Planning to pop the question? Get thee to L'Espalier, a restaurant so famous for serving as the site of proposals that the front dining room has been nicknamed the "seduction room." You will also be seduced by chef Frank McClelland's sumptuously rich French fare, and the elegant and efficient waitstaff that serves it. The three- or seven-course prix fixe menu is always perfectly composed with seasonal selections made from local ingredients, leaving those with romance on their minds free to concentrate on more important things. 30 Gloucester St., Boston, MA lespalier.com/.
In an area where the men's clothing selection has traditionally tended toward golf shirts and whale pants, Giblee's is a welcome departure. Italian merino wool sweaters from Bobby Jones share rack space with Hugo Boss leather jackets and Joseph Abboud three-button suits. The shop rounds out its stock with a selection of shoes from such makers as Alden and Bruno Magli and the latest watches from Swiss Army. All in all, definitive proof of life after seersucker. 85 Andover St., Danvers, MA giblees.com/.
Drawing on their unmatched knowledge of urban art and fashion, the owners of this hidden sneaker boutique have quietly amassed a collection of über-hip pieces from up-and-coming streetwear designers around the world. Think: colorblocked windbreakers from the Dutch artist Parra and striped denim pants from Grind London. 6 Clearway St., Boston, MA 02115, shop.bdgastore.com.
The owners of Chaps were so excited about last summer's renovation that they gave their club a new name. Reincarnated as Vapor, the space has a new floor plan, a beefed-up sound system, and an amplified light show. Already the high-energy dance hall is a hot scene, complete with Manhattan deejays on the weekends. 100 Warrenton Street, Boston, MA .
Planning a back splash in your kitchen? A mosaic in your bathroom? Tiling your entryway or looking for flagstones for your patio? The selection might be overwhelming, but the consultants are adept at navigating you through the many lines such as Country Floors, Grazia, Emil Ceramica, and Tagina. They'll also help answer any design questions. 1 Design Center Place, Boston, MA .
Nineteenth-century urban planning may have transformed an ocean inlet into the Back Bay neighborhood, but about 150 years later, inspired chef Michael Serpa is still filling it with (fabulous) Mediterranean-inspired fish: sea bream, whole-roasted and sauced with parsley, mint, and oregano; swordfish with champagne mango and rose harissa; and salmon crudo augmenting towers of oysters and crab salad. A whip-smart wine list—including a nice pool of reds—pays equal attention to terroir. 50 Gloucester St., Boston, MA selectboston.com.
When dining at Il Casale, don't be surprised if your companions—having mopped the last bit of tangy, rich marinara from their plates—start hatching a plan to move to the suburbs. Who wouldn't want to get closer to food like this? Dante de Magistris's newest venture is not only stylish and affordable, with most entrées under $20, but it also does full justice to the Italian home cooking that inspired it: rustic minestra, feathery gnocchi, seriously good meatballs. 50 Leonard St., Belmont, MA 2478, ilcasalebelmont.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/.
Favored by some of the city's most discriminating boutique owners and clotheshorses, Dick Robasson is a stitch wizard straight out of another era. Holed up in his spartan Central Square space, with two sewing machines and a radio humming jazz in the background, the one-time Zegna staffer employs the same concentration when hemming pants as he does when whipping up a suit from scratch. 550 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 2116, lecouturierma.com.
Because the pants are preshrunk and consummately flattering. Because the tops are sexy and comfortable. Because (heads up, yoga dudes) the men's apparel is styled like normal, nonhumiliating athletic gear. And because Lululemon's eco-friendly workout mats, gym bags, and other yoga accessories mean that you can strike a pose, discover your center, and leave behind the outside world—in more or less the same pristine shape in which you found it. 337 Newbury St., Boston, MA 2116, lululemon.com/boston/newbury.
Everyone loves a bargain. But few of us love sifting through piles of used clothes. That's why those in the know head to Karma, where the owners carefully edit the racks of gently worn wares. Trina Turk blouses, Ruth pants, and Escada shoes are just some of the treasures you might find in this sunny North End boutique, whose seasonal goods are always in fashion. 26 Prince St., Boston, MA .
After you're done drooling over Audio Concepts' fantasy home-theater setups—massive TVs, booming speakers, George Jetson-worthy remote controls—find a salesperson and tell him your audio-visual dream. No matter the budget, be it $1,000 or $20,000, he'll briskly and breezily sketch out a plan to turn your underutilized family room or basement into the neighborhood cinema. 870 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA audioconcepts.com.
Can't face the three-month wait for that perfect stainless steel tank watch? With more than 30 brands of watches, including Rolex, Omega, TAG Heuer, and Breitling, you would be hard-pressed not to find a suitable alternative. Alpha also has factory-trained, certified watch technicians on-site, and is planning to open a super store in the Burlington Mall this fall. 57 JFK St., Cambridge, MA .
Plan ahead if you want to trip the light fantastic at this, the city's chicest summer dinner-cum-dancing destination for those of us who outgrew Landsdowne Street years ago. Seating, especially for groups, is booked weeks, sometimes months, ahead. The good news is your alfresco evening will take place regardless of weather: A huge tent encloses tables, band, and dance floor, keeping well-coifed guests warm and dry. 15 Arlington St., Boston, MA .
Now that you’ve reorganized every inch of your kitchen (and garage, and bedroom...), it’s time for the next step: upping your culinary game. Load up on all manner of gear at Local Root, where curbside pickup makes easy work of achieving your latest recipe #goals. Still on the sourdough train? Browse ceramic Emile Henry bread bakers and Eva Solo mixing bowls. Planning al fresco meals? Check out the Rosle grilling tools, made from stainless steel. 77 Leonard St., Belmont, MA 02478, localroot.com.