Alden & Harlow
Casablanca was a Harvard Square institution. What could fill its shoes? Alden & Harlow is a worthy successor, creative, consistent, and fun, with a strong bar program — an instant mainstay of the neighborhood. Chef-owner Michael Scelfo’s menu celebrates vegetables while still doing right by meat. Kale salad seems novel again when it’s made with fresh and crisped leaves and topped with fennel and creamy pistachio dressing. Pickled corn pancakes are served with shishito peppers. Rabbit goes to Buffalo, fried and served with celery, apple, blue cheese, and chili oil. And the “secret burger,” a changing preparation, is one of the best in town.
40 Brattle Street, Cambridge, 617-864-2100, aldenharlow.com
Ames Street Deli
This is not your grandmother’s deli. Ames Street, from the team behind Somerville’s innovative Journeyman, offers sandwiches of foie gras on coconut brioche, or maitake mushrooms accessorized with delicata squash and jalapenos. At breakfast, there are baked goods and bracing coffee. By night, the Kendall Square space serves cocktails listed in scientifically proper chart form, categorized by flavor profile.
73 Ames Street, Cambridge, 617-374-0701, amesstreetdeli.com
Artistry on the Green
The seasonal American bistro fare, attentive service, and smartly priced wine list make Artistry on the Green a dining destination, rather than just the restaurant for the new luxury boutique Inn at Hastings Park in Lexington. Diners can go casual with buttermilk herb fried chicken accompanied by any of several California chards or settle into a comfortable chair for a sirloin club steak with a bottle of exquisite St. Helena cabernet franc.
2027 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, 781-301-6655, innathastingspark.com
The menu board at this JP spot says it all: “Don’t be scared of the word ‘pies.’ ” These three-cornered sandwiches, made with something that resembles calzone dough, and filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables, are designed to be eaten by hand. The Cousin Mundo is succulent with shaved steak, arugula, red onion, radish, and cilantro.
377 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, 617-522-3377, aurumjp.com
As a pop-up within Cutty’s sandwich shop in Brookline, Bagelsaurus grew so popular that owner Mary Ting Hyatt had to strike out on her own in Cambridge. In Porter Square, she hand-shapes bagels in all sorts of funky flavors, like black olive and pretzel. Top the chewy treats with eggs, local hot smoked salmon, sweet roasted tomatoes, or a variety of spreads and butters.
1796 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 857-285-6103, bagelsaurus.com
No need to soldier into the city for a Big Night Out anymore: Lurking within a bland stretch of Burlington retail you’ll find servers with dazzling attention to detail, swanky surroundings (see: the Pop Art prints in the Warhol Room), and superb steakhouse food from Lydia Shire protege Mario Capone. Look for a handsome pig chop with polenta fries and cherries and a meaty Maine lobster roll. At brunch, try the Wiener schnitzel with organic eggs, paired with selections from an enormous Bloody Mary bar.
15 Third Avenue, Burlington, 781-221-2100, the-bancroft.com
Superstar chef Daniel Boulud’s new upscale bistro in the Mandarin Oriental features sumptuous, creative cuisine in eye-popping presentations amid handsome decor — zinc-top bar, vaulted oak ceilings, burgundy leather. Chef de cuisine Aaron Chambers offers everything from high-end burgers to French classics with an adventurous twist. Boulud’s signature sausages and charcuterie are well known, but don’t miss the pumpkin cavatelli and lemon sole meuniere.
776 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-535-8800, barboulud.com/boston
Restaurateur Seth Greenberg’s Bastille Kitchen is 11,000 square feet of lavishly outfitted space — dining room upstairs, lounge downstairs, decorated like the hunting lodge of an eccentric millionaire. Executive chef Adam Kube serves modernized fare to match, from brandade beignets with guajillo pepper aioli to tea-smoked mussels mariniere to roast chicken with Cajun spices.
49 Melcher Street, Boston, 617-556-8000, bastillekitchen.net
Berkshire Farms Market
Yes, this shop is in the airport, but shouldn’t travelers get to eat well? This is a huge improvement over typical grab-and-go fare, with fresh breads and pastries, salads and sandwiches, and a host of juice and smoothie options. Plus, the artisan products from Western Massachusetts — jams, syrups, chocolates, soaps — make far better souvenirs than lobster bibs.
Logan Airport Terminal B, berkshirefarmandtable.com
Bonapita, launched by Jerusalem-born chef Ilan Barniv, serves up Mediterranean fare like all-beef meatballs and thyme-scented mushrooms and lentils to accompany pita, which it bakes daily. The menu is organized as “fill it” (stuffed pitas), “plate it” (with wild rice and vegetables), and “toss it” (salad). Nothing is fried, which makes this a favorite lunch spot of health-minded Downtown Crossing office workers.
49 Franklin Street, Boston, 857-350-4606, bonapita.com
Board games, cocktails, straightforward food under $20, and a patio — what’s not to love? This Somerville watering hole is quickly becoming a neighborhood hangout on a par with sister restaurants Foundry on Elm and The Independent, both known for their solid food and unpretentious surroundings. Union Square might be hipster central, but feel no shame in ordering Miller Light and a cheeseburger (even if it’s topped with green aioli and onion marmalade).
70 Union Square, Somerville, 617-623-9211, brassunion.com
Short for “Burgerfication of the Nation,” the BurgerFi chain, with two local outposts, offers antibiotic-free Angus beef burgers, which come two patties to a potato bun, and very good fries you can order with extras (and to degree of doneness). Calories listed on the menu are shocking — don’t look.
961 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, 617-254-4200, and 77 Spring Street, West Roxbury, 857-273-3078; burgerfi.com
Chef as magician, bartender as alchemist: That’s the formula at this Helsinki Modern-style restaurant-bar where hearty Spanish octopus with potatoes and olives or Nantucket scallops with a salt cod veloute is complemented by fun food like popcorn with Comte cheese and black truffle. Kendall scientists fit right in among the centrifuges and Le Whaf, a bong-like device that turns sippable cocktails into intoxicating vapors.
650 East Kendall Street, Cambridge, 857-999-2193, cafeartscience.com
The South Korean mega-chain’s first coffee franchise in New England has turned into a go-to stop in the Symphony Hall area. There are a variety of tempting coffee drinks, teas, smoothies, frappes, pastries, gelatos, and hot sandwiches, like the savory Korean-style spicy chicken. Feeling adventurous? Try the misugaru latte, made of sesame seeds, black beans, brown rice, and barley.
333 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, 617-982-6688, caffebeneusa.com
The South End needed a classic French bakery, and it now has the real deal from executive pastry chef Frederic Robert, who worked for decades with famed chef Alain Ducasse. (Their Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse’s Desserts and Pastries won a James Beard award.) Customers can watch the pastries being made: flaky croissants, pain au chocolat and cannelles, spherical gingerbread and giant cookies. Salads and sandwiches are available for lunch.
517 Columbus Avenue, Boston, 857-239-8052, cafemadeleineboston.com
Centre Street Cafe
When the Jamaica Plain brunch institution was purchased by the team behind Tres Gatos, the biggest change was to the menu: Centre Street Cafe is now an Italian restaurant, a category underrepresented in JP. Executive chef Brian Rae (Rialto) offers a pared-back menu of modern dishes, from swordfish conserva to buckwheat lasagna to short rib braciola. Handmade pastas are particularly noteworthy.
669A Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, 617-524-9217, centrestreetcafejp.com
You know something is afoot when the friendly owner of Chef Chang’s, in the Back Bay, highly recommends the kung pao chicken: “It’s not like the kung pao chicken you’re used to!” In other words, it is made in a style truer to Sichuan province than a mall food court. And there the adventure begins, as your chopsticks roam from braised pork with pancakes to sweet-and-sour whole fish with dragon whiskers noodles.
30 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, 617-236-1888, chefchangsonbackbay.com
Comedor’s American-Chilean small plates represent an idea whose time has clearly come: The restaurant was funded in part via Kickstarter. The place buzzes with the satisfied clatter of curious diners, intrigued by crispy chicken drumsticks with romesco sauce and lamb cazuela. A lively bar scene — made so by experimental cocktails like an oregano sour — adds a touch of sparkle to Newton Centre’s nocturnal landscape.
105 Union Street, Newton, 857-404-0260, comedornewton.com
Nadia Liu Spellman’s parents opened the iconic Sally Ling’s in the ’80s, but her Dumpling Daughter in Weston shows she can stand on her own. Her menu features “authentic Chinese home-style fare,” such as a glass noodle salad with beef and cilantro and dan dan mien noodles, while also honoring family history with vegetable spring rolls and wonton soup.
37 Center Street, Weston, 781-216-8989, dumplingdaughter.com
Dunkin’ Donuts’ Croissant Donut
Riding the cronut craze, this hybrid pastry from Dunkin’ Donuts combines the best elements of its croissant and glazed donut. There’s the satisfying, yeasty flake of a croissant — but there’s also the sweet sin and shape of Dunkin’s signature treat. More expensive than a donut, but at less than $3, a cost-effective sugar high, nonetheless.
Various locations, dunkindonuts.com
The cachet of the famed California chocolatier is enough to entice Faneuil Hall visitors into the company’s first ice cream and chocolate shop in the Northeast. But it will probably be the sundaes that keep them coming back — from sea salt caramel to brownie to an old-fashioned banana split. The two-story shop also features a tempting variety of other fountain treats, as well as confections, sauces, and specialty products.
Faneuil Hall, 6 North Market, Boston, 617-722-4169, ghirardelli.com
What do you get when a retired British academic, his son (a veteran server), and an El Salvadoran chef join forces? The Glenville Stops in Allston, of course. Enjoy 30 craft beers on tap and dig into smoky charred octopus or fragrant spiced carrot soup. Solo diners are comfortable at the handsome bar of this beautifully restored 1922 row house, while lively groups share plates in the dining room.
87 Glenville Avenue, Allston, 617-903-3638, glenvillestops.com
Gracie’s Ice Cream
Flavors at sweet little Gracie’s Ice Cream parlor, named for co-owner Aaron Cohen’s young daughter, nicely reflect its funky Union Square neighborhood: Fruity Pebbles, cold-brew coffee, salty whiskey, and cones made with toasted Fluff. Service is hospitable, too — Cohen is the founder of dining event company Eat Boston, and partner Ben Dryer ran the neighborhood’s much-loved Sherman Cafe.
22 Union Square, Somerville, 617-764-5294, graciesicecre.am
Owner Dave Becker, long known for Needham’s Italian eatery Sweet Basil, goes a bit more upscale and Greek/Mediterranean at Juniper in Wellesley: small plates of charred octopus salad and souvlaki, for instance, and entrees of lamb Bolognese and chicken tagine. It’s an excellent spot for appetizers and drinks, with the full bar that Sweet Basil lacks. But Juniper doesn’t take reservations for parties of fewer than seven, so get there early.
13 Central Street, Wellesley, 781-446-6950, juniperwellesley.com
Come to Somerville’s La Brasa for a second date or a raucous reunion. Thumping music, meat rolling by on carts, and bracing cocktails mixed by chatty bartenders all conspire for a memorable evening. Chef Daniel Bojorquez (L’Espalier) churns out a menu that recalls a gourmet Epcot Center: Some plates are Mexican, some are South American, others are Asian, nearly all are luscious. An adjacent market sells fresh produce and coffee.
124 Broadway, Somerville, 617-764-1412, labrasasomerville.com
Liquid Art House
Part restaurant, part gallery, the vast and lavish Liquid Art House feels like a cross between Boston, underground Berlin, and the Capitol of The Hunger Games. Chef Rachel Klein is in the kitchen, producing lovely internationally inflected food like duck confit with medjool dates, urfa aioli, micro-arugula, and Lithuanian farmer’s cheese dumplings.
100 Arlington Street, Boston, 617-457-8130, liquidarthouse.com
What better than pimento cheese dip, beer cheese soup, or Mexican Cheetos to sop up the remains of a wild Allston night? From short-rib mac and cheese to Frito chili pie to a fried chicken sandwich, there’s something for all gluttons at Lulu’s. At brunch, White Trash Hash unites braised short ribs, tater tots, poached eggs, and hollandaise in unforeseen ways.
421 Cambridge Street, Allston, 617-787-1117, lulusallston.com
Downtown Crossing’s MAST’ specializes in real Neapolitan-style pizza made in an imported oven. You’ll also find Italian small plates, handmade pasta, and a section of the cocktail list devoted solely to riffs on the Negroni. There’s a comfortable lounge area downstairs.
45 Province Street, Boston, 617-936-3800, mastboston.com
Merrill & Co.
This South End restaurant from the BiNA Family Hospitality Group (Bin 26, JM Curley, Lala Rokh, and others) looks like a hipster’s version of Johnny Rockets, with chrome-trimmed counters and stools, vintage signs, and tin ceiling tiles. The menu plays like a jukebox: a collection of unrelated hits. Jump from fried chicken to meatball sliders to lobster potpie to mussels in red curry sauce. It may not always be coherent, but it is flavorful and fun.
1 Appleton Street, Boston, 617-728-0728, merrillandcoboston.com
Moroccan Hospitality Restaurant
From the little phyllo package of bastila, filled with spicy chicken and almonds, to tagines and couscous dishes with intense flavors, the menu at Moroccan Hospitality (which moved to Somerville from Malden) is authentic and nourishing. Sisters Nouzha and Amina Ghallay are in the kitchen making food the way it’s made in their native country. This quality is unusual, even in Morocco.
585 Somerville Avenue, Somerville, 617-623-0020, themoroccanhospitality.com
My Other Kitchen
Is the delicious tomato-flavored vinaigrette on the signature Greek salad familiar? That’s because it was served at Belmont’s late Andros Diner, where Kitchen owner George Manetas grew up; his parents owned the place. Look for souvlaki, chicken gyro, hearty spinach pie, and those delectable roast potatoes that you apparently have to be Greek to make well.
762 Pleasant Street, Belmont, 617-932-1444
Night Shift Brewing
When friends Michael Oxton, Mike O’Mara, and Rob Burns founded Night Shift Brewing in 2012, they carved out a brewery space in a gritty Everett warehouse. Local beer fans packed the tiny taproom, rubbing elbows to sip on sour and barrel-aged brews made with unusual ingredients like hibiscus flowers. In May, the brewery moved to a bigger and better location on Santilli Highway, which includes a bar with 24 taps pouring samples and full pints.
87 Santilli Highway, Everett, 617-294-4233, nightshiftbrewing.com
Noor Mediterranean Grill
Before opening Noor (“pomegranate” in Armenian) in Somerville, husband-wife Arsen Karageozian and Hilda Darian installed vertical broilers for shawarma, like the kind he used in Beirut. One of the best wraps is made on saj bread, an extremely thin whole-wheat round griddled so the outside is crisp. Order it with falafel and watch the cook form the chickpea rounds on a tiny hand-held pedestal, one by one. Counter service and a generous spirit here.
136 College Avenue, Somerville, 617-625-6667, noorgrill.com
The North End gets in on the speak-easy trend with Parla, where the menu offers the likes of root-vegetable tortellini and seafood brodetto alongside oxtail arancini and ramen noodle carbonara. And drinks have names like Sacco & Vanzetti and L’Atto Finale. Eating here feels like being inside a charming 1920s-themed diorama, filled with amber light and Prohibition-era decor.
230 Hanover Street, Boston, 617-367-2824, parlaboston.com
Chef-owner Todd Winer’s Fort Point place is bustling and hospitable, slinging wood-fired Neopolitan pies for families that have just visited the nearby Children’s Museum and plying the after-work crowd with handmade pasta and drinks. The rustic-industrial decor enhances the casual, social feeling of the place.
345 Congress Street, Boston, 617-345-0005, pastoralfortpoint.com
This mellow bakery and patisserie seems more suited to a pastoral village in the French countryside than Somerville’s Assembly Row megaplex (and the Natick Mall). A descendant of the original founded in Lille in 1889, the sit-down cafe serves fresh baguettes, macarons, cakes, and tarts; there’s also a small coffee bar. Fortify with the signature mixte sandwich made with butter, ham, and Swiss before shopping.
631 Assembly Row No. 230, Somerville, 617-440-1049, and Natick Mall, 774-628-0008; paul-usa.com
Pintxo Pincho Tapas Bar
Bringing a bit of Spain to Woburn, chef Joaquin Galan prepares pinchos (skewered bites, spelled “pintxos” in Basque country) and serves them up in a cozy, artful setting. The menu includes octopus with paprika and sea salt flakes, shrimp in sizzling garlic oil, house-made cured meats, and excellent paellas to share.
385 Main Street, Woburn, 781-932-1379, pintxopincho.com
Chef-owner Daniel Stokes, an alum of Franklin Cafe, brings that style of American bistro comfort food and artisanal beer to the world-cuisine mix on Waltham’s Moody Street. Along with hearty meat plates, pastas, and brightly balanced fish dishes, Red Bird offers separate vegetarian and gluten-free menus. Desserts like peanut butter semifreddo are more sophisticated than typical bistro fare.
361 Moody Street, Waltham, 781-891-5486, redbirdwaltham.com
Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar
Restaurateur Joe Cassinelli (Posto, Painted Burro) took over the iconic Davis Square diner this fall, partnering with chef John Delpha. The menu is a cheeky salute to American comfort food past and present: barbecue, meat loaf, griddled cheeseburgers, kale salad, “it’s not ramen” noodle soup, a falafel sub. Don’t miss the freshly baked pies, in flavors like apple cherry ginger and chocolate cream — it’s still a diner, after all.
381 Summer Street, Somerville, 617-629-9500, rosebudkitchen.com
Salt & Olive
The cornerstone flavors of Mediterranean cuisine are salt, olive oil, and vinegar — and those are exactly what Mary Taylor, a certified technical olive oil taster, sells at her chic boutique outside Harvard Square. The shop carries extra-virgin oils — single varietals and fused and infused oils — and traditional and infused aged balsamic vinegars from Modena, as well as a selection of artisanal salts, organic spices, and teas.
1160 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 857-242-4118, saltandolive.com
Savvor is probably the most eclectic restaurant in the Leather District. On any given day, the menu might feature anything from curried mussels to empanadas to jambalaya to chicken and waffles. Also on offer: craft cocktails, live music, and fun events like bartender battles and monthly tasting menus.
180 Lincoln Street, Boston, 857-250-2165, savvorbostonlounge.com
Scissors & Pie
Look over the sheets of Roman-style pizzas (don’t miss prosciutto and potato), say what size piece you want, and the counter person cuts it with large scissors, weighs it by the ounce, then reheats it if necessary. Crusts are thick (but not a bit flabby), chewy, and deeply flavored from three days of rising.
225 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-350-4088, scissorsandpie.com
Go classic with a juicy Angus cheeseburger and crispy fries, or try one of the numerous veggie versions — such as a burger with spinach, cucumber, and goat cheese — or salads and chicken sandwiches at Smashburger in Natick. Dressings served on the side and multi-grain buns help to healthy things up.
1298 Worcester Street (Route 9), Natick, 508-720-0744, smashburger.com
At Snappy Pattys in West Medford, you will fall hard for the patty melt sliders, fried chicken, and more. In fact, you’ll want to order everything on this appealing menu from Franklin Southie alum Nicholas Dowling. The food is bold, with saturated flavors and real high-fidelity tastes. It’s amazingly good.
454 High Street, West Medford, 781-214-4440, snappypattys.com
This is a Cambridge dive bar as interpreted by the people who brought you Hungry Mother’s upscale French-influenced Southern food. It has wood paneling, red leatherette chairs, and plenty of neon beer signs. Play a competitive game of pinball, pool, or table shuffleboard, then feast on gumbo poutine, pork chop sandwiches, and Nashville hot fried chicken while sipping the Official State Park Cocktail: rye, amaro, and Miller High Life.
1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-848-4355, stateparkcambridge.com
Totto, which gained a following in New York and finally opened a Boston branch, serves noodles in a chicken-based broth, a departure from the traditional pork . There are a few appetizers, such as char siu buns, but the soup is the focus here: regular, spicy, miso, and more. Toppings such as corn, avocado, and boiled egg allow diners to customize their bowls.
169 Brighton Avenue, Allston, 617-202-5075, tottoramen.com
Central Square denizens mourned when Rendezvous restaurant shuttered. Happily, its Mediterranean-inspired replacement is a worthy substitute. It’s hard to go wrong with a lusciously charred Margherita or tangy calamari pizza, graced with hot peppers and chili oil. Moody and cozy, this is just the place to fuel up with a date before tumbling onto the sidewalk toward a magical Cambridge night.
502 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617-576-1900, vialecambridge.com
Wink & Nod
This swank little South End speak-easy specializes in tiki drinks, creative house cocktails, and cutting-edge food. It serves as a kind of incubator for up-and-coming chefs, with rotating groups running the kitchen. Currently, chefs Joshua Lewin and Kate Holowchik’s outfit Bread & Salt is in residence. It’s not every day one finds an innovative business model couched in stylish, Prohibition-era atmosphere.
3 Appleton Street, Boston, 617-482-0117, winkandnod.com
LOCAL FAVORITES ON THE MARCH
The pretense-free menu in this Porter Square haunt resembles that of its much-loved Brookline namesake: mussels with saffron butter, good burgers, roast cod with potato pancakes, and a can’t-miss bison Bolognese.
1755 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 617-714-4944, abbeycambridge.com
Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe
Savory hand-pulled Xi’an noodles, spiked with chili oil, garlic, and maybe cumin lamb, are the draw at Gene Wu’s simple Woburn Center storefront (there’s also a downtown Boston branch). Tuck a napkin into your shirt and slurp away.
466 Main Street, Woburn, 781-938-6888, genescafe.com
Il Casale Cucina Campana + Bar
The Lexington sister to Belmont’s Il Casale draws heavily from chef Dante de Magistris’s family roots in Campania. You’ll find Neapolitan street food, a selection of baked pasta dishes, and more.
1727 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, 781-538-5846, ilcasalelexington.com
Finally, the North End institution has decided to bring its talents — and sugar-dusted cannoli, almond biscotti, and pine nut macaroons — to the other side of the river.
11 Dunster Street, Cambridge, 617-661-0518, mikespastry.com
The food truck extends its menu of raw, organic fresh juices and smoothies into a year-round immovable feast in Kendall Square. You’ll find more choices, as well as vegan snacks like raw pad thai and red quinoa curry.
625 West Kendall Street, Cambridge, 617-286-6580, motherjuiceboston.com
Roxy’s Grilled Cheese & Burgers
A brick and mortar outpost of the famous food truck, serving husky grilled cheeses with nicely elevated twists like guac and barbecue-braised beef. Also: beer, poutine, burgers.
485 Cambridge Street, Allston, 617-202-5864, roxysgrilledcheese.com
Sa Pa Modern Vietnamese
At Cleveland Circle, as in the Downtown Crossing location, savor slow-braised beef, ginger lime chicken, or marinated tofu in soup noodles, on vermicelli, or rolled into a burrito. The creative banh mi is a hallmark.
1952 Beacon Street, Boston, 617-303-1000, sa-pa.com
At this chain, which added two area locations, you tell the staff what salad you want, and they fix it in front of you, chopping fresh ingredients chosen from a wall of options with tongs.
372 Congress Street, Boston, 857-263-7916, and 210 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, 617-916-0788; sweetgreen.com
The Taco Truck
Don’t let the name fool you: We’re talking about a Harvard Square restaurant, not the food truck that inspired it. Hearty tortas, corn on the cob covered with mayonnaise, cheese, and chile piquin, and, of course, expert tacos.
83 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, 857-829-3904, thetacotruck.com
Tatte Bakery & Cafe
The fourth Tatte — the Boston area’s answer to Yotam Ottolenghi’s London cafes — offers great vegetable tarts, breakfast egg sandwiches with grilled halloumi, and an exceptional version of North African shakshuka in Cambridge. A Beacon Hill location arrives in February.
101 Main Street, Cambridge, 617-577-1111, tattebakery.com
Favorites from the Medford original are all here, including burritos, tacos, and (especially) tortas, delicious toasty sandwiches with chipotle mayo, melted cheese, and fillings like roasted pork and chorizo sausage.
3 Lewis Street, Boston, 617-248-9537, tenochmexican.com
IT WAS A BIG YEAR FOR GROCERY STORES
1 New HMart
HMart’s arrival in Cambridge means that anyone with a Charlie Card has a supermarket for sticky rice, bibimbap to go, and the fixings for shabu shabu. An entire wall is devoted to kimchi, and tofu comes in five grades of firmness. Fortify against temptation by first enjoying a bowl of ramen or a pain au chocolat from the food court.
581 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, 857-209-2747, hmart.com
2 New Wegmans
Wegmans in Northborough opened in 2011 and the company waited three years before establishing locations in Burlington and Chestnut Hill. Both play to the cook who doesn’t really cook anymore, offering all kinds of semi- and fully prepared foods, extensive takeout, and serve-yourself bars for salads, vegetarian dishes, Asian food, and home-style fare. You’ll find Wegmans’ house brand, package sizes designed to feed families, and enormous attached liquor stores.
53 Third Avenue, Burlington, 781-418-0700, and 200 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, 617-762-2000; wegmans.com
3 New Market Baskets
Wait, did Market Basket experience a few bumps in 2014? You wouldn’t know it looking at the three locations that opened since Arthur T. Demoulas returned, triumphant, to the company in August: one in Revere, another in Littleton, and a 90,000-square-foot showpiece just off Interstate 95 in Waltham. (An Attleboro store, due January 7, hadn’t opened as of press time.) All offer the customer service, huge selection, and ridiculously low prices we’ve come to expect.
275 Squire Road, Revere, 781-485-0110, 301 Constitution Avenue, Littleton, 978-486-0828, and 1265 Main Street, Waltham, 781-894-1510; mydemoulas.net