With its glossy, red shingles and gabled roofs, the Coonamessett Inn is the epitome of old Cape Cod, a perfect setting for high-style weddings and anniversaries alike. But you needn't wait for a special occasion: Sunday brunch features an array of delicious classics, from make-your-own omelets and baked salmon with special weekly sauces like beurre blanc or citrus, melon, and mango, to oversized fruit plates and gorgeous renditions of sweet favorites like chocolate mousse and carrot cake. 311 Gifford St., Falmouth, MA 2540, capecodrestaurants.org.
It may be, as the book contends, that French Women Don't Get Fat. But that's only because they don't have Pierre Sosnitsky feeding them. At the Maison Robert alumnus's 11-month-old Beacon Hill bistro, the house pâté is rich, the beef bourgignon hearty, and the profiteroles irresistible. About the only things that don't feel authentically, unrepentantly Gallic are the pleasantly reasonable prices. 272 Cambridge St., Boston, MA pierrotbistrot.com/.
Rani is a study in contrasts. The spicy pinch of lamb vindaloo meets the sugary melt of mango chutney, and the taste of sour curry is followed by the sweet nectar of a rose lassi. No taste bud is ignored at Coolidge Corner's hottest new bistro. The atmosphere is airy and pleasant, with authentic décor to match the authentic Hyderabadi cuisine. And the service is as steady as the stream of locals coming through the door. 1353 Beacon St., Brookline, MA ranibistro.com/.
Kashmir is as authentic as Indian cuisine gets in this town, and with its elegant outdoor summer dining, it's a good place to get a feel for some of the tastiest ethnic cuisine in town. Try the chicken masala or the vegetarian appetizer platter—a variety of fried treats that are considered snack foods on the subcontinent. Entrees come in copper vessels atop tea-lights to keep them warm. You can request how spicy you want your food: mild for the wuss, and spicy for the brave. 279 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Whether it's North Carolina pulled pork, Kansas City burnt ends, Texas sliced beef brisket, or Memphis dry-rubbed ribs, the key to Blue Ribbon's success is, like all great barbecue, slow cooking at low temperatures, in this case, over oak and hickory hardwood. Whichever style you prefer, it makes for incredibly tender 'cue with just the right smoky flavor. Good prices, great sides, but no real dining room. Sit on a stool by the counter, or take your bounty home. 905 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA .
A warm and radiant person must be at the heart of a romantic restaurant, and chef-owner Corinna Mozo fills this sweet subterranean spot with her love of cooking and a sensual style. Walls in this intimate nook are painted a lusty green. The unstudied mix of artwork keeps you in a relaxed South End mindset. And since the menu is neither exclusively highfalutin nor high-priced, you can turn any meal into a celebration. Hint: The most romantic seats in the house are in the greenhouse. 560 Tremont St., Boston, MA .
Cognoscenti (including top chefs) admit that it's impossible to buy better meat anywhere in the city. Great cuts, fair prices (for the extraordinary quality you get), and straight talk about how many racks of lamb you need to feed your six ravenous friends. You might spend more here than you would elsewhere, but there won't be a morsel of meat left on anyone's plate. 753 Beacon St., Newton Centre, MA .
These avowed wrapmasters hone in on a few select points: even distribution of ingredients; made-to-taste variety; and overall freshness, heftiness, and yumminess. They succeed. For those finicky wrapsters among us— you know who you are— there's no overabundance of rice here, or goopy sludge of extra sauce to soak up your roll. Living up to such standards of wrapsody, Fresh City in Brookline blazes the way toward the future of fast food. 1335 Beacon St., Coolidge Corner, Brookline, MA .
The wine list changes frequently, but its hallmark remains affordability. Consider this: old-vine 1996 Pernand-Vergelesses from Delarche for a mere $26; a fabulous Sauternes, the 1988 premier cru Chateux. La Tour Blanche, for $36; and, for a splurge, a simply great 1983 Hermitage "La Chapelle" for $89. Fetch me my reading glasses! Prices like these have got to be wrong. (But they're not.) 1418 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA .
Whether you want a cake covered in flowers, ballerinas, or baseballs, this is the place. Not only does the cake taste great (especially the frosting), the decorators can reproduce any cockamamie theme your birthday boy or girl desires. We've gobbled a cake topped with an iceberg and a Sweet 16 cake with a saucy blonde Barbie waving from her little Deuce Coupe. There are traditional birthday cakes, too, domed in a trellis of flowers and ribbons—pretty, delicious, and appropriately decadent. 1356 Beacon St., Brookline, MA .
Don't be misled by the name: this ain't no spaghetti house. Bringing high-end Northern cuisine to the North End, chef Bill Wallo is a maestro of the classics. Papardelle is served in a lovely traditional Tuscan rabbit sauce, and Bistella della Fiorentina with potato gratin is a hearty delight. And for a taste of la dolce vita, try the Semifreddo. This place is so refined and elegant, yet so friendly, you'll feel like a close personal friend of the Medicis. 3 North Square, Boston, MA .
Herren of Steve's Ice Cream has won this award. But Steve has sold Steve's to Joey Crugnale, who owns Joey's. And Joey is putting a bit more effort into Joey's than he is into Steve's (also, the lines at Joey's are shorter). Very smooth and light ice cream (Joey says he uses a "fast-whip" process). A make-your-own sundae bar, and chocolate-cinnamon-raisin to boot. 1161 Broadway, Somerville, MA .
Last December, the Boston Marathoner went to the Globe with a sob story about how evil Bank of Boston was foreclosing on his happy Dover home to settle a bank loan to Rodgers's running-goods store. Lo and behold, four months later, Rodgers announced that the bank had given him a fair price on his home and had signed him to a personal-services contract. Hmmm.
Is there anything out there more wonderfully old-school than Mr. Sid? The parquet floors; the in-house bar, hair salon, and billiards table; the genteel service—it all feels reminiscent of another time. The clothing itself is as current as it gets, however, with sharp styles from the likes of Ermenegildo Zegna, Brioni, and Scott James, plus a collection of high-end footwear. Men who prefer to go bespoke will appreciate the "made-to-measure" program, which offers custom clothing from a selection of the store's designers. 1211 Centre St., Newton Centre, MA mrsid.com.
There was a time when anyone on the South Shore interested in fine furnishings had to make the trek up to Boston. But there's no need now. At this lovely one-stop decor shop, you'll find outstanding American lines like Oly and Hickory Chair, French furnishings made by Grange, and accessories by the Vermont-based Simon Pearce. Overwhelmed? Seek out the in-house designer, Bill Barr, who offers complete interiors service. 81 1/2 Fairhaven Rd., Mattapoisett, MA surroundingshome.com.