October is National Seafood Month, but in Florida, every day is a great day to eat seafood! We’re known for our Stone Crab season, grouper (especially black grouper) and shrimp (Red Rock and Key West pinks) and that’s just the tip of the ceviche.

Popular right now is everything Poke, from Aloha Poke to Poke Havana in Clearwater, but we’ll keep that for another meal. While we like Billy's Stone Crab,   Keegan's Seafood Grille, O'Maddy's Bar and Grille, Crabby Bill's Fish Camp, The Wharf Restaurant & Bar and Dockside Dave's Grill or a yummy lunch, here’s where we head for a feast fit for Neptune.

Alto Mare Fish Bar

Beach Drive’s Annata opened a sister restaurant that wows with presentation and panache. The raw bar’s chef composed oyster plate is art, the salmon ceviche heavenly (whipped labneh, everything bagel spice, pickled onion, avocado oil), the lobster roll with sea salt and vinegar frites the best outside Maine and the crab aricinis (roasted corn, horseradish aioli and avocado mousse) a mighty small plate you won’t want to share. Diver scallops with roasted sweet corn salsa and roasted garlic aioli is my all-time favorite dish in town.

Florida fresh coastal cuisine with Chef Jason Vargo changes with the season, but house-smoked fish spread, pan-seared scallops in coconut curry sauce and charbroiled oysters in saffron shallot butter with Sriracha bacon are divine starters. The panko-crusted blue crab cakes with kiwi mango salad and Wild North Atlantic Cod pan-seared with lobster cream sauce pair well with the small, elegant wine list. Grab a lobster slider for a satisfying lunch.
Our three favorite locations are 4th Avenue, Belleair and Tyrone, especially on Martini Mondays. The fresh Atlantic salmon cooked on a cedar plank and glazed with Jim Beam bourbon maple glaze and fresh swordfish with seasonal pumpkin ravioli can’t be beat, and we always start with an order of spicy Bang Bang shrimp or lump crab corn chowder soup . If they have the lobster trio featuring the lobster-stuffed shrimp, order that.

Guppy’s On The Beach

A spectacular shrimp cocktail introduces Chef Scott’s bests such as local Gulf grouper panko crusted with lemon caper butter sauce, Rainbow Trout with blue crab beurre blanck, a feta shrimp sautee with kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon beurre blanc and the bacon-wrapped chargrilled swordfish served with asiago grits, or better yet, Southern-style with a kick shrimp and grits.

The fish tank, boutique wine wall and live music in the bar are both classy and Floribbean fare done right. Fresh sea to table cuisine, from the apps (tangy ginger calamari, Key West chowder) to the shrimp entrees and seafood catch of the day. Coconut Almond Shrimp is served with a mango habanero sauce, and coconut basmati rice and the grilled shrimp skewer comes with your choice of Thai Chili or Caribbean Jerk sauce.
For more mainstream elegantly presented seafood, Seaweed’s big daddy is this legendary waterfront restaurant. There’s a wonderful early bird menu ( dayboat fish roasted with shrimp in a crab cream sauce, garlic mashed potatoes is my fave) and the nautical patio bar are insider secrets. Seafood is perfectly grilled on a natural oak and citrus pit fire and the King Kong wine list and pristine cocktail concoctions make this exclusive restaurant more than a special occasion destination. Share starters such as the clams casino, Greek-inspired Medibbean shrimp or crab portabello topped with Alaskan King Crab, brie, smoke gouda and manchego cheese, then broiled.
A trio of salts from pink to black accent the deviled eggs and a William Dean’s chocolate for home are unexpected delights in this wine-centric restaurant (thank you Jackie Eash, sommelier) known for wine dinners and extraordinary, chef-driven cuisine.
 Asian style seasoning enhance the eclectic fresh seafood concoctions. Whether you choose sushi or oysters to start is up to you but don’t overlook the dynamic entrees such as black grouper miso with marinated jasmine rice, seared scallops with ramen noodles and yuzu butter, steamed king crab with bok choy and ponzu lime butter or the panko-crusted hogfish with vegetable Thai curry cream sauce.
A lovely patio and ambiance, dog friendly and casual seafood eatery featuring mangrove snapper tacos and red grouper sandwich, best eaten with jalapeno hush puppies and delicate fried pickles. Pick your fish from the board, get it grilled with light salt/pepper, blackened or citrus rub. Order a boat drink and chill.

Still hungry? From restaurants to caterers, the 727area is a Foodie Haven. Sample these delightful spots:  The Best Restaurants in St. Pete for Vegetarians and Vegans!, Bonjour! Best French Restaurants from Safety Harbor to St. Petersburg

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Photo courtesy of Alto Mare Fish Bar Facebook page