What makes for a successful business lunch?

A confluence of factors, of course. If you are trying to impress a client, then a restaurant's ambience and location come into play. If you're attempting to hold a staff meeting, then the availablity of private dining space is critical. If you need to make a presentation, perhaps it's a given cafe's audio-visual capability (or simply the availability of a large table for spreading out papers).

The right service, the right menu (not too plain, not too exotic), and the right acoustics all are factors. So are two other variables: restaurants ideally should accept reservations and honor a variety of credit cards.

Robin Jay, the author of The Art of the Business Lunch, has this advice: "It's not just choosing the right restaurant or being prepared for interesting conversation, though you should definitely start with those. Success will come when you learn how to make your clients feel special. 

"Sharing a meal is the perfect way to discover common interests, share aspirations and find out how you can help your clients to achieve their goals more effectively. Breaking bread helps to break down barriers and...after all, people prefer to do business with people they like."

So keep in mind what you are really trying to accomplish, Jay adds, "that you want to build a social situation into a business relationship." You are ultimately trying to flatter your client. Jay's favorite restaurant for flattering? McCormick & Schmick's (a chain seafood eatery which opens in the Westin Hotel this summer).

Of course, if it's catering you want, each restaurant and caterer has its own specialties and capabilities to offer.

While it's advisable to have patronized a restaurant and sampled its fare before suggesting it to any client for a meeting, the fact is, there will be times when you have to choose a restaurant sight unseen. That's where "Best Business Lunches 2006" can help. We've surveyed our staff, as well as restaurateurs, CEOs and other "experts," and compiled the results on the following pages ...

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH DOWNTOWN
Bella
Jean-Robert at Pigall's*
Palomino Restaurant
* Lunch served Thursday and Friday only.

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH ON THE EAST SIDE
Boathouse at the Montgomery Inn
Teller's of Hyde Park
Vineyard Cafe

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH IN NORTHERN KENTUCKY
Behle Street Cafe
Hofbrauhaus
Karl'™s Bistro Italia

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH IN NORTHERN CINCINNATI
Grand Finale
Parker's Blue Ash Grill
Polo Grille

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH WITH A TRENDY MENU
Encore Cafe
Trio of Kenwood
The Iron Horse Inn

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH, MULTIPLE LOCATIONS
Bahama Breeze
Cheesecake Factory
Mitchell's Fish Market

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH IN A  HOTEL
Blue Point Grill at the Sheraton Cincinnati North Hotel
Elm Street Grill, Millennium Hotel
Palace Restaurant, Cincinnatian Hotel

 BEST BUSINESS POWER BRUNCH
Albee
Daybreak
First Watch

BEST ECLECTIC BUSINESS LUNCH
Brown Dog Cafe
JeanRo Bistro
York Street Cafe

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH IN A PRIVATE ROOM
Clough Crossings
Kona Bistro
McFadden's

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH WITH AN ETHNIC MENU
Mei
Nicholson's
Pub at Rookwood Mews

BEST RESTAURANT TO RENT OUT FOR A LUNCHEON*
Bankers Club
Daveed's at 934
Jeff Ruby's
* Please note: these restaurants are closed to the public for lunch, but do rent out to corporate groups.

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH DELIVERED
C'est Bon
Fred and Gari's
LeBoxx Cafe

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH TO IMPRESS A CLIENT
Golden Lamb Inn
Grille at Palm Court, Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
Riverview Revolving Restaurant

BEST HILLTOP BUSINESS LUNCH
Longworth's
Mt. Adams Fish House
Teak Thai

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH WITH A SPICY KICK
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
P.F. Chang's
Redfish

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH YOU PROBABLY DON'T KNOW ABOUT
Coach & Four at the Edgecliff Condominiums
Davis on the Park/Gold Room at the Cincinnati Club Building
My Three Chefs at Longworth Hall

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH TO HAVE FUN ON THE EXPENSE ACCOUNT
BB Riverboats
Dave & Buster's
Porkopolis

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH ON A BUDGET
Margarita's
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Shanghai Mama's

BEST ARTSY BUSINESS LUNCH
Tea Room at the Taft Museum of Art
Terrace Cafe at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Union Terminal Losantiville Cafe/Elegant Fare Catering*
*Private dining only

BEST QUICKIE BUSINESS LUNCH 
Arnold's
Hamburger Mary's
Mythos

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH DOWNTOWN
Bella
Jean-Robert at Pigall's*
Palomino Restaurant
* Lunch served Thursday and Friday only.

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH ON THE EAST SIDE
Boathouse at the Montgomery Inn
Teller's of Hyde Park
Vineyard Cafe

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH IN NORTHERN KENTUCKY
Behle Street Cafe
Hofbrauhaus
Karl'™s Bistro Italia

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH IN NORTHERN CINCINNATI
Grand Finale
Parker's Blue Ash Grill
Polo Grille

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH WITH A TRENDY MENU
Encore Cafe
Trio of Kenwood
The Iron Horse Inn

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH, MULTIPLE LOCATIONS
Bahama Breeze
Cheesecake Factory
Mitchell's Fish Market

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH IN A  HOTEL
Blue Point Grill at the Sheraton Cincinnati North Hotel
Elm Street Grill, Millennium Hotel
Palace Restaurant, Cincinnatian Hotel

 BEST BUSINESS POWER BRUNCH
Albee
Daybreak
First Watch

BEST ECLECTIC BUSINESS LUNCH
Brown Dog Cafe
JeanRo Bistro
York Street Cafe

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH IN A PRIVATE ROOM
Clough Crossings
Kona Bistro
McFadden's

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH WITH AN ETHNIC MENU
Mei
Nicholson's
Pub at Rookwood Mews

BEST RESTAURANT TO RENT OUT FOR A LUNCHEON*
Bankers Club
Daveed's at 934
Jeff Ruby's
* Please note: these restaurants are closed to the public for lunch, but do rent out to corporate groups.

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH DELIVERED
C'est Bon
Fred and Gari's
LeBoxx Cafe

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH TO IMPRESS A CLIENT
Golden Lamb Inn
Grille at Palm Court, Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
Riverview Revolving Restaurant

BEST HILLTOP BUSINESS LUNCH
Longworth's
Mt. Adams Fish House
Teak Thai

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH WITH A SPICY KICK
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
P.F. Chang's
Redfish

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH YOU PROBABLY DON'T KNOW ABOUT
Coach & Four at the Edgecliff Condominiums
Davis on the Park/Gold Room at the Cincinnati Club Building
My Three Chefs at Longworth Hall

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH TO HAVE FUN ON THE EXPENSE ACCOUNT
BB Riverboats
Dave & Buster's
Porkopolis

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH ON A BUDGET
Margarita's
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Shanghai Mama's

BEST ARTSY BUSINESS LUNCH
Tea Room at the Taft Museum of Art
Terrace Cafe at the Cincinnati Art Museum
Union Terminal Losantiville Cafe/Elegant Fare Catering*

*Private dining only