While it may be dubbed the “poor man’s lobster,” the pan-roasted monkfish at the Italian-focused Olivia’s Bistro will have you thinking about anything but cheap imitations. “The flavor is rich, with a good amount of spice and a strong depth of shellfish and tomato,” executive chef John Hanlon says of the standout dish, which is available again after being on the Newton eatery’s opening menu in January. The fish is seared and basted with butter and fresh thyme before it simmers in a mixture of San Marzano tomato, fennel, cannellini beans, Calabrian chiles and briny Kalamata olives. A quick broil in the pizza oven caramelizes the dish’s surface just before it’s served, boosting the deep interplay of flavors.
Pan-roasted monkfish, $24 at Olivia’s Bistro, 136 Adams St., Newton (617-916-0979) oliviasbistronewton.com