Written by Ami Albernaz, Kara Baskin, Ellen Bhang, Karen Campbell, James Cronin, Gary Dzen, Geoff Edgers, Michael Farrell, Devra First, Carolyn Johnson, Susan Johnston, Sheryl Julian, Marni Elyse Katz, Deborah Kotz, Michael Morisy, Dan Morrell, Anne v. Nelson, Cristin Nelson, Martine Powers, Shira Springer, Francis Storrs, Tina Sutton, Beth Teitell, Rachel Travers, Eugenia Williamson, Glenn Yoder
The 36-seat A4 in Somerville, co-owned by Michael Leviton of Cambridge’s Area Four, makes extraordinary pies and everything on them by hand — even the mozzarella. Play old Nintendo games while you wait. Pizzas emerge from a wood-burning oven, crusts blistered black, toppings light but not spare. The sourdough was started 13 years ago and is remarkable.
445 Somerville Avenue, Somerville, 617-764-4190, areafour.com
A former L’Espalier sous-chef takes a gamble opening a tasting-menu-only restaurant on the edge of Back Bay, and the result is some of the most compelling food of the year. Alex Crabb serves three-, five-, and eight-course menus at Asta, each more inventive and adventurous than the last. Dishes might include a seaweed pasta and mussel foam called After the Storm, or scallops unfurled into long slices and seared. A seat at the bar overlooking the open kitchen offers a night of culinary theater, with friendly hospitality from co-owner Shish Parsigian and thoughtful wine pairings from sommelier Paige Farrell.
47 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, 617-585-9575, astaboston.com
Barcelona Wine Bar
One of the hottest additions to Brookline’s Washington Square area, this restaurant, which also has locations in Washington D.C., Georgia, and Connecticut, is hopping virtually every night of the week. Barcelona offers an adventurous spin on tapas served by a friendly, informed wait staff. With a big bar and a long list of Spanish wines and sherries, it’s great for an after-activity drink, too.
1700 Beacon Street, Brookline, 617-264-8900, barcelonawinebar.com
This brasserie and performance venue channels Harvard Square’s nocturnal renaissance. The subterranean cavern recalls a more bohemian Cambridge, populated by creative spirits who still need to eat. At Beat Hotel, bands ascendant and established can strut their stuff, while the menu recognizes the tastes of the neighborhood, with the requisite raw bar as well as shareable “earth bowls” of chicken, steak, shrimp, or salmon with rice, vegetables, and pumpkin tahini sauce. It’s run by the team behind the South End’s Beehive.
13 Brattle Street, Cambridge, 617-499-0001, beathotel.com
If you see Spam on a Korean menu, you know you’re getting mom’s home cooking. Young Kim and her son, Ed, deliver just that at Allston’s Bibim, which is full of Korean students. The signature bibimbap in a stone pot is a treasure of rice, vegetables, and succulent strips of beef. As for the Spam, order it in budae (translation: “army stew”), a sort of GI ramen that comes with Velveeta cheese.
166 Harvard Avenue, Allston, 617-787-5656
On a formerly charmless Fort Point corner, celebrity chef Ming Tsai tempts lunchtime crowds with Asian sloppy Joes, Korean beef Reubens, and banh mi. Come dinnertime, crowds flock for dim sum, noodles, and creative dishes like sake foie gras terrine, washed back with strong drinks — revelers should request the rummy Dragon Bowl for two. Day or night, get the fries: They’re brined overnight in vinegar, salt, and water, then fried twice. The result is addictive.
324 A Street, Boston, 617-338-8585, ming.com/blue-dragon
Upping the ante of the tiny Cambridge original, this 80-seat spot in Concord retains all the qualities that make its predecessor great. Chef Jason Bond’s menu changes daily, but the focus is always on sustainable modern American cuisine, such as New England bouillabaisse and roasted duck with walnut and sage stuffing. A fireplace, antiques, and some fabulous old church pews create a lovely ambience. Look for outdoor dining come summer.
24 Walden Street, Concord, 978-610-6554, bondirconcord.com
In the Kendall Square courtyard near The Blue Room, the brick-and-mortar version of the food truck Bon Me can really move the crowds along. Most entrees are packed to go, with salads and rice bowls in cardboard boxes that vaguely resemble little laptops when you open them. The limited menu includes some fine noodle and rice dishes and a healthy banh mi.
1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-945-2615, bonmetruck.com
This is definitely the best new steakhouse we didn’t know we needed. But Chris Coombs, also executive chef at Deuxave and dbar, has the golden touch. Boston Chops had its chops from the start — the South End spot has meat that is tender, fresh popovers, an impressive raw bar, and cocktails and a wine selection designed to please. All sauces (including ketchup) are house made.
1375 Washington Street, Boston, 617-227-5011, bostonchops.com
Chef Tim Wiechmann is known for his refined, creative food at Cambridge’s T.W. Food. Now he turns to sausage making, and his skill shows. Bronwyn, named for his wife, features the food and drink of Germany and Central Europe. Union Square hipsters happily consume giant pretzels and German beer in the dark, loud restaurant, decorated with iron chandeliers and ornate wooden chairs upholstered in velvet. Sausages such as currywurst and lemon weisswurst are heavenly; make sure to also leave room for regional specialties such as rosti and jagerschnitzel.
255 Washington Street, Somerville, 617-776-9900, bronwynrestaurant.com
This busy Roman trattoria in the South End is part of the Aquitaine Group — the team responsible for neighborhood hits like Gaslight Brasserie and Union Bar and Grille. Cinquecento fills a niche with chef Justin Winters’s satisfying renditions of Italian classics like tagliatelle alla Bolognese and linguine with clams, plus weekly specials such as wild-boar gnocchi with raisins. The new wine list focuses on rare-yet-affordable bottles, all from Italy.
500 Harrison Avenue, Boston, 617-338-9500, cinquecentoboston.com
The Coffee Trike
This mobile coffee shop brings freshly brewed java to the masses shuffling to and from South Station along Boston’s Greenway and elsewhere. Founder and Australian native Alessandro “San” Bellino, who moved here to study music at Berklee, uses gourmet beans from Acton’s George Howell Coffee Co. and Gracenote Coffee in Berlin. The custom trike will roll again in April.
Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston, thecoffeetrike.com
With longtime Arlington restaurant Tryst, chef Paul Turano created a fun, comfortable haunt for area residents. Now he does the same for Newtonville. Cook is stylish yet informal, with gray walls, wood floors, exposed ductwork, metal chandeliers, and dangling bulbs. The menu mixes casual fare such as burgers and tacos with more refined dishes, from an excellent kale salad to mustard-glazed salmon with spinach, apple, and quinoa. With weekend brunch, Cook makes itself indispensable.
825 Washington Street, Newton, 617-964-2665, cooknewton.com
Dirty Water Dough Co.
A pizzeria with a name only Bostonians could love. Cape Ann Brewing Co. makes a special IPA called Dirty Water for this Back Bay joint, which is served on draft and used in their dough, rendering it exceptionally fluffy on the inside and crackly on the outside. Toppings are joyfully singular, too. Try the Fenway Frank, festooned with Kayem hot dogs, mozzarella, sauerkraut, mustard, white onions, and sweet relish. Late-night experimenters might enjoy a Dirty Taco Pizza topped with Doritos.
222 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-262-0090, dirtywaterdough.com
All-around excellence in a warm, unassuming package. Co-owners Steve Bowman and Andrew Foster roam the amber-lit room in Brookline, making conversation and menu suggestions. Chef W. Scott Osif has created a menu that emphasizes family-style dining, and the food is both playful and sophisticated — think whole braised oxtail with vegetables and arancini. There’s serious wine service, and the beverage program headed by “master of ceremonies” Patrick Gaggiano is one of the most creative in town. But most of all the staff is simply fun to spend a night — or many — with.
1704 Beacon Street, Brookline, 617-396-8752, fairstedkitchen.com
Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe
Gene Wu’s restaurant started out in Chelmsford, one of the few places in the region to find strappy, hand-pulled Xi’an noodles made fresh for each order. His pungent noodle soups and savory flatbreads grew so popular that the vivacious Wu — who hails from northwestern China — expanded to Boston’s Downtown Crossing, delighting adventurous 9-to-5ers. Order flatbread stuffed with juicy five-spice pork, lamb stew, or a tingly bowl of house soup virtually guaranteed to vanquish any cold.
86 Bedford Street, Boston, 617-482-1888, genescafe.com
At this distinctive Italian restaurant, chef Michael Pagliarini serves beautiful small plates and perfectly prepared second courses such as monkfish piccata, all with clean, clear flavors. But if there is one reason to come, it is the house-made pasta. From spaghetti with clams to pappardelle with wild boar, it is superb. Located halfway between Harvard and Porter squares, the place is intimate and romantically lit. Reservations are hard to come by, but a meal at Giulia is well worth planning for.
1682 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617-441-2800, giuliarestaurant.com
This Allston newcomer transports you to Japan with a J-pop soundtrack and curtains printed with waving cats and sumo wrestlers. The food follows suit. The succinct menu features donburi and katsu curry, but the main event is the noodle soup ramen, such as shoyu ramen with soy sauce-flavored broth, and yakibuta ramen with extra pork and extra toppings. You’ll even have your choice of thick, chewy noodles or delicate, thin ones.
72 Brighton Avenue, Allston, 617-562-1668
The Kirkland Tap & Trotter
In 2013, Tony Maws — the force behind the high-end, high-concept Craigie on Main — opened an exacting chef’s version of a neighborhood joint. The food may be simpler and more straightforward, but it lives up to the same standards. Dishes such as house-made spaghetti with chicken liver cream, pumpkin, and brown butter, grilled salmon head, and enormous pork chops showcase the craft of cooking. All brick and beams, mismatched chairs and vintage signs, the Somerville restaurant itself feels relaxed and friendly. Many places claim the label “gastropub,” but The Kirkland Tap & Trotter truly is one, a great bar with great food.
425 Washington Street, Somerville, 857-259-6585, kirklandtapandtrotter.com
Siblings Andy, Margaret (Mei), and Irene Li have won a devoted fan base with their food truck, Mei Mei Street Kitchen. Now they’ve opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Audubon Circle. Devotees will find some of their favorite truck items here, but the stationary kitchen allows the creative chefs to stretch. The dinner menu encompasses dishes such as beef heart tartare with juniper dressing and smoked chestnut creme, and smoked beef shank mapo dofu with apples and wheatberries in lamb-head broth. Bonus: You always know where to find it.
506 Park Drive, Boston, 857-250-4959, meimeiboston.com
The restaurateurs behind the likes of Mistral and Sorellina bring their signature style to a Theatre District menu of oysters, tender gnocchi with lobster, and salt-crusted branzino. Service at Ostra is courtly, and the room is as elegant as the food, with cognac leather seating and white tablecloths and photos of rocky shores hanging on the walls. There are now plenty of excellent casual places to eat seafood. Come here for something special.
1 Charles Street South, Boston, 617-421-1200, ostraboston.com
Puritan & Company
Co-owner and chef Will Gilson takes classic New England dishes and turns them on their heads at this Cambridge restaurant. You can dine on swordfish pastrami, a thick Berkshire pork chop with cabbage and apples, or finnan haddie with mussels.
1166 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, 617-615-6195, puritancambridge.com
Expectations were high for the first solo venture from Tim Maslow, the young chef who turned his father’s Watertown sandwich shop, Strip-T’s, into a dining destination. Ribelle in Brookline doesn’t disappoint. The cooks turn out rigatoni with octopus, fennel, and smoked tomato, ricotta gnudi with green crab veloute, aged duck breast with cranberry, and more. Inventive and inspired, it doesn’t taste like any other restaurant in town.
1665 Beacon Street, Brookline, 617-232-2322, ribellebkline.com
Roksana’s Persian Food
Ala Tolouei and his wife, Roksana, prepare elegant Persian cuisine at this Watertown takeout place named for her. Long skewers of halal meat are set on basmati rice flecked with saffron. Order a roll-up and you’ll get it in homemade bread, a little like Indian nan. The only thing this ancient cuisine is missing is seats for diners.
133 Mt. Auburn Street, Watertown, 617-393-2229, roksanas.com
A welcome health-food haven in the midst of boozy Allston, Root offers salads, sandwiches, and fresh juice blends to atone for the previous night’s sins (consider a “veg blend” with beet, carrot, kale, and lemon). The weekend brunch menu isn’t entirely virtuous, though: you’ll also find doughnut bites and pancakes dressed with rich toppings.
487 Cambridge Street, Allston, 617-208-6091, rootboston.com
Row 34 is a Fort Point seafood restaurant from the people behind the much-loved Island Creek Oyster Bar. So the surprise isn’t that it is good — it’s how good. Casual and cheerful, it showcases oysters, ceviche, lobster rolls, crab cakes, and grilled fish. From deviled-crab toast to house-made bucatini with clams, the cooked food is just as good as the raw. And the beer list, with more than 20 offerings on tap alone, is one of the best around.
383 Congress Street, Boston, 617-553-5900, row34.com
Sarma is a collaboration between Oleana’s Ana Sortun and Cassie Piuma, the former chef de cuisine there. One would never expect to stumble across a restaurant serving Turkish-inspired small plates in this Winter Hill space, long occupied by the Paddock. It has been thoroughly re-imagined, with walls painted a cool blue, upholstered banquettes, Turkish mosaic lamps, and a three-sided bar. On the menu, meze such as pumpkin fritters and lamb kofte sliders beckon. And platters of specials make every dinner feel like a festive cocktail party.
249 Pearl Street, Somerville, 617-764-4464, sarmarestaurant.com
Several things helped prepare Seta Dakessian — raised in Worcester by parents who ran an Armenian bakery and cafe — for instant success at her Belmont spot, including working her way up at Rialto. Seta’s Cafe offers Armenian and Mediterranean specialties made with the best ingredients. Grilled poultry and meats (khorovats) sit on bulgur pilaf and are served with parsley-onion salad and grilled tomatoes and onions. No table service, and you bus yourself, but you’ll find you’ll do anything to eat this well.
271 Belmont Street, Belmont, 617-484-7823, setascafe.com
The phenomenon that is Shake Shack has finally arrived. New York restaurateur Danny Meyer made his name with high-end places like Gramercy Tavern, but his burger joint has the farthest reach, with branches from Boca Raton to Beirut. In Chestnut Hill, lines immediately stretched out the door, everyone eager for a taste of the ShackBurgers, hot dogs, and frozen custard. The appeal? Fast-food flavors created with high-quality ingredients. There’s beer and wine, too, and even treats for your dog. A Harvard Square Shake Shack opened in early January, and another is slated for Newbury Street.
49 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, 617-651-3406, shakeshack.com
Shanghai Social Club
This Chinese-themed nightspot in Allston used to be dive bar Our House. You’d never recognize the place, redone with dark wood, cushioned nooks, and plenty of Buddha statues. It looks like the cleanest opium den in bygone Shanghai, but it is America’s Chinese restaurants to which the menu pays homage. Chef Bob Botchie, formerly of Myers + Chang, serves up pupu platters, lo mein, and General Gao’s, along with street food like steamed buns. With a bar program specializing in scorpion bowls and tiki drinks, it is tasty, cheeky fun.
1277 Commonwealth Avenue, Allston, 617-208-8909, shanghaisocialclub.com
For authentic Northern Indian and Bangladeshi fare, savvy eaters head to Shanti in Roslindale Village. This friendly 40-seat restaurant, brought to you by the owners of Shanti in Dorchester, offers familiar favorites (samosas, tandoori chicken, tikka masala), but also robustly flavored dishes like bhuna, a style of slow cooking meat and vegetables in their own juices until meltingly tender. Goat bhuna, infused with toasted coriander and green cardamom, leaves you feeling deliciously in the know.
4197 Washington Street, Roslindale, 617-325-3900, shantiboston.com
Former Dave’s Fresh Pasta wine buyer Felisha Foster opened neighboring Spoke, and the 40-seat spot in Somerville is lively, with great bar food to share and lots of innovative cocktails and delicious wines by the glass. The menu of small plates, cheeses, and charcuterie changes every few weeks, but the friendly atmosphere is always there.
89 Holland Street, Somerville, 617-718-9463
David Punch (Ten Tables) and Lydia Reichert (Craigie on Main) have already established their culinary reputations. So it is no surprise that their cozy Newton Centre bistro serves delicious, interesting food. There are echoes of France and Spain on the menu: Nibble gougeres and chorizo croquetas, then move on to the likes of foie gras mousse, cassoulet with duck sausage, or roasted scallops with mushroom ragout. The atmosphere is every bit as nice as the food.
755 Beacon Street, Newton, 617-244-4445, sycamorenewton.com
This chain with nearly two dozen locations has finally planted its seed in Boston’s Back Bay, with two more area outposts on the horizon. It’s based on the concept that food can be delicious and healthy as well as prepared and served in an environmentally responsible manner (they even compost). The dishes include locally sourced organic ingredients that are free of hormones and antibiotics, the star attractions being quinoa and kale. Don’t worry, if you like some bite, there’s plenty of sriracha sauce, too.
659 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-936-3464, sweetgreen.com
When Boloco closed its Tufts location in May, two of the company’s founders, Adam Liebman and Jason Hutchinson, re-imagined the space as an eco-conscious cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch. When you’re in an ultra-cool, ultra-comfortable room and the French toast is spot on, what more could you want? Coffee, of course. Tamper’s is excellent.
340 Boston Avenue, Medford, tampercafe.com
Tavern Road/TR Street Foods
Chef Louis DiBiccari and his brother, Michael, operate two restaurants in one. At lunch, TR Street Foods doles out portable savories from across the globe, like pita packed with tender lamb meatballs dolloped with yogurt and spicy harissa. At dinner, sit in the dining room and feast on signature porchetta. Starting in late January, TR Street Foods will host gallery nights spotlighting local artists.
343 Congress Street, Boston, 617-790-0808, tavernroad.com
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free fare are on the menu at Walnut Grille in Newton Highlands. One stellar dish is gobi Manchurian (inset), cauliflower in a sweet-spicy tomato sauce (you may recognize it from Red Lentil in Watertown, where chef and co-owner Shiva Kumar used to work). The food here is highly seasoned and full of flavor. Bring your carnivorous best friend — you won’t get grief.
1203 Walnut Street, Newton, 617-964-1029, walnutgrille.com
Warehouse Bar & Grille
Every cocktail at this Financial District spot honors a Dave Matthews Band tune. (Owners Cliff and Toni Dever are big fans.) It’s also one of the few places in town that serves alligator, prepared as “bites,” breaded, fried, and primed for dipping in spicy remoulade. Wash them back with an unusually extensive selection of beers by the can or wine on tap.
40 Broad Street, Boston, 617-936-4383, thewarehouseboston.com
Whether you’re outfitting a picnic or stocking a pantry, these one-stop shops have you covered:
The husband-and-wife team of Francois and Cecile Attard lovingly tends this French gourmet grocery on the Lexington-Arlington line. It’s a prime spot for rare cheeses, foie gras and pates, coffee, imported jams, and an assortment of mustards shipped from Dijon. It’s also a worthy morning pit stop: Each day, the shop receives deliveries of fresh croissants and baguettes from Pain D’Avignon, the legendary bakery on Cape Cod.
46 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, 781-862-1047, mafrancegourmet.com
2. Trillium Brewing Company
Tucked away in an alley in industrial Fort Point, Trillium Brewing Company produces innovative beers in small batches. They’ve just begun small bottling runs, but the best way to take home brews with names like Wakerobin and Pot & Kettle is to fill up a growler at the brewery. If you’re having trouble deciding among the options, the deliciously dry-hopped Fort Point Pale Ale is a standout.
369 Congress Street, Boston, 617-453-8745, trilliumbrewing.com
This Kendall Square spot calls itself a restaurant/market hybrid and offers American-style family food with lots of vegetables and sides — including duck-fat fries. You can create your own dessert with ice cream, sauces, and different bases, among them blondies, brownies, bread puddings, or waffles. This is chef Steve “Nookie” Postal’s first solo endeavor, though many know him from Fenway Park and Oleana, among others.
11 Broad Canal Way, Cambridge, 617-945-7030, commonwealthcambridge.com
4. Brighton Fish Company
Not all the best fish is found down at the pier: Brighton Fish Company offers a sparkling daily catch alongside unexpected choices like bronzini and mako shark, and subscribers of the new month-to-month fish share can get a group rate on fresh favorites like salmon and local cod. To-go offerings like clam chowder, ready-to-bake stuffed clams, and lobster rolls filled with perfectly cooked meat will reel you in hook, line, and . . . well, you know.
162 Chestnut Hill Avenue, Brighton, 617-903-3750, brightonfishcompany.com
5. Bee’s Knees Supply Company
This 5,500-square-foot industrial space in the Seaport District contains a butcher shop and cheese and charcuterie area as well as lots of other locally sourced goodies. Gourmet chocolate is made on-site, and you can get Batch ice cream scooped. There is lots of food and plenty of eating spots for settling into — and a multitude of grocery options to go. Add in the beer and wine selection, and you’ve got a great urban high-end market.
12 Farnsworth Street, Boston, 617-292-2337, beeskneessupply.com
THROWBACK EATING & DRINKING ESTABLISHMENTS
This crimson-walled Downtown Crossing steakhouse in the back of jm Curley is a swanky lair for dedicated eaters who crave strong drinks and serious meat. Couples should get the new prix fixe “Casa Blanca” for two: a wedge salad, a 20-ounce bone-in rib eye with a side, and dessert — a steal at $58. Try the bone marrow with jalapeno chimichurri and Texas toast. Logically, cocktail flights are named for Humphrey Bogart films.
25 Temple Place, Boston, 617-338-5333, bogiesplace.com
The name might come from a temperance crusader who went after nightspots with a hatchet, but fortunately things are more subdued at this moody Beacon Hill cocktail space, dotted with leather chairs and an 80-foot 1920s-style bar. Enjoy New England fare such as lobster pot pie in the front dining room, or venture back to the speak-easy, where there are billiards tables, waitresses in flapper attire, and a cocktail list that spotlights pre-Prohibition classics.
11 Beacon Street, Boston, 617-227-3100, carrienationcocktailclub.com
Owner Dimitra Tsourianis Murphy has been a cheery presence on the restaurant scene for years. Now she handles the bar and chef duties at this Greek-inspired date spot in Magoun Square. Try cheeky cocktails like the Greek Dude, a White Russian made with yogurt liqueur, and share nontraditional bar meze like smoked herring.
525 Medford Street, Somerville, 617-690-9095, daddyjonesbar.com
Society on High
Society on High aims to sate the Financial District’s deal-making crowd with simply prepared fish, burgers, and flatbreads. But the restaurant also has a frisky side. Come spring, expect DJs and live musicians to host themed nights like “Disco Inferno” and “The Roaring 20s,” plus movie screenings with special menus. Another draw: a patio with full bar.
99 High Street, Boston, 857-350-4555, societyboston.com
On the outskirts of the North End, Ward 8 serves creatively styled American cuisine in a cozy industrial-chic atmosphere. Executive chef Kenny Schweizer, who’s partial to gastropub fare, offers up duck wings, braised short ribs, and bacon cashew caramel corn, along with raw-bar favorites and an extensive cocktail list.
90 North Washington Street, Boston, 617-823-4478, ward8.com
BAKERIES AND SWEETS
In West Roxbury, cookies, cupcakes, pies, bars, cheesecakes, and more are culled from the family recipes of co-owners Fran Kolenik and Beth McNichols (and are better than your grandma made). Breakfast savories and sweets, great teas, and Fair Trade coffee give the Dunk’s across the street a run for its money, and soups, salads, and sandwiches are offered for lunch.
168 Spring Street, West Roxbury, 617-325-2253, bakerbaker.co
Evelyn & Angel’s
This artisanal candy shop near Harvard Square sources sweets from all over the country, with a special focus on chocolate and truffle fudge. It also roasts nuts on-site — rosemary sea salt cashews are a top seller. A cafe serves rich hot chocolate, Stumptown coffee, and pastries.
1702 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617-547-0175, evelynangels.com
Patisserie on Newbury
Baguettes, croissants, and macarons abound, all baked on-site, along with artisanal cheese, pate, sandwiches, and gelato, available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at this much-needed Back Bay bakery. Sweets and savories can be consumed at charming bistro tables or boxed for takeout.
257 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-670-6040, patisserieonnewbury.com
Union Square Donuts
Cherry hibiscus glaze on a chewy, not-too-sweet, beautifully yeast-puffed doughnut. Sounds like the obvious choice . . . until you spot the honey almond. And the chocolate chipotle. (And the maple bacon.) Take a deep breath, because unless you’ve come with a sharp knife and a troop of Girl Scouts who really like to share, there’s no way you’re going to get to taste every treat at Union Square Donuts — and that’s OK. Because tomorrow there will be sea-salted bourbon caramel.
16 Bow Street, Somerville, 617-209-2257, unionsquaredonuts.com
Violette Gluten Free Bakery
This local farmers’ market favorite has opened shop in Cambridge, using hand-milled flour, fresh fruit, and seasonal vegetables to create homemade baked goods that are gluten-free and delicious. They provide full ingredient lists for all packaged items and an ingredient book for those that aren’t. The favorites include cupcakes with salted caramel butter cream and chocolate chip banana bread, plus curried vegetable empanadas and chicken pot pie.
1001 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617-945-7660, violettegf.com
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