Chef Paul O’Connell’s cozy, colorful restaurant is a quiet refuge near bustling Harvard Square. It’s renowned for its Cuban-inspired French bistro dishes, including an excellent Cuban sandwich with slow-braised pork and smoked ham.
Tony Maws (an F&W Best New Chef 2005) is moving his much-lauded Craigie Street Bistrot to this bigger space and giving the new place a new name. He sources almost all of his ingredients from local farms and makes just about everything on his menu from scratch, including the lamb rillettes with pickled chanterelle mushrooms. A private dining space is excellent for large groups of up to 24.
Open Christmas Eve.
At this Kenmore Square restaurant, chef Marco Suarez turns out superb American brasserie dishes like crispy duck leg confit. He will serve a $50 three-course prix fixe Christmas Day menu.
Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; 528 Commonwealth Ave.
Barbara Lynch (an F&W Best New Chef 1996) started her mini empire with this elegant French-Italian Beacon Hill restaurant, serving dishes like ingenious prune-stuffed gnocchi. Through December 23, No. 9 Park will expand its service hours to include lunch, offering signature items like house-made pappardelle Bolognese.
Rialto alum Tom Fosnot turns out simple, traditional Ligurian dishes like hand-rolled trofie (a spirally, eggless pasta) with pesto and green beans at this South End spot. Large corner tables in the main dining room are especially great for groups of up to 10, while a semiprivate room seats up to 55.