This is the South End at least as much as any stylish bistro, stroller-filled bakery or lively new pub. It’s a neighborhood bar. It’s a super cheap Italian restaurant. It’s a reminder of a time when the South End was quirkier, brighter and more artistic. Some regulars have been visiting Anchovies for decades, and customers from all walks of life mingle here. Joke: “A drag queen, a cop and a psychiatrist walk into a bar.” Punch line: “Was it anchovies?” Order me a strong cocktail and something with red garlic sauce, would you?
433 Columbus Ave., South End, Boston, 617-266-5088, www.anchoviesbar.com
Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff
Belle Isle Seafood
In Winthrop, this casual cash only restaurant/fish market is one of the best places to eat seafood near town. On the way out of town I often send visitors for lunch, a last stop before the nearby airport so they leave with the right taste in their mouths. Of course, order the famous lobster roll, which is brimming with big bites of mayonnaise-covered shank and tail meat. A homemade clam chowder wouldn’t go amiss. And don’t miss the fried seafood platter featuring haddock, prawns, scallops, squid and mussels. Get a cold beer and wait for your lobster-shaped buzzer to light up; If it’s a nice day, eat outside right by the water and watch the planes fly low in the sky. (It is an excellent place for children.)
main street 1, Winthrop, 617-567-1619, www.belleisleseafood.net
Dina Rudick/Globe Staff
The Moy family have been making Chinatown delicious for more than 60 years. The China Pearl on Tyler Street is a dim sum institution. On the ground floor of the building is Shojo, another family business. This one from 30-year-old entrepreneur Brian Moy looks to the future. Decorated with graffiti-inspired art and edgy hip-hop, the restaurant serves up-to-date twists on traditional dishes: fried eggplant bao with fermented black bean aioli and yuzu salsa, fried chicken with Hong Kong egg puff waffles and five spice -Butter, fries with duck fat topped with mapo tofu and kimcheese. The bar mixes incredible, original cocktails using ingredients like pandan, Sichuan peppercorns and pho spice. They are worth a stop alone.
9a Tyler St., Chinatown, Boston, 617-482-8887, www.shojoboston.com
The Banks Fish House
The Banks Fish House, which opened in July, is located at the intersection of the Swank Back Bay Restaurant and the New England Seafood Shack. This is the kind of place where you can celebrate a family occasion, take away a business client from out of town, or go for an upscale brunch. It’s also a true celebration of the local seafood. Owner Chris Himmel, whose Himmel Hospitality Group is behind Bistro du Midi, Grill 23 and Harvest, is a seasoned restaurateur; Chef and partner Robert Sisca has worked at Le Bernardin in New York, among others. They are also keen fishermen, having close ties to the likes of Skip Bennett of Island Creek Oysters, Mike Geraty of Wulf’s Fish (he and Himmel grew up fishing together in Marblehead) and Larry Trowbridge of Snappy Lobster. Come for chowder and fried belly clams, fish platters and lobster casserole. Or for tuna tartare and mussels in vadouvan curry, squid spaghetti with uni and salmon with pork belly, spring peas, broad beans and fiddleheads in a carbonara emulsion. Whichever mode you choose, a platter of East Coast oysters is fine.
406 Stuart St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-399-0015, www.thebanksboston.com
Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
For a completely different pescetarian experience, head to this Cambridge wine bar, specializing in fish and vegetable dishes and natural wines. It’s a collaboration between Andrew Brady and Sara Markey of local Field & Vine and Lauren Friel of Rebel Rebel, the Somerville wine bar fueled by intersectional feminism and a happy attitude. For anyone wondering where hospitality is going, well, so is Dear Annie – so it’s here to try to learn by doing, maybe shape a path to a just industry that’s good for people and earth is. All spiritual philosophy aside, the food and wine is a bomb. There are snacks like caviar-stuffed eggs, house-preserved fish and cheese with sides, and a few heavier dishes (smoked mozzarella panini with anchovies, baked polenta with a tangy tomato sauce) and cakes for dessert. Monday is pizza night (Sicilian, plus chopped salads) and Wednesday is pasta night (a special offer, plus oysters and cheese).
1741 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge, www.dearanniebar.com
Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
For 20 years, visionary chef Jose Duarte shared his love of Peruvian cuisine at Taranta, an Italian-Andean hybrid in the North End. Chelsea Restaurant Tambo 22 is a natural next step. Just opened at the start of the pandemic, it deserves credit for showcasing more purely Peruvian cuisine and all sorts of local ingredients – from yellow potatoes to an agave-based spirit used in some of the cocktails. The nutritious tarwi bean is the base for a vegetarian version of ceviche, while Better Than Buffalo wings are made with aji amarillo and rocoto chilies. The meat mix on the “tamburguesa” contains alpaca, and the Amazonian fish paiche is served wrapped in banana leaves. If you come on a Sunday you can get the pan con chicharron, a sandwich/hangover cure made with pork belly, fried sweet potatoes and mint salsa. Pisco sours, Peruvian craft beer, and chicha morada are all here, perfect for sipping on the spacious terrace.
22 Adams St, Chelsea, 617-466-9422, www.tambo22chelsea.com
Devra First can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.