Our 10 Best In-Store Dining Experiences, 2011


Shopping can be an exhausting activity, and not just for one’s wallet. Which is why it’s so great when stores have on-site restaurants and cafés. Instant refueling to induce more shopping! So for this week’s 10 Best, get out your credit cards — we’ve got the 10 Best In-Store Dining Experiences.

10. Café at Ikea — While most people have furnished their first apartments from the Swedish chain, many people forget that this giant retailer also boasts a fast-food restaurant peddling inexpensive Scandinavian eats (for example, a $4.99 Swedish meatball platter featuring 14 orbs in gravy with a scoop of mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam, pictured above). It’s not gourmet grub, but it’s cheap and it gets the job done. Which is basically the whole point of Ikea, no? 1 Beard Street, Brooklyn, 718-246-4532

9. Armani Ristorante (Giorgio Armani) — On the other end of the spectrum is the upscale Italian cuisine inside the Armani store. Fancy Italian fare like beef carpaccio and braised veal shanks comes in a chic, modern atmosphere that caters somewhat to the Euro-cool crowd. 717 Fifth Avenue, 212-207-1902

8. Sarabeth’s Restaurant (Lord & Taylor) — For sure, this branch of Sarabeth’s isn’t as good as the original, but when you’re with your aging granny and need a quick spot of tea and an oatmeal cookie, this location has you covered. 424 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor, 212-827-5068

7. Fred’s (Barneys New York) — If you’re looking to be a lady who lunches (and who isn’t, secretly?), this Continental-Italian restaurant in Barneys fits the bill. A salad is obviously what to order (how else can you maintain a svelte figure to fit into Chanel suits?), so go with the Palm Beach shrimp salad or the warm lobster salad — and then expense the bill to your husband. 660 Madison Avenue, 9th Floor, 212-833-2200

6. Le Verdure (Eataly) — OK, so it’s probably to be expected that a mega food store would have some decent in-store dining options, and Eataly is no exception. Along with Manzo, the beef restaurant, Le Verdure, which specializes in veggie fare, is one of the best bets (skip the pizza and pasta restaurant, though). Get the bruschettas or fritto misto if available. 200 Fifth Avenue, 646-398-5100

5. Brooklyn Farmacy (Kiehl’s) — Beauty and facial care shop Kiehl’s rocks the old-school look and charm (the shop has been around since 1851, after all), so it shouldn’t be surprising that it would feature a Manhattan outpost of Carroll Gardens’ Brooklyn Farmacy, which sells classic soda fountain treats like egg creams, root beer, and seltzers. 109 Third Avenue, 212-677-3171

4. Café Kristall (Swarovski Crystallized) – While perusing for crystals (because who doesn’t spend afternoons looking for shiny baubles?), check out this new Austrian restaurant from Kurt Gutenbrunner. The food is actually a lot better than it needs to be, and includes hearty Austrian fare like chunky wild mushroom soup and venison with chestnuts and Brussels sprouts. Plus the wine selection is worth noting — down some glasses and then decide if vajazzling is in your future. 70 Mercer Street, 212-274-1500

3. 40 Carrots (Bloomingdale’s) — Before there was Pinkberry or Red Mango or any other company that combines a color and fruit, there was the original iconic fro-yo restaurant, 40 Carrots. The Bloomingdale’s restaurant, opened in 1975, offers a selection of sandwiches and salads, but it’s the slightly sweet, slightly tart frozen treat that really soothes the soul after a day of shopping. 1000 Third Avenue, 7th Floor, 212-705-3085

2. Banh Mi Saigon Bakery (unnamed jewelry store) — You’ve gotta love that some of the city’s best Vietnamese sandwiches are found in the back of a store peddling jade jewelry. True, after the shop moved from Mott Street to a larger location on Grand Street, the banh mi sandwiches gained larger prominence, and the shop finally added seating. But, happily, the jewelry store came along, too. Not that many people are buying the jewels. 198 Grand Street, 212-941-1541

1. ABC Kitchen (ABC Home) — It might be surprising that one of the city’s best new restaurants is inside a furniture store (albeit a super-luxe one), but chef Dan Kluger’s local, sustainable, veggie-friendly food has clearly distinguished him as one of New York’s rising stars. The boho-chic, monochromatically white restaurant that’s part of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s empire celebrates farm-fresh ingredients with fantastic dishes like roasted kabocha squash and ricotta toast, creamy cauliflower soup with Rupert cheese, mushroom-topped pizzas, and so much more. Herb-infused cocktails and yummy ice cream sundaes complete the bill. Plus ABC Home carries all the home furnishings we wish we owned but are too poor to afford. Yes, basically we want to move in here. 35 East 18th Street, 212-475-5829