From Beverly Hills to downtown, some of the biggest deals in the city are hatched over midday meals. Walk into the dining rooms filled with some of the city’s most sought-after tables (especially at 1 p.m. on a Friday) and you are bound to spot directors, producers, lawyers, and their business colleagues ordering everything from sushi to steaks. The act of breaking bread together can forge a bond, inspire and solidify a promised contract. While Soho House may be the ultimate power lunch destination, its private club status makes it only accessible to members and their guests. This list of business lunch locations across the city will surely help anyone working to move up the food chain access some of the biggest deals in the city — or at least sit at a table near one.
Spago Beverly Hills
176 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
At Spago, the ultimate power lunch for producers, lawyers and business deals, recently reopened with new chic urban décor and a retractable roof for the courtyard patio. The expertly prepared food with gracious service earned Wolfgang Puck two Michelin stars. The menu feature a posh mix of dishes inspired by California ingredients and European specialties. The gracious staff is careful to not outright laugh when one calls the same week for a table for eight at 1 p.m. on a Friday, but that’s one tough table to get, so plan ahead.
Culina Modern Italian at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
300 South Doheny Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Larry Flynt can be spotted there almost every day along with entertainment and business leaders, the staff of Young Hollywood, and the scores of entertainment folks coming through the hotel for press junkets and events. The modern Italian dishes, perfect for a light lunch or decedent feast, impress anyone who needs to be wooed. Culina is the place to splurge on dessert with their world-class house-made gelato. The affogato is served with a topping of handmade cotton candy that melts as the espresso is poured over it table side. The new Culina juice menu offers more than 20 ingredients including fruits, vegetables, ginger, coconut and chili that can be ordered at the restaurant or taken to go for a powerful boost of vitamins and antioxidants.
Caulfield’s Bar and Dining Room at the Thompson Hotel
9360 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
The inviting décor at Caulfield’s at the Thompson Hotel in Beverly Hills has an art deco meets industrial urban interior perfect for agents, producers, and actors, along with locals and hotel guests to find a discreet place to talk. Chef Stephen Kalt offers up American grill-style dishes with Mediterranean flair. Grilled flatbread pizzette are topped with everything from pumpkin and pistachio to mushrooms with truffle oil. Diners can celebrate closing a deal by ordering the decadent club sandwich, made with butter-poached lobster on brioche.
11043 Santa Monica Bouleverd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Backed by Michael Ovitz, Hamasaku has an unassuming location in a strip mall on Santa Monica Boulevard in West LA. Once inside the space has the feeling of a serene and sophisticated Tokyo restaurant. Regulars have feasted on the crispy sushi pizza and inventive rolls for years. The new nigiri menu features traditional ingredients with some contemporary twists. The list of sakes, served by the bottle, glass, or in flights, has been carefully curated. For power players the combination of Japanese food, a quiet space, and the attentive staff makes for the perfect place to share a meal in the middle of a busy workday.
Wolfgang Puck at the Hotel Bel Air
701 Stone Canyon Road
Los Angeles, CA 90077
Yes, Wolfgang Puck does make two appearances on this list — a fitting tribute to his ability to create the kind of atmosphere that attracts the elite from around the city and the world. The Hotel Bel Air “60-Minute Power Lunch” offers a two course prix fixe menu available Monday through Friday and includes hand-cut tagliatelle bolognese or seared swordfish, but once you enter the beautiful garden patio it’s hard to imagine leaving after only one hour. Sitting for a meal in the gorgeous garden feels like a vacation.
525 South Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
This list would not be complete without a downtown destination. Chef Celestino Drago has been serving his refined and rustic Italian specialties in Los Angeles for more than 30 years. It’s a long way from his childhood in Sicily where he learned to heat the water to cook pasta while his parents were out working the family farm. Now his downtown Los Angeles location, Drago Centro, provides the comfort of the home cooking from his youth with new innovative dishes with superb ingredients and stunning presentation. The Drago Centro dining room is light and airy with full view of the glass wine cellar filled with a range of bottles perfect to impress a client or celebrate sealing a deal.
Julie Wolfson is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. She covers travel, lifestyle, art, pop culture, cocktails and food for Cool Hunting and several other media outlets. Most days you’ll find her out and about in Southern California and around the world tracking down stories about talented people doing amazing things.