River Bar
Kennedy's on the Square
Study Restaurant
Erik Christensen
Tap Trailhouse
Modern Pastry Shop
Bao Nation
Barcelona Brookline
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1. MAST' Restaurant and Drinkery 45 Province St, Boston, MA 02108

Tucked away on Provence Street, MAST’ (very shorthand for “master of one’s craft”) transports you to southern Italy for gratifying Neapolitan bites. Chef Celio Pereira (Mamma Maria, Ristorante Euno) is cranking out authentic Napoletana pizzas from the imported wood-fired oven, plus tantalizing apps and house-made pastas.

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2. River Bar 661 Assembly Row, Somerville, MA 02145

A palace of wood, glass, and white marble, Somerville's River Bar dishes up Asian fusions on American classics. The sleek interior and fire-warmed back patio guarantee you'll see more than a few couples splitting a small plate of fried potatoes with miso aioli or corned beef and cabbage dumplings. If they're really comfortable with each other, them they're probably sinking their teeth right into the grass-fed burger -- a bulgogi-marination creation topped with bacon eggs rolls -- instead. That's true love (we mean for the burger).

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3. Kennedy's on the Square 15 Dunster St, Cambridge, MA 02138

This laid-back-yet-plush gastropub straddles that traditional/untraditional line with mashup fare like hickory-infused Sizzling PEI Mussels and the Dunster St Classic Burger made from a house-ground blend (short rib and sirloin). The martini list offers these cheeky-named gems: The Monroe (honey vodka, Luxardo cherry), 109 (apple vodka), and Jackie O (tequila, Domaine de Canton, hot sauce). Nostalgia alert: you can still dine in the First Printer-turned-Herrell's old vault!

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4. Ames Street Deli 73 Ames St, Cambridge, MA 02142

The geniuses behind Journeyman and Backbar deliver a one-two punch in the suddenly hyper-charged Kendall Square. First up is Ames Street Deli, the extra-funky sammy haven featuring not-your-grandpa’s meat-on-bread combos. Think zanier, more to the tune of rabbit mortadella on carrot bread (ironic) and foie gras on coconut brioche.

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5. Study 73 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA 02142

Look out… it’s the second punch! (You forgot, didn’t you?) Adjacent to Ames Street Deli, Study follows the Journeyman format with four- and 13-course feasts at $55 and $125, respectively. However, at Study you can chart your own course through dishes like savory ink gnocchi (mango, abalone mushroom), delicate quail (bacon, madeira), and delectable monkfish (lobster roe, grapefruit).

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6. Viale 502 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

Co-owners (also childhood pals) Mark Young and Chef Greg Reeves (both vets of Green Street Grill) finally opened their first restaurant, and Central Square rejoiced. Viale, in the Rendezvous shell, takes you to the Mediterranean for rustic-refined Italian eats sourced from local ingredients. Opt for wood-fired Fried Calamari Pizza (always) and/or the Pumpkin Ravioli bathed in aged sherry and brown butter. The wines tilt toward small organic and biodynamic growers, while the cocktails will just make you tilt. The 1919 rocks hard with Rittenhouse 100 Rye, Old Monk Rum, Punt e Mes, and Benedictine.

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7. Night Market 48 JFK St, Cambridge, MA 02138

If you prefer to enjoy your Asian street food below street level, this is the place for you. Carved into the defunct Tamarind Bay’s subterranean digs, Night Market keeps it simple with oh-so-satisfying bites such as Daikon Fries (with garlic/black bean aioli), Sichuan-spiced Fried Chicken Wings, and Toasts with pork belly & caramel or poached egg & coconut jam.

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8. Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar 381 Summer St, Somerville, MA 02144

Located in Davis Square, Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar offers roadhouse regional comfort food from Chef/Partner John Delpha and Chef/Owner Joe Cassinelli, known for his nearby Davis Square faves Posto and The Painted Burro. There are traditional plates like fried green tomatoes and the fried chicken thigh platter, as well as distinctive must-try dishes like dry fried green beans (with smoked pork shoulder) and the "BBQ Baconator Meatloaf Fatty" (poblano-onion gravy).

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9. Tap Trailhouse 19 Union St, Boston, MA 02108

The Tap Trailhouse combines old-timey drinking with modern mojo to form a Colonial era-inspired gastropub. Their local drink program features as many New England brews and spirits as possible, and the fully stocked liquor cabinet & beer cocktails on draft are ample enough to fuel a brigade of Minutemen through two revolutions. Other signature drinks are designated by Ports of Call (favored by mariners of old), Ladles, Bowls & Straws (traditional social refreshments), and Pistols & Daggers (booze-heavy cocktails for shooting and sipping). Go for a shooter of The New Englander with Bully Boy Boston rum and chase it with the house exclusive IPA: Freedom Trail Ale.

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10. American Fresh Taproom 301 Canal Street, Somerville, MA 02145

Slumbrew’s much-anticipated American Fresh Taproom shoots straight: it pours delicious beers and serves perfect-with-delicious-beers grub…from the comfort of its year-round beer garden. Let’s talk brews: it has ten draft lines consisting of flagships (Trekker Trippel), seasonals (Attic & Eaves), exclusives (Assembly Row Ale), and limiteds (Yankee Swap).

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11. Modern Underground Bar 236 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

Just when you thought that Modern Pastry couldn’t get any better, they went and opened a no-nonsense Italian bar under the shop. Go Garfield-style and eat your dessert first upstairs, then head downstairs for basic beers, wines, and mixed drinks.

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12. Bao Nation 575 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

Racks of Libby's Liquor booze give way to crazy graffitied walls and the even crazier aroma of buns and dumplings. In honor of their home, grab the Libby’s Bao with pork baby back ribs (deboned) and Korean BBQ sauce—not to mention the namesake bao.

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13. PAUL 631 Assembly Row, #230, Boston, MA 02145

With 125 years of French baking tradition under their belt, this branch of a popular European chain will be busting yours with melt-in-your-mouth treats and decadent café cuisine. Magically teleport to Paris while reveling in Quiche Lorraine, Mini Cheese Gougeres, and the PAUL Mixte, a classic sandwich with butter, ham, and Swiss on baguettine.

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14. Barcelona Wine Bar 525 Tremont St, South End, MA 02116

Now welcoming Catalan-philes in Washington Square's former American Craft, Barcelona Wine Bar's a rustic Spanish small platery that's -- not unlike middle school dances whenever NEXT's "Too Close" comes on -- heavy on the wood and designed to "recreate the feel and the look of an evening on the Ramblas".

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15. Besito Mexican 75 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, MA 01803

Besito ("little kiss") Mexican is heating things up with traditional/authentic Mexican from Executive Chef Carlos Arellano in Burlington.