Skip to content

This Year’s Best Holiday Shopping and Dining in NYC, According to an Expert

This Year’s Best Holiday Shopping and Dining in NYC, According to an Expert

We asked Concierge Stephanie Matthei to give us her top list restaurants and shops in NYC to help you find one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list and have a great place to relax after a long day of holiday shopping.

The Best Dining

Bemelmans Bar at The  Carlyle Hotel

Despite the fact that it is my place of employment I heartily recommend the Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle. It is one of the most beloved watering holes in NY City. It is famous for its Madeline murals, painted by Ludwig Bemelmans, and its year-round live entertainment, even on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.One never knows who might make an impromptu appearance. From Lady Gaga to Tony Bennett to Bono, they have all been spotted there. The bar is only a small fragment of the seasonal festive decoration of The Carlyle. The Christmas tree in the lobby has become a traditional focal point for many family holiday photos.


Majorelle is a complete elegant French treat almost hidden on 63rd Street in The Lowell Hotel. Opened by Charles Mason, formerly of La Grenouille, it is a contemporary answer to seemingly old-fashioned French cooking. The flower decorations alone merit a holiday visit. Open for lunch and dinner, this is a perfect place to rest your tired feet in a refined French ambiance after all that Madison Avenue Christmas shopping.

BG Restaurant

If you want singular NY shopping and a hidden NY gem of a restaurant then visit BG, the American restaurant at Bergdorf Goodman located on the 7th floor. Formerly part of the owner’s private apartment, it has been transformed into an exquisite restaurant which also serves afternoon tea. The restaurant offers a splendid view of Fifth Avenue and partial views of Central Park. The stores holiday window decorations are legendary.

Stephanie Matthei and The Carlyle Hotel
Stephanie Matthei, Concierge The Carlyle Hotel (Courtesy of The Carlyle a Rosewood Hotel)

The Best Places to Go Shopping

Gale Grant

One of my favorite shops is Gale Grant on Lexington Ave. Gale Grant is a family-owned and operated business for more than 60 years. It has one-of-a-kind costumes and travel jewelry. I feel like a kid in a candy shop—enjoying the conversation and suggestions of the knowledgeable staff and owner while shopping. Here you will be able to cross the most discriminating special friend off your Christmas list.

Lower East Side Tenement Museum

One might be surprised that some of the best Christmas shopping is in museum gift shops. One of my favorites is The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where one can obtain unique and sophisticated NYC souvenirs. Other friends and family members may view for free a documentary on the lives of immigrants coming to the lower east side while you shop.

The MoMA Design Store

I also love the MoMA Design Store which is large and has the highest quality design standards. From office supply, watches, books, jewelry, kitchen and dining accessories—it is all there. The men,  women and children on your shopping list will certainly welcome your choices.

Christmas Markets

I have not forgotten the Christmas markets. There are quite a few and they are a sure fire way to jumpstart your Christmas spirit. Most of these gifts are handmade by local artists that you probably won’t find anywhere else. The fragrances, sights and sounds of these markets will linger in your memory all year long. The ones that are on the top of my list are: Grand Central Market, Bryant Park Market and Union Square Market.