Salts is a great little bistro, the kind of place you want to have in your neighborhood. It says welcome, have a seat, relax, and —most of all— have some great food. We love a smoked-salmon sausage serves with fiddleheads and marinated onions, and a very crisp grilled chicken. The bread is homemade, the wines are affordable, and the service couldn't be more pleasant. 798 Main St., Cambridge, MA .
If you've eaten south of the border, or anywhere near it, chances are your tortilla sights are set a little higher than those Wonder Bread gringo wafers found at most markets. Take corazon! Maria and Ricardo's produces some of the tastiest, and muy autentico tortillas anywhere. Whole wheat, spinach, tomato, chile, and blue corn varieties round out the standard white flour and corn far. We love 'em all. Also available at Bread & Circus, Savenor's, and select Star Market stores. 30 Germania St., Jamaica Plain, MA .
Want to experience a European café without the jet lag? Head to Burdick. The true test of chocoholism is actually finishing the iced hot chocolate—a deeply decadent concoction poured over ice, and crowned with a veil of whipped cream. If the craving persists, move on to the signature (and adorable) chocolate mice, filled with cinnamon, mocha, or orange. Or snag a spot at one of the café's tables by the window, and survey the march of humanity in Harvard Square as you linger over any of the 13 truffle varieties and slip into a Proustian peace. 52D Brattle St., Cambridge, MA burdickchocolate.com/.
Walls covered in '50s album covers, an Elvis shrine offset by Christmas lights, a crowd as thick with tattoos as with suits, restrooms wallpapered with old Eloise and Spiderman clippings—DeLux is so funky and cozy, we'd come even if the food weren't terrific. But terrific it is: fat quesadillas stuffed with moist chicken and an abundance of veggies; a grilled-cheese sandwich with artichokes and tomatoes, that melts on your tongue; and a shrimp and crab tamale that evokes warm Latin vibes. 100 Chandler St., Boston, MA .
This little cafe offers a welcome respite from Starbucks culture, offering everything from your standard Assam to more exotic blends, from scented and flavored teas to herbal infusions. For summer, try the iced ginger-and-lemongrass tea with one of Tea Tray's sandwiches or desserts. Complimentary tea tastings Tuesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. 1796 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA .
The name of the place means barbecue, and you'd have to be a fool or a vegetarian not to sink your teeth into a few of the ribs here. This Davis Square favorite also serves up the tastiest soul food in town. Start the gut-stuffing with fried okra and hushpuppies, jump to lip-smackin' cornbread and catfish, and cap it with rich pecan pie or the infamous "White Trash Sundae". Too sloppy for a first date, but a great test of soul on the second. 55 Chester St., Somerville, MA .
Okay, for $11 it should be the best. But if you're going to pay $7.95 for a so-so burger elsewhere, why not splurge for the extra three bucks and live a little? Plus, you'll more than make up for the differences with all those perks: individual jars of ketchup and mustard; salty, crunchy shoestring fries to knock your socks off; and all that white linen and monogrammed flatware. It's a cheap way to be King (or Queen) for a day. 15 Arlington St., Boston, MA .
The Pescado a la Sal (fresh fishbaked in coarse salt) is a masterpiece of Iberian cuisine, as is the Cordero Asado (sauteed leg of lamb marinated n sherry, lemon juice, and garlic). If the mood suits you, it's every bit as satisfying, and even a touch surreal, to sit at the blue-and-white-tiled bar where you can work your way through the dazzling tapas selections. What better way to polish off a pitcher of sangria? 451 Washington St., Somerville, MA .
Schlow put the newly renovated restaurant at Louis, Boston on the culinary map just a few weeks after his arrival from New York. A protege of Manhattan restaurateur Pino Luongo, Schlow and pastry chef Paul Connors, who worked at Aurora, in New York, and the four-star Ryland Inn, in New Jersey, have brought simply prepared but elegant and sometimes surprising cuisine to Boston, featuring notably fresh produce and other ingredients. Try the tasting menu.
Who knows pizza better than teenagers? We sent four teenagers who had trained on a field trip to Italy to sample pies in the North End and East Boston. Their pick: Santarpio's, with caveats. The wait staff is surly, the dining room is grungy, and the location is convenient only if you're heading to Logan. But the pizza is still the best. We suggest takeout. 111 Chelsea St., East Boston, MA .
When you've had it with ersatz seafood joints that underfeed and overcharge you, set your sights on a place that doesn't pretend to be anything but what it is: a bare-bones fish shack. Jake's spotlights freshness and variety in simple but classic preparations. There's plenty of atmosphere; just make sure to snag a table on the enclosed patio, where the specials are served over the waters they were fished from, and sunsets dapple the abutting bay. 50 George Washington Blvd., Hull, MA jakesseafoods.com/.
Though there's a flurry of hotel action on the island (the renovated retro-chic Chapman House, Lark Hotels' sleek new 76 Main), the Union Street Inn continues to define the gold standard for boutique lodging on Nantucket. In addition to Matouk duvets, free WiFi, and made-to-order breakfasts, this stylish inn now boasts freshly decorated rooms and a revamped patio and outdoor space. 7 Union St., Nantucket, MA unioninn.com.
Start your Saturday with a snack from the Great Cape Baking Company—we suggest the apple-cider doughnut or a hunk of rosemary bread. Load up on local seafood from C&C Lobster & Fish (based in nearby Hull) and fresh produce from Mary Bukujian's Hanson farm. Enjoy the view of Bathing Beach. Drive home happy. Hingham, MA 2043, hinghamfarmersmarket.org.
Escape the pickled beach-bar crowd at this sexy subterranean spot, with its smart mix of single malts and blends, local beers, and a carefully cultivated wine selection. Order from upstairs restaurant Atria's menu—a dozen different juicy burgers are available—or simply cap off the night by raising a glass to your good taste with one of Brick Cellar's inspired cocktails (we dig the Edgartown Harbor Breeze). 137 Main St., Edgartown, MA 2539, atriamv.com.
Enthusiasts of eclectic home decoration adore the Potted Geranium, a cluttered catch-all craft and home accessories store. Need something to offset your dining room's midcentury modernity? Pick up a locally designed Mariposa aluminum bowl. Or maybe a hand-woven Kennebunk & Churchill throw. The constantly evolving jumble of merchandis—old and new, understated and bold—means you never know what you'll find, or find you suddenly can't live without. 188 Main St. (Rte. 28), West Harwich, MA 2671, pottedgeranium.com.