Best Multi-Purpose Venue
From hockey games to Cirque du Soleil, the St. Pete Times Forum hosts a wide range of concerts, sporting events and functions.
With over 150 different events held annually, the Forum is
definitely a multi-use venue.
Call 813.301.6500 or visit www.sptimesforum.com.
Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa
Best Pool with a View
Enjoy the elevated pool for spectacular views of Clearwater Beach
or reserve an air-conditioned poolside cabana complete
with poolside attendants, glass doors for optimal views and
sand-free flooring and couches.
Call 727.373.1234 or visit www.clearwaterbeach.hyatt.com.
Tampa Bay Rays
Best Baseball Experience
What better way to spend an evening or afternoon than cheering on our Rays inside the air-conditioned field at the Trop. Wear your favorite Rays jersey and don’t forget to rub a stingray at the Rays Touch Tank for good luck.
Call 888.FAN.RAYS or visit www.raysbaseball.com.
Best Dinner and a Movie
Watch the latest box office movie in a reserved, luxurious chair
while sipping a cocktail and indulging in a gourmet meal served
right to your seat.
Call 813.514.8300 or visit www.cobbcinebistro.com.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Best Surprise Season
The 2010-11 season that almost was, created hockey fever in Tampa Bay. The new ownership, coaches and management made significant changes and the Lightning came within one goal of playing for the Stanley Cup. Wait until next year!
Call 813.301.6600 or visit www.TampaBayLightning.com.
Best Surfer Chic Hotel
No two rooms are alike at this beachfront hotel. Each is uniquely accented to represent the look and feel of vintage beach towns and hip surfers. Tasty barbecue, burgers and beer make staying at this hotel all the more beach chic.
Call 727.367.2711 or visit www.postcardinn.com.
Florida Holocaust Museum
Best Museum to Honor and Educate
Honoring the millions of innocent people who died in the Holocaust, the museum dedicates itself to teaching the importance of human life. Original artifacts in one of the permanent exhibitions retell the story while the Education Center on the third floor allows learning from the largest Holocaust and genocide library in the southeast.
Call 727.820.0100 or visit www.flholocaustmuseum.org.
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Best Tapas in Town
Over 100 different hot and cold tapas, from garlic and olives to oxtail and chicken livers. Relax in a unique Spanish atmosphere and ambiance while sipping a glass of exclusive wine or sangria.
Call 813.250.0203 for the Tampa location or visit www.ceviche.com.
The Capital Grille
Best Dry-Aged Steak
Wine and dine in an elegant setting while enjoying nationally renowned dry-aged steaks. Each steak is filled with exceptional flavor combinations, making this cuisine a steak lover’s dream.
Call 813.830.9433 or visit www.thecapitalgrille.com.
Best Burger Mix
Offering nine types of savory burgers with 25 different topping options, this burger joint has everything needed for a great American lunch. Call 813.414.0101 or visit www.square1burgers.com.
Best Eclectic Music Venue and Eatery
After chowing down on fried gator tail or smoked salmon, step into the backyard concert area, the Skipperdome, to enjoy live music that ranges from blues to reggae.
Call 813.971.0666 or visit www.skipperssmokehouse.com.
Bern's Steak House
Best Classic Dining
Experience the art in steak as the culinary team prepares a steak exactly the way you like it, or choose a plate with favorite cheeses from two in-house cheese caves. Don’t forget dessert in the Harry Waugh Dessert Room where private booths and an after-dinner atmosphere will tantalize taste buds.
Call 813.251.2421 or visit www.bernssteakhouse.com.
Best Boutique Wine Bar
Choose one of 350 different wines from the new wine bar and browse through the wine shop to purchase a favorite bottle in this all-about-wine experience.
Call 813.831.1117 or visit www.crucellarstampa.com.
Texas de Brazil
Best Brazilian Steakhouse
Sit back and marvel as the Gauchos (Brazilian Cowboys) carry each slow grilled meat on sword-like skewers to every table, slicing off pieces of beef, lamb, chicken and sausage for each guest. A 50 item salad bar compliments the meal.
Call 813.871.1400 or visit www.texasdebrazil.com.
Best Revolving Menu
Every Thursday the eclectic menu changes to suit food that is fresh from local farmers and in season, so that only the highest quality food can be prepared and served. Recently named one of the best new restaurants in the country by the James Beard Foundation.
Call 813.237.2000 or visit www.thetamparefinery.com.
Best Upscale Mexican Dining
The perfect blend of sophisticated dining and Mexican food awaits in Wesley Chapel, with only the freshest meats and ingredients served. Save room for flan, the traditional mexican custard dessert.
Call 813.907.3068 or visit www.cantinalaredo.com.
Marchand’s Bar & Grill
Best Special Occasion Dining
Located inside the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, this elegant
restaurant provides a sophisticated atmosphere and dining experience for that special occasion.
Call 727.824.8072 or visit www.marchandsbarandgrill.com.
Ella’s Folk Art Cafe
Best Sunday Afternoon Escape
Soul food Sundays at the cafe is a great place to eat and jam. Experiment with new combinations, such as fried chicken and
waffles or chocolate covered bacon or even Kansas City Style
BBQ while listening to live music.
Call 813.234.1000 or visit www.ellasfolkartcafe.com.
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. There is indoor and outdoor dining, along with a full service bar to suit a group of old friends or a party of one.
Call 813.254.9463 or visit www.wineexchangetampa.com.
Best South Tampa Place to be Seen
From pasta to steaks this restaurant serves up a delicious menu. Monthly Celebrity Bartending Nights bring money back into the community and provide new entertainment to regular guests.
Call 813.250.1661 or visit www.717south.com.
Best Authentic Mexican South of the Border
Estela’s brings out the authentic culture and flavors of a true
Mexican restaurant. Start with the zesty Guacamole dip then
delve into one of 25 combination plates. Located in Tampa,
Brandon, St. Petersburg and New Port Ritchey.
Pane Rustica Bakery & Cafe
Best Artisan Eatery
For breakfast, lunch and dinner this cafe’s intimate ambiance provides a tasty experience. A sweet treat of cupcakes, cookies, pastries and breads will certainly please. The addition of a bar last year is a cool place to grab a bite to eat and relax with friends.
Call 813.902.8828 or visit www.panerusticabakery.com.
Best Lunch Menu
For a quick business meeting or a long lunch break, Datz has a sandwich for everyone. Choose from five corned beef & pastrami or from 25 other mouth-watering sandwiches includin
g Cue the Brisket and Birds of a Feather - a delicious chicken salad. Great winebar upstairs. Open for breakfast, dinner and late night too. Call 813.831.7000 or visit www.datzdeli.com.
Best Sidewalk Cafe
With outdoor patio seating or cool air inside, Chef Tyson Grant really knows how to prepare a delicious lunch, dinner or dessert entree and uses only the freshest ingredients. The perfect spot for people watching along Beach Drive in St. Petersburg.
Call 727.896.9463 or visit www.parkshoregrill.com.
Best Mediterranean Cuisine
Take a trip into Lebanese culture by enjoying authentic Lebanese cuisine and lively belly dancing every Friday and Saturday night. During the week don’t forget to check out the early dinner menu.
Call 813.805.7977 or visit www.bybloscafe.com.
Best Creative Cuisine
Hip and trendy, this restaurant serves up creative food for brunch, lunch and dinner. Try the Snickers waffle for brunch or the escargot quesadilla for dinner. Your taste buds are sure to have a field day.
Call 727.822.9600 or visit www.zgrille.net.
Best Piano Bar & Outdoor Scene
What better way to enjoy an elegant night out on the town than with prime steak or seafood and live music. The piano bar sets the mood for any occasion.
Call 813.490.5288 or visit www.oceanprimetampa.com.
Best Wings On The Beach
Chow down on beach bar grub and teriyaki wings under the
sun deck, then sink your feet into the St. Pete beach sand and
play a game of volleyball on the courts. Don’t forget that every Tuesday is live jazz night.
Call 727.368.9000 or visit www.undertowbeachbar.com.
Best Scenic Rooftop Deck
Located in the North Franklin Historic District, this restaurant surrounds its interiors with local music and art. The rooftop deck makes a great destination for happy hour.
Call 813.275.5000 or visit www.flybarandrestaurant.com.
Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro
Best Boat-side Dining
After a long day of fishing, dock the boat at this waterfront bistro and tantalize an appetite with fried Luisiana crawfish or filet niccolini.
Call 727.894.4429 or visit www.frescosbistro.com.
Salt Rock Grill
Best Seafood Dining
Partnered with local fisherman, this restaurant provides fresh seafood that’s caught daily. Land lovers can enjoy steak cooked over the natural oak and citrus wood pit fire.
Call 727.593.7625 or visit www.saltrockgrill.com.
Best Spanish Experience
The world’s largest Spanish restaurant is located right around the corner in historic Ybor City. Enjoy award-winning Spanish cuisine, talented Flamenco dancers and an on-site gift shop. Catch a professional cigar rolling demonstration during lunch hours.
Call 813.248.4961 or visit www.columbiarestaurant.com.
Best Mexican Combination
Located in St.Petersburg, the Red Mesa redefines Mexican food. Along with traditional Mexican dishes, they also provide meals with a combination of influences, from Southwestern spices and Cuban flavors to Caribbean and Asian combinations.
Call 727.527.8728 or visit www.redmesarestaurant.com.
Best Modern Italian
Beset with hand-glazed tiles and blown-glass lighting, the restaurants interior lends an elegant atmosphere located inside the Renaissance International Plaza Hotel. The menu changes each season, but the Italian and French influences never go away.
Call 813.313.3253 or visit www.pelagiatrattoria.com.
Best Fresh Menu
With seasonally inspired menu choices, and an award winning international wine list, Seasons 52 is sure to surprise the palate.
Call 813-286-1152 or visit www.seasons52.com.
Hula Bay Club
Best Laid-back Eatery
Indulge in the freshest seafood and sushi while relaxing by the waterfront pool or down at Dukes. Between live music and DJ’s, this Hawaiian atmosphere provides a feel of the islands.
Call 813.837.4852 or visit www.hulabayclub.com.
Cassis American Brasserie
Best French Feel Dining
A romantic, French Riviera feel located on Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg. The restaurant serves affordable lunch, brunch, dinner, small bites, ice cream, dessert, coffee and cocktails that are American classics with a French twist.
Call 727.827.2927 or visit www.cassisab.com.
Located on the 14th floor of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, this Italian cuisine is surrounded with stunning views of Old Tampa Bay. Don’t leave without indulging in the antipasto bar.
Call 813.207.6800 or visit www.grandtampabay.hyatt.com.
Mise en Place
Best Modern American Cuisine
A Tampa Bay area culinary delight celebrating 25 years in 2011. Owners Maryann Ferenc and Chef Marty Blitz keep delighting patrons with innovative choices for lunch and dinner. The bar is a an ideal spot to meet for a glass of wine or before-dinner cocktails.
Call 813.254.5373 or visit www.miseonline.com.
Best Home Cooking
Don’t have time to cook dinner every night this month? Visit Dinner Done, where you pick the entrees, they provide the recipes and everything needed and in two hours take home a cooler full of delicious meals for the month.
Call 813.264.7700 (Carrollwood), 813.684.6900 (Brandon) or visit www.dinnerdone.com.
Best New World Cuisine
After a fresh remodel in the beginning of July, SideBern’s exquisite dining room is better than ever. Don’t worry though, the menu offers the same tantalizing options, from grilled octopus to mustard crusted wreckfish.
Call 813.258.2233 or visit www.sideberns.com.
Best Downtown Tampa Oasis
By land or sea. Take a break in Tampa’s downtown along the Riverwalk with great food, great music and great views. This
pet-friendly urban oasis even offers complimentary dog bones,
water dishes, clean up stations and a doggie menu.
Boat docking is available.
Call 813.373.1193 or visit www.sailpavilion.com.
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Shopping & Style
JC’s Boutique & Alterations
Best Affordable Fashions
Find the latest chic trends without spending a fortune in a friendly, fashionable atmosphere. Alterations and simple repairs are available at this South Tampa gem.
Call 813.205.1841 or visit www.jcsboutique.com.
Reeves Import Motorcars
Best Place To Pick Up Your Dream Ride
Family owned and operated since 1971, Reeves Import Motor Cars has been proudly serving the greater Tampa Bay area with some of the most exquisite cars on the road today. Their commitment to perfection is exceeded by their resolve to offer the highest levels of customer service in the luxury automobile industry. Automotive lines include Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Maserati, Porsche, Subaru and Volkswagen.
Call 813-933-2811, or visit, www.reevesimportmotorcars.com.
La Vie en Rose
Best Neighborhood Florals
Dreams will come to life with La Vie en Rose’s combination of chic floral designs and full element decor designs. Beautiful standard flower arrangements for any occasion are available.
Call 813.253.3905 or visit www.lavieflorist.com.
Best Doggie Shop
From dog ties, custom tags and fabric collars to luxury chenille blankets, this Hyde Park boutique will outfit your pooch in style.
Call 813.250.DOGS or visit www.shopdowntowndogs.com.
Best Local Jewelry Designer
Inspired creations with stones and rare items, Meredith Haws
jewelry is unique and hand-crafted. Available online and at
Deborah Kent’s in Tampa.
Call 813.992.5395 or visit www.meredithhawsjewelry.com.
Best Couture Boutique
Fantastic service awaits at this contemporary boutique carrying designs by Alice + Olivia, Elizabeth and James and Trina Turk . Pets are welcome at this shop to help browse through popular couture labels and discover the perfect wardrobe addition.
Call 813.805.2060 or visit www.paradiseislandboutique.com.
Marion’s Gifts & Clothing
Best Fun & Trendy Shop
The family owned store carries a wide selection of Vera Bradley
and Brighton brands. The perfect place to find a great pair of jeans
or the ideal gift.
Call 1.866.627.4667 or visit www.marionsonline.com.
Best Contemporary Boutique
A SoHo staple for 11 years, Owner Scott Moore recently expanded his selection to include women’s clothing too. Great club wear, t-shirts and a selection of jeans, shorts and beach wear.
Call 813.251.5522 or visit www.urbanbody.com.
Best Wardrobe Builder
With everything needed to put together the perfect look, whether casual or dressy, Deborah Kent’s will help develop any sophisticated wardrobe including local designer jewelry and shoes.
Call 813.259.1150 or visit www.deborahkents.com.
The Pink Palm
Best Shop For All Things Lilly
The Pink Palm is Tampa Bay’s only signature Lilly Pulitzer boutique. These colorful and chic designs are a must have during
the hot summer months.
Call 877.242.9718 or visit www.pinkpalmflorida.com.
Best Unique Home Fashions
Distinctive and rare home products are Casa Nova’s specialty. Create a more personalized home with eclectic furnishings, lighting and artwork. Design services are now available.
Call 813.837.8282 or visit www.shopcasanova.com.
Best Famous Accessories
Look like a movie star with the Otazu Sex & the City 2 jewelry collection and exclusive Virgin Saints and Angels designs. These pieces are sure to get you noticed. The
perfect shop to find a casual dress and the trendies of accessories.
Call 813.902.0500 or visit www.lovethatonline.com.
The Silver Queen
Best Place Setting
Wide selection of china, crystal and silver makes gift registry a must for any occasion including upcoming nuptials. Find the perfect gift for any occasion, from baby showers to Valentine’s Day.
Call 800.262.3134 or visit www.silverqueen.com.
Best Ahead-of-the-Trends Boutique
With everything from clothing to jewelry, this trendsetting boutique provides the latest fashions from head to toe.
Call 727.545.4900 or visit www.parisisabella.com.
Georgette’s Boutique & Shoe Salon
Best Dress Selection
From prom to cocktail party, Georgette’s has a dress for any
occasion in the latest styles.
Call 813.254.1141 or visit www.georgettesfashions.com.
Best Shop for Charm
Complete any room with organic art, authentic lighting and one-of-a-kind seating from this classic decor store in Hyde Park.
Call 813.254.3337 or visit www.magnoliastyle.com.
Kit’s Well-Heeled & Well-Dressed
Best Edgy Fashions
A recent move on Swann Avenue in Tampa allows Kit’s to feature a wide selection of the latest fashionable tops, jeans and dresses. Call 727.250.1253 or visit www.kitswelldressed.com.
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Health & Beauty
Best Natural Nail Spa
Only the finest ingredients and toxin free products are used at this
eco-friendly spa. No appointments are necessary for a drop in affordable mani/pedi combo. Try the Shellac polish for long
lasting manicure results.
Call 813.837.2600 or visit www.cravespa.com.
Glow Day Spa
Best Hidden Treasures
After having a signature massage or a facial, be sure to browse the boutique with one-of-a-kind treasures from around the globe.
Call 813.832.8000 or visit www.glowdayspatampa.com.
Best Celebrity Cut
Look and feel like a celebrity after a trip to Salon Jack. Stylists put passion into each client’s desired look and complete each cut with a model perfect blow dry.
Call 813.831.8955 or visit www.salonjack.com.
Pia Esthetics Day Spa & Body Shop
Best Wax In Town
Get that beach ready body with a wax from one of Pia’s top professionals at two area locations in South Tampa or Westchase. Feel smooth and flawless for weeks. Try out a body treatment
Call 813.831.2418 or visit www.bypia.com.
Best Escape Spa
Transport into another place and time, away from the stresses of everyday life, in a private outdoor oasis or enjoy an indoor treatment with a signature massage, facial or pedicure.
Call 813.835.9549 or visit www.spajardin.com.
Best Non-Surgical Treatments
Get the skin you’ve always wanted with vein and cosmetic treatments. Cosmetic services include cellulite treatments and pigmentation correction.
Call 888.434.9192 or visit www.veincentertampa.com.
Spa Moritz Salon & Spa
Best European Nail Salon
Shellac & Minx nails are the latest craze, and colours are often blended just for you. Try the Chocolate Martini Pedicure or Caviar Pedicure for beautiful feet!
Call 813.971.4772 or visit www.spamoritz.com.
Compiled by By Ronda M. Parag and Katie Toot
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