Boston

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe - The Food Lens

Gene's Chinese Flatbread Cafe - The Food Lens

Gene’s might be named for the sweet Chinese BBQ flatbreads that grace its menu, but we’re all about the noodles. You’ll spot them the moment you step into this tiny, unadorned FiDi lunch joint, where a cook is perpetually stretching dough to arm’s length before slapping strands against a counter in the tiny open kitchen with a satisfying thud.

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Union Square Donuts - The Food Lens

Union Square Donuts - The Food Lens

In the last decade a donut renaissance has swept across the United States. In the case of Boston (or, to be more specific, Somerville), bakers Heather Schmidt and Josh Danoff answered the call. The duo started Union Square Donuts in a small shared kitchen on the outskirts of its namesake neighborhood in 2013, selling their fluffy creations at local farmers’ markets. After slowly expanding—running a makeshift shop in the shared space and then selling donuts out of a tango dance school—a full brick-and mortar bakery and shop has finally opened in Union Square, along with a second location in Brookline and a stand in the Boston Public Market.

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Santouka Hokkaido Ramen - The Food Lens

Santouka Hokkaido Ramen - The Food Lens

How often do you walk into a room and hear 15 people yelling enthusiastically at you in Japanese from all directions? Every time you enter Santouka. We’re not quite sure what the friendly staff are shouting, but we imagine it’s something like “I will feed you delicious ramen.” Knowing what’s about to happen, it’s music to our ears.

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Flour - The Food Lens

Flour - The Food Lens

Ahh, Flour. It’s hard to find a bakery with a higher pedigree. This sweets-and-sandwiches purveyor’s six consistently crowded locations—spread across Back Bay, the South End, Fort Point, and Cambridge—are helmed by James Beard Award-winner Joanne Chang. We love that Flour’s success and acclaim haven’t obscured its most immediate virtue: pure whimsy. Each location features blackboards scrawled with childish handwriting announcing specials (quiche of the day, stuffed bread of the day, etc.) and a stunning amount of bright, bountiful, and colorful baked treats.

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