Part art gallery, part theater, the new kid on the first block of Newbury Street is the go-to place for some of the world’s best streetwear, not to mention the ultimate in experiential retail (see: the DJ booth and on-site café). Expect an eclectic selection of sneakers, apparel, and accessories for men and women spread across three floors, from edgy Japanese brands such as A Bathing Ape and VisVim to haute labels like Balmain and Alexander McQueen. Just be sure to follow Concepts on Instagram for updates, as lines are often out the door thanks to frequent drops of exclusive merch. 18 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, cncpts.com.
Every once in a while, a spa comes along that hits an enviable note combining flawless service, a soothing environment, and extraordinary—and forward-thinking—treatments. That's the zone in which Daryl Christopher finds itself right now, thank to a perfectionist staff whose pedicures are legendary, whose massages are ethereal, and whose body polishes are rejuvenation incarnate. Above the frenzy of the downstairs salon, the peaceful spa feels like it's nowhere in the city. For that matter, with organic treatments like an aromatherapy full-body wrap, it feels like it's nowhere near earth. 37 Newbury St., Boston, MA dchristopher.com/.
Like to eat while on display, with the entire passing world gawking at your menu choices? Pull up a sidewalk seat on Newbury. Prefer to dine discreetly en plein air, where you can focus on the meal, the company, and the cool breezes? Settle in at Harvest's soothing garden retreat, tucked into a hidden nook off Harvard Square. Kick back among the sun-dappled linden trees and order a plate of chef Mary Dumont's salmon with green garlic, or the tea-marinated duck with rhubarb. Then try to decide which is more restorative: the food or the setting. 44 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 2138, harvestcambridge.com.
Huge second-floor bay windows and sky-blue walls make you feel like you're floating int he clouds as your cranium is massaged with soothing-scented liquids. The walls are lined with works by local artists, and the eight barber chairs are spaced comfortably apart in an airy room. But best of all is the zero-attitude, down-to-earth mentality of the stylists. No hippier-than-thou hair bullies here. The staff is friendly and helpful— co-owner Jeffrey cheerfully washes clients' hair; stylish Tonya volunteers techniques for blow-drying tresses to perfection at home. 118 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
An herbalist and medical aesthetician by trade, Omosefe Ozigbo understands the healing power of botanicals better than most, drawing inspiration from Indigenous traditions and ancient modalities around the world to create her small-batch, hand-mixed elixirs. Many of Noshaba’s products include extracts from African marigolds, whose oils can repair cellular damage and soothe dry skin; if the fact that Ozigbo grows — and harvests, and presses — the flowers from scratch isn’t dedication to creating high-quality clean skin care, we don’t know what is. noshaba.co.
Designed in the image of eccentric founder Van Capizzano, the South End’s Tribe offers a pitch-perfect environment for its artsy, carefully coiffed clientele (think: porcupine quills, novelty mounted fish, and other antique knickknacks foraged from New England flea markets). But it’s not all quirky window dressing: Capizzano, who comes to his outré style by way of the Lower East Side’s eclectic barbering scene, is a perfectionist with a blade and knows his way around warm lather and soothing salves. 50 Concord Sq., Boston, MA tribebarber.com.
We’ve loved Glen Cunningham’s classes for the better part of a decade, and on good days, his instruction helps us remember why we hit our mats. (On bad days, a few of his signature words of wisdom certainly don’t hurt.) Cunningham’s style is soothing, his pace is precise, and, unlike most instructors, he encourages a bit of creative interpretation in the poses. 15 Worcester St., Boston, MA 2118, sadhanastudios.com.
This elegant walkup is no dingy, dime-a-dozen tailor shop. It's a richly carpeted, sprawling space overlooking Newbury Street through extra-wide windows, with changing booths the size of hotel rooms. And the service? Impeccable and personal, without fail. Owner Lyudmila Sletkova treats her customers like family and sees to it that their clothes—from cut-rate to couture—are cut and sewn flawlessly. Little wonder that many of the street's savviest shops send their customers here. 268 Newbury St., Boston, MA bestfitinc.com/.
Don't plan on accomplishing much of anything after you've been under the nearly mystical hands of David Kelly, whose clients have been known to cancel meetings just so they can better enjoy the aftermath of his massages. Kelly's steady pressure, strength, and calming manner (his soothing voice could relax even Richard Simmons) work deep into muscles you didn't know you had. Copley Place, Boston, MA grettacole.com/.
Devlin's brings Back Bay chic to Brighton Center. Low lighting, dark walls, and soft booths create an intimate, relaxed atmosphere, while the back patio offers al fresco dining perfect for warm summer evenings. Don't miss the gourmet pizzas: thin, buttery crusts topped with shrimp scampi or roasted chicken. 332 Washington St., Brighton, MA edevlins.com/.
We thought we had lost this place after Michael Schlow split. But it's back with a vengeance. The folks from Providence's Al Forno have moved in and spruced up. You'll find soothing pale green walls with cream and chrome accents, a nifty little bar (for the liquid-lunch types), and contemporary Italian food that consistently hits the spot. Here's a hint: share the shoe-string potatoes or you'll still be working on them by dinner time. Louis Boston, 234 Berkeley St., Boston, MA .
There's a difference between authentic and retro, and this no-nonsense Somerville treasure falls squarely in the former category. It has everything you come to a diner for—a 1953 Jerry O'Mahoney railway car with spacious booths and tabletop jukeboxes, serviceable food at fire-sale prices, and a waitstaff not afraid in these politically correct times to call you "sweetheart" or "hon." Try the eggs Benedict on Sundays ($5.99). 674 Broadway, Somerville, MA kellysdiner.net/.
Check the specials before ordering at Peach Farm—the seafood is always right from the tank, the clams in black bean sauce taste fresh from the sea, and the lobster with ginger and scallions is the stuff Cantonese dreams are made of. If you don't like seafood, the braised chicken hotpot, at once complex and soothing, is a gem. The atmosphere is bustling, and the service keeps pace nicely. 4 Tyler St., Boston, MA peachfarmboston.com.
No need to consult with a wardrobe stylist when prepping for a classy date night at the Franklin. Just come as you are, slide into a black leather booth, and let the low lighting, art-covered walls, and excellent wine list loosen you up. From there, the food—spicy marinated cucumbers, cornmeal-crusted catfish, and smoky spareribs—will put anyone in the mood. 278 Shawmut Ave., Boston, MA 2118, franklincafe.com.
Tweaking tradition here and there (as anyone who's had the hamburguesas de Kobe can attest), Ken Oringer's tapas joint is nonetheless an exemplar of the form. The bistec de faldilla a la plancha, a tender skirt steak served with red onion marmalade and Cabrales blue cheese butter, is a must; the cured ham, a staple in any Spanish restaurant, far outshines other local jams in quality. With such fabulous food and amiable service, Toro gets the balance of spicy and soothing precisely right. 1704 Washington St., Boston, MA 2118, toro-restaurant.com.