Here are some places that capture the sheer joy of eating. Most have patios for those who want to stay outdoors. Wherever you eat, reservations are recommended.
Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe / File
5 corners of the kitchen
For a first meal in a while, it’s hard to beat a classic neighborhood bistro. After hibernating from November to March, 5 Corners Kitchen is back in Marblehead. Chef Barry Edelman has faced adversity before: In 2011, one year after the restaurant opened, a fire destroyed the restaurant. He reopened a bigger and better version in 2012. Edelman runs the restaurant together with Mrs. Begüm and serves the kind of filling dishes you want to eat again and again: silky chicken liver mousse, skate meuniere, perfect steak fries. Although the menu is based on French, she weaves in a Caesar salad here and a Rigatoni Bolognese there. Homemade sausage, such as Kielbasa with spaetzle, is always worth ordering. The Saturday brunch will be back on June 5th. Come here, drink wine, eat well, go happy.
Also try: Bar Lyon, head chef and owner Jamie Mammano’s South End Greetings to Lyon cuisine.
5 Corners Kitchen, 2 School St., Marblehead, 781-631-5550, www. 5cornerskitchen.com. Bar Lyon, 1750 Washington St., South End, Boston, 617-904-4020, www.barlyon.com.
Barry Chin / Globe Stab / File
Thanks to the cocktail kits of this Brookline Chinese restaurant, customers drank well during the pandemic and restaurateur Ran Duan (Baldwin Bar, Ivory Pearl) kept the staff on. Now we can enjoy the tropical cocktails of the Blossom Bar personally again. Duan’s parents opened the restaurant as Sichuan Garden in 1997, and two decades later the award-winning bartender turned it into a craft cocktail destination, serving Sichuan dishes alongside General Tso’s chicken and beef with broccoli. Everyone loves the menu, and it’s a wonderfully festive place to dine with friends and family: kids can enjoy chicken fingers and fried rice, while adults enjoy fish stew with chilli skewers and broken Spanish cocktails with tequila, avocado, and coconut edged in ground locusts.
Also try: Shojo, for duck fat fries with mapo tofu topping, fried kimchi rice and killer cocktails in Chinatown, where the family of restaurateur Brian Moy has run the China Pearl dim sum palace for 60 years.
Blossom Bar, 295 Washington St., Brookline, 617-734-1870, www.blossombarbrookline.com. Shojo, 9A Tyler St., Chinatown, Boston, 617-482-8887, www.shojoboston.com.
Yoon S. Byun / Globe Staff / File
It’s date night! Where? How about this charming and delightful small meal place with Latin American and Caribbean flavors and ingredients? It is run by husband-and-wife team Alberto Cabre and Angelina Jockovich, who were architects and caterers before opening this restaurant in Union Square in Somerville almost a decade ago. Dishes like bolitas de queso (Puerto Rican cheese fritters), yuca-stuffed and bacon-wrapped prawns, and carne mechada (Puerto Rican pot roast with yuca gnocchi) are perfect to share; You can also find cocktails and a good selection of sherry and rum.
Also try: Celeste, an intimate Peruvian corner in the same neighborhood that serves ceviche, pisco sours, and more.
Casa B, 253 Washington St., Union Square, Somerville, 617-764-2180, www.casabrestaurant.com. Celeste, 21 Bow St., Union Square, Somerville, 617-616-5319, www.celesteunionsquare.com.
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Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen
“The crossroads of friends, food and music,” says Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen website. In other words, everything we missed. Owner Nia Grace, a co-founder of the Boston Black Hospitality Coalition, serves up cornbread baskets, Old Bay crab cakes, Cajun-roasted salmon, and “Bob’s Glorified Catfish” (a tribute to Bob the Chef’s predecessor) with all sides – plus a full list of Cocktails, brunch and an entertainment program that is currently being updated. Come for the southern home cooking, stay for the festive mood.
Matthew J. Lee / Globe Staff / File
Also try: Clube Desportivo Faialense, a Portuguese club in Inman Square that has the most sociable and affordable dinners on Friday evenings. Cod cake and grilled octopus keep coming up, and caipirinhas and vinho verde flow. It’s a party. Call in advance for reservations.
Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen, 604 Columbus Ave., South End, Boston, 617-536-1100, www.dcbkboston.com. Clube Desportivo Faialense, 1121 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge, 617-868-5030.
Stephanie Schorow for The Boston Globe / File
The friendly toast
We’re going to have brunch so hard this summer. And where better to do this than an extraordinary brunch, the Friendly Toast, with locations in Back Bay, Burlington and beyond. Come for loaded avocado toast, lots of egg benedict and omelette-themed variations, berry waffles, and more. A lot more. Bloody Mary or mimosa flight? Yes, please.
Also try: The Farmer’s Daughter, Chef Chandra Gouldrup’s long-time brunch favorite in Easton, which now also has a new location in Sudbury.
The Kind Toast, 35 Stanhope St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-456-7849; Burlington Mall, 75 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, 781-272-9777; www.thefriendlytoast.com. The Farmer’s Daughter, 122 North Main St., North Easton, 508-297-0286; 534F Boston Post Road, Sudbury, 978-261-5832, www.thefarmersdaughtereaston.com.
Each bar has its own personality, its own distinctive taste, but hospitality is always at the root. The Haven, an easy-going Scottish pub and restaurant in Jamaica Plain, is a perfect place to socialize, watch football and socialize with friendly strangers over burgers, haggis and a few pints of Belhaven or a sip of single malt scotch to chat.
Also try: Craigie on Main’s Bar Next Door, for an entirely different, equally welcome version of burgers and hospitality. It’s the walk-in sister of the Craigie Next Door outdoor dining area that requires reservations.
The Haven, 2 Perkins St., Jamaica Plain, 617-524-2836, www.thehavenjp.com. Craigie on Main’s Bar next door, 853 Main St., Central Square, Cambridge, 617-497-5511, www.craigieonmain.com.
David L. Ryan / Globe Staff / File
Pretty much a perfect neighborhood restaurant that serves excellent handmade pasta and more. The South End locals enjoy gathering here for gnocchi cacio e pepe, bucatini alla Amatriciana and negronis, but the restaurant’s reputation is spreading. Chef Douglass Williams, a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2020, is also opening a branch in Newton.
David L. Ryan, Globe Staff / File
Also try: Fox & the Knife, chef Karen Akunowicz’s enoteca in South Boston, where taleggio focaccia, tagliatelle bolognese, chicken under a brick and spritz cocktails come first. She is planning another one in the neighborhood, Bar Volpe, later this year.
Mida, 782 Tremont St., South End, Boston, 617-936-3490, www.midarestaurant.com. Fox & the Knife, 28 West Broadway, South Boston, 617-766-8630, www.foxandtheknife.com.
Wiqan Ang for the Boston Globe / File
This classic North End oyster bar is one of Boston’s most popular eateries for many reasons: the lobster rolls (hot or cold? Hot or cold?), The daily specials – and oh, the oysters! We haven’t eaten nearly enough oysters in the past year. Get here early as always; The tiny place doesn’t take reservations and fills up quickly.
Also try: Select Oyster Bar, the tiny Back Bay restaurant that specializes in raw food, crudo dishes, and other seafood showstoppers.
Neptune Oyster, 63 Salem St., North End, Boston, 617-742-3474, www.neptuneoyster.com. Select Oyster Bar, 50 Gloucester St., Back Bay, Boston, 857-239-8064, www.selectboston.com.
Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe / File
A wonderful and delicious 9-course tasting menu, prepared right in front of your eyes by chef Peter Ungár and his team, then presented and explained. You can’t really do that at home, although Somerville’s Tasting Counter has found a way with its online cooking classes. But maybe you’ve cooked enough now? The restaurant is waiting.
Also try: Asta, where Chef Alex Crabb serves up serious tasting menus and a quirky sense of humor in an intimate setting of Back Bay.
Tasting Counter, 14 Tyler St., Somerville, 617-299-6362, www.tastingcounter.com. Asta, 47 Massachusetts Ave., Back Bay, Boston, 617-585-9575, www.astaboston.com.
Hey La Moon
Park takeaway dim sum consumed from styrofoam containers on blankets 6 feet apart was fun for a while. But it wasn’t the same as eating in a restaurant with a large, noisy group, choosing dishes from the carts passing by, handing plates of dumplings, and pouring hot tea for each other. In Chinatown, Hei La Moon is a dim sum classic that was hit hard during the pandemic. Now is a good time to deliciously support it.
Also try: Winsor Dim Sum House, a Quincy spot for all of your favorite dim sum dishes.
Hei La Moon, 88 Beach St., Chinatown, Boston, 617-338-8813. Winsor Dim Sum House, 706 Hancock St., Quincy, 617-481-5383, www.winsordimsumhouse.com.
Devra First can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.