Unlike many restaurants that specialize in business lunches, there is no prix-fixe menu at Efisio Farris’s authentic Sardinian eatery, located across the street from the Galleria. But they’ll build you a personalized menu if you book one of the private dining areas, which are perfect for intimate meetings—the Cigar & Wine Room is a cozy favorite. Wherever you sit, bask in the attentive service and enchanting aromas from the wood-fired grill, which turns out pizza, whole baked trout and even New York strip steak.
Though the full French menu is available at lunch, it’s the three-course menus that draw in midday diners at chef Jacques Fox’s elegant Midtown restaurant. Two prix-fixe business lunch menus, one for $29 and a fancier one for $45, offer soups, salads, entrees and desserts that change daily, but often include quirky riffs on basics such as carrot soup, sea bass, short ribs and mango sorbet.
Belgian chef-owner Catherine Duwez offers crave-worthy lunch-only specials from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, including a croque monsieur (a crusty Gallic version of grilled ham-and-cheese) and a spinach quiche. And there’s never a wrong time to order her moules-frites (steamed mussels and Belgian fries with homemade mayonnaise), which arrive quickly and easily merit the few minutes’ drive from downtown—as does the huge parking lot behind the building. Come back in the evening to sample the stellar selection of Belgian beers.
Comida corrida roughly translates to a “run of food”—precisely what you’ll get at this cute, modern Mexican spot in Montrose: a succession of dishes, and fast. You can get three courses for $15 in only 15 minutes here, with options such as lentil soup and fresh fruit to start, and main courses ranging from cauliflower in peanut salsa to chicharrones tacos made with fresh, handmade tortillas.
The splashy dining room in this Italian stronghold, the undisputed power-lunch palace of River Oaks, hosts Houston’s social set during the day. Just avoid the infamous Table 20, where, legend has it, many a business deal has gone south; you don’t want a seat at the “indictment table.” The generous $22 prix-fixe business lunch offers three reliable courses of standards such as Caesar salad, grilled salmon and profiteroles to close.
Generously spaced tables and swift, sophisticated service add to the appeal of this upstairs oasis, which offers both a charming view of Uptown from its serene, airy dining room and a choice of prix-fixe menus: two courses for $24 or three for $30. Options range from healthy (quinoa-and-kale bowls; shaved Brussels sprouts salad) to indulgent (wild mushroom ravioli; lamb burger). Even if you indulge in the warm Dr Pepper cake, you’ll want to grab macarons from the downstairs bakery on your way out.
The sturdy French food and gracious service at the Denis brothers’ longtime Energy Corridor restaurant has made it a favorite for midday meetings and business dinners alike. The $20 three-course lunch features options like Chilean sea bass kabob and opera cake, while the $10 express lunch includes a soup or salad and filling entrée.
You can breeze through a business lunch at this downtown stalwart in the Four Seasons Hotel Houston with its $26 “quick lunch” of soup, salad, entrée and dessert, or linger a while over the regular daily menu of chef Maurizio Ferrarese’s Italian classics made with local Texan ingredients. Look for fresh Gulf fish with roasted cauliflower and his gnocchi Bolognese made with Heartbrand Akaushi beef.
Lunch at Donnette Hansen’s century-old cabin-in-the-city allows for two distinct pleasures: a sunny, daytime view of the restaurant’s lush, rolling grounds and gardens, and the $15 business lunch special, which includes soup or salad, a choice of fish or pork tenderloin, and a daily dessert. On Fridays, you’ll want to make a special trip just for the weekly wild game burger special—it’s $13 and worth every penny.
The rustic, modern American restaurant inside the stately St. Regis offers a daily executive lunch of three courses for $27, with old-school Houston classics such as Southwest Caesar salad and updated entrees including seared salmon with brown butter gnocchi and toasted pepitas. Friday through Sunday, have your meeting over finger sandwiches and scones during the traditional afternoon tea service.