As the only waterfront restaurant in town, the Orleans Inn has reason to brag. But humble's the default setting at this 132-year-old spot above Town Cove, which has gone through many an incarnation (boarding house, supply store) to reach its current status as the top place to gaze and graze on the Cape, with a dining room serving up local seafood with stirring vistas. 3 Old Country Rd., Orleans, MA 2653, orleansinn.com.
We'll spare all you dogged ice cream testers the brain freeze and bellyache, the stained clothes and the extra pounds: On Nantucket, the only ice cream of consequence is at the Juice Bar. At this sage-green shop, blackberry, peanut butter, mint chocolate chip, and other homemade flavors teeter over enormous, just-baked waffle cones. The only thing not to love is the long line. But the chatty college kids behind the counter are industrious, so your hefty scoop is never too far off. 12 Broad St., Nantucket, MA 2554, .
While every scoop shop on the Vineyard proffers a rainbow of flavors, none do so with as much imagination as Ben & Bill's, which mixes things up with options that include chai tea and lobster, and a knockout Kahlua, Grand Marnier, and Baileys concoction called KGB. Portions are enormous, and you're allowed to sample endlessly. The place doubles as a candy factory, too, leaving no sweet tooth uncoated. 20A Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs, MA 2557, .
Slow-smoked, slow-cooked, but served fast, Jake's pork ribs are greasy slabs of heaven. Or they would be, if heaven were built out of meat so tender it melts off the bone in saintly gobbets, doused in a sauce precisely balanced between infernal smoke and angelic sweetness with just the right smack of spices. The devout will also want to pay homage to the beef ribs, the brisket, and the "burnt ends," all of which are equally divine. 3492 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, MA .
The ridiculously delicious marinated steak tips (or any of the simple, classic comfort foods, for that matter) are reason alone to head to this Bromfield Street restaurant for lunch or dinner. But owners Josh and Katy Childs offer much more. Silvertone has become a hangout for locals in search of a place both friendly and casual, a place that also just happens to care about the integrity of the food and service. Still unconvinced? You won't be once you sample the oven-roasted chicken scented with thyme and lemons, killer cocktails, or the remarkable wine list. 69 Bromfield St., Boston, MA silvertonedowntown.com/.
Check the specials before ordering at Peach Farm—the seafood is always right from the tank, the clams in black bean sauce taste fresh from the sea, and the lobster with ginger and scallions is the stuff Cantonese dreams are made of. If you don't like seafood, the braised chicken hotpot, at once complex and soothing, is a gem. The atmosphere is bustling, and the service keeps pace nicely. 4 Tyler St., Boston, MA peachfarmboston.com.
The best thing about an ice cream cake is that once it comes out of the freezer, the party has to begin. Think of two of your favorite flavors of ice cream, throw in a handful of M&M's, add in a crunch of chocolate chip cookie, a layer of fudge for good measure, and it's party time. Whether it's a birthday party for 27 five-year-olds or a co-worker's last day, The Ice Cream Works can customize and freeze your own personal subzero fantasy. 1663 Beacon St., Brookline, MA .
Butches and femmes hoist their bottles together here on Saturday nights, when this Chinatown karaoke lounge and dance club becomes the closest thing lesbians have to a downtown clubhouse. Two levels of dance floors offer ample space for the mostly young and urban crowd to get down to electro, house, and hip-hop. Once a month, grrls slip on suits and fedoras (and boys and butches, dresses) for "drag karaoke." 41 Essex St., Boston, MA .
A poll of professional 10- to 13-year-old ice cream aficionados proved that this no-frills Steamship Wharf spot is practically an institution. The Juice Bar's rich and creamy scoops are served on hand-formed waffle cones and all the flavors are made on-island, including Snickers Delight, black raspberry, s'mores, and good old vanilla. Oh, and the shakes, smoothies, and lime rickeys rule. 12 Broad St., Nantucket, MA .
The resort itself may feel a bit stuck in the '70s, but the Cape Codder's spa has surely caught up with the times. Such treatments as cranberry-enzyme facial peels and detoxifying seaweed-clay masques and massages are always perfectly performed. And after you're done being pampered, your kids can frolic in the hotel's oceanlike indoor pool, which boasts two big water slides and two-and-a-half-foot waves. 1225 Iyannough Rd. (Rte. 132), Hyannis, MA capecodderresort.com/.
Loyal patrons were dismayed to find Revere's Wonderland Ballroom suddenly closed last August, shorter after the death of owner Augustino Luongo. The largest dance hall in New England reopened in late February under new management. With the resurgence of interest in ballroom dancing, young and old alike will once again come to Wonderland to cut the rug. 1290 North Shore Road, Revere, MA .
At first, we were hopelessly distracted by the eye candy, as Abbicci's exotic-looking French and Peruvian servers floated by sensuously to a soft instrumental soundtrack. Once the food arrived, though, our gazes were fully focused on the Mediterranean-inspired plates before us: scallion-and-pistachio-stuffed Peppadews, scotch-glazed squad, and pan-seared pork loin with sweet and sour pepperonata. Owner Marietta Bombardieri fiercely edits her wine list to match her menu. As for other types of matchmaking, you're on your own. 43 Main St. (Rte. 6A), Yarmouth Port, MA abbicci.com.
It's the simplest tasks that often get botched worst—hence the surfeit of humble hamburgers served up dry, tough, and tasteless. The cooks at R. F. O'Sullivan are the most reliable we've found when it comes to doing justice to the iconic minced-meat sandwich. There's the soft bun, the gooey melted cheese, and, most important, the salty ground sirloin that oozes flavorful juices from the first, sloppy bite. It's a rare (and/or well-done) culinary feat. 282 Beacon St., Somerville, MA rf-osullivan.com/.
Fancy antiques, but can't stomach the usual price tags? The once-a-month Skinner Discovery auctions offer estate furnishings, jewelry, books, art, and objets d'art that aren't quite high-end enough for the company's specialty auctions. The large, varied lots promise any level of buyer the thrill of bidding and winning. 274 Cedar Hill St., Marlborough, MA 1752, skinnerinc.com.
While the sheer number of cocktails on the 80-drink list makes our frontal cortex twitch, it's the list's creator who brings it to refreshing, delicious life. With extreme attention to detail (black-lime-stuffed ice cubes, anyone?) and a downright hospitable attitude (we love a bartender who can carry a conversation from Roald Dahl to canoeing to why lemon juice extracted in a centrifuge makes the best Tom Collins), Maul runs a drink program like none other in the city. 370A Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2215, .