In a town where dressing up for work generally means “wearing pants instead of shorts,” entertaining clients - especially out-of-towners - presents a rather unique challenge. You need a restaurant where suit jackets and heels are celebrated, a menu that’s not going to weird-out a stuffy CFO, and an environment that generally makes you look like somebody who knows about things. It’s a tough combination to crack, but that’s what this guide is for. Here are 10 LA restaurants where clients will always walk out impressed.
Chi Spacca is part of the Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza restaurant family, but compared to those spots, this tiny steakhouse feels like the cool younger cousin who definitely has a butcher chart tattooed on his forearm. The space is slightly upscale, but not boring, and the menu’s full of fantastic, over-the-top plates of meat (there’s a $210 porterhouse) that’ll make you and your client feel like international diplomats for the night. Also, the focaccia is one of our favorite dishes in LA.
Taking your client to a place whose seasoning is buried in every spice rack in America might seem like an inauspicious choice, but this classic steakhouse delivers every time. Lawry’s is a Beverly Hills original and though its sprawling space is a bit overwhelming, it’s also home to one of the more entertaining meals in town. Between the floor show (they’ll spin your salad and dressing together right at your table), the giant tapestries of nondescript monarchs hanging on the walls, and the golden carts of the famous (and delicious) prime rib being wheeled around, Lawry’s is an event from start to finish.
Finding a restaurant with decent live music in this town is more challenging than small talk in an Uber Pool. But you’ll find it every night of the week at this Brentwood steakhouse. The food is good (get the tri-tip, enchiladas, and a roasted chicken salad inexplicably titled the Macho Salad) and the upscale space isn’t as stuffy as you’d think. And if a live jazz ensemble in the corner isn’t going to ease your client into signing a deal, nothing will.
You’re getting the sense that your client from Berlin wants a nice dinner, but also wouldn’t be offended if a few rounds of shots hit the table, too. Go to APL. The high-end steakhouse in Hollywood has a dependable menu (including one of our favorite Caesar salads in town), strong cocktails, and a slightly rowdier atmosphere than you’d expect for a place with a $168 short rib on the menu. Its Hollywood and Vine location also makes it a good starting point for a night out, just in case Ernst isn’t quite ready to go back to the hotel yet.
This isn’t just any client, this is the CEO and their brooding personal attorney. Time to make a reservation at Providence. This seafood-leaning prix fixe spot on Melrose is inarguably one of the most extravagant dining experiences in LA, but as long as money isn’t an issue (it’s about $400 a head), everyone will walk away impressed. The food is creative and fantastic, the waitstaff is warm and unpretentious, and in case you want to know what a real dream job looks like, stick around until the guy pushing a cart of rare cheese visits your table.
Located right in Century City, Craft is an American/Italian restaurant seemingly created solely for entertaining clients. Sure, it’s littered with every WME and CAA agent within phone-throwing distance, but it's also a shockingly fun place to have dinner. The food is excellent and familiar to 50-year-olds (expect a lot of meat and pasta), your wine glass will never be empty, and they even send you home with tiny baked goods, which you’re obviously giving to your client.
Wally's Beverly Hills
It’s 5:30pm and you can already tell that your Parisian client is wondering why they aren’t holding a glass of wine right now. Get to Wally’s, the classic Beverly Hills wine shop/restaurant with one of the largest selections in the city. No one should come here with the expectation of eating a full meal. Instead, find a seat on the patio or at the cheese bar, make friends with the sommelier, and people-watch until the sun goes down. Also, definitely order a carbonara pizzetta for the table.
At the end of the day, great views will always impress, and you can’t find any better scenery in LA than at 71Above. Located on the 71st floor of the US Bank Tower, this sprawling restaurant has six different areas where you can reserve a seat (including private dining and the chef’s table) and each comes with its own specific views and dining experience. We recommend sitting in the regular dining area, where you can build your own three-course meal for $78 per person and then watch your client gaze out the floor-to-ceiling windows like a dog on a PCH road trip.
Somehow, you’ve been tasked with entertaining an entire board of directors, and they’re going to want to eat. Take them to Majordomo, where the best dishes are made for sharing. Order some bing (Chinese flatbread) for the table, a noodle dish or two, and if you've done your homework - since you need to call ahead to reserve yours - the whole plate short rib. If the board isn’t entertained, at least they’ll be full.
There are plenty of warehouse restaurants in Downtown, but there aren’t many that will also make you feel like you’re in a colonial mansion on a tropical island. So Dama stands out, and while your client can easily pretend they’re on vacation here, the food is much better than what they’d get at the Hilton in St. Augustine they go to every year. We like to order a few of the smaller plates (and never skip the white bean dip), intersperse them with some very strong cocktails, and always leave room for the banana soft serve.