The Rotunda at Neiman Marcus

The rotunda interior design and stained-glass dome ceiling found at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco's Union Square outshine any of the beautiful items you will find inside.

The rotunda and ceiling are remnants of a former department store, City of Paris, which is remembered fondly by some San Franciscans for the towering Christmas tree in the center of the rotunda that marked the beginning of the holiday season and became known as the City’s official Christmas tree. The interior of the building was designed by the same architects behind San Francisco’s City Hall and the War Memorial Opera House, and is a nationally registered historic place. The stained glass dome depicts a ship, the Ville de Paris, which brought the founders of City of Paris to San Francisco in 1850. In 1972, the store closed and was eventually sold to Neiman Marcus.

At the top, is Neiman Marcus’ restaurant, The Rotunda, which offers uninterrupted views of Union Square among ladies who lunch, special occasions, business meetings, and those just looking to dine in the architecture of another era.

Shortly after being seated, a complimentary starter of chicken broth in a tiny cup was brought out, which was so delicious it immediately made me excited for the meal. I’ve since learned the chicken broth starter began at Neiman Marcus’ Dallas store in the 1950s and it’s not a coincidence I took my last sip needing to know the recipe. Next, a homemade popover and strawberry butter came out. The strawberry butter would be a detail recounted a few days later by a friend sharing their dining experience at the Rotunda.

In a somewhat impulsive and out of character decision, I went with the Lobster Club and oh my god. I was barely five bites in before someone, who saw I was there on Instagram stories, texted me saying, “I hope you got the Lobster Club.” So, yeah, it wasn’t just me — it is just that good.

The night prior, I ate at the Michelin-starred Sons & Daughters, and I can honestly say my lunch at The Rotunda is a more memorable meal for me than the nine-course dinner.