Union Square

Juliet

Who needs a T stop when you’ve got some of the area’s best indie options for dining and drinking? From ceviche to donuts, Union Square continues to keep it weird—and delicious.

Union Square Donuts, the original harbingers of the Boston donut renaissance, are headquartered in Union Square (natch). This bakery and cafe, their first outpost, provides the oversize, miraculously fluffy creations at their freshest. Tuck into a “classic” like Brown Butter Hazelnut Crunch or Vietnamese Coffee, or indulge your savory side in a breakfast sandwich set between baked slices of donut dough. Any donut not paired with coffee is a missed opportunity—fortunately, USD has its own house blend on hand.

Juliet’s concept can be a mouthful—during the day (and by night, for walk-ins) it’s an a la carte cafe; evenings feature themed, seasonal prix-fixe menus; weekends offer brunch; you can swing by in the morning for coffee and pastries; and on Sunday night it becomes an Italian concept called “Romeo’s at Juliet.” Here’s an easier explanation: You can’t go wrong with any meal, no matter what day or time brings you to this sweet, cozy spot.

Field & Vine

The close connection Field & Vine has forged with local farms and butchers is reflected in its monthly changing menu, which is broken down into “vegetables” and “not vegetables.” The former menu section features hearty, meat-free fare like the Rainbow Carrots with turmeric-tahini dressing and fried chickpeas, while the latter boasts the likes of Braised Oxtail with a slow-poached egg and a ready-for-the-dipping grilled baguette. A sleeper favorite is the Focaccia, which comes with your choice of house-made butter, lemon garlic-tahini, or an Asian pear chutney.

Celeste

Union Square already had a few Peruvian restaurants when Celeste came around, but this newcomerhas proven to be a game changer. The acidic, generously sized bowls of ceviche served in the tiny restaurant are perfectly complemented by frothy Pisco Sours, and hearty mains—like a Cilantro Stew with Lamb and Canary Beans and the Steamed Fish Peruvian-Chinese Style—are a welcome respite from sharing plates-fatigue. Rotating specials like Estofado de Lengua (tongue stew) or Saltado de Mariscos (a Peruvian-Chinese seafood risotto) provide ample reasons for repeat visits.

backbar

An anonymous-looking hallway at 7 Sanborn Court leads to the hidden cocktail oasis that is backbar. The freewheeling creativity of its frequently changing menu offers something new to even the most diehard cocktail nerds, and a relaxed atmosphere heavy on Star Wars-kitsch signals that it’s not taking itself too seriously. Next-door neighbor Field & Vine pulls through for a snacky food program, offering bites like Ranch Popcorn and Pao de Queijo.

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