The technoscenti of Silicon Valley have long favored the greasy spoon scene. When Google billionaires Larry Page and Eric Schmidt negotiated the purchase of YouTube they chose the Denny's restaurant chain near the Bayshore Freeway, according to the New York Times.
Hamburger $7.99, $8.49 for cheese. Vanilla milkshake, $3.89.
When you can get gourmet food for free in your own cafeteria – Google's Mountain View headquarters boasts 18 different cafes – why splurge on dining out?
Perched between the financial center and the arts district on the 16th floor of the Trump tower, Sixteen is the power-lunch destination for Chicago's movers and shakers. The new restaurant features stunning views of the river and city skyline from an opulent main dining room that includes a 19 karat Swarvoski crystal chandelier. "It's one of the highest tickets in town," said Penny Pollack, dinning editor of Chicago magazine. "The second they opened for lunch my boss wanted to go, and it was already booked." Its global-inspired contemporary cuisine has earned Sixteen widespread editorial recognition, including Chicago magazine's Best New Restaurant of the Year and Best Dish for Duck Percik.
Soft Shell Crab Club with cobb-smoked bacon and green tomatoes, $23.
In Chicago's urban sprawl, power brokers have long been just as likely to meet for a game at Wrigley Field as to carve into a T-bone at Morton's. Now some say Sixteen may be changing all that, staking its turf as the Chicago power scene.
Three Graces-Seared Sea Bass atop Potato Sausage Cake, Grilled Shrimp topped with Pineapple-Mango Chutney and a Crab Cake with a Robust Tomato Shallot Reduction, $22.
San Francisco takes its seafood seriously and so does Aqua – earning two Michelein stars for its Gascon-inspired take on all things from the sea. Quintesessentially CEO Aaron Simpson describes it as "a swanky, noisy and impressive place ... permanently packed with the business set." Perhaps that's not surprising, since it's conveniently located in the heart of the financial district.
First course: Tartare of Ahi Tuna, Moroccan Spices, Lemon Confit, Fresh Herbs $20, Second course: Tombo Tuna & Veal Cheek Bourguignon with Fava Bean Purée, Bacon, Truffle Jus, $31.
Blue Ridge Grill serves up Southern hospitality with a clubbish air that keeps Atlanta power brokers coming back. "It's an impressive place to entertain and 'deal central' for the business sector," according to Zagat. Creole-influenced seafood never made so much sense in a log cabin setting.
Horseradish Crusted Grouper with grapefruit butter sauce, $19
One of the best known restaurants in south Florida, Joe's Stone Crab has been a favorite with the "in-crowd" since it opened in the then-backwater beach town in 1913. "A Miami staple, many locals prefer the restaurant for lunch to avoid the tourists," Simpson said. Though they don't take reservations, the meaty crab legs and homemade key lime pie are worth the wait.
Two Jumbo Alaskan King Crab Killer Claws (chilled or steamed), $61.95. Joe's Original Key Lime Pie, $6.95.