The days of the three-martini lunch may be over, but the business lunch is alive and well. What are some of the best restaurants for a business lunch in Atlanta? Here are a few of our favorites.
Bones is the classic Atlanta restaurant for a power lunch. The steak house, open since 1979, has private rooms as well as open areas where you see anyone and everyone-and are seen by them as well. The atmosphere is friendly, and after one visit the staff knows your name.
2. Mission + Market
Chow down on West Coast-inspired American food at Mission + Market. (Courtesy of Mission + Market)
Mission + Market offers inventive West Coast-inspired American fare. Right off Georgia 400 in Buckhead, Mission + Market is the masterpiece of Jonathan Akly and chef Ian Winslade, who has worked for some of the best restaurants in Atlanta. The menu includes such items as wild mushroom polenta, oven-roasted Loch Duart salmon and beef Bolognese.
3. Alma Cocina
Dine on contemporary Mexican and Latin American food at Alma Cocina. (Mary Welch photo)
Recently opened in Buckhead, Alma Cocina serves up contemporary Mexican and Latin American cuisine with fresh ingredients and creative twists on old favorites. The traditional chicken mole Oaxaca is full of flavor, while the chile en nogada overflows with fried cauliflower, black beans, butternut squash and other ingredients for your vegetarian partner. The street tacos are a revelation with the masa fried shrimp, chicken tinga verde and the fried avocado leading the list. Alma Cocina also has a Downtown location.
4. Buckhead Diner
It's not what you picture when you think of a diner. (Buckhead Life Restaurant Group)
This is not your typical diner. The interior features warm woods and a retro style with large booths and tables. The menu is inventive but some favorites, such as the original warm blue cheese chips, the four cheese grilled cheese and tomato soup, and the veal and wild mushroom meatloaf, are always on the menu.
5. Capital Grille
This favorite of Atlanta business types offers comfortable elegance and food that ranges from hamburgers to Chilean sea bass with mushroom soy broth.
Like the Buckhead Diner, Chops is part of the city’s acclaimed Buckhead Life Restaurant Group and is another restaurant where the food is exceptional and the name of the game is business. Located at Buckhead Plaza, Chops Lobster Bar is just as popular at night and offers great seafood as well as USDA prime aged beef.
7. Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse
Located at Phipps Plaza, Davio's offers the Executive Lunch that leaves you feeling at the top of your game after the two-course prix fixe menu, where the main course might include albacore tuna salad wrap, rigatoni or pan-seared mahi mahi in artichoke risotto.
This fine French bistro attracts the business crowd who wants exquisite European-style service and a cuisine that blends modern French with regional fare. With its selections of snacks, appetizers, salads, savory sandwiches and main entrees, F&B provides the perfect atmosphere to start a discussion or close a deal. Our favorites are the white bean soup, seared chicken liver salad and the sautéed skate meunière.
9. Amalfi Pizza
This traditional Neapolitan pizzeria centered around two 6,000 pound wood-burning brick ovens imported from Italy is centrally located Downtown near many offices and hotels. The 170-seat dining room also has large semicircular booths, perfect for quiet business meetings.
Dantanna's operates three locations-Downtown, Buckhead and Sandy Springs. The Downtown Dantanna's is located right in the heart of CNN Center. This is an upscale restaurant just right for doing deals, and if negotiations get a little boring, you can easily catch a glimpse of a game on the many television sets.
11. Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe features a chef-inspired menu.
This popular spot underwent a renovation recently, adding more seating by the windows and a chef-inspired menu featuring house-made entrees with a local flair. Don’t miss the steak burger. If you’ve just closed a deal, order the 24-karat gold leaf steak burger, complete with a 24-karat edible gold leaf served with cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomato. Located in the heart of Downtown with MARTA nearby, the Hard Rock Cafe is an ideal location to do business and catch up on the newest tunes. Hard Rock also offers a variety of private rooms and catering options for your next company lunch or gathering.
12. Ray’s in the City
Located next to AmericasMart, Ray's is a sound choice for a business meal. The menu offers everything from sushi to salad to blue plate specials.
13. 5Church Restaurant
5Church is one of the go-to Midtown places for a business lunch. Located at Colony Square, 5Church offers an edgy interior design, Southern hospitality and a technique-driven menu. Be sure to try the Southern fried chicken.
14. Brassiere at Bazati
Step into old world charm at Brassiere at Bazati. (Photo courtesty of Brassiere at Bazati)
This delightful French restaurant overlooks the Eastside BeltLine in the Old Fourth Ward. The service is old world impeccable and this is an excellent restaurant for conducting business or taking a little rest from the daily grind. Try the goat cheese salad, quiche du jour, salmon poêlé, steak frites or fried chicken sandwich. Of course, there’s always champagne ready to pop to celebrate that big deal.
15. Empire State South
Located in the heart of Midtown, Empire State South takes a modern approach to Southern dishes under the direction of acclaimed chef Hugh Acheson. The restaurant serves lunch, and its coffee shop is open all day if the negotiations run past lunchtime.
16. The Lawrence
This Midtown restaurant that suits every business person-from a more formal attorney to a creative PR person-but everyone finds the lunch menu and atmosphere conducive to lucrative talks. The Lawrence features such items as pan-seared trout salad, shrimp tacos and roasted chicken.
Situated on Crescent Avenue, Lure offers a sophisticated but casual vibe that attracts the business crowd. This fish house is sure to please.
18. Nan Thai Fine Dining
Nan is a favorite of Atlanta people looking for a place to conduct a meeting with delicious food that is beautifully prepared. Want to know how good the food is? When golfer Vijay Singh hosted the Champion’s Dinner in Augusta in 2002, he requested chef Nan to cater it.
19. The Oceanaire
The Oceanaire provides an exquisite menu and superior service and can handle a small intimate business meeting or a large one with private dining.
Order a stuffed baguette at AIX. (Photo courtesy of AIX and Tin Tin Wine Bar)
On the Westside, AIX is a good choice for a business tête-à-tête. Try one of the stuffed baguettes served with chips and a seasonal arugula salad. Two good choices are the tuna Provencal or the roasted mushroom melt.
This popular spot is for business people who want to get away and enjoy a peaceful lunch along the Chattahoochee River. Located in Vinings, Canoe offers a wide-ranging menu that aims to please.
22. The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar
Find this restaurant in the heart of Dunwoody’s business district. Busy executives can take advantage of Priority Lunch Seating where parties of eight or more can make a reservation for a business lunch. The table and chosen appetizers are ready upon the party's arrival.
23. Eight Sushi Lounge
The experience here is so outstanding that it will be easy to get everyone on board during negotiations. Located on Atlanta’s bustling Westside, Eight Sushi provides plates to share, bento plates, sushi combinations and a variety of rolls.
24. OK Cafe
This favorite Atlanta restaurant may not look like a place for a power lunch, but don’t let the looks fool you. It is, and that may be because of the relaxed homey atmosphere as well as the quality of food that may remind you of your grandmother’s cooking. Enjoy specialties such as the pimento cheese burger and chicken pot pie.
25. The Optimist
Make your reservations here for an amazing seaside fish camp atmosphere with such lunch dishes as seafood gumbo, octopus and a lobster roll. Not only will you see many of Atlanta’s top business people doing a deal at this Westside restaurant, but you also may see a few stars negotiating their next movie deals.
Find great places to eat in every Atlanta neighborhood and make your business lunch a success.
Mary Welch writes business and lifestyle stories for local and national publications.