One of the first restaurants to bring the concept of high-end tinned fish to our shores, this cheerful spot also excels in seafood of the uncooked variety. Opt for a dozen South Bays, or go all in with cobia, razor clams, and one of three varieties of sea urchin. There's no shortage of fish in these waters. 281 Dartmouth St., Boston, MA 02116, saltiegirl.com.
Owner Alix Childs offers modern brides funky alternatives to the white-meringue gown. In her sun-drenched Beacon Hill studio, she proffers hard-to-find frocks from fashionable faves like Lela Rose and Temperley London. Our eyes are on a handpainted watercolor bridal gown. Now that's a statement. 53 River St., Boston, MA 02114, ceremony-boston.com.
The pappardelle with wild boar? The tagliatelle with fresh porcini? At Giulia, it's hard to know which pasta to try. Which is why our MO is to skip the rest of the (quite good) menu and gorge on as many of chef Michael Pagliarini's rotating varieties as possible. 1682 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138, giuliarestaurant.com.
This locally grown stalwart earns our salute by appealing to kids and parents alike. Stocking time-honored brands like Alex, Gund, and Manhattan Toy at a variety of price points, Henry Bear's makes it that much easier to say yes to the child who just won't leave without a present. 25 White St., Boston, MA 2128, henrybear.com.
After one too many blowouts left us looking like a Dallas cast member, we were ready to throw in the (salon) towel. Then came Tim Robishaw at Jeffrey Lyle, who transformed our limp strands into "look at me" locks that lasted the entire weekend. 135 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, .
A white wool suit covered in tomato sauce didn't faze the wizards at Holly. Our regular Back Bay cleaner looked at the mess and said he was likely to discolor the fabric. Holly humbly offered no guarantees, but returned the suit exactly as it was, pre-lasagna. 1314 Centre St., Newton, MA .
Back when good beer selection meant both Bud and Miller Lite, these hopheads did their damnedest to broaden our horizons. A decade later, the bar stocks nearly 500 microbrews, including 110 on tap and three beer engines for those cask-conditioned ales. 130 Brighton Ave., Brighton, MA .
Deputized by superchef Guy Martin to run swish French eatery Sensing, this young import has shown all the technique and discipline required by haute cuisine, along with more than a little invention. With Barbin folding more local seafood and cheeses into his repertoire, he's become our favorite French connection. 3 Battery Wharf, Boston, MA 2109, .
Arcade games, sippy cups, and free kids’ meals before 6:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday. No, this isn’t your local Chuck E. Cheese—it’s the latest hot spot from Kristin Canty, the brains behind West Concord favorite Woods Hill Table. At her new, family-friendly-but-still-sophisticated entry to the town’s dining scene, the focus is on Mexican cuisine—and not just any Mexican cuisine. Here, the pasture-raised pork, chicken, and beef stuffed into every tempting taco, burrito, and quesadilla comes straight from Canty’s New Hampshire farm, so you can feel good treating the little ones (and yourself) to dinner here any day of the week. We’ll raise a guava margarita to that. adelitaconcord.com.
Some less enlightened staffers here at Boston magazine argued against this pick, citing its limited availability (Formaggio fires up its sidewalk grill once a week, and for only half the year) and the unforgivable snobbishness of awarding the title of best street food to a purveyor of $7 hot dogs. But proponents were unmoved, pointing out that said dogs weigh in at a juicy half pound. And that—like the house-made sausages and the pulled pork, chicken, and lamb—forms part of what just might be the Hub's most joyous eating experience. That status is owed largely to Formaggio's new grill-master, Kurt Gurdal, whose infectious enthusiasm will surely stand him in good stead through season's end, in mid-November. 244 Huron Ave., Cambridge, MA formaggiokitchen.com.
We thought the "freedom fries" movement was absurd, and we can't imagine a diplomatic conflict grave enough to make us swear off truffles. But somewhere a line must be drawn: In this age of geopolitical anxiety and economic uncertainty, no self-respecting American foodie should drop 10 bucks on a teensy chunk of French goat cheese at the neighborhood fromagerie—not when the exact same item costs less at Whole Foods Market. This outpost of the supermarket juggernaut stocks everything from shredded organic mozzarella to imported moldy raw-milk rounds from Europe displayed in a special climate-controlled case. Like the produce section, the cheese shop highlights the work of local farmers and takes care to remove overripe products. Monthly specials entice aspiring cheese snobs to try new varieties, and pairing a bottle of red with your purchase couldn't be easier: The store's expansive wine section is just across the aisle. 340 River St., Cambridge, MA wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/riverstreet.
Finding the right place to discuss a delicate legal matter or negotiate a contract can be a conundrum in this town. Sure, there are plenty of restaurants open for lunch, but by noon most are too packed, and the staff too hurried, for the finesse a business deal needs. With its location just a stone's throw from the Financial District and the State House, the glass-walled dining room at blu offers just the right stage for business deals with an elegant-but not-too-fussy menu and a waitstaff that knows how to keep a meal on a timely track. The sting of dropping stock-option prices can be less sharp, and the guarantee of a confirming handshake firmer, with a lobster, pancetta, and tomato sandwich on the table, or handmade spaghetti alla guitarra with fresh crabmeat and lemon bread crumbs. 4 Avery St., Boston, MA bluerestaurant.com.
Oringer is fast becoming the Tom Hanks of Best of Boston. Oringer has captured the best-chef nod in three of the past four years—and the year he didn't win, his restaurant, Clio, was named the best in town. It's not that he's such an all-around nice guy (which he really is) that makes Oringer the winningest chef in recent memory. It's that he creates such beautiful food, perfectly balanced in flavor, texture, and proportion. Clio's French menu impresses at every turn with its Asian influences and emphasis on fresh ingredients, from the cassoulet of lobster and sea urchin with yuzu and Japanese pepper to the entrée of roasted Muscovy duck with kumquats and black radish confit. Oringer's new pet project, the sashimi bar Uni inside Clio, shows his versatility and talent. And, as anyone who follows awards presentations knows, those qualities separate the winners from the also-rans. The Eliot Hotel, 370 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA cliorestaurant.com/.
This store's 10,500 square feet of floor space on Arlington Street is brimming with a minimalist but immaculate selection of contemporary pieces from designers such as B&B Italia, Cassina (including designs by Philippe Starck), and Antoine Proulx. Clean lines, solid colors, and 18-foot ceilings accentuate the two-level showroom where co-owners Christopher and Liz Bates are on hand most days to consult. Showcased in roomlike groupings, the pieces here combine to create uncluttered living spaces of sleek, simply lined sofas, multilevel coffee tables, and softly spherical lamps echoing 1950s futurama motifs. Definitely on the pricier side (sectionals can run into five figures), Montage's original selections will nonetheless last well into your home's next retro phase. 75 Arlington St., Boston, MA montageweb.com/.
According to stereotype, women are supposed to run into the city for a dose of cutting-edge chic. Gretta Luxe has successfully reversed the paradigm: Since it opened four years ago, it's had city fashion aficionados happily schlepping out to Wellesley for designs and investment pieces that are hard to find elsewhere, including Chloé, Barbara Bui, Miu Miu, Habitual, and Strenesse. There are accessories, too, from Marc Jacobs bags to Jimmy Choo shoes. But this is no mere label shrine. The helpful staffers, each blessed with impeccable taste, have well-tuned radar for determining which clothes will flatter a customer (and a merciful flair for avoiding those that don't). If that isn't worth a quick jaunt down Route 9, we don't know what is. 94 Central St., Wellesley, MA grettaluxe.com/.