Some of my favorite adventures in 2017 were those I spent in new places with a menu and a dinner date. Opportunities for fresh experiences can be found in the simplest from and for me, those places are often restaurants and local dining spots. Every year I try to create a bucket list of sorts with all the venues I want to visit and last year I made some of the greatest discoveries. This year I've based my list off some of the best bakeries, bars and bistros 2017 had to offer, an assortment of local spots you can check out below...


Kowloon, Saugus

Kowloon is a favorite date spot for P & I for three reasons; 1) their cocktail menu is extremely fun, 2) they serve popular dishes in Cantonese, Szechuan, Thai and Japanese styles and 3) no matter where you sit, it always feels festive. It's also fun to note the famous faces who have dined before you in the entryway such as actor Judge Reinhold, football star Jonathan Jones and musician James Arthur.

948 Broadway, Saugus


Bourbon's, Framingham

It's about time that my hometown put itself on the map with a unique spot that is equal parts chic watering hole and comfort food oasis. My go-to choice at the bar is "On Wednesdays We Wear Pink" which I always pair with the Crispy Brussels, dressed in truffle aioli and parmesan cheese. I also recommend the Caesar salad (a safe but delicious choice), pizza done in the style of former local haunt The 400 Club and their Magic Cookie Bar dessert to share.

47 Beacon St., Framingham


Wahlburgers, Lynnfield (multiple locations)

When you don't know what to have, you can never go wrong with a burger and this Massachusetts-based chain does it SO right. I'm a traditionalist so I tend to gravitate towards the Our Burger, a 1/3 pound burger with the usual suspects (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and American "government" cheese) and Paul's (you know, Mark and Donnie's other brother) signature sauce. But no order is complete without thin crispy onion rings...even if you have to take some home.

600 Market St., Lynnfield


Tatte, Boston (multiple locations)

If it is within walking distance, it is nearly impossible for me to resist a trip to my favorite local coffee chain. But Tatte is so much more than just coffee; it's pastries and breakfast sandwiches and chicken and sweet potato salad and tartines and a fresh, clean aesthetic and Insta-worthy brunch dishes you can't not photograph. (I dare you.)

70 Charles St., Boston


Marliave, Boston

The oldest chef-owned restaurant in Boston would have a menu that is just as timeless. On top of having a dollar-oyster and clam special that is one of Boston's best kept secrets ( $1 from 4-6 and 9-10pm), everything from escargot, French Onion soup and ravioli is a treat here. Dad and I especially enjoy meals here before we take in a performance of Shakespeare On the Common.

10 Bosworth St., Boston


The Courtyard Restaurant, Boston

I used to think the best way to enjoy tea in the city was in a swanky hotel and while it certainly is posh, there's something so charming about delicate tea sandwiches floors below the metropolitan landmark of the BPL. I can also personally attest to the experience being extra beautiful if you partake during a gentle snowstorm and have a view into the courtyard.

700 Boylston St., Boston


Paul, Boston (multiple locations)

They had me at "bonjour". Or was it "boulangerie"? Either way, their downtown Boston location is my new favorite meeting spot and place to grab an equally beautiful and tasty breakfast. It's also a fun place to stop in and warm-up on days when wind tunnels are especially merciless. Check it out when you're in need pf a sweet pick-me-up or if you have more time to relax than you typically do on your usual coffee run.

201 Washington St., Boston