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Favorite Tea Rooms


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#1 LNorman

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Posted 31 January 2005 - 05:35 PM

I'm interested in this group's favorite tea rooms.

My favorite was the Old Waverly Tea Room and Exchange in Baltimore, MD. (it's been a while so I might have the name wrong). It closed awhile ago. It was the first tea room I visited and it's still the standard for me. Tea at The Plaza in NYC was great but unfortunately, the smoked salmon didn't agree with my stomach.

I have moved from Baltimore but recently found it that the Old Waverly has re-opened under the name "Thir-Tea-First Street Cafe and Tea Room". It has gotten some good reviews.

The main webpage I use for finding tea rooms when I travel is:

The Guide to Tea Rooms and Tea Shops in the USA, Canada, and beyond™ is now ... TeaGuide™ at The Cat-Tea Corner™ :
TeaGuide™
(this covers over 2000 tea rooms and shops in the US all over the world)
I just found another one:
Teamap. (This covers only the U.S.)

Looking forward to hearing about your favorites, both locally and when you travel.

#2 prasantrin

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 01:56 AM

No question, Mariage Freres (the French and Japanese sites work, but the English, afaik, still doesn't). I've only been to the ones in the Kansai-area of Japan, but I love the one in Kobe best. I love the look of the place, the atmosphere, and how I can sit for hours with no one giving me dirty looks to get out. And, of course, I love the tea. My long-time favourite flavoured tea is Bolero, though Appolon and Canelle-Orange are right up there.

#3 jackal10

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 02:00 AM

Betty's, Harrogate UK
Tea at the Ritz, London

#4 jpr54_

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Posted 01 February 2005 - 08:08 AM

my favorite in nyc is franchia-
my favorite in london was tea at the lansborough(sp)

#5 Aeyal

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 02:48 AM

Mariage Freres, in Paris, I have been to the Marias and Left Bank branches, is I think the ultimate tea house... Babington's Tea House in Rome, near the Spanish Steps, is quite an institution, very different, but worth visiting...

New York has a suprisingly (or not) big number of tea houses. My favorites at the moment are Wild Lily and the tea service in the Kai restaurant located above the wonderful (and pricey) Ito En tea store. A great resource is The New York Book of Tea (3rd edition) by Bo Niles (Universe, New-York, 2003

Here is my review of tea houses in New York visited in 2004-5:

1. Tea & Sympathy, 108 Greenwich Ave., Between Seventh and Eighth Ave., (212) 807 8329: This place operates as an English restaurant and tea room. It's great for some classic English dishes. I had excellent Sheperd's Pie, and in another visit excellent Lamb and Cranberry Pie. One can take tea with/after a meal, or come for a full afternoon tea. I found the first option preferable, since the food was very good, but the tea was just OK. The selection of teas is reasonable, but does not include garden specified teas etc. We had a nice Earl Grey, but on the Darjleeing front etc. the teas were not more than OK. Also in the full tea service the sandwiches, scones etc. are not much more than OK. So I'd rather come here for lunch or dinner and have some nice tea but not expect exceptional teas.

2.Wild Lily Tea Room, 511A West 22nd St., Between 10th and 11th Ave., (212) 691 2258: This is a wondeful charming tea house with an Asian emphasis. The minimalist decor is beautiful. The selection of teas is excellent and includes garden and flush specified Darjleeing, house blends, tisanes, and a superb selection of Oolong teas and Japanese Green Teas. The different teas are served in different teaware according to the style of the tea in question. Since we stayed very close to the place we happily visited it a few times. It is here where I finally had my first Gyokuro. Quite an experience! (I have a detailed tasting note of the Gyokuro Yame Precious Dew if anyone is interested...). We also had excellent Oriental Beauty Oolong. There is a tea service with both traditional English and Asian touches. We didn't have it but on one visit had excellent lunch, wonderful food, very precise. They do great scones, and also serve excellent iced teas: the iced matcha and iced Keemun lychee teas were both amazing. This is the kind of place you wish would exist within walking distance of your permanent home. A rare place in how serious they are about tea. You can visit their website and buy tea online.

http://www.wildlilytearoom.com/

3. Tamarind Tearoom, 41-43 East 22nd St., Between Madison and Park Ave, (212) 674-7400 - this is connected to the nearby Tamarind restaurant. It has a nice selection and I had very good Pearls of Jasmine tea here.

4. Mark Hotel, 25 East 77th St. at Madison Ave., (212) 744-4300: Here you can take Champagne Tea which starts with a very enjoyable Moet & Chandon Brut. The selection of teas is especially strong in the Chinese tea front, and we had an excellent Pu Ehr. The sandwiches, scones and pastries of the full tea service are all excellent. A very enjoyable hotel tea.

5. Green Tea Cafe, 45 Mott St., between Bayard and Pell St., (212) 693-2888: In Chinatown, at least in the summer, ice and bubble tea are very popular. Many young people come to this place. Iced green tea with lychee was very enjoyable.

6. Tea and Tea, 51 Mott St., between Bayard and Pell St., (212) 766-9889 (there are other branches) - mostly a take-out place for bubble tea. The Froth Green Bubble tea was refreshing and excellent and fitting for a hot afternoon in Chinatown.

7. Ten Rea's Tea Time - 79 Mott St., between Canal and Bayard St., (212) 732-7178: Ten Ren Tea and Ginseng Company is a serious tea store. The teas in the next door tea house are from the store and thus excellent. But since they serve them in paper cups they spoil he enjoyment. Seems like here, as on the rest of Mott street, most of the interest is now in the iced and bubble teas...

8. The Palm Court at the Plaza, 768 Fifth Ave., between 58-59 Streets., (212) 759-3000: a classic hotel tea, very old world atmosphere, scones are excellent, sandwiches and pastry also nice. Tea selection is OK, no great teas but we had a nice Darjleeing. (No garden specification etc.). The place is now closed I guess and hopefully re open when the Plaza's controversial rennovations finish.

9. Teany, 90 Rivington St., between Orchard and Ludlow, (212) 475-9190: This is the coolest tea house in New-York. Not the best but the coolest, in the Lower East Side. Owned by the musician Moby. It's a veggie restaurant and tea house. A broad selection of teas. We had a Darjleeing second flush which was quite good, and also a very enjoyable iced jasmine oolong.

10. Tea Box at Takashimaya, 693 Fifth Ave., between 54-55th Sts., (212) 350-0100: Within a Japanese department Store, this tea house has a nice selection especially of Japanese teas of very high quality. The full "East-West Tea" comes with all sorts of snacks and pastries which are nice.

11. Kai at Ito En, 822 Madison Ave., between 68-69th Sts., (212) 988-7111: Ito En is an excellent Japanese tea store. Kai, its very own restaurant offers tea service in the afternoon. Highest quality teas and Japanese pastries. Here I had a superb Uji Gyokuro tea, and the "Chef's selection of tea deserts" which is exquisite. It was sadly recently changed from Japanese traditional sweets to Japanese influenced French sweets but those are still wonderful. Ito En also makes wonderful bottled iced teas avaliable in some stores in NY.

http://www.itoen.com

12. T Salon, 11 East 20th St. (Broadway-Fifth), 212-358-0506: Broad selections of teas, I had some excellent white tea here. Service is sometimes professional enough about the tea and sometimes not. Not as sophisticated as Ito En or Wild Lily but nice for tea in the Union Square Area. A rather funky place.

13. Tea Spot, 127 Macdougal St. (at West 3rd), 212-832-7769: whatever people say, there is something nice about seeing people sitting in a cafe and taking their work (or their net surfing?) seriously. The laptop/wireless scene meets the tea scene, in this NYU area tea place. Wide selection of teas. Green tea brewed in too warm a temprature, but still is enjoyable. Once again, not the refinment of special traditional tea ware for different teas, not enough care in these details, but still a nice place. If you need to work, (or surf this forum) and have good tea - it's a great option.

14. Lady Mendel's Tea Salon at the Inn at Iriving Place, 56 Irving Place (at 16th Street), 212-533-4466: This small and very expensive boutique hotel, which opened in 1994, does not have a sign at the door, only a very small sign directing to Lady Mendel's. The interior of the Tea Salon looks like a very old English hotel tea room, something you may find in London or even South Africa. Somehow it feels out of place in this downtown area of Manhattan. Still, it does deliver the experience of the fancy hotel tea, now that the Plaza is under rennovation work. The quality and selection of the tea is OK but not amazing, the Darjeeling are flush but not garden specified, and the server had no information about their source. The full tea service includes the traditional sandwiches-scones-pastry trio, with the addition of salad at the begining. The candies ginger on the table is addictive. The scones are not as fresh from the oven as they should be. At the high price of 30 USD to which 20% gratuity was added, this is not a place I would return to. But worth visiting once...

15. Alice's Tea Cup, , 102 West 73rd St (Columbus-Amsterdam), 212-799-3006: In the tea wasteland of Israel I'd be happy for such a place. In New-York this is another of a few tea houses which has a broad selection of teas. A good choice in the Upper West Side, but somewhat the place failed to excite me.

Edited by Aeyal, 23 August 2005 - 03:04 AM.


#6 Dryden

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 04:10 PM

Nice coverage of the New York tea scene - one significant place that you didn't seem to get to (you might want to visit next time you have a chance) is Cha An at 230 East 9th St. Make sure you check out the ladies' room, too.
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#7 Aeyal

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 11:51 PM

Nice coverage of the New York tea scene - one significant place that you didn't seem to get to (you might want to visit next time you have a chance) is Cha An at 230 East 9th St.  Make sure you check out the ladies' room, too.

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Yes I want to visit Cha An, I dined at its sister operation Soba-ya across the street and got interested. Will do so next time (although I do not think I am allowed in the ladies'... I hope the men's room is as interesting...!).

#8 Dryden

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 05:12 AM

Nice coverage of the New York tea scene - one significant place that you didn't seem to get to (you might want to visit next time you have a chance) is Cha An at 230 East 9th St.  Make sure you check out the ladies' room, too.

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Yes I want to visit Cha An, I dined at its sister operation Soba-ya across the street and got interested. Will do so next time (although I do not think I am allowed in the ladies'... I hope the men's room is as interesting...!).

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It isn't. I'm not "allowed" in the ladies room, either. But there's only one stall, and its unlabeled as actually being the ladies room, so just go use that one.

It has this toilet in it (it's insane): http://www.totoneorest.com/home.html
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#9 Megan Blocker

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 10:07 AM

15. Alice's Tea Cup, , 102 West 73rd St (Columbus-Amsterdam), 212-799-3006: In the tea wasteland of Israel I'd be happy for such a place. In New-York this is another of a few tea houses which has a broad selection of teas. A good choice in the Upper West Side, but somewhat the place failed to excite me.

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I love Alice's Tea Cup, though I am very far from being a connossieur on tea houses. It's adorable, the staff are very friendly (if a bit spacey), and the tea selection is fantastic and very broad.

You can get all of the teas either in a to-go cup or loose and by the ounce. You can also get most of their pastries (including their amazing scones) to go. If you are dining there, I would recommend the pumpkin scones and the watercress salad. Heavenly!
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#10 Aeyal

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 03:14 AM

To follow on a posting above: Here are some additional short reviews in this on going project of tea places in New York. The Bo Niles book mentioned above (The New York Book of Tea, 3d edition), is now joined by Elizabeth Knight's excellent Tea in the City – New York, published recently as part of a series that will also feature Paris and London. A wonderful resources from which I learned there are now about 30 specialist tea houses in Manhattan alone, in addition to about 16 hotel tea services.

So here are the additions to this list.

16. Cha-An, 230 E. 9th Street (btwn. 2nd and 3rd Ave), Tel 212-228-8030, www.cha-an.com

One of the nicest additions to the tea scene in New-York, a Japanese tea house. Excellent selections of teas, of course from Japan but also other locations. We had two exquisite first flush Japanese teas, Shizuoka Shin-Cha and Kakoshima Shin-Cha, and snacked on absolutely fabulous Earl Grey Tea Chocolate Mocchi. The place also offers traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, by appointment. We participated in one, held in a small traditional style tea room, with traditional excellent Matcha tea served with Kinako Mochi (rice balls filled with black beans). A worth while experience. Japanese tea loves should not miss on this place!

17. Athelier Tea Workshop (Tea Bar at DKNY), 420 W. Broadway (at the DKNY store, enter from Thompson Street), Tel 646-613-8996, www.atheliertea.com

A charming tea bar, with a very good selections of teas, and also a small collection of beautiful tea ware imported by the owner from China. Small, antique stuff. Teapots lovers will rejoice. Beyond tea, Yerba Mate – the South American herbal – is served here in traditional style both natural and flavored, and it's a great place to discover it if you did not have it before.

18. Tavalon Tea Bar, 22 E 14th Street (near University Place), www.tavalon.com

A great addition to the New York tea scene, this tea bar offers tea on the go in a casual setting. Not a tea lounge or salon, but a tea bar, with live DJ playing music. In the summer a great place for iced teas, to drink in the bar or take out, be they classic ones like Genmaicha or various house blends like "Lemongreen". This place makes tea accessible in a hip and young setting, and hopefully will contribute to the popularity of tea in New York. It's not the place to seek first flush garden selected Darjeeling, but is certainly a place for quality teas.

19. Franchia Tea House, 12 Park Avenue (between 34th and 35th Street), Te 212-213-1001, www.franchia.com

The place for Korean tea. The Korean Wild Green Tea, first picking (Royal Green Tea) has amazing aroma and tastes. Aroma is herbal and smokey, taste is herbal and rich. Not to be missed. I would take some home if it was not so expensive… Other Korean tea tasted here is also excellent, but the highlight is this mountain wild growing tea that you can only get here. One more place not to be missed!
20. The Adore, 17 East 13th Street, between University and 5th Ave, Tel 212-243-8742

A charming place in the Greenwich Village. The windows overlooking the street in the room up the stairs offer a nice view and seem like would be beautiful here on a snowy day. The tea selection is very nice, with teas from Mariage Freres. The Darjeeling from Margaret's Hope was excellent. The only problem, it was served in a pot with no filter with no way to take the leaves out and preventing the tea from over brewing by the time you pour yourself a second cup. If they would correct this problem, this would be a great place for tea in the Village.

21. The Astor Court at the St. Regis Hotel, 2 East 55th Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenue, Tel 212.753-4500

A beautiful hotel tea. Afternoon tea service "comme il faut". The house blend is Earl Grey with just a touch of ginger. Good selection (although not garden specific etc) of teas, and very good tea sandwiches, excellent! Scones and great pastries at the end. Afternoon tea here replaced lunch on my birthday and this is indeed a great place to mark a happy occasion, or just come in to follow the tradition started by the Duchess of Bedford. As with other fancy hotel teas, it is not a cheap treat…

22. Aloqunin Hotel, 59 West 44th St (between 5th an 6th Ave), Tel 212-840-6800

I was looking forward to taking tea at the Lobby at the historic Algonquin hotel. The ambience and setting are beautiful but it turns out there is no real tea service here. Just a regular hotel lobby menu. As far as the tea I had to settle for a blend and rather bland Darjeeling in a tea bag from Harney and Sons.

So Cha-An for Japanese tea and Franchia for Korean tea join the top tea places in NY, while Tavalon gets a special award for its hip "tea bar approach", and Astor Court at St. Regis for excellent hotel tea.

p.s. T-Salon is changing its mode of operation: they are closing the current Union Square location and are going to be operating in a different formats from a few other locations. There is info in their website.

Edited by Aeyal, 03 September 2006 - 03:24 AM.


#11 Gina Suk

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 09:44 AM

Alice's Tea Cup is such a cute place, went there for a bridal shower last year. A new tea place opened up a few weeks ago- Subtletea, on 30th and Madison. I've been inside but haven't tried the teas yet.
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#12 2010

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 04:16 PM

My favorites are:

Afternoon Tea at The Prince of Wales Hotel at Niagra-on-the-Lake, Ontario Canada
The Tea Palace in Nottinghill, London UK
Pret-a-Portea at the Berkley Hotel London UK
Mariages Freres in Paris, France

#13 racheld

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 06:02 PM

I love Alice's Tea Cup,

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#14 blair

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 06:49 PM

I'm extremely fond of the tea service at The Peninsula in Chicago.

#15 KennethT

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 09:26 AM

If in Hong Kong, I would suggest LockCha Tea House - located in Hong Kong Park, in Admiralty (Central). It has a great tea selection, on site tea masters, and a very soothing atmosphere. The Hong Kong tourist board also sponsors free tea classes there.

#16 Naftal

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 12:36 PM

Hello- My favorite tea room is Goldfish Tea in Royal Oak, Michigan. They are an authentic Chinese-style tea house.

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#17 andiesenji

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 12:58 PM

My favorite in the southern California area is Chado Tea Room - any of the three sites.

 

When I lived in the Valley and the L.A. store was the only one, I used to go about every six weeks or so, both to enjoy talking with the KNOWLEDGEABLE folks who know a lot about tea and the owned had actually visited tea-growing regions in India and Sri Lanka.

That store closed some time ago  but they opened another in downtown L.A.

I've been to the Pasadena store several times since it opened and to the Hollywood store once as it is kind of out of my way.  I go to Pasadena to shop at a couple of specialty stores there and Chado is in the area. 

 

The food is very good - some people complain about wait times but I have never had the problem but I do not visit the stores at peak times because I also want to spend time selecting teas to bring home. 


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#18 Naftal

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 07:53 PM

Hello- I will admit that my definition of a favorite tea room is very specific and one might -rightly- criticize it as elitist. But, I will admit that it is only MHO. I look for teashops that have a traditional Chinese atmosphere and have an extremely informed staff. And, by that I mean one that knows more about tea than I do! On my recent trip to Chicago, I was joyously surprised to find such a place in Evanston, called Dream About Tea, see

 

 

 

http://www.dreamabouttea.com/

 

 

The owner is a true Master of Tea and an exceptional host.  He served me a special tea that was not on the normal menu. It is called "Kai Hua Long Ding" ie "Dragon Top". I had never had this tea before and drinking it was one of the highlights of my tea-tasting life.


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#19 Hassouni

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 08:55 PM

My damn house. Nobody else makes tea the way I like it.


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#20 Naftal

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 03:43 PM

My damn house. Nobody else makes tea the way I like it.

 

Hassouni- I guess I should include the tearoom in my house. I know of very few people who are as fussy about tea as the proprietor of that establishment (and you). 


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