A girls’ outing to Macy’s Herald Square is a great get-together on its own. A stop at Italian charmer Stella 34 Trattoria on the sixth floor makes it even better. You can skip past the tourists and shoppers if you like, as the restaurant has a dedicated elevator on the north side of the department store. Swaths of curving white marble invite you into the bright and airy space, where you’ll feel European and sophisticated without giving up your New York smarts: huge windows frame an awesome close-up of the Empire State Building.
Settle in and get comfortable—there’s plenty of room for groups here. The jazz soundtrack and buzzy room will have your whole crowd in a good mood. Don’t worry about a lengthy negotiation over the menu, just ask for the chef to work his magic on a charcuterie plate. The house takes pride in doing things themselves, and you’ll taste the effort in foie gras, pâté, and the buttery sausage salsiccia di guancia. Pastas are homemade as well, like the smoky and spicy cresta di gallo, with escarole-infused noodles joined by a diabolical mix of lobster and guanciale.
Since you’re with a group, pizza is always a good call, cooked fresh in a wood-burning oven in back. The primavera bursts with color, bringing together a healthy mix of peas, fava beans, bacon, and smoked mozzarella. The cavolfiori is equally vibrant, with roasted cauliflower in four different shades, atop a creamy purée that will have you reaching for the last slice. (Best of all, there’s a strong, all-Italian wine list to match every dish on the menu.)
For a sweet finish, get an order of Vivoli New York, from an offshoot of the legendary Florentine gelateria. You’ll taste the craft in each bite, leaving no mystery as to why it was one of the stars of Kimye’s wedding. If there’s more Macy’s on your agenda, you’ll find the shopping floor waiting right outside of Stella 34.