A former Emmy-winning television producer, Leydon spices up traditional (but challenging) vinyasa-flow yoga with inspiring music and unexpected sequences to show aspiring yogis how to find their own path to limber inner peace. Free advice: "Remember that yoga is noncompetitive. We live in a culture that makes it hard to let go of egos, but when you're doing precarious positions for the first time, you have to back off and go at your own pace." 28 Arlington St.; 4 Avery St., Boston, MA 02116; 02111, exhalespa.com; thesportsclubla.com.
There are plenty of beauty rituals that can survive a rushed appointment. Eyebrow shaping is not one of them. Sadie Higgins spends a full 45 minutes studying the shape of your face while tweezing (no wax) a natural arch precisely where it was meant to be—even if nature had other ideas. She also dispenses at-home maintenance tips, all in a gorgeous loft space. 840 Summer St., Boston, MA sarrastudios.com.
Yes, $21 for two or three pieces of sashimi is pricey. But less is far more at O Ya, where chef Tim Cushman's top-tier ingredients and meticulous layering of flavors add up to the best mouthfuls in New England. Perfect bites, like fatty Scottish salmon belly with cilantro, ginger, and hot sesame oil, are presented with a careful balance of richness and bracing acid. So yeah, it's costly. But anything else that trips your pleasure centers like this will also cost a fortune—and probably isn't legal. 9 East St., Boston, MA 2111, oyarestaurantboston.com.
Most sommeliers keep their servers so oenologically clueless, it feels like a job-security scheme. Not so with Silirie, who arms every associate in Barbara Lynch's multi-restaurant gastro-empire with knowledge that extends far beyond by-the-glass pours. Ask about any esoteric bottling on Silirie's famously eclectic lists, and you'll be met with exuberant expertise, not blank stares.
Fun as it is to play hooky from the world at a cool, insidery haunt, at some point you need to get along home, culinarily speaking. And ringing that get-your-butt-in-here-for-supper bell with both hands is Tupelo, a southern joint that sets the table with soulful family recipes and heavenly desserts (brown-butter pecan pie!). Most Inman folks weren't raised on this kind of food, but judging by the way they've been packing into Tupelo since its April debut, maybe their kids will be. 1193 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 2139, tupelo02139.com.
Visiting Gargoyles only on date night (yes, the lighting flatters; true, the velvet cascades) is like eating oysters only to boost your mojo. Both should be enjoyed, and often, on their own merits—nooky prospects be damned. Wash away the workday with a silky but strong cocktail (we love the summer-in-a-glass Backyard), and refuel for tomorrow with chef Jason Santos's seasonally inspired fare. And, if you must, flirt at the dish sitting at the next table. Somerville, MA 2144,
Who knew a gas station could be so appealingly reborn as a restaurant? And yet, all of Brookline seems to be angling for a seat at this new bistro. Its classic French dishes teem with fresh, local seafood and sustainably raised ingredients (the mussels escargot and house-made gnocchi are particular coups). Bonus points for the occasional $1 oyster specials and first-rate desserts. 455 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 2446, cognacbistro.com.
With its mod open layout and warm brick and wood, Posto is snazzy enough for date night and relaxed enough for family get-togethers. But to truly appreciate one of Posto's pies, fly solo. With a bready aroma rolling off the crispy-chewy crust, and the flavors of premium ingredients (rich Gorgonzola cream, spicy soppressata, fresh baby arugula) only just married, a pizza delivered straight from the wood-fired oven demands—and rewards—your undivided attention. 187 Elm St., Somerville, MA 2144, .
The best-loved burgers in Boston fall into two camps: the frills-free fast-food type (Flat Patties, Tasty Burger) and the oversize variety topped with high-end accoutrements (Radius, Craigie on Main). Bristol's version, though, stands alon—a layering of juicy beef with a hint of char, aged Vermont cheddar, cool lettuce, sweet tomato, and house-made pickles on a buttery bun. It's the basics done absolutely right—and worth every cent of the $21 it costs. 200 Boylston St., Boston, MA 2116, .
A stone's throw from the gold-domed capitol, Grotto is a quietly luxurious refuge for well-to-do Beacon Hill residents looking to escape touristy Charles Street for a light lunch or dinner (a prix fixe is offered daily). And when they want something heartier, there are dishes like house-made ;tagliatelle or beef tenderloin over creamy risotto. But the three words that keep Beacon Hillers—and a lucky few hoi polloi—returning time and time again: banana bread pudding. 37 Bowdoin St., Boston, MA 2114, grottorestaurant.com.
Barbara Lynch's haute-cuisine mecca was an instant sensation when it opened in 2010. The parade of tiny, striking dishes! The feather-light glassware! The prices! And the place has only improved over time, from the stunning prix-fixe menus to the staffers who anticipate your every need. We're not alone in noticing. In February the restaurant became Boston's first Relais & Châteaux property, a distinction reserved for the likes of Eleven Madison Park and the French Laundry. 354 Congress St., Boston, MA 2210, mentonboston.com.
A truly great fry is only as good as the stuff you dip it in. And while we love Heinz as much as the next guy, It's hard to top this ;frites shop's cheddar Duvel sauce, garlicky "Vampire Slayer' aioli, and truffle ketchup—merely a few of the condiments available. Order your cone of hand-cut, cooked-to-order spuds with a deep-fried egg on top, and write us a thank-you note later. 33 Union St., Boston, MA 2108, eatfrites.com.
Escape the school groups screaming outside the Witch Museum and hit the Salem Diner, a former classic one-ended streamliner train car. With its quintessential counters and stools, The Salem starts the day at 5 a.m. with artery-clogging greasy spoon staples. It also serves stellar stick-to-your-ribs daily lunch specials such as baked fresh scallops and homemade stuffed cabbage. 326 Canal Street, Salem, MA .
Eastie's answer to pizza heaven is definitely a grass-roots experience. There is no ambiance at Santarpio's, to be sure, but there is fabulous dough. All pies are made in the restaurant's own wood-fired oven, and toppings including grilled sausage and lamb are made on-premises. No, they probably don't deliver to your street. Yes, the pizza is good enough to warrant the schlep. The regulars are welcoming too. 113 Chelsea Street, East Boston, MA santarpiospizza.com.
O'Shea is among the last of a breed that's giving way to discount building-supply houses and plastic furniture: a craftsman who'll make home visits. "I really enjoy cabinetmaking," says O'Shea, who's been in the business for six years, "and I do a good job." His favorite material is cherry ("Soft woods dent too easily"), and will do most any "variation on a rectangle" that is related to furniture or cabinetry. Cambridge, MA