This Kenmore Square institution made its name catering to a wide range of diners—Sox fans, tourists, restaurant industry types, students, the list goes on—and treating them all as if they were the most important people in the room. How do they do it? By taking notes on every diner who comes through the door. Yes, it’s a bit Big Brother—esque, but this kind of close attention ensures that you enjoy your steak frites and whiskey smashes just as much as you did the last time. 528 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2215, easternstandardboston.com.
You won't find modern, four-star Greek cuisine at this hole in the wall. But in an oddly delightful way, it reminds us of every humble neighborhood taverna we've savored in Greece, from the blue-and-white paper place mats to the scattered but amiable service. The tzatziki is a house specialty, the moussaka hearty and delicious, the ;horiatiki a true Greek salad—all plates so tasty, we'd be loath to smash a single one. 202 3rd St, Cambridge, MA 2141, desfina.com.
Miss your adolescence? The Formica booths at Little Stevie's aren't just seats, they're time machines that sweep you right back to braces, babysitting money, and after-school specials. And the pizza's right there with you: pillowy, bubbly, and doughy edges with a paper-thin and oven-charred crust, sweet and tangy tomato sauce, and a hot, dense layer of mozzarella. Say what you will about teen angst; pie this good makes it all seem worthwhile. 1114 Boylston St., Boston, MA littlestevespizzeria.com/.
The Martin's formula—cozy atmosphere plus simple, delicious food—lures regulars out of bed to feast on crisp veggie omelets, buttery-rich French toast, and grilled muffin specials (the oatmeal cinnamon is stellar). Paper mats and crayons top the wooden tables, and the waitstaff often plucks up the best drawings and tacks them to the diner's bulletin boards. Despite repeated attempts, we've never made the wall, but we'll happily continue to get full trying. 49 Railroad St., Great Barrington, MA 2351, .
A caged kennel for Fifi? Quelle horreur! Now there's a doggie bed and breakfast where she can lounge like she's in her own living room. Common Dog, which opened last year, boards dogs overnight in a home-style setting, right down to sleeping on worn sofas and romping in a gravel backyard with wading pools. It also doubles as doggie day-care service, picking up canine campers in a small white bus so they can play while their owners are out earning their kibble. 22 Park Terrace, Everett, MA .
This is what you might call seafood in the rough: You stand at the counter, shout your order, eat it, and leave. But paper plates and plastic cutlery aside, there's very little that's actually rough about Woodman's, which offers some of the smoothest fried seafood around. The breading isn't a disguise for a small and salty chunk of meat, as it is at lesser seafood shacks, but a crispy golden complement to the tender bivalves beneath. 121 Main St., Essex, MA woodmans.com/.
The Four Seasons' lounge caters to both sorts of solo patrons: those who find themselves alone, and those who wish to be left alone. The skilled barkeeps are the city's quickest studies of stag drinkers, able to gauge whether you're up for a chat, a snack, or a stiff drink and silence. And the Bristol's cozy appointments make it perfectly suited to parties of one. 200 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2116, .
At a resort, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. But not here, where a personal concierge caters to your whims. That's a welcome addition to the Ocean Edge, which has undergone $50 million in renovations to its villas, mansion rooms, and restaurants. So now you get the coddling you'd expect from a boutique hotel, plus smart touches like a fridge stocked with ice cream and all the fixin's for s'mores if you book a villa. 2907 Main St., Brewster, MA oceanedge.com.
Too often, South Shore diners are stuck in that wasteland between kid-friendly chains and adult-only, white-tablecloth restaurants. Enter Wahlburgers, the brainchild of chef Paul Wahlberg. From classic double cheeseburgers to creative specialty sandwiches (like the "Thanksgiving," with ground turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce), this place caters to kids and more-refined palates alike. Of course, the creamy frappes will gratify all generations. 19 Shipyard Drive, Hingham, MA 2043, wahlburgers.com.
Some suburban day spas, catering as they often do to busy moms, have entirely missed the point of an escape: A noisy cut and blow-dry during a massage is not relaxing. But the Lexington outpost of Bella Santé gets the pampering thing down perfectly with imported teas, soothing music, and peaceful treatment rooms. And, of course, one-at-a-time services that are stress free. 76 Bedford St., Lexington, MA bellasante.com/.
You know what they say about cleanliness and godliness. Which must be why visits from Crystal Clean always leave your home so divine. A four-person team buffs and shines down to the hard-to-reach spots and tops it all off with finishing touches—dusted reading glasses, triangle-folded toilet paper—that other services often skip. Boston, MA 2116, crystalcleanboston.com.
While these days any clothing boutique worth its counter-side Hanky Panky display boasts a 'denim wall,' none can touch the selection at the downtown Barneys. The racks and tables and shelves of jeans include the blue-chip (True Religion, Paper Denim & Cloth), the hard-to-find (Acne, Edun), and the affordable (J Brand, Cheap Monday). Bargain hunters salivate over the store's semi-annual sale, which recently saw a pair of $300 Ksubis go for less than $60. 100 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 2116, barneys.com.
Catering to the "thoughtful pet owner" this colorful store functions more like a community hub for animals and their devoted humans than a place to buy supplies. It wouldn’t be unusual to pop in for treats, toys, or food—all of which skew heavily natural—or to wash a dirty pup in the self-serve tubs, and end up chatting with fellow customers about a nontoxic cure for hot spots, a topic that only other pet owners will gladly discuss. 4404 Washington St., Roslindale, MA 02131, thepetcabaret.com.
The essentials for a good night’s sleep don’t change with the trends. Since 1987, this Beacon Hill store has been catering to our restful needs with high-thread-count bedding from established brands like Yves Delorme and Sferra, plush robes from Laurence Tavernier, and silk pajamas from PJ Harlow. And to make your waking hours a little dreamier, it also stocks a selection of scented soaps and soft Egyptian-cotton towels. 52 Charles St., Boston, MA 02114, linensonthehill.com.
In a town with no shortage of gussied-up patties, we keep returning to the workday-only Wheelhouse burger. The griddle sizzles coffee-crusted breakfast burgers and other beef patties loaded with lunch fixings like jalapeño-beer cheese and bourbon-glazed onions. Wax-paper sleeves barely contain such marvelous hot messes, gobbled at window stools or back in the cubicle. 63 Broad St., Boston, MA wheelhouseboston.com.