He who laughs, lasts. 60 School St., Boston, MA .
We're tempted to call what Redd's does "home cooking," but given that this version of comfort food would require an apprenticeship at a southern barbecue joint, the ability to break down an entire pig, and a smoker in the backyard, we're not exactly talking about our home. Redd's nails everything, from the house-made pickle plate (try the pickled cabernet grapes) and apple mignonette-topped raw oysters to the just-about melt-in-your-mouth pulled-pork sandwich. If this is how you cook at home, we're coming over for dinner. 4257 Washington St., Roslindale, MA 2131, reddsinrozzie.com.
Like early 19th-century vintage and all the glamor it entails, the Bristol Lounge is back. Actually, like the classic pearls and impeccably cut suits you'll find around its tables, the Bristol never really went away. But after losing this category last year to the Harvest, the Four Seasons' lounge and its burger have reclaimed their places in our hearts, and the reason why is simple: sweet beef that fills your mouth with so much flavor it's almost surreal. Toppings—from the thick and fruity slice of ripe tomato the specialty mustards and perfectly toasted bun—are first rate. Service is prompt and polite, and the setting is pure suave sophistication. Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boylston St., Boston, MA fourseasons.com/boston/dining/the_bristol_lounge/.
Vineyarders in the know are already flocking to this petite, year-old day spa in Vineyard Haven's Mansion House Inn. In addition to being the only spa on the island to have an on-site pool, hot tub, and sauna, this laid-back spot offers a full range of massages, body wraps and scrubs, facials, manicures and pedicures. Our favorite? The hot stone aromatherapy massage, delivered in a candlelit room using essential oils guaranteed to melt tense muscles (if de-stressing is your aim, go for the lavender). It's perfect after battling the traffic to the ferry. 9 Main St., Vineyard Haven, MA mvmansionhouse.com/marthas-vineyard-spa/.
Favored by some of the city's most discriminating boutique owners and clotheshorses, Dick Robasson is a stitch wizard straight out of another era. Holed up in his spartan Central Square space, with two sewing machines and a radio humming jazz in the background, the one-time Zegna staffer employs the same concentration when hemming pants as he does when whipping up a suit from scratch. 550 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 2139, .
It's as classic as a bistro gets: petite and boasting seasonal fare, lots of wines by the glass, and genial service. The menu is seafood-oriented, and a plate of the crisp oysters with sea urchin and basil oil, chased by the seared cod with favas, is an elegant way to sample the local bounty. 2208 Main St., Brewster, MA 2631, brewsterfishhouse.com.
The premium product at this funky storefront is poured by genuine bean-lovers, not fast-food automatons or Stepford baristas. 757 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 2139, 1369coffeehouse.com.
Opened last year, locally owned Zumes has won over Townies with its upscale tea and coffee drinks and do-lounge-around décor. 223 Main St., Charlestown, MA 2129, .
The problem with most birthday cakes is that the better they look— all flowers and scrolls— the worse they taste. May, bless her heart, has solved the dilemma. She compliments her delicate batters with light mousses and whipped creams, then trims with finely sliced fruits. The cakes she creates are beautiful and delicious. And you can afford one— even after the ticket you'll probably get for double-parking on the south edge of Chinatown. 223 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA .
The brogues are so thick here you could spread them on toast. The Irish folk music is loud, the food very good, and the spirits are high (and not in the least dry—you can get tipsy just reading the cocktail menu). The delicious vegetable tempura that comes with the corned beef and cabbage (and all entrées) makes the pub seem no less Hibernian. Brookline Village, MA
When up-and-coming event planner Renée Sabo launched her own boutique firm in 2017, she quickly established herself as one of the city’s go-to vendors. While her creativity and attention to detail shine through in each wedding the Urban Soirée founder brings to life, it’s her deep commitment to her clients and community that impresses most. When the coronavirus outbreak threatened to derail untold brides’ and grooms’ big days, for example, Sabo sprang into action, sharing crucial postponement and rescheduling advice on her blog and teaming up with fellow pros to offer gratis planning consultations for local couples in distress—true leadership, if ever we’ve seen it. urbansoireeboston.com.
By virtue of its excellence-obsessed baristas and premium roasters (Terroir, Barismo), our city is pouring itself a righteous coffee reputation that gives new meaning to the nickname 'Beantown.' Coffee nerds adore the top-quality espresso drinks pulled at the tiny Taste Coffee House (Newtonville) and the crowded Simon's Coffee Shop (Cambridge); however, only Harvard Square java den Crema has the full-service offerings impressive enough to take this year's title. To wit: stellar brew (they serve French press!), abundant seating inside and out, made-from-scratch food, and an inspiring independent spirit. 27 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 2138, cremacambridge.com.
Keri Ketterer Walter at Always Yours Events excels in design, dreaming up fairy-tale fetes with bespoke details, luxe rentals, and (of course) a cohesive color scheme to pull it all together. alwaysyoursevents.com.
Choosing Boston’s best "overall" Korean restaurant is a tricky proposition. The city’s long on specialists, but short on generalists able to muster worthy renditions of the hit parade. For example, is it unfair to dock a bibimbap shop for its subpar bulgogi? Our philosophical struggle ended, however, when we discovered that our favorite spot for spicy tofu stews also puts out a rock-solid plate of kalbi. In sum: Kaju’s focus may be its glorious bubbling sundubu bowls, but it’ll keep even the most hard-core Korean-barbecue fans happy, too. 58 Harvard Ave., Allston, MA 2134, kajutofuhouse.com.