Dining among the czars! The Russian Tea Room NYC.

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Dining among the czars!

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal here last while taking advantage of a Restaurant Week lunch deal. It was perfect timing as I had the holiday off from work and scheduled a 1:30 reservation on the first day of RW. Now, I see many mixed reviews of The Russian tea Room that range from the one-star haters to the five star over-gushers, and can be thankful that we had a genuinely terrific time here in an old school NYC institution.

I just love all these old time landmark places, and am finally glad to have checked Russian Tea Room off my list of must visits. Yes, the decor is beautiful in a gaudy Sean Connery – James Bond Russian cold war era kind of way. Sure, it’s busy, crowded, and very touristy. Yes, the food choices are not for everyone and it is definitely very pricey. Many uppity ladies who lunch, well to do couples, and business power brokers fill the room. Still, it’s been around since the 1920’s so they must be doing something right!


Now, when we arrived we were greeted by the hostess ( with a Russian accent – many working here have some sort of Russian / Slovak accent ) and were told it would be a few minutes for our table. No biggie. She also asked if we wanted our coats checked and had the lady working the coat room downstairs come and get our coats. Nice perk and no charge for that. Within minutes we were led to our table and was happy to see it was in one of those fancy red booths. Looking around, the main dining room is ornate for sure! I felt like that eccentric wealthy Russian dude in that strange commercial proclaiming “Opulence – I has it”.

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I also have to say we had no problem with the waiter service here – it was impeccable. Our waiter was a fun guy who was friendly enough and attentive (and Russian). Even though we were here for the RW menu we were treated great. Since it was a day off we started with a few cocktails – not cheap – but so worth it. A Cosmonaut – (bilberry and cranberry blast of Jewel of Russia Wild Berry accented with lime and cranberry) and a Boyer Imperial – (sour cherry preserves, Russian Standard vodka, and Chambord) made a wonderful start.

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Here is what we chose off the RW Menu (each at $24.07 a person) –

Traditional Tea Room Red Borscht – Pickled red beets, seasonal vegetables and dill in a short rib broth served with a braised beef pirozhok. I love beets and this did not disappoint!

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Chicken à la King  – Sautéed free-range chicken breast with mixed roasted peppers and mushrooms in a light cream sauce over herb spätzle. Actually a lot of food on this plate but not over heavy with the sauce. Very tasty.

Filet of Beef – Mashed garlic potatoes served with baby vegetables and red wine sauce. The filet was tender and perfectly pink in the middle. Just the right size for a lunch portion. Also very tasty.

We each chose a different dessert and glad we did. Both were just the right size and were actually quite decent. Nothing amazing but an appropriate ending to our meals.

Chocolate Pyramid – Bittersweet chocolate mousse with a raspberry filling.

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Traditional Cheesecake – Vanilla cheesecake covered with chocolate curls and fresh berries.

Actually, we felt it was a very nice deal overall for the food choices and portions we received for RW lunch, and was a terrific value.

Also, we snuck upstairs to check out the grand party room with the giant glass bear aquarium. A lot of mirrors, colored glass, and high ceilings. Downstairs by the coat check area is the souvenir stand with all kinds of Russian trinkets and Tea Room memorabilia on sale. It’s almost like a ride at Russian Disney World. I do have to admit we had a very nice lunch experience here, and is worth it to try out at least once to at least say you dined here. Not sure how dinner would be, but RW for lunch was quite fine by us.

na zda-rov’-ye!

(To our health! the most common toast said in Russia)

Photo credit – Russian Tea Room


The Russian Tea Room – http://www.russiantearoomnyc.com/


Russian Tea Room on Urbanspoon

38 thoughts on “Dining among the czars! The Russian Tea Room NYC.”

    1. Hey Fearless!

      It surprised me at how decent the food was especially during restaurant week.

      Fun spot to visit at least once. Opulance – I has it! 🙂

  1. I just love your honest, raw verbiage. No harm in uppety ladies who lunch and I would REALLY want to know if a place was good enough for my bridge group or not, in no uncertain terms!

    1. Hey Joy!

      Ha! Glad you enjoy my review style. I meant that in a good way as it’s part of the fabric of these NYC spots such as this – the “ladies who lunch” – and all that.

      I would suggest trying these kinds of places out for lunch or with a deal, as it can get very pricey for dinner. But damn, those were good cocktails! 🙂

  2. I have been fascinated with the Russian Tea Room ever since I saw it in a movie but wondered how the food was. This seals it, if I ever make it to NYC, I’m having food there!

    1. Hey Terrye!

      It’s worth a try if ever here as it is a fun place to have a meal. Even more worth it if you can score a meal deal as we did!

  3. I’ve been to the Russian Tea Room many years ago when I worked in the city. I have to say that it always surprises me to hear such mixed reviews of a place. I loved it. It’s an institution for a reason as far as I’m concerned.

    1. Hi Karen!

      It sure is a NYC institition. I saw the mixed reviews too and just ignored them. Ended up really enjoying our meal here. The RW meal deal was pretty decent too.

  4. Borscht and spätzle sound German to me, but I’m sure the Russians know their stuff. And I’m going to have my hubby (an ex-bartender) try mixing me up one of those cosmonauts. That sounds yummy.

    It does look a little gaudy, but sometimes those places are delightful finds, especially if the price is right and the service is good. Russian Disney World? Hmmmm.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. Hey Patricia!

      Yes, it is gaudy and cheesy but in a fun way!

      Definitely a rich meal to take in and a nap was in order, but so worth it. Enjoy that cocktail – we sure did!

  5. Gorgeous restaurant with stellar food! My mouth is watering for that steak, which isn’t good since I’m vegan. Seriously, Phil, your food descriptions and photos are going to kill me. I think you should seek out a vegan restaurant and do a piece on it. I know there has to be some amazing ones in NYC!’

    Exceptional review once again. Well done.

  6. Wow, if that’s the size of lunch, I wouldn’t mind checking out the dinners there. The food looks very appealing. I’ve never really thought about Russian food, so next week I’m going to start looking for any Russian restaurants/cafe’s in London. Thanks for another tasty post Phil.

    1. Hey Rum Punch!

      Happy you enjoyed this as we sure enjoyed our meal there. It’s a very touristy spot but one that is a NYC institution and worth checking out. Plus, it was fun eating there.

  7. My daughter and I recently returned from a Christmas shopping weekend in Tallinn, Estonia, the closest I have been to Russia, with the exception of the Russian Tea Room.
    I love it! The food is simple yet very comforting, and the ambiance almost makes me feel like I am in a KGB film scene from days gone by….I´m a sucker for drama! Add a vodka martini, and I´m in my glory! Fun to see the place again!
    Klem (hugs in Norwegian)

    1. Hey Kimberly!

      It definitely is comfort food that fills your belly. It also looks like a KBG meeting place out of an old James Bond movie. I loved eating there.

  8. That food looks much better than what we were served when we were actually in Moscow. Then again, the Russians were contemptuous when they found out we were vegetarian.

    1. Hey Jill!

      I would guess there aren’t many vegan eating options in Moscow to begin with! Yes, the food here was actually pretty good! Yes, a lot of meat and chicken plates. They did have salad though, if you wondered.

  9. Wonderful going and at such great prices! I love Russian places. They’re so stylish and old school. We have a couple of Russian restaurants and bars nearby, as I live in the gentrified upmarket sector of East Berlin!

    I remember going to a Russian cafe for brunch at the height of the financial crisis: it was packed, and we had to queue for an hour LOL!

    1. Hey Victoria!

      Yes, the decor is quite over the top which I loved! So worth it when taking advantage of a meal deal. We want to go back soon.

  10. Dang that looks wonderful. Wish those great deals were available when we come up in July for our Silver Royal Tour.
    FYI your links are not opening in a new window 🙁

    1. Hey Lady Bren!

      I think they do a Summer Restaurant Week deal to. Be sure to check the internet before you come up..

      Also, I just checked the links and they all seem to be working. Thanks!

  11. Seriously?! I want! I told Mathair I was going to NYC for the Georgetown Cupcakes, (thanks to your stellar post about them) and now I’m tacking on another must. Most people go to NY for special landmarks, high end retail shopping, romantic spots, me…. I’m going for the food and all thanks to your wonderful, beautiful, blessed blog.

    1. Hey Inion/Mathair!

      You have to go get those cupcakes!

      I have so many food adventures to expose here on my blog. Your NYC food list is going to be very long!

      Again, thanks for the love and kind words.

Feel free to comment! We all have opinions!