It's nice of the attentive staff to give you space to conduct your business. Truth be told, as much networking gets done among the breakfast tables at this Four Seasons restaurant as at them; most diners spend their mornings circumspectly stealing glances past the potted palms to see who else is in the room, which all but hums with power. If that isn't enough to distract you, there's always the superlative view of the Public Garden. And the food (though predictably priced in the expense-account stratosphere) is worth five stars. Along with your fresh-squeezed juice, try the banana-stuffed French toast with strawberry syrup, the warm New England fruit compote, or the Japanese breakfast of grilled salmon, boiled egg, shiitake mushrooms, rice, seaweed, and miso soup, all on a black lacquer tray. 200 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
Like moths to a flame. That's how we're drawn to Michael and Jill Leviton's extraordinary Newton restaurant, Lumière. The couple's recipe for refined simplicity and excellent service starts with the crisp, white-on-white tones of the dining room, tempered with warm-hued upholstery you can't help but run your hands over. But the main ingredient is chef Michael Leviton's cuisine. His menu is mostly French in inspiration, though he dips into other parts of the Mediterranean, and occasionally into Asia, for plates that are minimalist in design and void of fussiness, yet bright and bold in flavor. He lets the principal ingredient anchor a dish like pan-seared, pristine sea scallops, then surprises us with rich and sweet truffled foie gras butter or a taste of caramelized fennel. He also keeps a watchful eye on everything from the homemade bread to the desserts. The cherry on top is the calm, efficient, confident, thorough, and knowledgeable service. We wish there were more restaurants like Lumière on this side of the city limits. 1293 Washington St., Newton, MA lumiererestaurant.com.
<p>Pizza is a serious business. Just ask Phil DePasquale, 70, who's been a professional pizza maker since he was 11. The same Phil DePasquale who's owned DePasquale Brothers Pizza, on Main Street in Medford, since 1939. The same Phil DePasquale who, in ninth grade, passed up an art scholarship because he "preferred to spend his time making pizzas." The same Phil DePasquale who insists that "the best chefs are the little old ladies from southern Italy," and whose granddaughter, Lindsay, has been making her own pizzas since the age of 3. The same Phil DePasquale who first introduced pizza to the European, in 1937, and to Suffolk Downs, in 1938. And the same Phil DePasquale whose devotees—Frank Sinatra among them—swear that his pies are the finest of all.</p> <p>We tend to agree with Ol' Blue Eyes. The prime ingredients: grated mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, oregano, basil, and garlic. The secret: "Once you think you've added enough garlic, you add more." The result: pizza that's chewy, cheesy, flavorful, and undeniably worth the drive to Medford.</p>
Just as toppings make the sundae, accessories make the outfit. Barneys boasts a broader inventory than most, with two floors of jewelry, scarves, gloves, glasses, and other add-ons from 200-plus brands. Upstairs, Barneys Co-Op has charms by Bing Bang and funky shades by Dita; downstairs, you'll find haute Goyard totes and Balenciaga wallets. All in all, it makes for a feast for the style-famished. 100 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 2116, barneys.com.
The success of a vintage look is generally determined by whether or not it screams "time machine." That's why we love Artifaktori, in Beacon Hill. Its iconic accessories immediately make an ensemble pop, without looking like pop-culture throwbacks: a bright '70s handbag here, a pair of Aurora Borealis clip-ons there. And on those rare days when we do feel the urge to turn back the clock head to toe, the clothing selection is so refined it's hard to go wrong. 121 Charles St., Boston, MA artifaktori.com.
The decor is a little confusing— hints of Zen interspersed with furnishings from the Starship Enterprise— but no complaints here. The high-tech pedicure chairs with built-in massager (you control the intensity) are the ne plus ultra in foot relief. The Candela pedicure features a mix of organic creams and lotions for scrubbing and exfoliating all those ugly spots on feet and lower legs. Between stages of the pedicure, feet luxuriate in a whirlpool foot bath. 28 Arlington St., Boston, MA .
Jewelry stores can be intimidating— a combination of security guards, glass cases with steel locks, and salespeople who do not encourage trying on the merchandise. But at Pageo, the jewelry is displayed invitingly, and the staff encourages questions and try-ons. With prices ranging from $200 to $20,000, the jewelry will make your pulse race— but the prices don't have to. 843 Beacon St., Newton, MA .
This is not your father's monkey suit. No longer need you dread that command: black tie. For a well-cut tux that will stand the test of time, Giorgio Armani has the ne plus ultra in evening attire. But if your pocketbook can't stand the stress, there's always Emporio Armani, where the tuxedos are a little funkier. Remember, there's safety in black—unless it's a very dark French navy. 22 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Perhaps because of its proximity to turndown service and plush robes, the luxury hotel bar is expected to be both swish and discreet. This formula is executed just so at the Ritz-Carlton's relaunched cocktail den (previously Jer-Ne), complete with caramel-hued finishes, burnished wood, and, most important, plenty of nooks and crannies for hiding away with a sparkling ginger Negroni and a plate of salumi. 10 Avery St., Boston, MA 2111, ritzcarlton.com.
A model steakhouse offers classic dishes, great wine, and flawless service. A modern steakhouse, like the Metropolitan Club, does it with style. Here you'll find the usuals bolstered by new wave add-ons like smoky tomato soup served with an adorable mini grilled cheese; an appetizer of watermelon 'steak' topped with French feta; and desserts—like the brown sugar fruit tart or the banana coconut cream pi—that improve on childhood favorites. 1210 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, MA 2467, metclubandbar.com.
We've been hustled all over town by flashy doctors and Groupon come-ons, which is why we keep returning to Julie Cahill-Hollingsworth. Without fanfare, we hop in her chair, get the shot, pay up, and split. She charges for units used rather than per procedure—and she's not pushy. When we asked about other stuff (fillers?), she just said, "Nah" and bid us adieu for another three months. 535 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116, sasskin.com.
Murray Pearlstein established what is nationally and internationally regarded as the ne plus ultra of fashion speciality stores. Now his daughter, Debra Pearlstein Greenberg, is at the helm, and her mandate is to gently push her customers forward into the next millennium without losing sight of the fact that style often transcends fashion. But the store has always been about buying beautiful clothes of the finest quality and the importance of looking legitimate but amazing—in other words, standing out in a quiet way that's both modern and forward. 234 Berkeley St., Boston, MA .
The pro groomers at this cheerful canine emporium consult with customers to determine the right cut and style before brushing out, shampooing, conditioning, trimming, and drying each pooch to perfection—nail clipping and ear cleaning are included, but parents of truly pampered pups can opt for aromatherapy or massage add-ons. Bark Place also offers elevated DIY wash stations should your grass-rolling, dirt-digging pal need a bath between appointments. 1721 Washington St., Boston, MA 2118, barkplacesouthend.com.
While studying abroad, Tanya Pham logged a lot of time in airports—enough time to hear plenty of fellow female travelers complain about their bland, bulky luggage. She’s used their feedback to design her Boston-based brand of sleek weekenders, duffels, and backpacks, crafted from Italian leather in Vietnam, where she lived for a year while vetting the production process. Equipped with thoughtful details (hidden compartments, magnetic closures), the bags are made in limited runs from custom materials—so your travel companion will stand out in a sea of scuffed-up carry-ons. MA latitu.com.
Tight fairways, manicured greens, and well-marked tee boxes make this inner-city gem a pleasure and a challenge. Nestled in the middle of a residential neighborhood, this par 7 course designed by Donald Ross attracts weekend duffers and irksome weekday sneak-ons (where did that threesome in front of us come from?!). So be prepared to cool your heels and your temper: This is urban golf in the Age of Tiger, after all. Still, it's easier than you'd think to get a tee time. Love the Tudor clubhouse, and the reduced fees when you flip a Boston ID ($21 weekdays, $24 weekends). 420 West St., Hyde Park, MA .