Having eaten our way across the MetroWest in a futile search for a challenger, there's little left to say except, once again, here's Johnny's. This four-time Best Of winner extends its run by virtue of its satisfyingly thick French toast and rib-sticking meals like pastrami skillet scrambles and Santa Fe burritos. Its sparkling-clean setup (surprisingly rare in breakfast joints) and '50s-style cheeriness further ensure its rulership over the early-bird roost. 30 Langley Rd., Newton Centre, MA 2159, .
Why any working stiff would settle for a sack of flavorless fast food when Chacarero now has two downtown locations is beyond comprehension. The freshly baked bread alone makes these traditional Chilean sandwiches worth waiting for (and at high noon, you will be waiting in a line that goes around the corner). Throw in grilled chicken or steak, Muenster cheese, some snappy green beans, and a zesty avocado spread, and you have a sandwich that more than gets the job done. 101 Arch St., Boston, MA 2108, chacarero.com.
You can try on clothes before you buy—so why not taste bottles of wine beforehand, too? At the Urban Grape, an Enomatic tasting machine dispenses samples of 16 wines on demand. And because the many wines on offer here are organized by their common characteristics—from the lightest bodied to the heaviest—once you find the perfect fit, it'll be easy to discover other bottles just like it. 7 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, MA theurbangrape.com.
This superb lunch spot serves tomatoey thick crusted pizza (30¢), turnovers filled with garlicky spinach or ham and cheese, called calzone (85¢), and panini (60¢), sesame-seeded rolls with cold cuts and cheese inside. The arancini (60¢)—deep-fried cornmeal cones filled with rice, ground beef, tomato, and peas—must not be missed. 289 Hanover St., North End, MA .
This sleek downtown inn offers rooms done up in stripes and poppy colors by Boston designer Rachel Reider, as well as plenty of modern amenities (iPads, Apple TVs). Your best bet is Room 16 or 17 in the guesthouse, each of which features a patio complete with a fire table and a private entrance from the inn’s pretty courtyard. 76 Main St., Nantucket, MA 2554, 76main.com.
Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s beloved South End tapas joint may now have a gigantic sister spot in (gasp!) Manhattan, but the tiny original is still as solid as ever. Expertly rendered classics like tortilla española and patatas bravas get plenty of menu real estate, but it’s with the more-innovative dishes—smoked duck drumettes in a quince glaze, roasted bone marrow with oxtail marmalade—that the kitchen truly shines. You’re welcome, New York. 1704 Washington St., Boston, MA 2118, toro-restaurant.com.
This season’s wedding florals will be inspired by both the intimacy of pandemic-era nuptials and the joy of once again celebrating en masse. And Vivian Zhou, the owner of Forevermark Flowers, excels in tackling all of the design trends this year will bring. Her petite centerpieces showcase unique textures best appreciated at small parties, while her voluminous installations are must-have accessories for grander soirees. 562 Commonwealth Ave., Newton, MA 02459, forevermarkflowers.com.
It may be housed in the DoubleTree hotel next to a highway overpass, but once you enter this cozy cabaret-style venue of just 200 seats, you might as well have been teleported to a chic lounge in the French Quarter. Get up close and personal with the genre’s leading artists—Terence Blanchard, Esperanza Spalding, Chick Corea—or spot the jazz world’s next big thing: Scullers is dedicated to hosting next-gen musicians from local schools. 400 Soldiers Field Rd., Boston , MA 02134, scullersjazz.com.
When chef Jason Cheek opened Southern Proper this year, he sought to bring a taste of his native North Carolina to Boston. Step inside the South End restaurant, and you’ll see he’s done just that: The eatery takes design cues from Cheek’s grandmother’s living room, serving up comfort food on mismatched plates. The kitchen, meanwhile, cranks out platters of tender fried chicken, not to mention flaky popovers and out-of-this-world homemade pickles. 600 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02118, southernproperboston.com.
Quincy-based designer Avra Myers, a former Club Monaco and Ralph Lauren exec, has a simple goal for her latest line: make getting dressed as easy as it is enjoyable. Shimmy into A Ruby's moto leggings, cozy fleece wraps, and so-sharp-you'd-wear-'em-in-public sweatpants, and you'll see she's done her job. Find her designs online, or at pop-up shops in Hingham's Derby Street Shoppes and the South End's Michelle Willey boutique. aruby.net.
It’s no secret: The South Shore’s toned set heads to this cluster of studios in Hingham, Quincy, Pembroke, and Plymouth for an unusual roster that goes above and beyond simple barre. There’s Bardio (cardio plus barre), Pound (a crushing workout wherein clients can pretend to drum in a rock band), and Hollywood burlesque. The workout spaces are also welcoming to parents, with prenatal specials and pristine on-site childcare areas. 35 Pond Park Rd., Hingham; and other locations. 35 Pond Park Rd., Hingham, MA 02043, secretphysique.com.
Sure, you can buy a decent bike anywhere, but the friendly folks at Wheelworks make the hunt stress-free. Once you've made your pick—be it a fixed-up second-hander or a brand-new designer bike—cycle easy knowing that anytime you need expert servicing, the team will take care of it. On warmer days, staffers line up the refurbished rides outside the store for easy browsing. 145 Elm St., Somerville, MA 02144, wheelworks.com.
After six years spent whipping the city into a craft-cocktail frenzy with its pitch-perfect Manhattan variations and handcarved ice cubes, Barbara Lynch and John Gertsen's tippler's haven has, thankfully, loosened up a bit. Once-monthly tiki-themed soirees keep things festive, and groups can now make bar-section reservations during off-peak hours. 348 Congress St., Boston, MA 2210, drinkforpoint.com.
Local barbecue fiends once faced a split decision: You could hit up roadhouse joints like Lester’s, in Burlington, or SoulFire, in Allston, or go a tier higher at Newton’s Blue Ribbon or Davis Square’s Redbones. Then came this smoked-meat haven, which, true to its Fenway locale, is in a league of its own. The quality of chef Tiffani Faison’s signaturesgiant biscuits, fall-apart racks of ribshasn’t changed since the restaurant debuted in 2011. 1381 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2215, sweetcheeksq.com.
If you lack the patience to sift through piles and paw through racks to find vintage gems, head to this Harvard Square institution, where staffers have done the treasure-hunting for you. Waiting to meet your closet: sweet Twiggy-era shift dresses, a sequined Valentino jacket, and baubles to satisfy every taste, all at not-that-outrageous prices. Guys can get in on the fun, too, with Hawaiian-print shirts, striped ties, and denim jackets. 1210 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 2138, oonasboston.com.