The 10 Best Restaurants For A Business Lunch In L.A.

entourage LA lunch

In L.A., everyone’s always trying to seal a deal.

And (in a city that’s all about seeing and being seen) those deals often happen over a meal in a big-name restaurant — sure to be filled with other power players.

We spoke with several sources who are entrenched in the Los Angeles scene, and it turns out, Hollywood types aren’t the only ones power lunching — L.A. is a growing startup hub, and tech entrepreneurs and VCs can be found closing deals in these hot spots, as well.

Tom Colicchio, who has Craft outposts in both NYC and L.A., says that the style of an L.A. power lunch is very different from those in New York. He tells Forbes that “healthier options are a big concern for Southern California’s power elite, who power-lunch on a completely different pace. In New York, Colicchio says, financial types like to do business between bites and then dash. [In L.A.,] movers and shakers tend to linger.” 

As for the restaurants, Italian or Californian cuisine set in sleek, airy atmospheres are the go-to’s for Angelenos. All the “Old Hollywood” classics can be found in our list, but a few trendy newcomers made the cut, too.

Even in this recession, the power lunch is alive and well.

Click here to see where you should have yours in L.A. >
Special thanks to Dena Cooke of  Brew PR and Kat Odell of Eater LA for their contributions to this piece.

Image: HBO

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permalink=”the-grill-on-the-alley-beverly-hills-1″
title=”The Grill on the Alley, Beverly Hills”
content=”The Grill on the Alley in Beverly Hills — known to most as simply ‘The Grill’ — is the quintessential place for an Old Hollywood power lunch. modelled after traditional New York and San Fran steakhouses, The Grill serves up all the classics (big steaks, shrimp cocktail, hearty salads) with impeccable service in a club-style atmosphere.

‘The Grill seems as permanent as the Hollywood Hills, with its dining room washed in a pale, masculine light that seems imported from a century-old restaurant in New Orleans, and the white-jacketed waiters who call you sir, even if you are wearing sneakers. This is, in other words, a serious place to have lunch,’ renowned L.A. Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold writes in his annual round-up of essential L.A. restaurants.

Check it out in Google Maps

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title=”The Ivy”
content=”If you want to ‘see and be seen’, The Ivy is your place. The restaurant is famous (or infamous?) for always being packed with celebs and those ‘in the business.’

According to Gold, The Ivy ‘looks the way Los Angeles is supposed to if your experience of the town comes from the movies.’

Perhaps that’s why Hollywood types have always flocked to the open-air restaurant to discuss their major deals over traditional California cuisine. Or maybe it’s the fleet of paparazzi and starry-eyed tourists perpetually hanging around on the adjacent Robertson Blvd sidewalk?

As notorious as it is, The Ivy is a must for this list.

Check it out in Google Maps

Image: The Ivy
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permalink=”spago-beverly-hills-3″
title=”Spago, Beverly Hills”
content=”When Spago opened in the eighties, it was an instant hit. And Wolfgang Puck’s innovative cooking has had Angelenos hooked ever since.

‘The original Spago on Sunset was to New American Cooking what the Armory Show was to modern painting or Meet the Beatles was to rock & roll: the one that changed the rules,’ Gold writes.

Now relocated to Beverly Hills, the restaurant has maintained its status as a hot spot, both for the scene, and for the food. A consistent member of every ‘best of LA’ list, Spago was most recently ranked 26th in Eater’s Jan 2010 edition of the 38 essential LA restaurants. ‘No restaurant is as quintessential LA as Wolfgang Puck’s first,’ the article sums up nicely.

Be sure to order the roast beet and goat cheese layer cake that has made this restaurant famous.

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Image: Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group
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permalink=”polo-lounge-at-the-beverly-hills-hotel-4″
title=”Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel”
content=”Despite sometimes sounding cliche, ‘Beverly Hills still rocks,’ Jason Hirschhorn, Chief Product Officer for MySpace, tells us. For good reason — the place just oozes Old Hollywood decadence. And the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hill Hotels epitomizes it all.

‘The Polo Lounge has been the favourite… watering hole for generations of stars and Hollywood deal-makers,’ the hotel website boasts.

The L.A. Times reports: ‘The restaurant, a landmark since 1941, has long been the gathering place for movie stars, deal-makers, high-society doyennes and the rubber-necking tourists who want a glimpse of them. Some say the food is only ordinary — and of course it’s overpriced, but that hardly matters; it’s all about the experience.’

After all, who wouldn’t want to discuss business at the glamorous BH Hotel, in the classic tradition of so many Hollywood names? Just remember: ‘one must be dressed,’ the Times says.

Check it out in Google Maps

Image: Beverly Hills Hotel
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permalink=”barney-greengrass-at-barneys-new-york-5″
title=”Barney Greengrass at Barneys New York”
content=”A department store cafe is not your typical place for a power lunch, but somehow, Barney Greengrass has become a Los Angeles favourite. Found on the top floor of the L.A. outpost of Barneys New York, Barney Greengrass offers a very New York breakfast and lunch menu, featuring authentic favourites such as bagels and lox (all flown in from the Big Apple).

Gayot describes Barneys as a ‘designer deli’ modelled after New York delicatessens, but with a glamorous twist (such as the marble vodka-and-caviar bar).

Check it out in Google Maps

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title=”Craft Los Angeles”
content=”A New York favourite, Tom Colicchio’s Craft is a relative newcomer to L.A. that was recommended by nearly everyone we spoke to. It displays every element of a perfect L.A. power lunch: award-winning, healthier food, sleek atmosphere, a big-name scene, and the celebrity-chef factor.

According to Forbes, Craft ‘has positioned itself as the hot, new playground for those ‘in the business,’ largely due to its proximity to the Creative Artists Agency.’

‘The restaurant’s open layout with generously spaced tables [which] makes it easy to be seen, but not heard,’ adds to its power-lunch appeal, Forbes reports.

Check it out in Google Maps

Image: Craft Los Angeles
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title=”Pizzeria Mozza”
content=”You may not have expected a pizzeria to be a hot spot for Los Angeles power players, but our sources tell us that Pizzeria Mozza is essential to our list. The restaurant’s long list of accolades proves them right.

Mozza is a casual hot spot that ‘has been packed since it opened in late 2006 with people in the biz lining up for fennel sausage pies and salumi,’ according to Forbes.

With Mario Batali and pastry chef Nancy Silverton at the reins, the celebrity-chef factor here is major, but the food backs it up. The eatery has earned serious recognition for its killer pizza, and an article in W Magazine reports that, ‘[almost] from day one, Pizzeria Mozza was the city’s hottest restaurant opening since Spago’s in 1982, according to L.A. Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold.’

It’s so good that ‘[some] Hollywood honchos make weekly appointments,’ Forbes adds.

Check it out in Google Maps

Image: Pizzeria Mozza
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permalink=”katsuya-brentwood-8″
title=”Katsuya, Brentwood”
content=”With gorgeous design by Phillippe Starck and incredible Japanese cuisine by Chef Katsuya Uechi, it’s no wonder Katsuya in Brentwood became an instant hot spot when it opened in 2006. In sushi-obsessed L.A., it’s an easy go-to for a fabulous power lunch.

‘Get the miso cod, baked crab roll, or the seared albacore with crispy onion — sick!’ says Patricia Handschiegel, serial internet and media entrepreneur and currently CEO of ‘9’ (and someone who has ‘redefined the power lunch here in LA,’ according to the folks at lalawag).

Check it out in Google Maps

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title=”Boa, Santa Monica”
content=”Boa Steakhouse in Santa Monica serves up the satisfying surf and turf indicative of a classic power lunch. And the beautifully-designed setting draws crowds vying for a seat in one of those comfy banquettes.

Mark Suster (entrepreneur and General Partner at GRP Partners) and Ross Levinsohn (managing director at Fuse Capital) both cited the restaurant as a definite power lunch venue for both Hollywood players and those in the startup community.

Check it out in Google Maps

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title=”Cecconi’s, West Hollywood”
content=”Cecconi’s, an airy Italian restaurant that opened in 2008, is a trendy newcomer that has earned a spot as a power lunch go-to; Handschiegel tells us ‘[it’s] the flavour of the month right now.’

The L.A. Times review of the London import advises, ‘Can’t get into the Ivy a few blocks south on Robertson Boulevard? Reserve at Cecconi’s: The food… [here] is much better.’

Be sure to get the rosemary scallops, which are ‘amazing,’ Handschiegel adds.

Check it out in Google Maps

Image: Cecconi’s

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title=”In New York? Don’t miss…”
content=”The 10 best restaurants for a business lunch in NYC >
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