Our New York friends won’t let us forget it: Boston doesn’t exactly abound with traditional Jewish delis. Even Manhattan, though, would be lucky to have Michael’s, which epitomizes everything you’re looking for in the deli experience — namely, sandwiches with meats stacked high enough to crack your jaw, bitingly sharp horseradish, and a hint of something green (and probably pickled). Remember to order a side of latkes for your mom, then stand aside and wait for your name to be yelled. Ah, yes! That feels just right. 256 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 02446, michaelsdelibrookline.com.
The Netflix treatment of Sean Ellis’s wrongful conviction and ultimate exoneration in the 1993 killing of a Boston police officer is both triumphant and infuriating, exposing cracks and rampant corruption in the criminal justice system that put him away as a teen. The eight-episode series also gives a major platform to familiar voices in the city, like GBH’s always excellent investigative reporter Phillip Martin, and introduced the world to Rosemary Scapicchio, the no-nonsense local attorney with an unforgettably spiky platinum-blond hairdo who spent years fighting to set Ellis free.
Oenophiles searching for a wine list that both delights and challenges need look no further than the fringes of Boston Common. No. 9 Park wine director Cat Silirie has organized a list that's a worldly tour of tried-and-true Chianti, sauvignon blanc, and chardonnay, and paired them with such never-before-heard-of vineyards and varietals as Josco Gravner's ribolla gialla from the northeast corner of Italy and No. 9 Park private label refosco, a grape from Trentino, Italy, that's grown and bottled at Santa Barbara, California's Au Bon Climat winery. The result: a list that complements chef Barbara Lynch's sophisticated cuisine and is easily organized by grape and flavor (lighter for aperitif to full-bodied, barrel-fermented big boys). Silirie wants diners to be comfortable with wine, and that's exactly what her stellar palate and fastidious organization achieve. 9 Park St., Boston, MA no9park.com/.
Here's state representative Michael Flaherty and his partner Robert Kenney, putting in the winning (though by now means lowest) bid on a city-owned vacant lot in Sothie, where the two plan to put up many pricey condo townhouses. There's Kenney, former Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) director, and another partner, John Flaherty, Michael's brother, submitting the winning bid on another city-owned vacant lot nearby, where they plan on putting up more pricey condo townhouses. There's Joseph Santa Fe, Michael's cousin, doing likewise on another city-owned vacant lot. There's James Flaherty, Michael's cousin and campaign manager, sitting on the BRA board that votes on the new zoning plan for the area—he doesn't vote on Flaherty-related business. South Boston, MA
Okay, so it's not in pristine condition. In fact, on a recent visit, we found what appeared to be a large fishing net half-buried in the fairway of the 12th hole. So what's so great about this municipal course? For starters, it's right in the city—a verdant oasis hidden in Hyde Park, with a clubhouse that looks like a medieval castle. This course was designed in the 1930s by Donald Ross, the famed Scotsman who built some of the finest courses in both the state and the nation. The best thing about George Wright, however, is that a loop around these greens runs Boston residents just $24 ($27 on weekends). While you play, take the time to imagine what this course could become with a just little tender loving care. 420 West St., Hyde Park, MA cityofboston.gov/golf/GWGC/.
When trying to lay your hands on the freshest catch in Boston, you could get up at 4 a.m., pull on rubber boots, and clump along to the fish pier to haggle with salty characters. Or you could sleep in until a decent hour, then do what the city's smartest cooks do: head to this venerable storefront in East Cambridge, where owner Carl Fantasia makes buying and preparing seafood a breeze, even for novices. He'll not only steer you to the tastiest specimens in the display case, but also point out which Portuguese olive oil will bring out the best in those bright-eyed sardines, and supply the nori needed to turn that sushi-grade tuna into hand-rolled maki. 622 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 2141, newdealfishmarket.com.
A world-renowned jazz drummer, Berklee professor, and Grammy-winning bandleader, Medford’s Terri Lyne Carrington (pictured, bottom) excels at anything she touches. Her latest triumph is this two-CD set spanning almost two hours of music. Featuring her band Social Science and aching vocals by singer Debo Ray, the first half is a musical stew of jazz, R & B, hip-hop, and funk, with a poetic rumination on police brutality by Malcolm Jamal-Warner on “Bells (Ring Loudly)” that took on even greater meaning after the killing of George Floyd. The second half, an instrumental jazz suite called “Dreams and Desperate Measures,” is a luminous river of improvised music. Put together, it’s one of the most astonishing albums ever released by a Boston musician. terrilynecarrington.com.
Editor's Note, June 30, 2 p.m.: After our 2016 Best of Boston issue was published in print and online, No. 8 Kitchen & Spirits shared this week on social media that the restaurant has closed indefinitely. You can read their full note on Facebook.
It’s the sort of joint every neighborhood wants, and Amesbury has it, in a rugged-industrial former mill space along the town’s increasingly busy Main Street. Chef Nicholas Bond’s open kitchen sends out shareable small plates inspired by and sourced from New England: lobster doughnuts, cornbread with pork-belly butter, local cheese and charcuterie. And when the weather warms up, he takes his party under the stars, offering tented dinners at nearby Colby Farm. 37 Main St., Amesbury, MA 01913, no8kitchen.com.
This utterly unpretentious, hip South End restaurant is doing its best to change the image of Boston as an early-to-eat town. Though it has only nine tables and a crowded bar, Franklin services perfectly homey, simply executed food that gives late-night dining a good name. Favorites on the New American menu include loin of tuna (a large piece of fish cooked medium-rare and served atop creamy mashed potatoes) and the grilled lahmajune (an Armenian-inspired pizza topped with ground lamb and cilantro). Portions are large, prices are low, and the crowd is cool—a winning combination that keeps hungry night owls happy and fed until 1:30 a.m. every night of the week. 278 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA franklincafe.com.
The more private a space is, the more luxury it deserves. Enter Waterworks, a shrine to beautiful bathrooms whose Newbury Street shop and Boston Design Center showroom are filled with tasteful and functional bathtubs, sinks, vanities, storage units, whirlpools for two, old-fashioned footed tubs, and a collection of stylish fixtures crafted out of porcelain, metal, and glass. Soaps, delicately scented with everything from soft florals to clean citruses, are crisply packaged in perfect rows. There are more than a dozen fluffy and absorbent towel patterns to choose from, deliciously thick bathrobes and slippers, and our favorite: a firm terry-cloth—covered headrest for those times when you need to soak for a really, really long time. 103 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Who says rock is dead? With a club like the Paradise offering its stage to the kinds of acts that will never, ever get air time on MTV (and that's a good thing), the genre is thriving. Everything about the Paradise is designed for the audience: the acoustics, the lights, the five bars (the lines are never long for a drink), and the long, rectangular space that lets just about everyone get close to the stage. Which is why acts from the Donnas to Ryan Adams have lined up to play the Paradise this year, the club's 25th in business. With the addition of the adjacent Paradise Lounge, there's now a smaller stage for acoustic shows by local acts, plus a bar menu for between-show snacks. And unlike other Boston clubs, which stage their shows on the early side so they can turn their floors over to dancing by 10, the Paradise rocks all night long. 969 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA thedise.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.
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 Donald Ross-designed course in Hyde Park is the perfect diamond in the rough. The imposing clubhouse recalls a staid Victorian manor, but the staff is downright friendly, whether organizing weekday tee times (reservations are accepted only for weekends and holidays) or teaching chip-shot fundamentals. The par-70 course—5,131 yards from the red tees, 6,096 from the whites—covers a beautiful, hilly terrain, and includes the breathtaking 10th hole, whose green lies in a serene, tree-ringed dale. Greens fees are also breathtaking: just $22 for Boston residents on weekdays ($25 for nonresidents), and $25 on weekends ($28 for nonresidents). Of course, that doesn't include the balls—or bets—you lose. 420 West St., Hyde Park, MA cityofboston.gov/golf/GWGC/.
Remember when you used to sneer at bottle blondes? Stylist Leon deMagistris and his staff of colorists have changed all that with bold, rich hair colors that look better than the real thing. (His latest venture, known as California highlighting, mimics the look of sun-kissed hair without foil strips or hours of harmful sun exposure.) Moreover, deMagistris's talent and sway go far beyond the Boston-area beauty scene. He's the former U.S. creative director for the venerable Italian product line Tocco Magico and regularly grabs international attention with runway coiffures in Europe. None of which stops him from running his 33-year-old Belmont salon like a finely tuned machine. 84 Leonard St., Belmont, MA leonandco.com/.