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The Power Lunch

By Riley McDermid

A look out the window at power-lunch hotspot at the Four Seasons takes in much of the city’s hustle and bustle.

San Francisco has one of the most vibrant culinary scenes in the world, regularly pulling in
new Michelin stars and introducing diners to trends long before they reach the mainstream.
But with so much to choose from, how do you winnow down the very best spots to wine and dine? Four well-known SF gourmands and influencers shared their tips with us.

Chris Meza, board member at Saint Francis Foundation

The Four Seasons’ atmosphere is welcoming and hosts a noontime buzz, yet it’s mellow enough to finalize important details over dessert. For more “spirited negotiations,” proceed directly to MKT for post lunch-cocktail discussions or celebratory signings. 

Delancey Street offers a comfortable setting for nonprofit meetings as it’s a fantastic touchstone for all things community.

Le Central is where the power brokers enjoy steak frites and build roads to the future. The Big 4 for a tremendous old-school atmosphere. Likewise, Perbacco has the energy from the hurried Financial District that translates directly into a bustling, attractive power lunch room.


Ali Grosslight, publisher, California Home + Design

For a ladies’ lunch I love The Rotunda: Go late, stay late and get a pop-over to go.  

Long Lunch: The Battery, always a good scene and you can stay as long as needed, but no devices after 5 p.m. (Don’t forget!).  

SoMa Lunch: Marlowe. 

FiDi Lunch: Credo, which has my favorite chopped salad in town and is always busy, always great — ask for Brandon, he’ll take great care of you.  Luxe lunch:

Kokkari. Take your time, have dessert and don’t go back to the office.

Joel Goodrich, director of Estates Division, Coldwell Banker Global Luxury

My two favorite power lunch spots are the two private clubs I belong to — The Battery in Jackson Square, the newest private club in the City, and The University Club on Nob Hill, founded in 1890. You can have a very private lunch at either, with a spectacular environment and views, and in the midst of a who’s who of San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Especially with out of town clients and VIP’s, these are places that they would not normally go to.

For a Fashion Power lunch, The Rotunda is the place to see and be seen, as every fashionista in the city is a regular there! With its stunning Tiffany dome ceiling and Union Square view, it’s also one of the most beautiful dining venues in town.

Sharon Seto, entrepreneur and philanthropist

Hakkasan: Swanky, swanky, swanky! An elegant interior decorated with Asian influences, dark wood and low lights not only makes Hakkasan sexy and exotic, but sets it apart from other lunch venues. My power drink? Always the deliciously ice cold lychee martini! 

Waterbar: An awesome venue with high ceilings and a humongous, 1,500-gallon fish tank filled with colorful, exotic fish.

Why are these two venues my “go to” power lunch places? Not only do our business affiliates ooh and ah each time we dine, but my oh-so-picky, 86-year-old entrepreneurial father — the man who taught me business — is always wowed too!

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