Ah, spring: a time of new beginnings and new love. Fittingly, a slew of restaurants have opened lately. Here's where you should enjoy a frisky spring romance.
Where: 558 Washington St., Downtown Crossing
What: A sultry hybrid of the other Legal tentacles: Legal Sea Foods, Test Kitchen, Harborside, and C Bar, with a cocktail menu that memorializes the neighborhood's history. Ergo, the Red Light Sangria ($11).
When: For pre-theater snacks and drinks at the 68-seat bar.
Why: You can feast for cheap-ish: Share tempura skewered mussels ($9) and white clam pizzetta ($11), and be on your way.
Good For: A first date. If things go well, you can always segue to the slick-n-leathery restaurant for a heartier meal.
Merrill & Co.
Where: 1 Appleton St., South End
What: The latest from the team behind jm Curley.
When: Late-night, for end-of-evening satiables like waffle fries dusted with cheddar powder (yes, powder) and fried chicken.
Why: You don't want the night to end quite yet, and you're buzzed enough that the noise won't bother you. Or maybe the conversation is really stalling.
Good For: Prolonging a good date or deafening a deadbeat one.
Wink & Nod
Where: 3 Appleton St., South End, next to Merrill & Co.
What: A heavily researched speakeasy with an encyclopedic cocktail list.
When: If you're feeling frisky.
Why: In addition to a spot-on bar program, the edibles come courtesy the pop-up mavens at Whisk. Find venison tartare, beef marrow, and other food for big eaters.
Good For: Sealing the deal; possible regrettable behavior.
Where: 3 Lewis St., North End.
What: An authentic taqueria in the heart of the North End. (Read Devra First's tantalizing preview and the Globe's longer review!) Won't you look contrarian and smart, suggesting tacos instead of pasta?
When: For that crucial daytime date. Whether he or she layers a burrito with chile de arbol reveals a lot about a person, especially in the cruel light of day.
Why: It's delicious.
Good For: Culinary litmus tests; hangover recovery.
Where: 471 Summer St., Arlington
What: Hefty, delicious sushi, unusual rolls (sushi pizza, anyone?), miso eggplant, noodles, and teriyaki.
When: Once you've settled into a routine and want nothing more than to make a hog of yourself inhaling scallop sushi.
Why: Sublime fish is worth seeking out. Parking is easy.
Good For: Takeout in front of the new season of Mad Men.