853 Main Street
After years of operating a beloved subterranean restaurant on a sleepy residential block, chef Tony Maws has upgraded to a new, larger space near Central Square. Here, the laid-back bistro vibe belies the ambitious cooking that has made Maws one of the city's most celebrated chefs. Ask for one of the four "ringside" seats that look directly into the open kitchen and start with one of barman Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli's excellent cocktails, such as the Camino, an aromatic take on the Manhattan. Maws is equally enamored of meat and fathe is deservedly famous for his charcuterieand employs them both thoughtfully. Tender octopus is served in a creamy chorizo sauce and tangy hearts of palm, while a duo of suckling pig confit and pork belly is tempered with tart satsuma tangerine.
Tip: The nightly $38 three-course neighborhood prix fixe is a steal (entrées, $21$36).