Inexpensive: Cafe ArtScience
Nestled among the start-ups of Kendall Square and near the bright brains of MIT, this sleek, super-contemporary restaurant is a popular pick for tech players, disruption-minded innovators and university intelligentsia. Everything on new chef Brandon Baltzley's lunch menu is $16 or under, so it's a smart, tasty choice that won't waste those angel investment dollars.
Moderately priced: PABU Boston
This just-opened New England debut from chef Michael Mina and Ken Tominaga is tucked, separate entrance-style, inside the 60-story, luxury residence–filled Millennium Tower in the middle of Downtown Crossing. Perfect digs for a power lunch, yet the just-launched "Express Business Lunch," which offers three courses for just $25, even works for entry-level salaries.
Worth a splurge: L'Espalier
Chef-owner Frank McClelland's French-American tasting menus at dinner are fairly famous. But fewer realize that L'Espalier, adjacent to the CEO-stuffed Mandarin hotel, offers a lunch version too. Multicourse meals are $108 per person (add $128 for wine pairings). If that level of wining and dining still can't close a deal, nothing will.