While I was still recovering from a stomach bug after returning from Bangladesh, my mom and I spontaneously decided that it would be SO MUCH FUN to drive 20 minutes to Belmont, a suburb that is supposedly home to the best donuts in the Boston area.
Depending on who you talk to, however, two different bakeries are credited with selling the best donut. I heard about them both while producing multimedia for a Crimson FM article (click for more donut photography) asking the same question. I'm also pretty sure I had enjoyed a PHENOMENAL donut from one or the other, generously provided by the proctors of Holworthy West, on Housing Day at Harvard last year.
My mom and I were going to stop at the two top shops—Linda's Donuts and Ohlin's Bakery, conveniently located only a few blocks from each other—and decide for ourselves which made the best donut in Boston/Belmont.
Ohlin's—though I kind of hate to say it! Not because there's anything wrong with Ohlin's, but because the man working the counter at Linda's—upon hearing we traveled more than down the street to the several donut vendors in our area—added three free donuts and a cinnamon roll to our half-dozen order. He chatted with us about the donut market in Boston (cue more upcoming field trips?!) and was so kind. Plus, he clearly makes an out-of-this-world donut.
Ultimately, the difference between the two lay in texture and sugar content. Ohlin's donuts were fluffier, like puffy clouds of soft doughy goodness weighed down only by their partially-hardened-but-mostly-sticky sugary coating. This sugar coating was also thicker than that at Linda's, so it's possible that a large factor in my mom and I preferring Ohlin's (or at least my mom, as I administered the blind taste test) is due to the fact that their donuts are simply sweeter.
If you make it to Belmont (or anywhere kind of near there), I definitely recommend swinging by one or both shops! Decide for yourself which has the best donuts in the area; and, if possible, make a special point to try Linda's cinnamon roll and Ohlin's jelly donut. You won't regret it. Enjoy. :)