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Tough one - Best Restaurant in Florida?

Heck it's a question worth asking. There are just about too many factors, it's nearly too difficult of a question. Maybe it's been asked (search didn't turn one up right away though). Does one spot stand out in your mind? If you had to choose where to eat your "last meal"?

My criteria:

-Creative. First and foremost. Changing menu, imaginative and thoughtful.
-You can get out of there for $100 per person or less, with some (being reasonable) wine/beer/booze.
-Good service, doesn't have to be amazing, but the people have to enjoy what they do and where they work.
-Consistence, even in the most trying, busy periods, their commitment and diligence shows in the dependable quality of their food and proper preparation.

I would love to get everyone's input. For me it's Pane Rustica, hands down.

Thx guys!

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  1. And Pane Rustica is . . . where, again?

    For someone wanting a 'sticky' about naming the city or area of interest, you seem a little lax.

    6 Replies
    1. re: southocean

      Haha, well done man! I'm sorry, of all people I shouldn't be guilty of that sin :)

      Pane Rustica
      3225 South MacDill Ave
      Tampa, FL 33629

      1. re: askdrtodd

        Dr. Todd: I hope Kevin is giving you some kickbacks for all this promotion. You are obsessed. ;)

        1. re: Old E.

          hahaha I actually never even met Kevin until a few months ago, he's a pretty busy guy. Honestly I've eaten at that restaurant well over 100 times and less than 5% of the time has the food been any less than excellent. and in that 5% it's still good, but the bar is so high... :) I hope the expansion works out well for them.

          1. re: askdrtodd

            I'm sure they will be fine. Half the reason I don't go in there is due to the crowds. I can't take it.

            1. re: Old E.

              That's why when I eat out, I eat early. 11:15 or 11:30 for lunch, 5:45 or 6pm for dinner, the staff & kitchen is always less stressed, and the meal is typically more relaxed, and the food usually comes out promptly and with fewer errors. This has served me extraordinarily well for a few years now.

              1. re: askdrtodd

                I completely agree. Great policy.

    2. not based on your criteria...but the subject line: it's a toss up

      Joe's Stone Crabs
      Bern's Steak House

      2 Replies
      1. re: netmover

        I'd agree with you for sure as far as fine dining, and I could list a dozen places I could run up an astronomical bill and have an amazing meal, but I'm thinking a place like Pane Rustica, or Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, somewhere that most people could afford to eat at frequently (not special occasion type places), A+ food on an B+/A- budget :)

        1. re: netmover

          No question; no need to look further. Hands down Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa.

        2. Michael's Genuine Food & Drink

          1. I don't know if this meets your criteria, but if we're talking about the best restaurant in Florida for my mouth, my absolute fave is a tossup between Memories of India in Lake Mary and Samba Room in Orlando. (used to be a tossup between Jephanie Foster's Midnight Blue and Blue Bistro, but they have both closed) I've eaten at most of the highest end places in Orlando and one or two in Miami, and they are super, but my favorites just aren't those.

                1. re: HotMelly

                  Going on 35 years old, I guess they must be doing something right.

                  http://www.raindancersteakhouse.com

                    1. re: pdpredtide

                      Raindancer is probably the best steak house in SF. Okeechobee Steak House just up the street is pretty good, too.

                    2. re: freakerdude

                      That looks delish, but not quite a creative and changing menu?