If you have a taste for the finer things, look no further than NYC’s upscale department stores. They not only carry some of the world’s leading designers but also hold restaurants to complement your high-fashion shopping spree—ones that rival some of the top bites in town. From chic eateries inside flagships to a fancy French experience inside a library, these sophisticated dining establishments make grabbing coffee, cocktails or lunch a luxury event.
Armani/Ristorante at Armani/5th Avenue
This restaurant is sleek and stylish, like the concept store it’s located in. Experience Italian opulence (and cuisine) inside the modern dining room, located on the top floor of the Armani Fifth Avenue store—home to stunning views of the street outside. Architects Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas designed the massive restaurant-bar, which features amber-tinted, floor-to-ceiling windows adorned with columns of shimmering lights. Enjoy handmade pasta, truffles imported from Italy and plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options. All Armani apparel lines for men and women are located in the store, as are accessories, cosmetics and Armani/Casa products.
The Blue Box Cafe at Tiffany & Co.
Ever dream of having breakfast at Tiffany’s like Holly Golightly? Now you can. The Blue Box Cafe, Tiffany’s inaugural retail dining concept, sits on the fourth floor of the Fifth Avenue flagship store. The decor is a playful yet elegant mix of herringbone marble and amazonite stone finishes, and the walls, chairs and banquettes are done up in Tiffany Blue. The restaurant serves seasonal American classics like smoked salmon and bagels, lobster salads and even a full afternoon-tea-service menu. Take home your own blue box after perusing the six-story store, home to a dazzling display of fine jewelry, gifts and accessories.
BG Restaurant and Palette at Bergdorf Goodman
Immerse yourself in fashionable luxury and a bit of fun at the iconic Bergdorf Goodman, a Fifth Avenue staple since 1928. After treating yourself to a shopping spree, take a seat at BG Restaurant for panoramic views of Central Park. Designed by high-end interior designer Kelly Wearstler, the seventh-floor café is ultra-chic; menu options include scallops, ricotta gnocchi and a signature salad. A selection of sparkling wines and afternoon tea service, featuring Dammann Frères tea, are also available.
Palette, located on Bergdorf’s beauty floor, provides a contrast to BG—a colorful, fun dining experience in a place that’s as much art gallery as restaurant. The jewel-toned interior is splashed with butterflies, pink banquettes and millennial pop art. Order a pink martini and bagels and lox or the rainbow salad but try to save room for the confetti sundae.
The Clubhouse and Coffee Bar at Nordstrom Men’s
Two levels of trendy drinking spots in the Nordstrom Men’s Store make for a secretly suave Midtown fueling station. The café does pour-overs and espresso drinks with beans from Toby’s Estate (as well as their own house blends), best paired with pastries like croissants, muffins and sticky buns from Roberta’s and Tom Cat Bakery. The second-floor Clubhouse affords views of Central Park and Columbus Circle and features savories like lobster rolls, avocado toast and a smoked duck Reuben to go along with a wide array of beverages. If thirst sets in while you’re shopping, find a Nordstrom salesperson; they’ll be able to pre-order a cocktail or coffee right from the sales floor or dressing room while you shop.
Fika at Saks Fifth Avenue
Grab coffee and pastries for some pre-shopping fuel before checking out the contemporary and luxury fashion collections at Saks. The convenient, comfortable café, located on the fifth floor, gives shoppers unobstructed views of Rockefeller Center; it’s an ideal spot during the holidays to see the fabled Christmas tree. There’s bar, table and lounge seating with colorful modernist chairs and tables. Shoppers can stay to dine or pick up a matcha latte and some chocolate truffles or melon and feta salad to go.
Flip and Magnolia Bakery at Bloomingdale’s
Nothing like a hard-earned burger to finish off a shopping spree. Flip, a casual spot on the lower level of Bloomingdale’s, offers a premium take on mall food-court faves; you’ll find Pat LaFrieda hamburgers, truffle mac-and-cheese bites and buffalo chicken salad. Pair one or more of those with local craft beer and cocktails, and you’ll almost forget you’re dining in an upscale department store. West Village cupcake institution Magnolia Bakery is also located within Bloomingdale’s. Grab one of the baked goods, or perhaps an order of their renowned banana pudding, for a pick-me-up while you shop.
Freds Restaurant at Barneys Downtown
Barneys Downtown is the hip, younger sibling to the upscale Barneys New York on Madison Avenue; like the store it’s in, this Freds mixes sophistication and fun. It serves up a modern Italian and American menu: eggs benedict, pancakes, penne all’arrabbiata and house favorites like the Fred Pressman salad (a downtown take on the beloved Madison Avenue salad). After you dine or shop, enjoy a glass of wine, aperitif or cocktail at the café’s sleek bar.
La Mercerie Cafe at Roman & Williams Guild
Stepping into La Mercerie at Roman & Williams Guild feels like entering a café in Paris. Conceived by designers Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch (the duo behind The Viceroy and Ace Hotel), the café shows off moody blue-gray tones, an indigo-enameled kitchen, marble-top counters and paper-lined dining tables. Highlights of the modern French café fare from chef Marie-Aude Rose include the complète crêpe (with ham, egg and gruyere), house-smoked salmon, chicken with haricots verts and torteau fromager (a version of cheesecake). The scalloped plates, cloth napkins, exquisitie candlesticks and even the tables are all available for purchase at the Guild, which sells furniture, lighting and home goods from around the world. Also on hand: a library stocking books by arts publisher Phaidon.
The Polo Bar
The Polo Bar by Ralph Lauren is inspired by the brand’s history and seeks to replicate American hunting lodges of the past through aged-leather banquettes, hunter-green walls and equestrian art. With its Henry Koehler–inspired polo mural, saddle leather and dark wood touches, the Polo Bar has a classic, inviting feel. Even the waitstaff, outfitted in custom Ralph Lauren gray flannel trousers, leather wingtips and silk repp ties, seems out of the past (note: to dress in that fashion, head about 20 blocks north to the men’s flagship store and have a browse). Guests can enjoy cocktails like an Old Fashioned at the brass-topped bar or by the fireplace while waiting for dinner, but you must have a (hard-to-score) reservation first before even trying to get in. Take a trip down the elegant wooden staircase to the main dining room, where you can nosh on American fare like corned beef sandwiches, steaks and the standout Polo Bar burger.