James Sapirstein’s favorite restaurants for business meetings in Boca Raton, Florida

James Sapirstein, born in Argentina, is a veteran of the venture capital and pharmaceutical world. He has over 30 years of industry experience and is currently Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Wave BioPharma, Inc. From sales, marketing, pharmaceuticals and market research to business development, licensing, clinical trials and finance, he’s done it all.

He describes himself as having grown up, “not on the other side of the tracks, but under the tracks”, in Buenos Aires. As a Latin American immigrant at the dawn of his career, Sapirstein has consistently worked hard to build his brand, expertise and reliability to drive results and grow businesses. To date, he has contributed to 23 product launches, six of which were global launches that he led.

Previously, he was CEO of Alliqua Therapeutics; the founding CEO of Tobira Therapeutics; as well as Executive Vice President, Metabolic and Endocrinology for Serono Laboratories. Most recently, he was CEO and board member of ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Today, he is responsible for the growth and overall success of First Wave BioPharma, Inc.

For him, breaking bread with clients and investors helps develop a real relationship of trust that he compares to horse racing. “An investor knows he’s betting on the right horse by looking a jockey in the eye and getting a read on him,” says Sapirstein. “A strong business lunch is not much different.”

Here are three of James Sapirstein’s favorite restaurants for business meetings in his hometown of Boca Raton, Florida.

by Arthur

For investor meetings, Sapirstein regularly visits Arturo’s, one of the city’s fanciest and oldest restaurants. He describes it as a fabulous “white glove, white tablecloth” place offering authentic traditional Italian cuisine. The staff are dressed in tuxedos and they have eye-catching features like a decadence-filled antipasto cart that includes stone crabs, grilled vegetables, layered pastries and more.

Popular dishes include Saltimbocca alla Fiorentina with veal in white wine sauce topped with sage, a slice of prosciutto and melted mozzarella cheese, served over spinach; the Zuppa di Pesce with lobster tail, snapper, prawns, calamari, clams and mussels in a light tomato sauce; Spaghetti alla Gismondi prepared at the table with smoked salmon, onions, marinara sauce and a dash of cream, flambéed with vodka; and the Spaghetti alla Carbonara with pancetta, onions, cream, Pecorino cheese and egg yolk.

New York Premier

Sapirstein is also a fan of New York Prime, a beloved Boca Raton steakhouse with premium, tender cuts ranging from aged beef, tomahawk ribeye and more. They also have a seafood selection with dishes like live Maine lobster; seasonal stone crabs; pan-roasted sea bass; and seafood platters with oysters, colossal shrimp and more. Other popular entrees include lamb chops and double rib veal chops.

This upscale restaurant also offers live music and gourmet desserts to wrap up the meeting. Don’t miss the table desserts which include the iconic butter cake with vanilla ice cream and the gigantic chocolate cake, also served with vanilla ice cream.


In Boca Raton’s famous Mizner Park, Sapirstein recommends Villagio Restaurant & Bar. The Villagio is highly regarded in the region for its impeccable service. White linen, modern and elegant, the staff pays particular attention to its customers. Serving traditional Italian cuisine from various regions, the menu is extensive and offers a selection of pastas, fish, meats, salads, pizzas and more.

Popular pastas include agnolotti del magnifico with ricotta cheese and spinach; porcini ravioli with a saffron truffle sauce and the classic spaghetti Bolognese. Other filling entrees include veal cutlets; salmone montarosa with brandy lobster sauce and chicken Milanese.

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