Years before retro became so very this-minute,
Silvertone Bar & Grill (69 Bromfield St., 617/338-7887, 12 p.m.–1 a.m. daily, silvertonedowntown.com, $10–20) had a lock on hip, vaguely 1950s style with homey dishes (the mac ’n’ cheese is out of this world) and oversized cocktails.
Reserve (far ahead) at the very upscale Radius (8 High St., 617/426-1234, 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat.; 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun., www.radiusrestaurant.com , $32–42) for a cutting-edge meal that might include tuna with radish and yuzu, for example. Not for nothing has chef Michael Schlow become the darling of rock stars and Hollywood bigwigs alike; his food is tremendous.
The North End may be Boston’s Italian center, but Teatro (177 Tremont St., 617/778-6841, 5 p.m.–10:30 p.m. Fri.–Sat.; 4 p.m.–10 p.m. Sun.; closed Mon., www.teatroboston.com , $10–25) is a like-minded little enclave of its own. From the dramatic mosaic ceiling and blue lighting to the high-energy bar, the sleek trattoria hums with a well-heeled crowd eagerly digging into freshly made pastas.
Once upon a time, Locke Ober (3 Winter Pl., 617/542-1340, 5 p.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Fri.; 5 p.m.–11 p.m.Sat.; closed Mon., www.lockeober.com , $28–44) was literally the only place around for fine dining. Its venerable dark wood interior is still the place to come for lobster Savannah, finnan haddie, and other New England classics, updated by chef-owner Lydia Shire
Go with what the name suggests at Jumbo Seafood (7 Hudson St., 617/542-2823, 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat.; noon–9 p.m.Sun.,www.jumboseafoodrestaurant.com, $5–18), where the fish specials—served right from the tanks up front—are flapping-fresh. Plump, steamed oysters in black-bean sauce are a specialty, as is the whole steamed sea bass with ginger.
Dim sum is the name of the game at Chow Chau City (83 Essex St., 617/338-8158, 8 a.m.–1 a.m. Mon.–Sat.; 11 a.m.–11 p.m.Sun., $7–15), where it’s served every day, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The emporium caters to big groups with dishes both staid (scallion pancakes) and daring (shark-fin dumplings).
Fresh from a multimillion-dollar renovation, The Four Season’s tony
Bristol Lounge (Four Seasons Hotel, 200 Boylston St., 617/351-2037, 6:30 a.m.–2 a.m. Mon.–Sat.; 7 p.m.–midnight Sun., $35–45) has resumed its place among the city’s most refined Big Deal restaurants. France rules the day here, from the china (Bernardaud) to the specialties (soufflés are a tradition)—-though the burgers are equally as popular.
Line up with everyone else at Chacarero (101 Arch St., 617/542-0392, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Fri.; closed Sat.–Sun., www.chacarero.com , $2–8), a Chilean sandwich shop consisting of two windows serving piping-hot sandwiches. The secret ingredient: green beans.
Not too many people head to Chinatown looking for good Japanese, but those who do are fed happily at Ginza (16 Hudson St., 617/338-2261, 11 a.m.–2 a.m. Mon.–Sat.; 11 a.m.–1 p.m.Sun., $11–46), the always-busy sushi spot. Easily one of the best sources for raw fish in town, it’s home to creations such as Boston maki (lobster with roe and lettuce) plus good cooked Japanese staples.