RE: BRADENTON BEACH AREA
Stone crab season opens on Oct 15. Moores Stone Crab Resturaunt is the best. Just head south and take the first left at the north end of Longboat Key. Call first to see if they have any claws. Casual, great service and atmosphere.
The Colony on Longboat is highly rated. You will need a jacket, no tie.
Euphemia Haye is also highly rated although I was not all that impressed. They are known for their duck.
There are a number of fun/funky places close to where you are staying. I too would recommend the Beach House for the view.
The drive down to St. Armand's Circle is nice, don't speed.