Afternoon Tea at The Russian Tea Room

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Review of the afternoon tea at The Russian Tea Room in New York City. See photos and ratings of the restaurant, the tea, and the food.

Russian Tea Room
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The Russian Tea Room

The first time I was at The Russian Tea Room was when I was a senior in high school — that was many, many years ago. Since then, I’ve gone a couple of more times and both times it was for afternoon tea.

The restaurant’s design has not changed at all since I went in high school. They renovated and updated, but the look was kept the same — and I really don’t think they should ever change it since it’s so nicely done.

The Russian Tea Room’s dining room is a feast for the eyes. It’s a delight to be greeted by the colorful and opulent decor.

It’s definitely a fun setting for afternoon tea.

RELATED: Complete List of Places for Afternoon Tea in New York City

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Afternoon Tea at The Russian Tea Room

The Russian Tea Room does a slightly different tea service in that not all three courses come out at once. Instead, each course comes out separately.

Afternoon tea is a set menu, which means that you get what everyone else gets and you don’t choose from a menu of food options. You do get to choose the tea though.

The pricing is for each person and with each order you get a pot of tea and three courses consisting of tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets.

To learn the full history of afternoon tea, I recommend this book.

The Russian Tea Room Afternoon Tea Menu

The Russian Tea Room does 5 different afternoon teas — a lot more than other places in NYC.

Afternoon Tea
$60 per order
Classic afternoon tea with savories, scones, and sweets. Comes with a caviar tasting of 2 different caviars on blinis. This is my usual order. Add Champagne and it’s $85 per order.

Royal Afternoon Tea
$90 per order
Same as the regular afternoon tea but with 4 different caviars on blinis. Add Champagne and it’s $115 per order.

Children’s Afternoon Tea
$45 per order
For kids under 12 years, the savories include mini BLT, grilled cheese, and peanut butter and jelly. Drink options include hot chocolate and a lot of caffeine-free teas.

Vegetarian Afternoon Tea
$60 per order
Same afternoon tea as the regular but all vegetarian tea sandwiches. Add Champagne and it’s $85 per order.

Gluten-Free Afternoon Tea
$60 per order
Same afternoon tea as the regular but everything is gluten-free. Add Champagne and it’s $85 per order.

The menu and prices may change at any time so please contact the restaurant or check their site for latest info.

Do I Need to Make a Reservation for Afternoon Tea at The Russian Tea Room?

It’s not mentioned that reservations are required but I would highly recommend that you make one. It’s never fun to make a day around it then be turned away at the door because you don’t have a reservation.

Call the restaurant at 212. 581.7100 or book online to make a reservation.

What Do I Wear for Tea at The Russian Tea Room?

At the very least, dress smart casual but you can definitely dress up. Dark jeans without any rips will be OK, but avoid wearing sneakers. Aim to look put together but relaxed and comfortable.

How Long is Afternoon Tea at The Russian Tea Room?

Afternoon tea usually lasts about two hours. It’s an occasional luxury so don’t rush and enjoy your afternoon sipping tea and taking dainty bites of each course.

RELATED: Is High Tea the Same Thing as Afternoon Tea?

What Time is Afternoon Tea at The Russian Tea Room?

Afternoon tea at The Russian Tea Room is served daily from 2PM – 4:30PM.

Dinner starts at 5PM so I would make the reservation at 2PM or 3PM if you want to avoid the dinner crowd.

Good for Large Parties?

If you’re a party of 7 you’re fine but none of the afternoon tea options are available for parties of 8 or more.

How Does Afternoon Tea at The Russian Tea Room Work?

First, decide on which afternoon tea you would like out of the five options.

After the afternoon tea has been selected, take a look at the tea menu to see which tea you would like to drink.

Once the order is placed, the tea will come out first, then the food in courses.

RELATED: 21 Afternoon Tea Etiquette Rules

The Russian Tea Room Afternoon Tea Tips

  • Check online when making the reservation since they sometimes have promotions like free Champagne with your afternoon tea.
  • Since reservations aren’t required, The Russian Tea Room is a great place to stop in for a last minute afternoon tea.
  • I like the banquette seating along the sides of the restaurant since it’s roomy and comfortable.

NYC Afternoon Tea Checklist

Join my free email list to get this NYC afternoon tea checklist!

The Russian Tea Room Setting: ★★★★☆

Colorful punches of vibrant greens and reds lets you know you’re not just in any restaurant.

The dining room is grand and decadent. Since it’s a restaurant, you’ll see a mix of people getting late lunches or just a quick bite to eat during afternoon tea hours.

I was seated in one of the roomy side banquettes and it was pretty comfortable.

The Russian Tea Room Service: ★★★★☆

Service was very good, although I wouldn’t say the friendliest. The servers wear uniforms, which gives it a nice formal feel.

Afternoon tea Russian Tea Room

The Russian Tea Room Tea & Tea Selection: ★★★☆☆

A very limited selection of just six teas. Wish it was double that. I got the Formosa Oolong, which was nice and delicate.

RELATED: Becoming a Certified Tea Sommelier

Tea at the Russian Tea Room

The Russian Tea Room Afternoon Tea Savories: ★★★★★

The first course consisting of savories were brought out first on three-tiered trays. My friend and I each had our own set of trays.

Eight savories in all, starting off at the top with a tasting of two caviars on blinis. Each sandwich was made with fresh bread and they were all tasty. I liked each and every one.

RELATED: Afternoon Tea 101: Course Order

Tea at the Russian Tea Room

The Russian Tea Room Afternoon Tea Scones: ★★★★☆

After we finished the tea sandwiches, the trays were taken away and replaced with another one with scones at the bottom and sweets on top.

Three scones each were a bit much especially since we were already getting full from the sandwiches. Scones were a good size and warm to the touch.

RELATED: How to Eat a Scone Properly

Tea at the Russian Tea Room

The Russian Tea Room Afternoon Tea Sweets: ★★☆☆☆

The sweets were a bit of a disappointment since every other course was so good. Sweets were just two cupcakes and two truffles each.

I wanted more of a variety and in smaller portions. The cupcakes were just OK (I only had a quarter of one) and the truffles were good but nothing fantastic.

The Russian Tea Room Afternoon Tea Overall: ★★★★☆

The tea service started off great, but fizzled by the time the sweets arrived. It’s worth going at least once though, just to take in the decor.

The Russian Tea Room

150 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

Daily, 2PM – 4:30PM

Afternoon Tea, $60 per order (as of 2020)

Call the restaurant at 212. 581.7100 or book online to make a reservation.

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  1. This was one of the most disappointing teas we have had. My husband has a severe (anaphylactic) allergy to tree nuts which can be life threatening. I had mentioned this when I made our reservation. When we reaffirmed this with the waiter upon our arrival he very haughtily informed us that he already knew that and insinuated that we were obnoxious for mentioning it. He then proceeded to give my husband a sandwich on a bread which contained nuts. Luckily my husband caught it at first taste and did not require hospitalization although it was a frightening experience
    . The waiter continued to be very condescending and rude throughout the entire tea. We were also disappointed as you in the huge portion and poor quality of the desserts. Also, $30 extra for about 1/4 teaspoon of caviar on the blinis was not worth it. We would never go back, even for the charming (actually kind of stodgy) atmosphere.

  2. Hi Yvo, give it a try! its worth going just for the space and the tea sandwiches!

  3. Hi Georgia, I only had a sip of the champagne at the beginning then put is aside for the rest of the tea service. Since I wasn't drinking from it the whole time, it didn't affect the taste at all.

  4. Gluten free and vegetarian – well, that's great.
    Did the champagne affect the taste of the tea (or did you choose a tea that would complement the champagne favors)?