First, a couple new spots to check out. (And find even more on the updated Heatmap.)
- Hojoko: Brand new and hotly anticipated, Hojoko opened yesterday at the Verb Hotel, courtesy of the team behind O Ya. The new spot is much more casual than its older sibling, featuring an impressive array of Japanese knick-knacks on display throughout the space, sake on draft, and sumo matches on a projector screen. The music-loving staff includes a variety of working musicians, and the energy is infectious. Try ordering something from each piece of the menu — there's sushi, robata-style grilled items, and lots more. Don't forget to try a tiki drink or two.
- Loyal Nine: Also relatively new, Loyal Nine is a must-try in East Cambridge. Eater restaurant editor Bill Addison included the "East Coast revival" restaurant on his recent list of the 21 best new restaurants in America; it was the only local entry. It also landed on Bon Appetit's list of 50 "best new restaurants" nominees for 2015. Seafood lovers will be particularly pleased with the menu, especially the raw offerings.
And a few classics.
- Sam's at Louis: Louis is gone, and soon Sam's will be too. But the restaurant will be reborn next door in a new building. Known in part for its glorious waterfront views, Sam's is shutting down on August 31 in preparation for the move. The new building is expected to be completed around November, and Sam's will be on the first floor, no longer the second. The view will be "as good," though, owner Esti Parsons assured the Globe.
- Oishii: Because Tom Brady loves it. (Or just go because the sushi is excellent and flashy, the ambiance is swanky, and you like your fish topped with caviar.) For other sushi options, consult the essential map.
- Baraka Cafe: This nearly 20-year-old classic is hiding on the outskirts of Central Square, waiting to serve you North African cuisine on sparkly purple tablecloths and keep you hydrated with pitchers of refreshing and delicious cherbat, a spiced lemonade dotted with rose petals. Keep an eye out for daily specials; a recent visit yielded an impeccable salmon tajine. Or try putting in an order 36 hours ahead of time for the classical bastilla torte, a squab or chicken-based dish that layers filo dough with almonds, saffron, cinnamon, and more.