Best of Boston

1998 Best Bakery

Hi-Rise Bread Company

If bread making is calming and cathartic, watching the bakers here is like Prozac by proxy. Chef-owner Rene Becker rose swiftly to the top of the baking world by supplying local restaurants with excellent breads; he also makes cookies, pies, and cakes (the tall brown concoction with blueberries is extraordinary) for his retail shop. Kick off the day with a cappuccino and thick hand-cut slices of toast or fragrant lemon scones. Return for lunches of fabulous, imaginative sandwiches with the best fresh ingredients around, not to mention the soups, salads, a classic roast chicken, affordable wines and his pie annex (at 56 Brattle Street).

208 Concord Ave., Cambridge, 617-876-8766,