Address: 9 East Street
Tucked into an alley in Boston's Leather District (because Next-to-the-Bus-Station might scare away visitors), O Ya proves that a truly great meal may be worth your very last dime. The lengthy -izakaya-style menu imaginatively pairs Japanese staples with flavors from around the world. Foie gras, seasoned with balsamic chocolate kabayaki and raisin cocoa pulp, is served with a sip of aged sake, while cucumber, avocado, carrot, and a ponzu vinaigrette bring a crunchy sweet-sour tang to smoky tea-brined chicken. In honor of the Beantown fixation on clam chowder, there's a version featuring tempura, potato, Kurobuta pork fat drizzle, and cracklings. The dark wood, soft lighting, and quietly expert servers in this renovated firehouse transform what could be an overly fussy experience into a personal seating at Babette's feast: You walk away delighted, even though your wallet is empty and the buses are rumbling past (dishes, $5$160).