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Best Restaurants for Business Lunches in the DC Metro Area

Posted on Monday, August 22, 2016

Like most major cities, DC has hundreds, if not thousands, of dining options to explore. But you're looking for a spot that will not only stop your stomach from grumbling, but will also be suitable for a business lunch. 

We have a few recommendations for business lunch spots in three different categories: the formal power lunch for VIP clients, the semi-formal lunch for working meetings with clients or colleagues, and the casual co-worker lunch. Each category has very different requirements for price and ambiance, and we've gathered some excellent options for each of these business lunches. 

The Power Lunch

If you've got VIP clients, or VIPs that you hope will be clients, you want to woo them with a formal power lunch. You're willing to spend more, and you want a classy ambiance with stellar food and top-notch service. Here are some of our top picks. 

The Oval Room

Just a stone's throw from the White House is one of the city's most elite restaurants; The Oval Room's menu is filled with modern American cuisine—you can tuck into crispy skin salmon or pan roasted Amish chicken, to name just two of the well-reviewed restaurant's entrees. Looking for something a little lighter? Try the Oval Room "Cobb" Salad, or the Oval Room Shrimp Roll. Entrees range from $21-$26, and they've got an excellent wine list. Bonus—you could bump into familiar faces from the world of politics or the media. 

The Palm

For the last four decades, The Palm's DC location has been serving solid American fare to some of the nation's most powerful people. (In fact, it was even named the "Best Power Lunch" in America by Forbes Magazine in 2012.) The walls are covered with portraits of politicians, and there's beautiful natural light from their wall of floor-to-ceiling windows.Choose from one of their lunch specialities, or pick from the 3 Course Power Lunch (power lunch is in the title – you know you're in the right place). Entrees range from $16-$38, and the 3 course Power Lunch is only $26.

Tosca

 Yes, you can find the ubiquitous red meat on Tosca's menu, but the real star is their house-made pasta. A recent recipient of OpenTable Diners' Choice Winner for Best Italian as well as Best Service in DC, Tosca's elegance and service will make your guests feel like true VIPs. There are attractive vegetarian options as well as hearty meat-based dishes, and the menu is extensive. They have a pre-set 3 course lunch menu for $40, and the a la carte entrees range from $24-$29. 

tosca food and dining room

Photo credit: toscadc.com

Old Ebbitt Grill

For the last 160 years, the Old Ebbitt Grill has been serving elegant, delicious food to the denizens of DC. Steps away from the White House, the Old Ebbitt Grill's menu is filled with delicious entrees made with fresh, seasonally appropriate ingredients. Or, if you want to feel truly decadent, check out The Oyster Bar, where DC residents have enjoyed fresh oysters for over a century. The decor is classically beautiful, with brass and marble bars offset by mahogany and velvet booths. 

The Semi-Formal Lunch

You've won the client, and it's time to meet them for a working lunch. You want to impress them, and you want a good meal, but you don't need to pull out all the stops. A more casual atmosphere that doesn't skimp on taste is what's in order. We've got you covered. 

Kaz Sushi Bistro

An elegant, minimalistic dining room coupled with beautiful sushi will leave your clients with a positive impression. There are daily lunch specials for $16, a full-service sushi bar as well as bento boxes with cooked food for the less adventurous eaters in your party. This is also a great option for vegetarians. 

Central 

Michel Richard's American bistro with a French twist is the perfect spot to conduct business as you dig into delectable food. There are sandwiches and burgers as well as an extensive entree menu, and the 3 course lunch special offers two options for each course that sound so delicious it makes it difficult to choose. 

Zaytinya

Opa! This Greek/Mediterranean spot has a gorgeous, open dining space with a broad menu that can provide something for any palate. Whether you're interested in the 4 course Mezze Lunch for $25, or one of the many lunch entrees, you're sure to find a new favorite. 

Bombay Club

Ranked one of the top ten restaurants in DC by Zagat, Bombay Club brings delicious Indian cuisine to an environment of relaxed elegance. Their lunch offerings include "Unabashedly Indian Curries" as well as dishes from the Northwest of India. The pros in your party can head for the bolder options, and those who aren't as familiar with Indian cuisine can stick to the safer, less spicy dishes. (The bread selections alone are mouth watering—you will not walk away unsatisfied.)

Photo credit: bombayclubdc.com

The Casual Lunch

You and some co-workers have been working hard all morning, and it's time to eat; what's for lunch? You want something beyond fast food, but you need to eat quickly and you don't want to drop big bucks. Where do you go? 

Founding Farmers

Located in Foggy Bottom, Founding Farmers styles itself as an "urban farmhouse"; the restaurant is owned by more than 40,000 members of the North Dakota Farmers Union, who supply a good deal of the food that they serve to their patrons. Sustainability is their goal, and their food reflects their commitment to freshness. You can find anything from sandwiches to a center cut filet, all prepared in-house.

Shouk

A vegetarian paradise that will appeal to meat eaters, too, Shouk offers an array of pitas (that can also be transformed into a rice and lentil bowl) stuffed with market-fresh veggies, entree salads, as well as snacks if you're looking for something light. Pro tip—this spot gets busy at lunchtime, so you might take your lunch a little earlier or a little late if you're eager to try it. 

Good Stuff Eatery

This one's for the carnivores; Good Stuff Eatery's two DC locations boast a menu bursting with burger goodness. Grab a side of fries or onion petals, and a hand-spun shake, and you'll be fueled and ready to tackle your afternoon. There are wedge salads for those who seek something lighter, but the burgers are definitely the star of the menu. 

Tortilla Cafe

This family owned spot's take on authentic Latin American cuisine has made it one of the most popular lunch spots in DC. You will find fare typical to a Mexican restaurant as well as house specials such as the Empanada Platter and the Salvadoran Chicken Sandwich. The prices are fair, the portions are huge, and you can satisfy everyone in your party—there's even a cheeseburger for those who are spice-averse. It's a win-win for everyone!

This guide should help you choose the lunch spot that can fit your needs, whether you're trying to impress a potential client or just fill your belly with your colleagues. Happy dining! 

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