Ah, the elusive power lunch. Once you’ve nailed down a time, you’re tasked with striking a chord between finding a fashionable place that isn’t too loud, with great food, but you can be in and out in an hour. While fast casual spots might be tempting, seating usually isn’t great, and you find yourself in line for a third of the time you were hoping to meet with your lunch companion. Knowing that the lunch meeting struggle is real, I did the heavy lifting, and put together a list of my ten (yes, 10!) favorite restaurants around the city prime for a productive, and tasty, lunch meeting.
Terra (Back Bay)
Prudential Tower, 800 Boylston St floor 3, Boston, MA 02199
Looking to impress a potential new client? Wow them with a sumptuous lunch at this Eataly establishment. The sun-soaked room accompanied by the smell of the open-fire grill will keep a smile on their face. Small plates and speedy service make this an ideal lunch option to broker a deal that is sure to leave everyone satisfied.
What you’re ordering: Gran Tagliere to share
Area Four (Kendall Square)
500 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139
I lived in Kendall Square for several years, and Area Four has routinely been a standout for a casual and quick lunch in the ‘hood. The menu is super approachable, and this local favorite serves as a perfect spot to hash out a strategy session. Somehow, being surrounded by all the MIT students and bio-med professionals always yield innovative ideas ;).
What you’re ordering: Mushroom & Fontina Pizza and Bread & Butter Pickles
Row 34 (Fort Point)
383 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210
I remember the day when Row 34 was one of the very few dining options in Fort Point. They haven’t survived the massive expansion in the neighborhood just based on luck – their service is sharp, and their menu is simple, but impressive. It has gotten a little bit busier in here for lunch over the years due to the booming business population in the Seaport and surrounding area, so be sure to make a reservation.
What you’re ordering: Oysters, duh.
Saltie Girl (Back Bay)
281 Dartmouth St, Boston, MA 02116
This intimate spot in the Back Bay is notoriously difficult to get into for dinner, but for lunch, you might have more luck. I have had countless work lunches here, and if you arrive right at 11:55AM, you can tuck into one of the booths and get down to business. Enjoy their unique offering by breaking bread over an order of tinned fish, and if the occasion calls for it, don’t skip out on cocktails.
What you’re ordering: Any of their tinned fish and the Sea Urchin Crudo
Bluestone Lane (Harvard Square)
27 Brattle St. Cambridge, MA 02138
My Aussie gals are obsessed with Bluestone Lane, and after trying their full menu in their new-ish Harvard Square location, I can see why. I love getting to try some Australian staples, while enjoying healthier options, like their Cauliflower and Farro Salad. The best part? You can order “Brekkie” all day, setting the mood for a cheeky lunch.
What you’re ordering: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes – available all day
Gaslight (South End)
560 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02118
Looking for the hustle and bustle bistro vibe without compromising conversation? The Gaslight is tucked away in a corner of the South End and is a perfect spot to meet if you find yourself in the neighborhood. Comfort food, paired with some elevated offerings make it the ideal spot for meeting with mentors or having an informational interview.
What you’re ordering: Crab Remoulade and their plat du jour
Colette Wine Bistro (Porter Square)
1924 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140
This sister restaurant to Frenchie in the South End can be found in The Porter Square Hotel is open all day, every day. I’ve actually attended a work luncheon here before that featured a panel and networking, and the restaurant team did an awesome job, and their set menu was excellent. That have a good deal of larger tables, making this a good spot for a team brainstorm, or to entertain clients.
What you’re ordering: Coq a Vin Tartine and any of the desserts on rotation
Little Donkey (Central Square)
505 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
Right off of the Red Line, this gem of a restaurant strikes the right balance of hipster/industrial decor with thoughtful cuisine. I am generally a fan of anything Ken Oringer touches (you guys know my obsession with Uni), and this global menu really showcases an awesome range of dishes, meaning there’s something for everyone. Lunch is relatively quiet here, but I always make a reservation just in case.
What you’re ordering: Pickle Brine Fried Chicken Sandwich and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
421 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134
Out in Allston and looking for something that fits the vibe of the neighborhood, but isn’t teeming with BU students mid-day? Lulu’s is your spot. They have mouth-watering spins on comfort food, and options that fit every dietary restriction. If it’s a more casual lunch, don’t miss out on trying a beer or two; their selection will impress even the most knowledgeable connoisseurs.
What you’re ordering: Short Rib Mac n Cheese
1321 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215
Okay, okayyyy, there is one fast casual worth mentioning. Eventide, which is the fast-casual iteration of their sit down joint in Portland, ME, offers spacious seating, fast service, and really tasty food. If you find yourself in Fenway, especially if your meeting companions are from out of town, eat here! They have all of the New England classics, and even a few delicious spins on them as well.
What you’re ordering: The Eventide Brown Butter Lobster Roll and Maine Lobster Stew
Any favorite lunch spots that I missed? Let me know if the comments below.