Best of Boston

2003 Best Chef, Up and Coming

Tony Maws, Craigie Street Bistrot

If ever there was a feel-good pill for these challenging times, chef Tony Maws’s cooking at Craigie Street Bistrot is it. Troubles fall away as soon as you set foot in this subterranean restaurant and its cozy dining room, a warmly decorated space that oozes with “aw shucks, c’mon in” charm. (Maws’s mother even works the door, making everyone feel instantly at home.) Former sous-chef to Ken Oringer at Clio, Maws has made Craigie Street a stage for showcasing his training in Boston and a previous stint in France. The menu, which features five appetizers, five entrées, and five desserts nightly, seduces diners with casual French country flavors: roasted breast of Muscovy duck, herb-crusted monkfish, marinated skirt steak, and classic crème caramel. Each dish perfectly captures the ingredients, all market fresh and seasonal. If you must choose only one reason to love Tony Maws and his little bistro, it’s the price: The three-course prix fixe is only $29.99, a cost anyone can swallow.

5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, 617-497-5511,