The décor is worn; the waiters, crusty. The low-priced seafood, on the other hand, couldn't be fresher, and the kitchen knows what to do with it, displaying considerable finesse with battered fried clams, seared scallops, and buttery chowder made with leftovers from the catches of the day. While some people may be put off by the No Name's unfussy shtick—the restaurant famously serves water by the pitcher in tiny paper cups—regulars know it's part of what amounts to one of the tastiest bargains in Boston. 15 1/2 Fish Pier, Boston, MA nonamerestaurant.com.
We have a limited selection of pool halls in the area, which means that come the weekend, Flat Top Johnny's can get absolutely overwhelmed. Weeknights are a better bet: It's easy to grab a table with a few friends, order some craft beers, and shoot pool all night long. Bored of billiards? Switch to darts or pinball. One Kendall Sq., Cambridge, MA flattopjohnnys.com.
Name a major motion picture filmed in the Hub in the past decade, and chances are you saw Celeste Oliva in it. But she's also a stage veteran who this year shone in the Lyric Stage's production of David Henry Hwang's satirical play, Chinglish. Acting with a graceful mix of strength and poignant vulnerability, Oliva stole every scene in her role as the provincial bureaucrat Xi Yan.
As if life on picturesque Duxbury Harbor wasn't sweet enough, French Memories steps in with a cadre of top-notch carbs to up the ante. On hand are tiny petits fours and crunchy baguettes that would hold their own anywhere along the Seine. But the standouts are the truly irresistible almond croissants. Their crispy, buttery layers and dense, nutty filling condense into one cakelike bite. 459 Washington St., Duxbury, MA frenchmemories.com/.
A single designer is hardly right for every bride, but top-notch service, from first fitting to final alteration, is on every betrothed's wish list. This couture retailer stocks gowns that are dreamy, feminine, and exactly what we want for the big day. With more styles in-house than online and more-than-accomodating consultants, the hardest part will be choosing among satin, tulle, and silk. 73 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, verawangboston.com.
All too often, pleasing kids' palates means sacrificing a small part of their souls to mass-produced chicken fingers. Thankfully, the charred yet chewy wood-fired pizzas (not to mention the decadent brownie sundae) at this eatery will thrill the pickiest pint-size diners, and keep you happy, as well. In fact, adults have the most fun—while the minors down black-and-white frappes, the grownups are slurping floats anchored by a pint of just-boozy-enough raspberry lambic. 513 Tremont St., Boston, MA 2116, piccorestaurant.com.
For those of us who've longbelieved that a burger's quality is directly proportional to its heft, it defies logic that one of the beefiest, juiciest, tastiest (and cheapest) burgers in town is, in fact, flat as a pancake. Well seasoned and slathered in a sweet mayonnaise sauce, Flat Patties' freshly ground patties are tender and packed with flavor. The nicest part? The quarter-pounder rings in at just $3.95. 33 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 2138, flatpatties.com.
Where to go when you're craving fantastic raw creations on a burned-out budget: Douzo, near Back Bay Station, which serves up little sushi treasures that are every bit as pristine (if a tad less transcendent) as those at the city's big-price bars. The loungey space is hopping on weekends, but don't let that distract from the kitchen's deft flavor-texture balancing act, as displayed in the torched toro maki wrapped with asparagus and paper-thin raw jalapeño. 131 Dartmouth St., Boston, MA 2116, douzosushi.com.
The romance started with a rich local-oyster-and-bacon chowder with chive and truffle oil. Then came the scallops with oyster mushrooms, asparagus, pancetta, pea shoots, and chive béarnaise, and then the organic beef special with ramps and shiitakes. By the time the heavenly macademia-nut-and-coconut tart showed up, we knew for certain that this homey new spot from Brewster Fish House alum Martha Kane would be more than just a one-night stand. 800 Main St., Dennis, MA 2638, fincapecod.com.
Call it equal parts Thai and Vietnamese, with generous helpings of Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, and personal interpretation. If that sounds suspiciously like the "F" word—fusion—well, it is. But trust us: Even purists will be impressed by chef-owner Tiffani Faison’s real-deal pad gra pow, fiery-cool papaya salad, and tender pork laap, which teeters between fish-sauce funk and lime-y tang. Bonus points for Hanoi’s bun cha, hard-to-find lettuce wraps featuring charred pork, sour broth, spring rolls, noodles, and herbs. 1363 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02215, tigermamaboston.com.
While it’s hard to unwind these days, this luxe resort is making it a little easier to get some much-needed R & R. Extra pre- cautions—including contactless golf-cart pickup, grocery-delivery service, and reduced capacity at pools and at Ocean Edge’s private beach—provide peace of mind, while new private experiences such as beach yoga and oyster tours make it easy to practice social distancing while giving the kiddos an unforgettable adven- ture. So go ahead, book that luxurious mansion suite. Boozy mudslides delivered straight to your beach chair await. 2907 Main St., Brewster, MA 02631, oceanedge.com.
A confession: We're still working our way through Dok Bua's marathon menu. (This is partly because we're compelled to order the sublime mango curry and the miang cum appetizer—betel nut leaf filled with ginger and shallots—at least every other visit.) But any questions about whether an unassuming storefront in Brookline can whip up more than 100 authentic Thai dishes—employing everything from catfish to duck to a veritable garden of vegetables—with consistent aplomb are answered by the scraped-clean plates that we always spy on the tables of our fellow contented diners. 411 Harvard St., Brookline, MA dokbuathai.com.
Drop into this light-filled, low-key Newbury Street lingerie shop, and you'll find women sifting through the hangers with two hands, both arms full of merchandise. To be sure, it's difficult not to touch the smooth, fine cotton, and intricate lace from lines including Cosabella, Hanro, Arianne, Eberjey, Pjama, and Aubade. In addition to the standard undergarments, there's a healthy selection of robes, pajamas, and bridal lingerie. And for more everyday underthings, the well-edited inventory sports everything from lacy purple underwear sets and silky nightgowns to the perfect T-shirt bra—all as practical as they are feminine. 264 Newbury St., Boston, MA lingeriestudio.com/.
If Louis Boston rented out sleeping space, there'd be no reason to ever leave. The four-story Newbury legend can clothe you (quite well, in Dries Van Noten and Mayle, and as the only place in town that carries Marni), accessorize you (with quirky jewelry from Mannin and Francisca Botelho), coif you (Salon Mario Russo, third floor), and feed you (from chef Pino Maffeo's on-site kitchen). The only part of the store you'd have little use for is the otherwise excellent home goods collection—your new address comes already very nicely appointed. 60 Northern Ave., Boston, MA 2110, louisboston.com.
True, it's in a shopping mall, or at least the closest thing Harvard Square has to a shopping mall. And it's part of a bigger chain. But it's still one of those photo stores where the staff loves to talk about cameras, and the prices are some of the best around. A standard Minolta flash that costs more than $100 around the corner sells here for $75. After buying the flash, our agent asked for an expensive gizmo to connect it to his light meter. "Oh no," said the salesguy. "You don't need it. We use the same light meter in the studio I work at and I'm sure you don't need it." 57 JFK Street, Harvard Square Galeria, Cambridge, MA .