Relax. Everything is being taken care of. No more pre-party freakout as you run to the deli to buy ice, only to realize that you have nothing to put it in. Whether you're having 50 people over for cocktails or the wedding of the millennium, you can count on scrumptious food and prompt, efficient service. An added perk: The chef can pull off everything from authentic sushi to Yorkshire pudding with equal finesse. 66A Broadway, Arlington, MA .
After nearly three decades in the biz, Capers knows how to whip up one hell of a spread. And with a “farm-to-fork” philosophy, it’s a safe bet your meal will be totally fresh, too. 21 Emerson Street, Stoneham, Massachusetts 02180, caperscatering.com.
Run by Emma Roberts, Capers works with brides and grooms to create custom menus that showcase local ingredients—and they do it for parties big and small, indoors and outdoors, formal and casual. (Roberts also owns Flip Flops Clambakes & BBQ, so imagine the spread she could put together for beach nuptials.) If you're curious about her recent creations, try browsing Capers on Pinterest. Mini chocolate-covered "Oreos" with milkshake shooters, anyone? caperscatering.com.
Stealing scones from the British is one of the best food capers we Yanks ever pulled off, and these are among the best we've ever tasted. 47 Langley Rd., Newton Centre, MA .
This take on the classic chicken salad is blessedly light on the mayo and heavy on the chicken. Capers and fresh herbs add flavor to the oversize chunks of breast meat—no thighs darken this recipe. The servings are generous enough to sustain you through a whole afternoon of shopping. 190 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Smoky, see-through, and silky, it's perfect for Sunday brunch, but almost too good to be smothered with cream cheese on a bagel. Instead, we prefer it on toast with chopped onion and capers.
There are many tasty reasons to visit Salumeria Italiana, foremost among them the gorgeous mixed-olive antipasto (dressed in oil, caper berries, sundried tomatoes, and garlic) that adorns the countertop. The olives that make up the antipasto, as well as a few others (Moroccan, Greek, French, and naturally Italian), are also available individually. 151 Richmond St., Boston, MA .
The super-thin crust that flies out of Emma's kitchen is addictive in its own right. Add to that such innovative combinations as Canadian bacon, caramelized onions, and rosemary sauce, or a scallion, garlic, and gorgonzola mix. The restaurants may have just changed hands, but nearly everything else about it has stayed the same—right down to the à la carte toppings (three kinds of tomatoes, sweet and gold potatoes, capers, even dried cranberries). Friendly service (the waiters offer detailed reheating instructions) rounds out the experience. 40 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA emmaspizza.com.
Delicious proof that true Mexican cuisine rarely involves either the words "chimichanga" or "Tabasco," Olé's menu is weighted toward seafood with authentic and traditional dishes full of superior ingredients. Don't miss the pescado a la veracruzana (roast snapper in a garlic-tomato-caper sauce). The guacamole is mashed fresh at your table and served in the mortar, while even the desserts—the deep-fried cheesecake burrito, for example—are surprisingly good. 11 Springfield St., Cambridge, MA olerestaurantgroup.com/.
The three-course prix-fixe menu is everything brunch should be: a selection of sweet and savory breakfast and lunch dishes and an assortment of chilled seafood (Wellfleet oysters, countneck clams, shrimp) with a Bloody Mary or mimosa to wash it down. Dine inside for a plush, low-lit and serene atmosphere or outside on the secluded patio. Start with roasted oysters with mascarpone, pancetta, and spinach; granola and fresh fruit; or a Caesar salad with—hallelujah!—white anchovies. Move on to crab cakes with perfectly poached eggs, hollandaise, and ossetra caviar; French toast with spiced apples and sausage; or a smoked-salmon sandwich on toasted French bread with tomato, red onion, and parsley-caper egg sauce. Then prepare to nap away the afternoon. 44 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA .
This converted firehouse now sports all the trappings of a rustic Italian ristorante, including thick wood tables, exposed brick, and soft lighting. And the food is just as appealing: Notable dishes include gnocchi enrobed in fontina cream sauce and walnut pesto, crisp arancini stuffed with scamorza, and Silician roast chicken doused in a tangy lemon-caper sauce. The genial servers, meanwhile, make every meal at this bustling Belmont restaurant memorable. 50 Leonard St., Belmont, MA 2478, ilcasalebelmont.com.
At this South End hot spot inspired by Venetian bacaros, chefs Kevin O’Donnell and Michael Lombardi deliver a singular study in layered flavors and textures: See fried artichoke electrified with tonnato sauce and capers, and the house-made pillows of fontina-stuffed scarpinocc dressed with crunchy almonds. Creative cicchetti shoot in rapid-fire from the kitchen, each dreamier than the last, each designed to pair perfectly with cocktails on the charming patio. 569 Columbus Ave., Boston, MA srvboston.com.
Don't be put off by the big Busch beer sign. Inside, Darwin's feels like a hip country store with red tin tile walls. Loyal customers from a fast-moving line for sandwich specials such as the Brattle, a combination of smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. Order it on any of the nine different kinds of bread (among them, seven-grain, olive, and the yeasty sourdough), and wash it down with something from the large selection of wine and beer. 148 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge, MA darwinsltd.com/.
Something in between creating the sea and the ski, God made smoke salmon. This particular incarnation is buttery soft, subtly smoky, and perfect for any meal of the day. Ideal on an onion bagel with a glob of cream cheese, tossed with pasta or served on toast points with lemon, onions, and capers. Find this true pinky perfection at Bread & Circus and other specialty markets about town. 106 Manley St., Brockton, MA .
Here's one neighborhood shop that wins big on several fronts. Hardcore foodies drool over its petite but unparalleled stock of spreads, produce, and exotic cheeses. Culinary novices appreciate such hard-to-find items as mini-Turkish plums, wild asparagus, and "capers in salt from the Islands of Salinas," thanks to the detailed descriptions that accompany them. Even grifters (the avid samplers and snitchers in all of us) find solace here in the many free tasting plates so generously left about. Don't cook? Take home a helping of duck breast or one of the other carryout dishes. 268 Shawmut Ave., Boston, MA southendformaggio.com/.