Good thing J.P. Licks launched a new line of ice cream cakes in time for its 40th birthday. Now we can properly celebrate the small chain of Boston-area scoop shops, which has gifted us over the years with countless creative flavors served in cones and cookie sandwiches. All of them are still handmade at Licks’ home base in Jamaica Plain, including a few boozy varieties — like caramel-bourbon-fig or cherry-amaretto — that would feel particularly appropriate for raising a ruby anniversary toast. Multiple locations, jplicks.com.
Love Dog Hot Dog Buffet
In the parking lot of a motorcycle dealer in the distant shadow of the Encore casino, a trailer bumping Latin beats serves hard-to-find Brazilian hot dogs deep into the night. The ridiculously delicious sliced dogs, if ordered complete, are as (over)loaded as they would be at a block party in Rio — hot-pressed with sweet corn and peas, seasoned beef sauce, mayo, mashed potato, and more, more, more. You will devour one. You will be called “friend.” You are so coming back. 1865 Revere Beach Pkwy., Everett, MA 02149, facebook.com/vandeju.
Union Square Donuts
We thought we couldn’t possibly love Union Square Donuts’ soft, flaky pastries, filled with homemade pineapple preserves, glazed with blackberry-basil-lime icing, and studded with smoky-sweet Vermont maple bacon, any more than we already do. Then the Somerville-born bakery, led by recent Food Network Holiday Baking Championship finalist Sarah Belisle, started offering its treats at outposts of the Bagel Table, another growing Boston-area brand. Now we know where to go for a morning fix of sugar and everything spice — and boy, is it nice. Multiple locations, unionsquaredonuts.com.
How a swish Mediterranean-inspired restaurant ended up with the best fried chicken in Boston is a mystery to solve later. For now, we’re too fixated on the ultra-crunchy, golden-brown skin and moist, piping-hot meat, as well as the refined spins on cookout sides: say, scoops of mashed celeriac-walnut skordalia. 21 Drydock Ave., Seaport, MA 02210, chickadeerestaurant.com.
Shōjō’s “Shadowless” fries might not be poutine by the strictest definition, but this fusion twist on the Canadian comfort food is too good to argue over technicalities. It trades brown gravy for a spicy sauce of beef mapo tofu, replaces curds with tangy “kimcheese,” and employs super-crispy duck-fat fries that can contend with anything offered up in Montreal. 9 Tyler St., Chinatown, MA 02111, shojoboston.com.
Chef Sarah Wade’s Okie roots shine in epic comfort foods like her signature gooey, cheddar-sharp mac ’n’ cheese. Even better is Wade’s takeout-only “Mac Bar” menu for build-your-own bowls with fixings such as smoked chicken chili and roasted tomato sauce. 120 Kingston St., Downtown, MA 02111, stillwaterboston.com.
Outdoor dining is a great way to see the city from every angle — and that's exactly why we love Eastie’s waterfront Reelhouse, which offers uncommonly sweeping skyline views to accompany its specialty spritzes and global cuisine. Plus, it’s just a short walk away from the Tall Ship, its new sibling oyster bar located aboard an actual 245-foot vessel moored at a pier. 6 New St., East Boston, MA 02128, reelhouseboston.com.
Lookout Rooftop and Bar
Sunset cocktails never tasted as good as they do at Lookout Rooftop & Bar, which serves up an exceptionally elevated, buzzy scene from a seventh-floor vantage point that offers vistas of cloud-scraping buildings and bobbing boats below. 70 Sleeper St., Seaport, MA 02210, theenvoyhotel.com/dining/lookout-rooftop-and-bar.
Bostonians are only the Bourne Bridge away from a summertime escape to the Cape. But when you want to feel transported to more-tropical climes, travel to the tiki-bar-style setup at Shore Leave in the South End. It's the perfect place for cooling off with fruity yet finessed rum-soaked drinks and Pacific Rim–inspired snacks such as okonomiyaki tater tots swimming in jalapeño cheese with katsu sauce and bonito. 11 William E Mullins Way, Boston, MA 02118, shoreleaveboston.com.
Booking a dinner on a big, buzzy, splashy restaurant patio is a fine way to impress a first date. But when it's time to build a truly romantic vibe — and settle in for quieter conversation — we love tucking into a meal on more-intimate patios, like the one at Roslindale Village’s Italian charmer Sophia's Grotto; its brick-laid courtyard, hidden from street view, is the ideal spot for Lady and the Tramp–style canoodling. No wonder we’re in love with the al fresco era. 22 Birch St., Roslindale, MA 02131, sophiasgrotto.com.
A lot of restaurants pivoted to add grocery sales this year, but none did it quite like Pagu. Yes, chef-owner Tracy Chang stocks the virtual shelves of her market with jars of house-made condiments (including her bomb-dot-com Umami XO sauce), chef-driven provisions (see the eye-popping purple pancake mix made from taro root), and meal kits, all reflecting her restaurant’s Japanese-Spanish cuisine. Just as important, though, she’s also long on essentials — flour, EVOO, fresh produce — and through her new organization, Project Restore Us, home-delivers them to communities in need. 310 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139, gopagu.com.
Rhythm ‘n Wraps
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE: Fried chicken. WHAT IT REALLY IS: Shredded jackfruit that’s remixed into a patty, breaded, and fried. WHY TO GET IT: Between the zingy pickled red onions and cilantro aioli, the flavor is as bright as the bouncy hip-hop music playing overhead. 1096 Commonwealth Ave., Allston, MA 02134, rhythmnwraps.com.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE: A steak and cheese. WHAT IT REALLY IS: Shaved and seasoned maitake and hon-shimeji mushrooms that are sautéed with peppers and onions, piled into a sub roll, and positively doused with gooey pimiento cheese. WHY TO GET IT: Besides the cheese sauce? Because it pairs perfectly with a boozy frappe made with scoops from the café’s sibling ice creamery, Gracie’s. 399 Binney St., Cambridge, MA 02142, orderearnest.com.
Douglass Williams, Mida
What makes a great chef? Great food, of course, such as Mida’s bowls of lovingly crafted carbonara, soft bricks of super-buttery, garlicky focaccia, and other Italian comforts. More than that, though, Williams has mastered every little detail in the holistic art of hospitality: Setting the scene with soothing (and flattering!) soft lighting, he shares unforced charm with guests at Mida’s original South End enoteca and a new, twice-sized sibling in Newton, which adds New Haven–style pizza — a preview of Williams’s soon-to-launch pie project, Apizza — to this Renaissance man’s repertoire. 782 Tremont St., South End, MA 02118, midarestaurant.com.
At this relative newcomer in North Cambridge, the presentation is so artful that you almost feel guilty (almost!) for polishing off the expertly cut and dressed Japanese sea bass, isaki, and kasago. Guess what? You’ll get over it. After all, chef Gary Lei, an Uni alum, highlights the freshest and most flavorful fish around, and mercifully, his multicourse experiences don’t come with the eye-popping prices attached to most omakase. See? Guilt vanquished. 2372 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140, umamiomakase.com.
In the big-screen dramatization of the Back Bay’s pandemic response, Saltie boss Kathy Sidell (Diane Keaton), megaphone in hand, directs an army of staffers to close next-door Met Club, give her popular oysteria the run of the larger space, and turn the original pint-size digs into a baller curbside seafood-pizza joint, as a triumphal French horn erupts in the background. Which is...pretty close to reality 281 Dartmouth St., Back Bay, MA 02116, saltiegirl.com.
Gourmet China House
One day, the Lyft-and-tunnel pilgrims lined up outside Chinatown institution Gourmet Dumpling House will discover that the Taiwanese and Sichuan eats are even better at its spacious sibling across the street — with enough awfully (often offal-y) tasty options on its menu for the kung-pao-basic and goose-intestine-with-chive-flower-curious alike. 55 Beach St., Chinatown, MA 02111, gourmetchinahouse.com.
Fields Corner has, well, cornered the market on top-tier Vietnamese, especially the magical half-mile stretch of Dot. Ave. dotted with a dozen joints serving exemplary banh mi and pho. Our current crush? Nearby Ánh Hồng, where the caramel-sauce catfish is a salty-sweet dream, licorice-laced broths gurgle with musky complexity, and the seven-course beef feast is priced right for Tuesday night. 291 Adams St., Dorchester, MA 02122, anhhongboston.com.
Brassica Kitchen + Café
In its playful, never-ending quest to give the people what they want, Brassica has worn a dizzying number of hats this year: breakfast nook, provisions kiosk, empanaderia, fish taverna. Along the way, we worried fantastic menu fixtures like Brassica’s hot, made-fresh-daily doughnuts might get overshadowed. Judging by how quickly they sell out, our fears were misplaced. 3710 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, brassicakitchen.com.
So what if the social-media-savvy owner’s Twitter spats are spicier than the marinara? You can taste the passion that former sports reporter Jen Royle puts into gently cheffy spins on homey Italian fare like stuffed artichokes, chicken Parm, and penne Bolognese. It’s all made with love and served on shareable platters with a lively-bordering-on-raucous ambiance. In other words: as famiglia as it gets. 445 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113, tableboston.com.
Tawakal Halal Café
This national-caliber Somali kitchen makes and bottles its own luxuriously supple-textured mango-habanero hot sauce, which adds just the right zhoosh of incendiary complexity to coconut-milk grits with slow-cooked chickpeas; unctuous braised goat (hilib ari) bursting with turmeric and cardamom; and, honestly, any leftover taking up space in your fridge right now. 389 Maverick St., East Boston, MA 02128, tawakalfoods.co.
From the springy tear of tangy injera cr&_ecirc;pes to the supple pillowiness of raw chopped beef leavened with gobs of fiery-orange spiced butter (kitfo), the tactile pleasures of Befekadu Defar’s traditional (read: silverware-free) Ethiopian fare are just what the doctor ordered to reward your Purell-chafed hands for 16 months of ablutionary abuse. Your gustatory receptors will thank you, too. 51 Roxbury St., Roxbury, MA 02119, fasikarestaurants.com.
It takes more than luscious goat coconut curry to last 38 years in the city’s most metamorphosis-prone neighborhood. You also need the nimble flexibility to ride every wave. True to form, the beloved Punjab stalwart faced COVID head-on, augmenting its takeout menu with curbside wine and beer, hungry-family-size feasts, and more than a little panache (and paneer). 484 Commonwealth Ave., Fenway/Kenmore, MA 02215, indiaquality.com.
During the pandemic, Barbara Lynch’s lunch-counter-style trattoria, ever her empire’s undersung outlier, finally stepped into the spotlight as a curbside hub for scoring pan-imperial delights, including fresh pasta made in-house; cheeseburgers and craft-cocktail kits by Drink downstairs; and No. 9 Park’s magical Bolognese sauce by the pint, quart, or trough 348 Congress St., Boston, MA 02210, sportelloboston.com.
Myers + Chang
The secret to Myers + Chang’s extended reign of relevancy is its unflappable execution. Among the topline findings of our 14-year investigation: The pork dumplings’ flat-side burnish comes out mahogany-dark; tea-perfumed ribs arrive sporkably tender; and wok-charred carrots show up lubed to the nines with pudding-like blobs of salty miso butter. Every. Damn. Time. 1145 Washington St., South End, MA 02118, myersandchang.com.
Sweet Tooth Boston
Bakeries too often make their cupcakes all about elaborate decorations. The actual cake, meanwhile, is a dry, disappointing afterthought. That’s not the case at Sweet Tooth, where fluffy, super-moist cupcakes are more than a match for the rich pompadours of creamy frosting that crown them. The chocolate-ganache-topped Boston Cream, in particular, is a tasty twist on an iconic local treat. 371 W Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127, sweettoothboston.com.
Buttery as a shortbread cookie yet flaky as a cracker, Petsi’s consistently perfect pie crusts made founder Renee McLeod a local legend. Now retired, McLeod still helps new owner Jill Remby develop recipes for equally fantastic fillings, including crisped apples, velvet-rich chocolate, and bourbon-splashed pecans. Plus, Petsi’s just-launched scholarship fund is a sweet effort to encourage even more Boston-area entrepreneurs. 285 Beacon St., Somerville, MA 02143, petsipies.com.
La Saison Bakery
Originally established by baker Soheil Fathi in his native Tehran, La Saison was resettled in Cambridge in 2020. How lucky we were to receive its delightfully delicate pull-apart croissants, which are light and airy but butter-rich, too. Fathi’s deft dough-making skills also apply to his majestic kouign-amann, a round relative to the croissant that features flaky, decadent folds of caramelized vanilla sugar. 407 Concord Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138, lasaison-bakery.com.
You can spot Mike’s signature string-wrapped cannoli boxes in the hands of practically every tourist, and that’s exactly why some of our crabbier natives don’t give the place its rightful due. Honestly, though, the cannolis deserve all of the attention they get, with a crackly-crunchy shell overstuffed with dense, sweet-and-cheesy ricotta. Just one bite reminds us why out-of-towners — and yes, plenty of locals, too — will always line up for them on Hanover Street. Multiple locations, mikespastry.com.
No matter the time of year, the burgers sizzled here instantly evoke thoughts of sunny summer cookouts. That’s because Bred flattens and seasons its burgers right on the grill, preserving the juiciness of restaurant-quality, grass-fed Maine beef while lending the perfect outer char we love to bite into at backyard bashes with neighbors. The single most lip-smacking result might be the Maui burger, a luau-like lineup of bright pineapple, grilled ham, sweet plantains, and spicy pepper Jack cheese, all doused in sauce from nearby M&M BBQ. 2255 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester, MA 02124, bredgourmet.com.
When the pandemic sidelined her pastry gig at the Back Bay’s iconic Uni, Betty Petrova didn’t sit on her couch eating bonbons; instead, she took to the kitchen to start making them. Handpainted with colorful, glossy brushstrokes of cocoa butter, the bite-size works of art quickly caught the eye of fans — so much so that now she’s focused full time on crafting delicate Valrhona chocolate shells generously filled with exquisite, inventive flavors like honey elderflower, rose pistachio, and rosemary caramel, many using ingredients plucked from local gardens. petrovachocolates.com.
Hana Quon, Café Madeleine
At what point is an “up-and-coming chef” simply considered “arrived”? Quon probably passed that milepost a while ago, at least to those who’ve tasted her work at Café Madeleine — which is to say, any South Ender with good taste and a hankering for, well, madeleines (or classic chocolate eclairs, or …). We’d still argue, though, that not enough locals know her name, a side effect of pastry chefs being generally undervalued. This Paris-trained p&_acirc;tissi&_egrave;re’s exceptional craft proves that time is over. 517 Columbus Ave., South End, MA 02118, instagram.com/cafemadeleineboston.
There’s a lot of talk about eating less meat right now, but the reality is that committed carnivores aren’t going anywhere — well, except to this boutique street-corner butcher in the South End, which also offers monthly meat shares delivered on dry ice for sizzling at home. Not only are you getting valedictorian-grade grass-fed beef and pasture-raised pork, chicken, and lamb (plus pescatarian-pleasing wild-caught fish), but it’s all raised by small Northeast farms, supporting the region’s agriculture industry and giving us more richly flavorful, special-treat-level meat. 316 A Shawmut Ave., South End, MA 02118, waldenlocalmeat.com.
Whenever Sekali announces preorders on Instagram, the food sells out faster than plane tickets for post-vaccine vacations. Why? Because Borneo-born chef Derrick Teh’s transportive, modern Malaysian-inspired recipes are world-class — from the jars of sweet and creamy coconut-milk jam he home-delivered during the pandemic to the plates of richly spiced short-rib rendang available for pickup during his restaurant pop-ups. He doesn’t have his own brick-and-mortar (yet!), but with talent like this, he’ll go far no matter what the future holds. instagram.com/sekaliboston.
Cusser’s Roast Beef & Seafood
Sorry, Kelly’s: We’ll gladly bypass Route 1 road rage in favor of this street-side walkup window in Boston’s Back Bay (with an outpost at a nearby food hall), which perfects a beefy North Shore–style “Three-way” sloppy with barbecue sauce and mayo. More than that, though, it also dresses up its plump, brioche-like buns for the city: see the “80T,” a mile-high pile of herb-rubbed Wagyu sliced thin, juicy, and pink, with sharply pickled onions that cut through spicy aioli and cheddar. Multiple locations, cussersboston.com.
Considering how chained we’ve been to Zoom during workdays, a meal kit that includes a “virtual interactive dining experience” has to be really, really good to get us in front of a laptop on weekends. Exhibit A: TC@Home, Saturday-night livestreams that guide us through unboxing everything we need to prepare and artfully plate courses of the same haute cuisine — say, dry-aged duck with fermented autumn olive — served at chef Peter Ungár’s innovative fine-dining restaurant. Our rating? Two thumbs-up emojis. 14 Tyler St., Somerville, MA 02143, tastingcounter.com.
Legal Sea Foods
When seafood titan Roger Berkowitz sold the local-born restaurant chain that his father conceived as a single fish market in 1950, we had one important question about the new corporate owners: Would they — heaven forbid! — mess with the family’s famous chowder recipe? Thankfully, the answer is a definitive “hell no.” Nothing changed about those iconic cups of super-creamy chowder studded with sweet clams, though as with every taken-for-granted pleasure, we found we loved it more for the sudden fear of losing it. Multiple locations, legalseafoods.com.
Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen
Considering all of the craft-beer cans crushed in Allston/Brighton’s indie-rock-blaring bars, it’s wild that the neighborhood didn’t have its own brewery until Brato moved in in 2019. Now, beer lovers citywide flock there to fill growlers with full-bodied sour beers and smooth saisons, and/or get their grub on with gourmet grilled-cheese flights and inventive house-made bratwursts. Head brewer Alex Corona and chef Jonathan Gilman both come from Cambridge Brewing Company, an industry pioneer, and here they’re blazing a trail of their own. 190 N. Beacon St., Brighton, MA 02135, bratobk.com.
Our New York friends won’t let us forget it: Boston doesn’t exactly abound with traditional Jewish delis. Even Manhattan, though, would be lucky to have Michael’s, which epitomizes everything you’re looking for in the deli experience — namely, sandwiches with meats stacked high enough to crack your jaw, bitingly sharp horseradish, and a hint of something green (and probably pickled). Remember to order a side of latkes for your mom, then stand aside and wait for your name to be yelled. Ah, yes! That feels just right. 256 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 02446, michaelsdelibrookline.com.
Out of Town News? Folded. The Curious George store? Closed. Harvard Square has lost many landmarks, but Harvest endures through all seasons — likely because its brunch remains the best reason around to get out of bed. The 46-year-old institution’s new chef, Nick Deutmeyer, carries on the very civilized tradition, serving up tempting weekend treats such as fried chicken and waffles dripping with foie gras butter, burnt honey, and wild-apple purée. The Ivy League eavesdropping is timeless, too. 44 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138, harvestcambridge.com.
The recent shuttering of seafood landmark Island Creek Oyster Bar has made us even more protective of chef Jeremy Sewall’s legendary lobster roll, which lives on (thank heavens!) at his Row 34. There we find heaping portions of sweet and tender meat, caught by Sewall’s cousin, a Maine lobsterman. It’s served tossed in warm butter and sprinkled with sea salt, or mixed with cool mayo, cr&_egrave;me fra&_icirc;che, and pickles for “Ethel’s Lobster Roll,” named for Sewall’s grandmother — a family recipe for lasting success if there ever was one. Multiple locations, row34.com.
Villa México Café
Telecommuting has its perks, but none are as tasty as the grilled corn tortillas — with fillings like tender marinated chicken in a rich, complex mole sauce — that office crowds snatch up from this beloved stalwart of the downtown-lunch-hour scene. Made with palpable passion by matriarch Julie King and her daughter, industry advocate Bessie, the tacos are destination-worthy no matter where you work, but take a tip from the regulars and drench your carnitas in Villa México’s transcendent black salsa, now sold by the jar for snacking at home. 121 Water St., Financial District, MA 02109, villamexicocafe.us.
Night Shift Brewing
You’ll find plenty of old-school Neapolitan and Sicilian slices in the neighboring North End, but if you’re craving Detroit-style pizza — a square-cut variety slowly starting to appear in Boston — you’ll need to stop by this young TD Garden–side brewery, which tapped a super-talented team of Eastern Standard alums to perfect its recipe. Locally milled high-gluten flour yields a wonderfully chewy, sheet-pan-deep pie built with sweet tomato sauce on top of salty, tangy cheese that reaches all the way to the caramelized edge — and don’t forget the crispy, heat-curled cups of dry-aged pepperoni. 1 Lovejoy Wharf, West End, MA 02114, nightshiftbrewing.com.
How does a boutique Boston wine shop become one of America’s most lauded? First, owners TJ and Hadley Douglas introduced the world to their proprietary Progressive Scale, a newbie-friendly system that smartly sorts wines by weight, from light minerality to full-bodied fruitiness. Now they’re working to change the industry by establishing a fully endowed, annual Wine Studies Award, which provides university education and work experience to promising professionals of color, and by curating the country’s coolest collections of wines by female, BIPOC, or LGBTQ+ producers. 303 Columbus Ave., South End, MA 02116, theurbangrape.shop.
Where can you score a bold yet balanced cup of coffee, mouthwatering pastries, and the perfect background tunes for sipping your java back at home? This quick-stop shop, which represents the collaborative entrepreneurship that is the future of Boston’s food world: Baker Kelsey Munger and bean roaster Javier Amador-Peña met at a farmers’ market, opened Monumental together, and tapped local Light of Day Records to stock the space with new and (cheap!) vintage vinyls. Blueberry muffins, cold brew, and David Bowie — yes, please. 36 South St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, monumentalmarket.com.
Finally, Bostonians with gluten allergies can grab fantastic fast-casual meals without fear of cross-contamination. At Grainmaker, guests fill rice, noodle, or salad bowls with vibrantly flavored fixings like sweet-chili shrimp, lemongrass steak, pickled veggies, and zippy sauces such as spicy hoisin — all with absolutely no gluten (or dairy) in sight. It’s a surprisingly hard-to-find concept we hope catches on, and here’s another: Grainmaker’s pioneering approach to reusable packaging, which gives customers discounts for choosing the restaurant’s returnable glass takeout containers and, in the process, saves thousands of pounds of waste. Multiple locations, eatgrainmaker.com.
The Smoke Shop
With the pandemic-time addition of a fourth Smoke Shop location — this one in Harvard Square — we’re now never more than a fork’s distance away from Andy Husbands’s tender pulled chicken or best-in-class burnt ends. The chef recently released his sixth cookbook, The Smoke Shop’s Backyard BBQ, but we’ll still leave our smoked-meat cravings to the pitmaster as often as possible. Multiple locations, thesmokeshopbbq.com.
Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen
Soul food meets soulful music at this longtime fixture, where live entertainment is the soundtrack for dinner and brunch service featuring dressed-up southern comforts like country-fried chicken wings with sweet peach chili and oh-so-perfect collard greens. The bands play on thanks to still-new owner Nia Grace, who not only stewarded the storied spot to the other side of a pandemic, but — as cofounder of the recently launched Boston Black Hospitality Coalition — uses her significant stage to advocate for a more equitable restaurant industry in the city. 604 Columbus Ave., South End, MA 02118, dcbkboston.com.
For a preview of the next big thing in Boston restaurants, check out whatever’s cooking at CommonWealth Kitchen. Dorchester bakery Top Shelf cookies and jerk-spiced J.P. spot Jamaica Mi Hungry are among the dozens of success stories born out of the important incubator, which connects fledgling food entrepreneurs — especially woman- and BIPOC-owned oufits — to both production facilities and brick-and-mortar restaurant spaces, including an upcoming food court at MIT. 196 Quincy St., Dorchester, MA 02121, commonwealthkitchen.org.
Urban Farming Institute
By training urban farmers at its seven (and growing!) plots across Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan — then selling their harvest to area restaurants like Dudley Café and Fresh Food Generation — this nonprofit helps Bostonians plant deeper roots, literally, even in neighborhoods where grassy space is sparse. And when we build better-fed families and healthier communities, we all reap the benefits. 487 Norfolk St., Mattapan, MA 02126, urbanfarminginstitute.org.
Tucked inside a historical arcade-style mini mall in Brookline, you’d never know this pint-size restaurant is the place to go shopping for the area’s best bowls of savory ramen. Ganko Ittetsu nonetheless stands out for serving its eminently slurpable noodle soup Sapporo-style, meaning everything is painstakingly prepared in a wok. The result? Especially deep, soul-warming flavors with undertones of caramelization that evoke only one word: sold! 318 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 02446, gankoramen.com.
Fox & the Knife
Our nonnas could argue for hours about what defines the perfect pasta. One thing they would all agree on, though, is the distinctive precision and vision at work in Karen Akunowicz’s kitchen, from the just-so suppleness of her raviolo carbonara to the tortelli, cooked a tiny bit al dente in a buttery green bath of wild nettles, English peas, and garlic. On your way out, scoop up fresh-made styles sold by the bagged pound for your own cooking adventures — and get excited for the in-house pasta shop planned for Bar Volpe, Akunowicz’s upcoming second Southie restaurant. 28 W. Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127, foxandtheknife.com.