DirectoriesAdd Your Business
News Archive Search
These Restaurants Take 'Be Our Guest' Seriously
By Gary Stoller
Ted Mitchell enjoys business meals at Spago Beverly Hills because the service is "perfect," and when chef Wolfgang Puck is there, "He stops by every table and makes you feel like a million dollars."
Like many frequent business travelers, Mitchell, who works in the software industry in Dallas, knows the importance of top service at a restaurant.
"If the service is perfect, the customer feels like the meal is a special occasion," Mitchell says.
Mitchell, who also values a restaurant's food quality, says choosing a restaurant with poor service could adversely affect his business.
"If I can't take time to make sure to select a restaurant where the customer experience is perfect, how can I be trusted to take care of the details on a big project?" he says.
Restaurant guidebook and online publisher Zagat may eliminate that concern for many travelers with its list, released Monday of the top restaurants for service in 25 cities
Zagat's list:: See Zagat's full reviews and slideshow
Most are expensive, but some are moderately priced for business travelers on a tighter budget.
The food at all is top-notch, according to Zagat.
At Charleston in Baltimore, for example, Zagat and its reviewers say chef Cindy Wolf "remains at the top of her game, applying world-class techniques to Low Country cuisine to create phenomenal New American masterpieces."
Charleston, which Zagat says will cost about $99 per person for dinner, a drink and tip, has "wonderful wines, fantastic service and a sophisticated setting" that makes it "worth every penny for a special occasion."
Michael's in Las Vegas, which costs about $116 per person, serves "magnificent" Continental dishes, and the "outstanding black-tie service makes you feel like you're a long-lost friend," Zagat and its reviewers say.
The Kansas City area's top restaurant for service, Café Provence, is far less expensive - about $37 a person.
"This adorable, family-owned neighborhood bistro in a Prairie Village shopping center is a hidden monument to flavor and hospitality, providing exquisite French cooking in a terrific atmosphere with a crew that makes you feel at home," Zagat and its reviewers say.
Zagat co-chair Tim Zagat says "good servers will make you feel welcome - even on your first visit to a restaurant - and help ensure that a meal from start to finish goes off without a hitch."
"That's really important when you're out with a client," he says.
Mitchell and other business travelers interviewed by USA TODAY say that although service is extremely important, food quality is foremost when picking a restaurant for a business meal.
Anne Seymour, a national crime victim advocate in Washington, says both are equally important.
"In my opinion, bad service can equate to bad mojo, which is never a good thing for business meetings," she says.
Seymour says, "I still cringe" about a meal a few years ago with a judge and his wife at a new restaurant in Washington.
Though the food was "excellent," Seymour recalls, the server spilled a large glass of iced tea on the wife, weakly apologized and took 10 minutes to bring a towel.
"She was soaked," Seymour says. "I have never returned to this establishment, even though everyone in my neighborhood says it's one of the best gigs going. There was just no excuse for such poor service."
The following are the top restaurants for service in 25 U.S. cities or nearby, according to Zagat, a restaurant guidebook and online publisher. Comments about each restaurant are by Zagat and its reviewers.The cost includes the price of dinner for one person with a drink and a tip.
Bone's Restaurant, $66. Steak.
This old-school cathedral of steak with a private-club feel in Buckhead is renowned for phenomenal chops cooked to perfection and an epic wine list served by a stellar team.
Congress, $90. American.
An upscale downtown restaurant spotlighting fantastic service, wonderful wines and chef David Bull's over-the-top New American creations served in prix fixe feasts.
Charleston, $99. American.
Cindy Wolf applies world-class technique to Low Country cuisine to create New American masterpieces, while no detail goes unnoticed by superlative staffers who spoil guests with selections from an epic wine list.
Menton, $145. French/Italian.
Barbara Lynch's temple of French-Italian gastronomy in the Seaport District earns the city's No. 1 scores for service and decor thanks to its unparalleled staff and elegant setting.
Next, $164. Eclectic.
Genius Grant Achatz breaks the mold, completely redesigning the themed fixed-price menu every three months at his dazzling West Loop eclectic restaurant where flawless staffers enhance the cozy, modern confines.
Orchids at Palm Court, $61. American.
This art deco stunner in the historic Hilton Netherland Plaza is matched by chef Todd Kelly's beautifully prepared New American dishes, an impeccable wine list and genuine hospitality with superior attention to detail.
Giovanni's Ristorante, $60. Italian.
This Beachwood classic boasts a black-tie staff serving exquisite Tuscan food and wine with unparalleled care amid serene, handsome surroundings.
Refectory, $52. French.
A former 19th-Century church with gleaming stained-glass windows and soaring rafter beams features inspired French cuisine by chef Richard Blondin, a superb wine cellar and an extraordinary staff.
French Room, $90. American/French.
Jackets are required at this top-flight haute French restaurant in the Hotel Adolphus with a breathtaking, rococo interior, impeccable hospitality and creative, perfectly executed cuisine.
Moro's Dining; $40. Italian.
A hidden Italian gem in Allen Park where the salads and flaming desserts made tableside by the pro staff are old-school fun.
Brennan's, $56. Creole.
This midtown grande dame and sibling of the famed Commander's Palace in New Orleans is "the place to indulge" in "fabulous" Southwestern-Creole dishes and exceptional hospitality that makes you feel like royalty.
The Capital Grille, $57. Steak.
Some hate to love this downtown steakhouse because it's part of a chain, but it wins praise for its exceptional food and massive wine list served by an awesome staff that goes above and beyond in welcoming, beautiful surroundings.
Kansas City area
Café Provence, $37. French.
Tucked away in a Prairie Village shopping center, this adorable, family-owned "neighborhood bistro, is a hidden monument to flavor and hospitality, providing exquisite French cooking in a terrific atmosphere with a crew that makes you feel at home.
Providence, $104. American/Seafood.
Everything is exquisite, and there's superb, knowledgeable service at this world-class fine-dining destination in Hollywood, where Michael Cimarusti turns out amazing, innovative seafood dishes like delectable works of art in a luxurious setting.
Michael's, $116. Continental.
Old-school elegance is alive and well at this superb south-of-the-Strip Continental restaurant at the South Point hotel, which serves magnificent dishes and provides outstanding black-tie service that makes you feel you're a long-lost friend.
La Belle Vie, $84. French/Mediterranean.
Just close your eyes and pick any of the modern, exquisite Med-New French dishes (or go for the brilliant tasting menu) at this wonderful little gem with phenomenal service in Loring Park.
Per Se, $325. American/French.
Elegance at its apex, this Thomas Keller sensation in the Time Warner Center is a jackets-required epic dining event where an intricate French-New American symphony is set against spectacular Central Park views and delivered by a second-to-none staff.
Fountain Restaurant, $82. Continental/French.
Four Seasons' formal but comfortable French-Continental standout makes you feel like royalty with fabulous feasts of succulent, creative fare and impeccable service in a beautiful setting.
Portland, Ore., area
The Painted Lady, $85. Pacific Northwest.
You're in for a remarkable evening inside the picket fence at this wine-country jewel set in a romantic Victorian in Newberg, Ore., where world-class Pacific Northwest tasting menus, well-orchestrated service and fabulous local vinos add to the stellar experience.
Chama Gaucha, $45. Brazilian steakhouse. :
They don't skimp on the meat at this upscale Stone Oak Brazilian steakhouse where super-fast servers ferry succulent cuts and fulfill any request.
Addison, $130. French.
This extravagant New French restaurant in Carmel Valley's ultraposh Grand Del Mar resort offers chef William Bradley's superior prix fixe dinners with astounding wine pairings, opulent villa surroundings and a formal but warm staff which treats you like royalty.
Gary Danko, $110. American.
Gary Danko's truly American classic on the Wharf offers the epitome of white-tablecloth fine dining without the stuck-up feeling via exceptional, flexible prix fixe options, marvelous wine pairings and a most gracious staff that treats everyone like a millionaire.
Salt Lake City area
The Mariposa, $74. American.
You're in for a treat at this unbelievable Deer Valley destination, where the outstanding New American fare and fantastic wine list are provided by a remarkable staff in an intimate, lovely setting at the winter-only Silver Lake Lodge.
Anthony's, $55. American/Italian.
This more casual sibling to next-door Tony's boasts a splendid, old-school staff providing a superior menu of fantastic burgers, other traditional American-Italian fare and more adventurous dinners in a soigné downtown room where you never know what famous St. Louisan or power broker you'll see at the bar.
Inn at Little Washington, $205. American.
Patrick O'Connell's hunt-country New American citadel in Washington, Va., delivers a life-altering experience as guests get pampered and enjoy revelatory multicourse dinners in an intimate, richly embroidered setting.
Source: USA Today
Visit our sponsors