Venue choice is a crucial factor for any event. The food has to be delicious, as does the beverage list; it also helps if the restaurant has a good ambience – but not too much. Ultimately, the stakes are high when it comes to planning a business lunch.
To take some of the stress out of planning, here is a guide to eateries in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and Hobart that will fulfil and impress your luncheon companions.
11 of Australia’s best restaurants for business
Cucina Porto, Sydney, New South Wales
A new Italian eatery, Cucina Porto, is now open at The Star Sydney. The restaurant – run by Italian Executive Chef Martino Pulito (former head chef at Pasta Emilia) – serves Italian cuisine inspired by his home region of Puglia and the venue includes a private dining room for 12 guests.
The menu includes Italian snacks, pizza and pasta – several of the standouts being the swordfish served with capers, olives, and tomatoes and the gnocchetti with seasonal mushrooms and parmesan.
As for drinks, Cucina Porto’s bar manager Behzad Nvaziri has created a list of fresh Italian classics, complete with a special Negroni progression menu that displays a timeline of how Italy’s most famous cocktail evolved from the 1860s. The house wines, curated by sommelier Addy Lam, showcase a selection of Italian and Australian produced Italian wines, traditionally served in a decanter.
Opening hours: lunch from 11am–3pm Wednesday to Sunday; dinner from 5pm–10pm Tuesday to Sunday.
Bentley Restaurant & Bar, Sydney, New South Wales
Bentley Restaurant & Bar has earned its reputation as ‘the best business lunch in Sydney CBD’ due to not only its premium menu of dishes such as yellowfin tuna, dry-aged duck breast and Rangers Valley rump but because of its ability to provide a haven for corporate diners in one of the city’s best private dining rooms.
The two-hatted restaurant offers both a la carte and tasting menus, including a vegetarian tasting menu. Additionally, the Bentley Bar menu offers bites and drinks perfect for a short business meeting.
Led by chef Brent Savage and sommelier Nick Hildebrandt, Bentley Restaurant & Bar is a reputable dining experience that has earned the team a haul of industry awards.
Opening hours: lunch from 12pm Tuesday to Friday; dinner from 6pm Tuesday to Saturday.
Vue de monde, Melbourne, Victoria
Vue de monde has reigned as one of Melbourne’s best dining institutions for nearly 20 years. The restaurant – serving modern Australian cuisine – is located on the 55th floor of Melbourne’s iconic Rialto building, offering sweeping views of the cityscape.
The continuously changing menu led by Executive Chef Hugh Allen pays homage to native Australian ingredients. From the sample menu, guests can delight in lemon verbena and wood sorrel; cantaloupe and green ants; or the Western Australian marron “curry”.
The restaurant is the perfect place for a business lunch sure to impress.
Opening hours: lunch from 12pm Friday and Saturday; dinner from 6pm Wednesday to Saturday.
Rockpool Bar & Grill, Melbourne, Victoria
Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne – inspired by the steakhouses of North America – seats 250 guests. The menu includes a selection of dry-aged beef from David Blackmore Wagyu, Cape Grim, Provenir, and Coppertree Farm, as well as signature dishes from the cold bar, hot starters, pasta, main plates, salads, sides and desserts.
The wine list showcases a selection from a range of vineyards. Some are small, unknown producers, while others have more significant and bolder reputations.
The restaurant, situated in the Crown complex, also offers private dining spaces with views overlooking the Yarra River and Melbourne city skyline. The personalised experiences include tasting menus, small and intimate gatherings and or a business lunch.
Opening hours: lunch from 12pm–2.30pm Wednesday to Sunday; dinner from 6pm–10pm Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and 6pm–11pm Friday and Saturday.
Georges on Waymouth, Adelaide, South Australia
With an emphasis on quality and locally sourced ingredients, Georges on Waymouth is an Adelaide classic.
The restaurant serves modern Mediterranean dishes that include roasted eggplant with almond tarator, black garlic, cos lettuce and panissa crisps, and the signature lamb press with pancetta, charred cauliflower, snow and sugar snap peas, and chermoula chickpeas. Otherwise, for something sweet, there’s the mango and lime semifreddo with passionfruit, malibu and pistachio meringue. Guests can also opt for the tasting menu.
The restaurant caters for corporate events as well as business lunches. Its private dining room can seat up to 38 guests, with 55 for a stand-up event. Alternatively, the restaurant is available for larger group bookings of 50-plus guests.
Opening hours: lunch from 12pm–2.30pm Tuesday to Friday; dinner from 5.30pm–9:30pm Tuesday to Saturday.
The Heritage Wine Bar, Perth, Western Australia
The Heritage Wine Bar offers more than 100 wines by the glass: highlighting winemakers from Western Australia, across Australia and the world. In the way of food, Perth’s hidden gem serves an a la carte or chef’s menu.
Private dining is currently available for groups of 8–18 people (Tuesday to Saturday) with a special menu on offer.
Opening hours: lunch 12pm–3pm Wednesday to Friday; dinner 5pm–10pm Tuesday to Saturday.
Fleur at The Royal, Perth, Western Australia
Located within heritage-listed The Royal, fleur is a contemporary classic with dishes showcasing local produce of Australia.
The restaurant’s private dining room is the ideal setting for a long lunch and features a striking, red marble table that seats 12 guests. Plus, guests have complimentary access to the karaoke room.
Fleur’s menu features skull island prawn, yuzu sesame and shellfish emulsion; koji roasted pork loin, gala apple, wakame, glazed fennel and mustard; Fraser Island spanner crab, udon noodle, nori, crab dust, and white pepper, and much more.
Opening hours: lunch from 12pm Thursday and Friday; dinner from 5.30pm Thursday to Saturday; high tea from 12pm–2pm Saturday
Courgette Restaurant, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Courgette – owned by celebrated chef, James Mussillon – is one of Canberra’s most famous restaurants and is the ideal choice for sophisticated ambience.
The restaurant offers business dining in its private rooms, The Board Room and The Cellar Room. Its five-course degustation lunch features yuzu sesame seed-crusted Atlantic salmon, pappadam, shiitake, aromatic coconut, lime and coriander; artisan duck, maple and Cognac sausage, seared scallop, soft polenta, and sweet and sour pickled red cabbage; plus, Lindt chocolate marquise, raspberries, hazelnut praline ice-cream with chocolate shards.
Opening hours: lunch 12pm–3pm Monday to Saturday; dinner 6pm–11pm Monday to Saturday.
Aubergine, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Coined as “Canberra’s best” by the Canberra Times in 2019, Aubergine is a contemporary restaurant with a classic take on ingredients.
Local farmers and benchmark suppliers stock the kitchen, and the wine list features over 500 labels of exciting and classic offerings.
For $120 per person, Aubergine offers a five-course menu that changes daily and features dishes like hapuka, spiced carrot and mussel emulsion, and chicken with caramelised endive, grilled blueberry and beurre rouge.
Opening hours: lunch from 12pm Thursday and Friday; dinner from 6pm Tuesday to Saturday.
The Source at MONA, Hobart, Tasmania
Situated atop the MONA site, The Source brings the best of Tasmanian dining. The restaurant – open for lunch and includes entry to the MONA grounds – showcases the very best local ingredients across a variety of dishes.
Highlights include fattoush sourdough flatbread, kefir yogurt, broad bean hummus, green olives, radish, mint and za’atar spice mix; crudo of kingfish, jamon iberico, almond cream, herb chlorophyll and olive oil; linguini, asparagus, creme fraiche, egg yolk and parmesan snow; and seared venison loin, smoked beetroot, king oyster mushroom and horseradish.
Opening hours: Lunch 12pm–4pm Friday to Monday.
Malt Dining, Brisbane, Queensland
Malt Dining – located in Brisbane’s iconic Wenley House – offers modern Australian cuisine with Asian street influences. The restaurant is situated across three levels, featuring a moody bar and private dining room.
Led by Executive Chef John Speranza, the menu offers a la carte dining with delicacies such as Mooloolaba prawns, Black Angus beef brisket and the ultimate Wagyu cheeseburger with miso mayo, tomato, lettuce and pickles.
Opening hours: 11.30am–10.30pm Tuesday to Thursday; 11.30am–11.30pm Friday; 5.30pm–11.30pm Saturday.
In the know: Executive Chef Martino Pulito
What is your vision for Cucina Porto?
My vision for Cucina Porto is to create a home away from home for friends and family, serving honest, authentic and uncomplicated Italian cuisine that heroes seasonal produce with simple to understand flavours.
What is your cooking philosophy?
I live by working with seasonal produce and fresh ingredients. My tip is also to put the detail into the prep work – it helps create consistency in the dishes and makes sure you are executing the dish to perfection each time it goes out to the customer.
What is your favourite ingredient to cook with?
Fresh herbs. I love to work with any fresh herb, including mint, parsley, basil and marjoram. Using fresh herbs adds a freshness to each dish. My other favourite is any locally sourced seafood. At the moment, I’m enjoying cooking with rockling fish, a white fish that is light and versatile to cook – pan-fried, steamed, boiled. It’s letting me be creative with my cooking.
What is your favourite dish to cook?
It’s a new dish on our menu, the casarecce pasta with pistachio pesto and mascarpone. We make pesto fresh every day and use the mascarpone to give our pesto its flavour. The mascarpone adds a creamier, sweeter flavour than other pesto that also helps retain the moisture in the pasta.
What is the most popular dish on the new menu?
My seafood linguine. I have taken a classic marinara and given it a ‘Martino contemporary twist’. The seafood linguine is made with mussel, prawn, market fish, calamari and white wine.
What has been the reaction so far from diners?
We’ve been open about a month now and already have so many regulars, which has been fantastic. Diners love the simplicity and the freshness of the food. It’s a beautiful space to come together with friends, family and colleagues and the venue has so many different nooks and areas to choose from depending on the mood you’re looking for.
What do you most enjoy about the work that you do?
Building memories and relationships with colleagues and customers – it is all about the experience. If we can make Cucina Porto a destination that makes people want to come back again and create incredible moments with their loved ones, then we have done our job.
Where do you enjoy dining out on your days off?
I love going to the fish market and different local markets in my neighbourhood to see what new produce is around. I also go out a lot with my friends, who are chefs. We have a shared interest, love and passion for food, and it’s incredible to watch how innovative our industry is at the moment. In terms of cuisine, when I go out mid-week, I tend to lean more Mediterranean as it’s more relaxed – Italian, Greek, Spanish – and over the weekend I’m enjoying Asian food at the moment.