Maybe you’re an important business person and all of your meal times have been taken over by work. Maybe you’re an out-of-work actor/tech person/freelance writer who’s constantly taking meetings. Maybe you just need to not talk about budgets in the office anymore, and instead you want to talk about them while you eat some food.
Whatever the reason, you’ve planned a lunch meeting, and we’re here to help you pick the spot for it. The places on this guide have tables large enough to accommodate all your important business person folders, and food that will please any picky clients.
Century City is the lunch meeting capital of Los Angeles, and Craft is basically a national monument. Agents, lawyers, and people who want to be agents and lawyers are all here doing deals in a well-soundproofed room and eating expensive salads while they’re at it. Craft, though, isn’t just an extension of the WME boardroom - the food here is legitimately good, and the service is fantastic.
You’ve been introduced to someone “in town for the summer” whose actual job is vague, but who is “taking meetings” and has decided they want to take one with you. They’ve already made Cecconi’s their unofficial HQ (the Chateau is their official one), so you might as well meet them there. The waiters are wearing waistcoats, there’s marble on almost every surface, and everyone is drinking wine at 11:30am on a Wednesday. Including you.
Church & State is the restaurant you always forget is more low-key than you think. This Arts District spot has a traditional French menu, but the space is bright and casual and feels more like a giant coffee shop than a place with bouillabaisse on the menu. Most things at lunch hover around $20, but if you come hungry, there’s a three-course prix-fixe for $23.
Somehow this meeting has expanded to include six people, none of whom you know very well, and Jade has just informed you via a slightly passive-aggressive email that she’s gluten-free. Forma will please everyone. It’s big, so you can take over a corner and hash out next quarter’s strategy plan, and Jade can get any of the pastas without gluten. And, once you’ve all run out of things to talk about, you can at least discuss the man tossing pasta in a giant wheel of cheese.
There are lunch meetings you know are going to be a boring hour of grilled salmon and talking about which schools your client’s unborn child is applying to. Then there are the lunch meetings with people you actually like, during which you’ll spend 10 minutes talking about work stuff and two hours on everything else. Son of a Gun is ideal for that second category. This mostly-seafood spot from the Jon & Vinny’s people is the right amount of laid-back, while still being nice enough to feel like a work thing.
Farmshop in the Brentwood Country Mart is about as Brentwood as a restaurant can get. Almost every lunch here will involve chicken salads, someone ordering white wine with ice cubes in it, and a movie star in the corner having a meeting with her stylist. And when you’re trying to convince someone you’re the next movie star who will definitely one day have a stylist, all that works in your favor.
Sugarfish needs little introduction. Its set omakase-style menu is simple and ideal for when you aren’t interested in sharing a bunch of daily specials with a girl your cousin dated in college who wants a job at your company. Plus, with 10 locations across the city now, you’re never more than 20 minutes away from one.
La Scala is the original Beverly Hills power lunch, and while there are plenty of options on the menu, everyone here is ordering one thing: the chopped salad. Don’t just stick to the standard lettuce, salami, mozzarella, and garbanzo beans - the secret to this salad (and impressing the person you’re meeting) is adding the right combination of toppings. Which should always include pepperoncini.
Your cousin’s friend who’s also a screenwriter offered to take you out to lunch and (hopefully) tell you everything she knows. But she’s also a screenwriter, so this might not be the time for a three-course, three-figure meal. Suggest Verve. It’s technically a coffee shop, so if she hasn’t sold her last few scripts, she can buy you a latte and end it there, but they also have a small menu of sandwiches if you get hungry.
You and your best friend from improv class have finally decided to start structuring out that screenplay. But you also know if you work from your apartment you’ll just end up watching Youtube videos of people being pushed into pools all day. Meet at Spoke Bicycle instead. The outdoor cafe/bicycle shop/hangout spot has a pretty standard menu of salads, toasts, and bowls, but everything is really good - they serve one of our favorite veggie burgers in the city. Their long picnic tables will give you all the space you need to write Juno 2.
Spago in Beverly Hills is Wolfgang Puck’s flagship restaurant, and has been one of the most popular places to eat lunch with drunk celebrities since the 1980s. But this iconic restaurant is also much more than witnessing Faye Dunaway guzzle pinot grigio - the food is still very good. There’s also a great patio, and the interior has plenty of quiet corners for you to scream into your napkin, because the deal still hasn’t closed.
Your walking-cats-with-leashes app is almost ready and an investor is showing interest. Go seal the deal at Gjelina. The Abbot Kinney staple is still nearly impossible to get into at night, but at lunch, you can easily get a reservation or even just walk in. The menu is largely the same as dinner, filled with every vegetable, salad, or pizza you and your soon-to-be-investor could want. Also, the back patio is even better during the day.
Your client just called and wants to do lunch “somewhere fun.” Hinoki & The Bird is really the only place in Century City that could be even vaguely considered fun. The food here is fine (get the crispy chicken sandwich), but you’re really here to watch agents attempt to one-up each other as they compete for a YouTube-star-you-couldn’t-name’s business.
You’ve probably been to this casual Italian restaurant in Hollywood for a few birthdays and maybe some early-in-the-game dates, but Osteria La Buca might actually be best at lunch. The Melrose and Wiltern location is super central, and the menu is full of pizza (the guanciale is a must), pasta, and not-sad salads. Oh, and the most expensive item is $19.
Not every Beverly Hills lunch has to mean $19 martinis and $28 salads. Nate n’ Al is a Los Angeles classic, and its traditional Jewish deli menu is exactly what you need when you and your co-worker want to take out your emotions on a pastrami sandwich and stuffed cabbage. Its downtown Beverly Hills location is certainly in the thick of all the Rodeo traffic, so it’s important to remember that most BH parking structures are free for the first two hours.
A new client just emailed about a last-minute lunch meeting for tomorrow, and the only place you can think of is that Chipotle at the bottom of your office’s building. Definitely don’t do that, and go to Best Girl instead. The all-day restaurant on the ground floor of the Ace hotel always has last-minute reservations available, as well as a very solid menu full of things people like eating during lunch. The crudo and crab cakes are both really good, but we usually go for the burger with caramelized onions and dill relish on top.