While the Mad Men era days of three-martini lunches may be long gone, plenty of business is still conducted over the midday meal. For a restaurant to be considered a good choice for a business lunch, the criteria are the same in Portland as in Manhattan or Boston: reliably good food, served professionally and promptly, and a reasonably quiet environment. Local professionals named the following as their top choices:
Union | The Press Hotel | 390 Congress Street
Home of a $15 soup, salad, and sandwich combination, this stylish, contemporary restaurant delivers a classic sit-down lunch. Power outlets and coat hooks at the bar are a plus for business travelers and those looking to get work done.
David’s | 22 Monument Square
A favorite among both Portland’s business lunch crowd and visitors to the city, David Turin’s flagship restaurant offers elegant takes on classic dishes and a chef ’s lunch buffet with a changing selection of sandwiches, pizza, antipasti, salads, and soups.
Central Provisions | 414 Fore Street
A national reputation and a no-reservations policy make a seat at Central Provisions tough to snag at dinnertime. It’s far easier at lunch, when stools at the coveted counter facing the open kitchen turn over quickly. Curate a meal of the restaurant’s inventive small plates, or dig into the Baja fish sandwich with avocado aioli or what fans say is the best bacon cheeseburger in town.
BlueFin | Portland Harbor Hotel | 468 Fore Street
The hotel’s recently rebranded restaurant is worth discovering for its seafood-centric menu and its quiet, comfortable dining room. Feel cocooned away from the city crowds at a table with a view of the pretty brick courtyard, while enjoying a calamari wrap or chef Tim Labonte’s signature tuna sandwich: olive oil-poached fresh tuna with aioli, celery and capers on whole grain toast.
Isa Bistro | 79 Portland Street
The light-filled space has the cozy feel of an old friend’s dining room and Isa’s menu offers sophisticated takes on comfort food. At lunch, start with salt cod fritters or a shaved fennel salad with grapefruit and pecorino before tucking into a hearty roasted pork Panini or lobster tacos.
Congress Squared | Westin Portland Harborview | 157 High Street
The sleek and serene surroundings of Congress Squared are an especially tranquil place for discussing business over lunch. The menu features contemporary riffs on familiar dishes, including lobster sliders, a burger with bacon jam, and an updated soup, grilled cheese and salad combo.
Woodford Food and Beverage | 600 Forest Avenue
Just off the Portland peninsula, this friendly, laid-back eatery serves lunch Wednesday through Friday. While the vibe is thoroughly American and slightly retro, the menu leans French; house favorites include a classic rendition of mussels, the brimming bowl piled with crispy fries, and a first-rate burger.