Food Dept.

Stella 34 is the newest (and tastiest) department at Macy's

A meal at Stella 34 Trattoria is not for the faint of heart. After all, it requires braving Macy's Herald Square.

Doing so could involve going in circles through the lingerie floor and riding the clickety-clack wooden escalators until emerging triumphant on the sixth floor.

It's there that Stella 34 and gelato maker Vivoli, in its first-ever location outside of Florence, have set up shop.

What this Italian restaurant lacks in its bleak location across from the duvet department, the trattoria compensates for with ginormous windows that look out onto the Empire State Building, and a smart menu designed by Lincoln's Jonathan Benno.

Memories of the arduous journey fade once the food comes. Di Verdura salad ($12 as an appetizer; $17 as a main) is a mobbed vegetable party of shaved Brussels sprouts, endive, tomatoes, radishes and rings of crisp shallots. In the white Cavolfiori pizza ($17), green and purple cauliflower florets and Meyer lemon slices hunker down in cauliflower purée.

Try the Vivoli gelato at the table, or head to the counter after your meal. We favor the jasmine rice flavor with candied ginger, and the speckled roasted Bosc pear. Available in piccolo ($4.75), medio ($5.75) or grande ($6.75) cups, as well as pints and quarts, this is gelato good enough to dash upstairs for.

When doing so, we highly recommend the express elevators.