French Acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud operates this Frenchinspired bistro and wine bar at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Chef de Cuisine Michael Denk runs the kitchen, offering traditional Parisian bistro fare. B, L and D (daily), brunch (Sa-Su). Mandarin Oriental, 776 Boylston St., 617.535.8800.
DAVIO’S NORTHERN ITALIAN STEAKHOUSE
Italian Grand and sophisticated, this restaurant is amenable to dates, business dinners, or even a simple glass of wine at the bar. Lengthy menu features regional dishes from northern Italy, as well as grilled meat a la carte. Gluten-free menu available. L (M-F), D (daily). 75 Arlington St., 617.357.4810. $$$$; 236 Patriot Place, Foxboro 508.339.4810.
EARLS KITCHEN & BAR
American Although the first Earls cropped up in Canada in 1982, everything about the Somerville and Prudential Center outposts is local, from design elements to staff. Concept is upscale casual; vibe is lively; food is modern, scratch-made and sourced around here. Favorites, depending on the venue, include the Cajun blackened chicken breast and the messily more-ish Avocado Super Toast (with a cheeky kick of Sriracha). At the bar, we especially love Earls’ honey-lemony Bees Knees, served short. L and D (daily). Assembly Row, Somerville; 800 Boylston St., 857.957.0949.
Italian The Turin import, by way of New York City, is an Italian-themed market-restaurant hybrid of every foodie’s dreams. It gives Boston’s iconic North End neighborhood a serious run for its money with a number of sit-down restaurants featuring Neapolitanstyle pizza, hand-crafted pasta and the Barbara Lynchformulated Il Pesci. Counters offer handmade mozzarella, fresh-caught fish and freshbaked breads, imported gourmet sauces and wine. Dine in, take out, eat as you wander. Open M-F 7 am-11 pm, Sa-Su 9 am-11 pm. Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., 617.807.7300.
LOLITA COCINA & TEQUILA BAR
Mexican Mexican restaurant is the sister of the popular Yvonne’s. Award-winning margaritas. Menu items include pork belly carnitas, blackened mahi mahi tacos and grilled street corn. Allyou-can-eat taco Mondays ($9). Now also in Fort Point. D (daily). 271 Dartmouth St., 617.369.5609.
Seafood This Maine-style lobster dining destination serves up sustainable seafood and has a commitment to preserving its local fisheries. It’s food with a conscience and loads of flavor. L and D (daily). 75 Exeter St, 857.350.4626; 53 Northern Ave., 617.848.0911.
Mediterranean Acclaimed chef Jody Adams brings her new restaurant to Back Bay denizens looking to wrap their tastebuds around modern Mediterranean-style New England seafood. From the open kitchen, expect oysters, whole-roasted fish, steamed mussels and seasonal vegetables. L and D (daily), brunch (Sa-Su). Ring Road, 617.536.1234.
Pan-Asian This foxy Asianstyle restaurant and lounge off the Back Bay’s beaten track has some pretty amazing food. Try the duck buns (think slow-cooked hoisin barbecue duck with pickles stuffed into taco-shaped, fluffy, steamed bread), as well as the Singapore street noodles, the spicy tuna tempura roll and, frankly, the martinis. Excellent gluten-free offerings available. D (daily). 39 Stanhope St., 617.262.3900. $$$
International One of the best features of this longstanding Newbury Street restaurant are its French doors that open right onto the sidewalk. Inside, the vibe can be clubby, sophisticated and chic without being pretentious. The menu is international in flavor, seasonal in ingredients and follows the trends of upscale dining. In the morning, Sonsie serves espresso drinks and pastries. B (daily), L (M-F), D (daily), brunch (Sa, Su). 327 Newbury St., 617.351.2500. $$$
STEPHANIE’S ON NEWBURY
American This popular, preppy bistro has been a landmark on Newbury Street for 20-plus years. A recent renovation has it looking as fresh as the menu, which serves up awesome comfort food as well as a number of signature dishes. In season, Stephanie’s expansive patio is consistently packed. Great after work bar scene for professionals. B (M-F), L and D (daily), brunch (Sa, Su). 190 Newbury St., 617.236.0990. $$$
TOP OF THE HUB
American Expect modern, eclectic takes on regional New England cuisine with a focus on seafood. Top of the Hub also stands 52 stories above the city, so diners get a stunning view. Two wine
cellars are the winners of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. Dancing and live music in the lounge. L (M-Sa), D (daily), brunch (Su). Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., 617.536.1775. $$$