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Travel Feature
The Best Regional Business Restaurants

Even though companies around the country are slashing their entertainment budgets, forcing many people to forego their daily dose of seared tuna and shitake mushrooms, the age-old custom of the expense account business lunch will never go out of fashion.

The reason is not only that busy executives still need to eat, but few practices are as successful at attracting new clients or maintaining existing relationships than a little face time in a fine restaurant. With a slowing economy, however, it means executives have to be more selective about who they entertain and where they go.

Before we reveal our list, though, a little clarification is in order. What exactly is a business restaurant and how does it differ from any other?

First of all, it must be near a commercial center where most hotels and major businesses are situated. Second, it must serve good food, but, even more important, it must have superb service. A deal may not fall apart if the lamb chops aren't perfectly cooked, but if the maitre'd is rude or the waiter spills wine on your guest's lap, forget it. (This is not to say that most of the restaurants on our list don't serve excellent food: They all do.)

Have we left any restaurant out? Please let us know your suggestions.
Last, the restaurant must have an ambiance that flatters your guest and makes him or her believe you value his or her business. But be careful. A restaurant that works well for a romantic date is usually inappropriate for business dealings. The same can be said about choosing a trendy restaurant. Even if you can secure a table, if the place fills up with models dancing on the tabletop, it might be hard to concentrate.

Every city has its favorite spots that local movers and shakers gravitate to. In larger cities, some places cater to a particular industry, such as how The Palm in Los Angeles is usually packed with record executives and Michael's in New York with media hotshots.

We aren't saying that wining and dining a client well will guarantee you a fat contract, but it certainly won't hurt. And, after all, even if the deal never pans out, at least you'll have had a memorable meal.

To read our list of America's Best Business Restaurants, please click on the city names below:







Los Angeles


New York

San Francisco


St. Louis

Washington, D.C.

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