When it comes to shopping malls, lunch was once an afterthought to shopping — and dinner? That’s something you sought elsewhere. That formula has been flipped on its head of late at Roosevelt Field, which, during its 60-plus-year history, has probably never boasted as many places to eat as it does right now.
Long before Cubanos, edamame dumplings, and Wagyu burgers arrived at the Garden City mall, though, generations of teenagers made do with Mr. Pibb, oil-slicked regular slices and food-court teriyaki chicken. While forms of these things still exist, indulgent eats (some from celebrity chefs) cluster around the edge of the mall. The concentration of great food here rivals that of many Long Island downtowns. Here’s a rundown of some of the places worth seeking out.
ROOSEVELT FIELD RESTAURANTS
Nomiya (main level, west side): Poised, petite and serene, this is one of the mall’s newest fine dining spots, one that falls somewhere between a sushi bar, izakaya and Korean restaurant. The dishes are easy on the eyes, from a bluefin tuna, lobster and asparagus maki roll enveloped in blue flames to a “bomb” of avocado wisps sculpted around more bluefin tuna. Besides sushi, Korean dishes pepper the menu, such as galbi, or succulent marinated beef short ribs served with rice. Sake and soju serve as the base for a handful of mixed drinks and there are also housemade sodas. More info: 516-605-5097, nomiyastation.com
NM Cafe (Neiman Marcus’ upper level): This elegant hideaway is tucked away on the second-floor and worth seeking out for composed salads, orange soufflés, crab linguini, and other lunch plates, some of which haven’t changed much since the department store chain began serving in 1953. The floor-to-ceiling windows and neutral tones lend the space a relaxed vibe, and as soon as you sit down, warm popovers with strawberry butter and exemplary chicken broth arrive to the table. Follow them up with a glass of Champagne and Seafood Louie, a wildly colorful chilled salad of shrimp, lump crab and romaine. Note: This spot closes by late afternoon. More info: 516-368-0471, neimanmarcus.com
Osteria Morini (main level, west side): Whether for a shopping break or romantic date night, chef Michael White’s alluring restaurant highlights the cuisine of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region and breathes new life into dishes such as spaghetti pomodoro and tagliatelle Bolognese with a true-to-form (read, meaty and mostly tomato-less) ragù. Stuffed cappelletti, mortadella-enriched meatballs and grilled pork chops with romesco stand out, as do the negronis on tap and the all-Italian wine list, which includes a Lambrusco. Happy hour conjures all of the classic aperitivo snacks and drinks. More info: 516-604-0870, osteriamorini.com
Olivos Mediterranean Cafe & Grill (upper level, near Nordstrom): A wood-burning pizza oven stands at the entrance to this trattoria, the workhorse of sit-down places in the mall. The kitchen reps myriad cuisines at once, combining pizza, panini, wraps, gyros, tapas, and some Caribbean and central American food on the same menu. The Cubano sandwich is a winner, and the martinis are respectably sized. More info: 516-265-7400, olivosristorante.com
Seasons 52 (main level, west side): This cozy, dim dining room comes into its own in the cold weather. The oval bar is comfy spot for a quick drink and the booths encourage lingering over dishes that change seasonally and seek to strike a balance between comfort food and healthy eats — think flatbreads, crab polenta, cedar-plank salmon or wood-grilled filet mignon. More info: 516-248-5252, seasons52.com
Capital Grille (main level, west side): The clubby luxe steakhouse chain is a longtime anchor of the cluster of restaurants on the mall’s western edge, and patrons get gussied up indulgent dinners of seafood plateaus and dry-aged NY strip steak. Lunch is a more casual, sometimes keto-friendly affair, with an array of salads — such as chilled salad over arugula and avocado — as well as a hefty cheeseburger with truffled fries. More info: 516-746-1675, thecapitalgrille.com
Small Batch (main level, west side): Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio’s sole Long Island restaurant is a relaxed but still sophisticated spot for brunch, lunch or dinner, and the kitchen draws heavily on vegetables and seafood from Long Island, such as Peeko oysters grilled with Calabrian chili and lemon. Comfort food reigns, in the form of dishes such as fried hot-chicken sandwiches or braised Niman Ranch heirloom pork chops with braised mustard greens and grits. The bar is a chic spot to meet up with friends and others. More info: 516-548-8162, smallbatchrestaurant.com
Havana Central (main level, west side): Decked out in party lights and faux palm trees, this fesstive restaurant is usually bringing the party ( literally — some nights, mambo and salsa draw crowds). Tapas such as empanadas, chicharrones de pollo and street corn meet the needs of mojito-sipping shoppers, but there’s also ropa vieja, pernil, garlic shrimp, tres leches cake and other Latin-Caribbean classics for multi course dinners. More info: 516-739-7900, havanacentral.com
Grand Lux Cafe (main level, west side): There may not be a Cheesecake Factory at Roosevelt Field, but the imposing Grand Lux Cafe covers some of the same crowd-pleasing dishes, drinks and portion sizes, from pot stickers and pizza to fettuccine alfredo, baby-back ribs and miso-glazed salmon. The mini-cheeseburgers are especially tasty, and this boisterous spot is known for its epic desserts, from beignets to red-velvet cake. More info: 516-741-0096, grandluxcafe.com
True Food Kitchen (main level, west side): Clean eating drives this Arizona-based chain, which opened its Roosevelt Field location in late 2020. Much of the experience is Instagram-friendly, from the airy decor to avocado toast, excellent edamame dumplings, butternut squash flatbreads and pan-seared sea bass with salsa verde. The burger is composed of grass-fed beef, of course (and comes on a flax-seed bun) and the delicate cocktails sports plenty of freshly squeezed fruit juices and fresh herbs. More info: 516-559-4728, truefoodkitchen.com
ON-THE-GO SPOTS FOR QUICK MEALS, SNACKS & DRINKS
Dining District (upper level, east side of the mall): The dining district is the newest form of the mall food court, and indeed it feels like its own neighborhood, tucked away from the shopping with standalone kiosks, tons of seating and an outdoor terrace. That shopping staple, a regular slice, is repped here is Bleecker Street Pizza (which recently replaced Patsy’s), and grab-and-go Asian food spots still abide (such as Asian Chao). The variety is impressive, though, from ramen and dumplings at Kung Fu Kitchen to healthy salads from The Little Beet, grilled-cheese sandwiches at The Melt Shop, samosas and chicken tikka masala at Taste of India. Just like its drive-through brethren, the Chick-fil-A here almost always has the longest line.
Baked By Melissa (main level, near Bloomingdales): The New York city bakery that spawned a million mini-cupcakes has an outpost here. Flavors run along the lines of cookies & cream and triple chocolate fudge. More info: 212-842-0220, bakedbymelissa.com
Le Pain Quotidien (main level, near Neiman-Marcus): The longstanding bakery chain has its only Long Island location here, one that somehow conjures a sidewalk-cafe vibe while being fully indoors. Expect the usual breakfast plates, Viennese pastries, turnovers, tartines, sandwiches, salads, juices and coffee and lattes. More info: 516-243-8814, lepainquotidien.com
Duchess Cookies (upper level): This cookie boutique has a calm vibe and plenty of gooey, chunky cookies that border on small cake territory and come in flavors such as mocha-caramel-macchiato and churro-Nutella. More info: 516-300-9765, duchesscookies.com
Auntie Anne’s Pretzels (main level, near Macy’s): It’s hard to pass by Auntie Anne’s without having an instinctive draw to the aroma of baked pretzels, salted caramel pretzel nuggets and, especially, paper cups piled high with mini pretzel dogs. The sweet lemonade is a classic mall sipper. More info: 516-741-4813, auntieannes.com
Gong Cha (main level, sort of near JC Penney): This Taiwanese-based bubble tea chain trades in brown-sugar milk tea, matcha tea lattes and passionfruit smoothies all day long. More info: gongchausa.co