New York >Food & Dining > Tea and Sympathy
108-110 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY | Directions 1001140.738295 -74.002139
Mon-Fri, 11am-10pm; Sat-Sun, 9am-10pm
Neighborhoods: West Village, Downtown
This tiny tearoom is Nicky Perry's ode to Blighty, with all the fixings: bangers and mash, black pudding, shepherd's pie, Welsh rarebit, roast beef, scones, banoffee and more.
One of my long time favorites – Despite being incredibly small and cramped, Tea & Sympathy is one of my faves in the neighborhood. Some of the food e.g breakfast is better then you'll find in some parts of England. The only drawback is the amount of families that come in. Don't get me wrong, I like kids. The problem is the space doesn't make it easy for them, and the result is they don't make it easy for you.
AVOID THIS PLACE AT ALL COSTS – Went here once ... crowded ... rude staff ... and I've had better teas at danal in the east village and la bergamote in chelsea ... even sara beth's in the chelsea market would be a much better choice. This place is strictly for the tourist trade who are taken in by the pleasant setting. I don't give up easy and went a second time ... it was even worse.
Avoid this place as well as the fish 'n chips shop next door. They are owned by the same management. Soggy fish and chips for an overblown price once again served with the same insolence.
Cozy little tea shop with very good food – Go here if you're not in a rush because the limited seating likely means you'll be waiting for a table. The food itself was delicious, and traditionally British. We had a great chicken pie and the Sunday roast with beef. Bring your appetite because the portions are huge, and decidedly butter-ific.
The two negatives: kitchen ventilation is not great so we smelled like the restaurant for the rest of the day, and the wait list for a table is not organized at all. It's basically the honor system -- you ask for a table, wait, and they come outside and ask for who's next. Could be a source of conflict depending on the crowd.
nice tea and interesting cakes – So Saturday morning, I was excited to have scouted out a new lunch spot to explore. My sister happened to be visiting, and she is vegetarian... and I'm pretty much a walking dictionary for dining, unless you are one of my vegetarian friends, in which case, you're SOL. I peeked at the food menu, and thought, hey, this place could work for vegetarians! Albeit the menu did seem a little small, but we went anyway.
As everyone else has said, this IS an oasis in Midtown. Sitting here feels like you're at the Japanese version of Borders... but with lots of tea. Any maybe not that many books (I think the idea is that you bring your own books?) So maybe Borders is a bad analogy, but you get the idea.
Let's get to the food part. EVERYTHING is handmade, which means it's DELICIOUS, but also takes an eternity to make. Handmade dumplings? Delicious. Miso soup from scratch? Delicious. Rice balls? Yes, please. Unforunately, I've already covered pretty much half of the food menu. It is a small menu, indeed. In fact, that is the sole reason I am docking a star.
If you are a tea connoisseur, you MUST try this place. I'm pretty sure the tea menu is larger than the dinner and lunch menu. Now that I think about it, I've been here 3 times, and I've never even ordered tea... is that weird?
fantastic – fantasic breakfast at weekends, friendly, a true gem.
sunday roast average, but everything else tip top
keep up the good work
Rudest . . . staff . . . anywhere – Sullen, lumpen, potato-faced girls that must have come to the States thinking they could get work as au pairs, and ended up here. They think they’re posh, but they’re all East Enders and Liverpudlians – and it shows. And it’s obvious they take their cue from the owner. Never polite, she’s long since gone over the edge into psychosis, shrieking at everyone who dares set foot in her establishmentment. It used to be good food with rude service. Now, it's as though she only keeps the place going so she can have a steady stream of people to scream at. Does ANYbody really need a plate of mushy peas THAT badly?
Cozy up at Tea&Sympathy – There's something about Tea & Sympathy! That's is all I'd like to say. But wait, Citysearch wants me to say more. That's okay, I understand Citysearch. But alas, I've said what I needed to say. Shall I use loremipsumnow?
Best brunch in the city – If I could give Tea & Sympathy 6 stars, I would. The tea is the best in New York and the food is equally delicious. The waitstaff are always friendly and helpful, even when the place is packed. Be sure to try the crumpets and scones, they're to die for. The quality of the food is well worth the wait, which can be more than an hour on weekends.
Tea and UNsympathy! – Excuse the title, but this was one of the most insane and grossly disappointing experiences I've had in my 10+ years here in NYC.
Yes, I understand quirky charms, and I completely agree with policies to ensure that small dining establishments can seat diners fairly, like not seating your party until everyone is present.
But this place has gone off the deep end.
I met a friend of mine who was not feeling well for lunch at 1.30pm on a weekday. I was not planning on eating, and she was already seated. I walked in, having dined there several times before, and the place was more than half empty.
As soon as I sat down I was accosted by a nervous waitress who kept stuttering something about RULES, rules, rules, and how I can not join an existing party that has already been seated. According to these rules, we either have to be seated together when we come in or I have to sit separately, I guess? I was told to go next door and ask the owner "PERMISSION" to sit with my friend. Seriously.
So, being a polite guest and respectful of bizarre rules, I comply, only to encounter more rudeness by the owner who barely took a moment to listen to me, and just said "these are the rules and they're not meant to be broken by anyone!"
Walked back next door, hysterically laughing, told my friend that I can't sit with her. (is this grade school?). And so we walked out, just as the food was being brought out to the table.
We were chased for 3 blocks by an angry screaming brit about how we have committed a theft of service.
Tea & Sympathy: If you choose to have these bizarre rules and decide to exercise your rights to decline service based on these rules, then deal with people respectfully leaving your establishment.
Buyer beware: If you like being treated like a grade school student at a boarding school, then you'll love Tea & Sympathy. Otherwise, there is no shortage of incredible places to eat in NY with incredible service.
A little bit of old world England – I've seen a lot of complaints of rudeness, something that I have never experienced. Nikki the owner, can be gruff at times, but is usually very charming and the waitstaff have always been lovely. The food is a bit overpriced, but I've never ordered anything that I didn't enjoy immensely and the tea is brewed perfectly. Make sure that you don't leave without have the Sticky toffee pudding, it's to die for!
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