Will be staying at Treasure Island area...any good recommendations for seafood and steak places, raw bar, puerto rican/DR/cuban food? I'll have a car so anyplace in the St. Pete area would be good. Also, any decent cocktail places that serves good food would be nice. I really don't know much about the area.
MUST go to the Floridian on Treasure Island for cuban sandwiches. Also agree with Middlegrounds, but sit at the bar, they usually have a live singer and the people watching is fun. Also the restaurant owner is into exotic cars, so check out the parking lot on the way in. Also, you might try the Pearl - they have tapas (bar only) and Moroccan food as well as the usual date night food.
I like VIP for Margaritas and their wet burrito. I have been treated rudely at Agave, but their food is delicious.
Yay O'maddy's!!! Sit outside no matter what.
Cocktails and bar food at Sea Hag's (on the bridge at the south end of Treasure Island) - they often have fantastic bands. And for a sip (no food) of gritty local yokel, hit up Katiki on Sunset Beach. You should be able to walk there - if you can't walk home, call Jimmie's Free Beach Rides for an open air tip-only ride home. Have fun!
I agree with Middle Grounds. It's really the only decent place on the beach. Alesia is close to Treasure Island, just over the bridge... it's French/Vietnemese Fusion.
If you have a car I would really recommend going downtown. It's not far from TI., its on the waterfront and there are a ton of sidewalk cafe restauraunts that are fun to have a drink and people watch. Downtown has many good options and you should really see the pier before they tear it down in a few months anyways. Gratzzi's for Italian, The Columbia (spanish) at the pier, Ceviche for tapas, Z Grille, Red Mesa for Mexican.
Don't miss Middle Grounds Grill...to me, they are the best seafood restaurant in Tampa Bay. Great happy hour, too. I second Aguave - wonderful Mexican food. And it's a bit away from the beaches (but not too far) but O'Maddy's in Gulfport offers some of the most imaginative lunch specials at affordable prices and in a beautiful setting on the water. (One of the few restaurants where the food lives up to the view!) Enjoy your trip.