The best restaurant in the South End opened in 1987 and has outlasted all challengers thanks to a combination of culinary genius and first-class service. The dish that’s never off the menu is perfect roast chicken with garlic, lemon, and parsley, but I fall for the seafood dishes, like prosciutto-wrapped roasted trout with Gulf shrimp. Owner Gordon Hamersley presides (literally—he’s the tall line chef in the Red Sox cap) over a kitchen that embraced the seasonal-local-organic philosophy long before it was trendy. Classic French technique transforms top-notch ingredients, many from New England, into the unforgettable cuisine that made Julia Child a fan back in the day. Desserts are among the best in town, and there’s seasonal outdoor seating.