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The Dunbar House Tea Shop

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1 Water St, Sandwich, MA 02563, USA 508-833-2485 Website Owner?

Since first opened in 1991, the Dunbar Tea Shop has been featured in many guides, newspapers and magazines from around the world, including The Boston Globe, The Cape Cod Times, The Washington Post, Yankee Magazine, National Geographic Traveler Magazine, Figaro(Japan), Cape Cod Life, Travel Magazine, Fodor’s, Frommer’s, Mobil, Access Guide, Insight Guide, Explorer’s Guide & Lonely Planet Guide to New England. The Dunbar Tea Shop has successfully blended the best of old England with the best of New England.<BR><BR> The building itself is the old Carriage House to the main house (circa 1740) and the tea room sits in an old wood paneled billiard and gentlemen’s smoking room. Now it is home to the clinking of tea cups rather than billiard balls and the aromas of baking pies, cakes, shortbreads and scones rather than pipe smoke. The tea room has a fireplace that we stoke up for the winter, and in the summer we seat customers in our patio and shady tea garden.<BR><BR> The Tea Shop has become an unique institution and an integral part of a trip to Sandwich. We have developed a great reputation over the years for our homemade goods, our selection of quality teas and our innovative menu. We also have a fine selection of British ales and European wines, ports and sherries.

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Recent reviews

    • Maryanne

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      The tea house is just lovely. The location has a patio for dining outside or inside in a light airy room or the men's smoking room. All locations are charming. The food is exquisite and varied for all tastes. The service is prompt and friendly. I was made to feel welcome and a friend. Truly a must do on all me Cape Cod vacations

    • Elizabeth Timmins

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      I cater Tea parties and so was very disappointed with the food that was served at this tea room.We ordered the full tea and were looking forward to little tea sandwiches, assorted sweets and scones. We were served two each, 6' sub-type rolls both with chicken salad and date bread with cream cheese. The cream for the scones was just whipped cream and the desserts were nothing special.Beautiful setting but I could not recommend the food. If I served this at a Tae Party I am sure it would be my last.

    • Peggy

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      We visited this lovely tearoom in Spetember, 2011, and it was a delightful experience. The setting was beautiful and the food was all beautifully presented and delicious! As a tearoom owner myself in another eastern state, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to sit and enjoy afternoon tea rather than preparing and serving it. It was a highlight of my vacation to Cape Cod.

    • The Traveling Tea Lovers

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      Thank you to the previous reviewer who stated that there is no longer the tent used for many years by the Dunbar for outside dining but the most lovely of rooms added at great expense by the owner in place of the 'garden tent' that many of us enjoyed for years but some days with weather issues made it difficult for all. The 'new conservatory' is absolutely lovely with corner fireplace lit on the coolest of spring and fall days and part of the winter ambience! Dunbar has remained consistently wonderful over the many years due to the hard working owners and staff. For a little bit of the Cape, a little bit of the historic Sandwich area and a lot of wonderful luncheon selections, this is truly a destination for local residents, 'summer folk', visitors from the other side of the bridge and those from across the globe! In this rushed world, the Dunbar is a treat for the senses in a wonderful historic town, in a lovely building housed next to a historic home! Definitely not cookie-cutter but definitely a part of every visit to the Cape for those of us from 'away' - - -

    • linda

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      after reading the prvious review I find this totally incorrect as the dunbar has not a tent up for over two years[reviewer date 6/19/10]the dunbar is the best place as we often make it a must stop while visiting cape cod the staff and the owner have alwaysbeen more than polite and courteous on all our visits. the food is fabulous the atmosphere enchanting,cant wait to return

    • Sandie

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      I would like to think my experience at the Dunbar was a fluke, and that this is not typical, so I don't want readers to look at this and make a snap decision. I just want to share my experience. A while back I went with 2 friends to the Dunbar. After one of the people working there took our reservation (why? they don't accept reservations) we arrived to have the owner rudely tell us 'no reservations were taken' even after we told her that indeed someone actually took a reservation. That we made it up was insinuated by the owner. The tea stand was wobbly, there was a cold draft from behind the air conditioner (the waitress put a towel over it to stop the draft), and the noise were disappointing. And the scores of people eating out in the tent area, in the pouring rain, with the rain beating down on the tarp was the finish to a not so fine day. All in all, a disappointing visit. I have not been back since, but perhaps some day I will venture out again.

    • Rebecca

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      I love this tea room. It's not to frilly or overly ornate, and the food is wonderful!

    • TZ

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      I liked the location, the general setting (we ate outside under a tent which was good, because it was a hot day). The food is great, probably more of a New England adaptation rather than strictly traditionally British. Well worth the visit.

    • Kathy

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      I go to the Dunbar every year when I come to the cape on vacation. Lovely place, good food and welcoming.

    • Susan

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      I had a wonderful experience at the Dunbar the other day. The food was spectacular, the service excellent, the decor and atmosphere was exactly what I was looking for: peaceful and welcoming. The Dunbar exceeded my expectations and I can't wait until I have a chance to go back.

    • L

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      I had been looking forward to my visit to Dunbar. I was so disappointed. The sandwiches were not particularly good and, as another reviewer mentioned, the desserts seemed stale. My teapot cozy was even stained with food from a previous service. The place was definitely loud -- not a relaxing experience. I was actually finding myself frustrated that people were being charged a premium price for an experience that didn't deserve it. There are much better options available. I felt that they were charging for reputation, not for the actual service.

    • Steve Jones

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      Was at the tea shop last week with my wife. Wasn't sure what to expect from a Tea House, but my wife had heard good things, so we tried it. For a tea shop, I had a heck of a meal...and the best part...they had beer! I had a Speckled Hen beer with my beef stew. Perfect on a cold fall day. However, I must say, I have no clue what the last reviewer was talking about when it comes to fresh made food and deserts. My wife and I happen to strike up a conversation with Paula, the owner, about her food and she informed me she does all the cooking and everything is made fresh! The cakes, pies, scones, bars...everything. Given how the food tasted, I had to agree. My wife ordered the afternoon tea and I 'helped' her eat the deserts that came with it. They were awesome. All in all it was a very nice lunch and we will most certainly be back. (and I might even try the tea...who am I kidding, I'll have another Speckled Hen)

    • S

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      The scones were delicious and our server was attentive and kind, but the place was an overall disappointment. The teas were unremarkable, the tea sandwiches were inedible, and the desserts looked like they were made a week ago and defrosted that morning. Other reviewers are correct about the acoustics in the main dining room--it was very loud. I can't believe this place achieved such a high ranking.

    • Jen Rakeman

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      Donbar's is a tradition in my family - a lovely place to enjoy a cup of tea or the whole afternoon tea experience. The village setting just adds to the appeal, you feel like you are in England. The food is homemade and fantastic, they have a little shop with all things tea as well as a small grocery section for British foods. They have their own teas for your selection as well as some traditional ones. It is WELL worth the trip!

    • Judy

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      The Dunbar Tea Shop is my favorite tea room on the Cape. The new addition is lovely but for some reason it is very noisey in that room.I have been there twice in the past month and the acoustics are not great. I prefer to sit in the Original room. It is quaint and cozy and quiet. Other then that the food is great and the tea is great. They also have a nice selection of gift items.

    • shesallthat

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      My biggest complaint about this place was the hostess...perhaps the manager or owner. Would it have hurt her to crack a smile. We had to wait about 15 minutes for a table and through it all not once did she greet anyone warmly or give anyone the feelilng that she was happy to see them there. It was almost intimidating, The sandwiches were excellent as were the scones and we were lucky eough to be seated in a very nice table in the corner. Our waitress made no suggestions and barely spoke.

    • Lois Matheson

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      The Dunbar House Tea Room in Sandwich, MA is absolutely delightful! The tea selection is excellent and the menu and food is superb! There is also a lovely selection of tea and tea accessories to browse through once you have sipped and sampled your way through the menu. The Kimberly Shaw tea cards are a particular delight and loose tea can be purchased for a 'take home' treat. Definitely a warm and wonderful place to visit when you are visiting Cape Cod.

    • Mark Keilp

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      Ah, the Dunbar! I have been going to this tearoom since shortly after they opened in the 1990's. The pleasant, quiet surroundings (even when crowded), the attentive service of Paula and Danielle, and of course the delightful and delicious food keep me coming back over and over throughout the year. For women who have been trying to get their man to go to tea, this is the place. In addition to the Victorian style teas, there are foods more ammenable to robust appetites, such as the savory hot foods and soups, the flavorful sandwiches and sinful desserts. My favorite is the Cumberland Crumpet Melt, but in summer, I indulge in whatever the special board advertises. Hot and cold teas all year round are complemented by fine imported ales as well. Unlike one tearoom that only offers ice cream for dessert, the Dunbar features a dessert table full of freshly baked cakes, pies and bars. Try the Bumbleberry. Chosen as one of the top 100 tea rooms in America, it is the reason I drive past all the faux-famous listings on the North Shore of Boston and head for the Cape for an event worth the drive. This website lists the Dunbar as #3, merely by the number of reviews and the buttons you push. Don't pay attention to those numbers. The Dunbar is #1 in Massachusetts and will be your #1 tea room as soon as you go.

    • K.Marin

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      I have had tea here many times and it has always been excellent. It is a charming shop and the afternoon tea is all is should be.

    • Sarah

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      Food is absolutely delicious! From wonderful soups like Mulligatawny Stew and a Chilled Strawberry Soup to Entrees such as British delights like Ploughman' lunch, Farmer's lunch and my favorite the Cumberland Crumpet Melt. A full array of cakes, pies and bars/squares are offered. Everything is homemade and the service is always impeccable. Tea is served the British way (always loose tea). Their afternoon tea and Windor tea are both delicious. The curried chicken finger sandwich which comes with the Afternoon Tea and Windsor Tea is so delicious! I also love the smoked salmon and watercress finger sandwich. Scones are served hot with cream and preserves. The atmosphere is charming. It is an intimate atmosphere so you will sit close to other tables but that is also part of the charm and you may leave having made another acquaintance. The wood-paneled walls and fireplace add to the beautiful setting in the old carriage house (c. 1740) and there is a table always displaying the homemade cakes, pies and other desserts which means that we always have to order dessert. I visit this tearoom especially when I need a peaceful getaway and the tearoom always delivers a peaceful, charming setting.

    • GC

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      I went with a friend. The three teas we tried were all excellent, as was the extremely high-quality pate' plate we split. The toast was perfect: warmed to perfection, soft on the inside but crunchy on the outside and freshly made. My dessert (mint brownie-ice cream was heavenly; Julie's was a lemon tart that lacked much lemon flavor. We did have mis-matched spoons and rests, but it added to the charm and whimsy of a small shop such as this. We did come in on a cold, quiet day as she lives in the area and couldn't get her fiance to join her, so the service was rather slow. I believe they forgot we were there. The tables are very close, so it would be very difficult to move on a busy day. We enjoyed it enough to want to go again to enjoy the delicious food.

    • JM

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      A very disappointing tea room. The tea selection is small with the only flavored tea being apricot. Unfortunately, the apricot tea had no apricot flavor - it tasted more like a Lipton tea bag. The scones were warm, but bland - no fruit or any flavor at all, not even a buttery taste. They were more like two biscuits. The tables are spaced only about one foot apart, preventing any private conversation.

    • CJ

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      We had a suprisingly poor experience at this tea room. Perhaps our expectations were too high, but we found the service to be slow and the sandwiches soggy. Perhaps ok for locals, but not a destination tea room.

    • Dee

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      I went to this tea room with a group of Red Hatters. We had a wonderful time. All the ladies loved the food. We were all seated together and had a wonderful time. I have also been to this tea room with my in laws. They serve everything from light fare to food that men like also. I will definitely return. It's a lovely place to eat.

    • Josephine

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      Being a restaurant owner, I find it funny that some people will come on this tea map site and say bad things about a tea room. I have been to the Dunbar many times it's a nice place. I have never been disappointed. SZ when are you opening a tea room so we can come and critique it??

    • Osetek

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      The scones are out of this world

    • Shawn Zeller

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      We went to Dunbar tea room expecting something special, being as it is in Best Tea Rooms in America. We were disappointed. We had a reservation for seven and drove 50 miles to have our special tea, then were seated at three different tables in the tea shop, rather than in the actual tea room or outdoor annex. No refills on tea are provided, which is not the policy at the better tea rooms we have visited. Our server didn't even offer second pots at cost. Even for ice tea, which does come with refills, our server reappeared only when we were nearly done with our meal. Then we were stuck with any automatic 20 percent tip! We're not returning.

    • Samantha

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      I enjoyed my visit to the Dunbar immensely. The atmostphere is warm and cozy and the food is wonderful. I enjoyed the cumberland crumpet melt and the Courtship tea while my husband raved over the shephard's pie special and was more than delighted to be able to have a Belhaven Scottish Ale. This tea room has created moments for myself and the friends I have brought there that will last lifetimes and I commend the owners for a job well done.

    • Tracy

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      We went to the tearoom after reading the boston globe article, the food is absolutely wonderful! We had their split pea soup with warm bread (nice chunks of ham in a thick soup) the ploughman's sandwich (roast beef with warm break again and two wedges of white cheddar) and the afternoon tea. The warm cranberry scone was fabulous as were the sweets. The whipped cream they served on the side was a little strange but doable. Don't be deceived by the picture, the dining area is very small, if you can make reservations do so, it was very crowded when we were there in January.

    • Josephine

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      I have been to this tea room many times. I find it enjoyable. I would definately go back. What I don't find enjoyable is why some people have to bash a tea room.It might be more effective if you tell the establishment directly if there is something that you don't care for.

    • Carol

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      This is without a doubt the worst tea I have had! After reading the other reviews of this tea room I think I may have visited Dunbar House Tea Shop on a bad day. The sweets were decent, the tea was very good, and the outdoor garden setting was lovely. However, the presentation of the sandwiches and sweets was abominable: the smoked salmon tea sandwiches were soggy and raggedy (yes, raggedy, not cleanly cut as one would expect) . . . perhaps assembled by our waitress who was overworked that day trying to serve a party of 14 and a party of 8, besides my husband and me. Another 'sandwich' was merely a huge blob of curried chicken salad thrown on top of a slice of French bread--so large that it was impossible to eat in a dainty way. It looked utterly disgusting. Incidentally, the Dunbar menu stated that the tea (Windsor tea, I think) was to come with ribbon sandwiches. The sandwiches I was given were far from that. They did not resemble tea sandwiches at all. Our waitress was pleasant enough but not very attentive. I would like to mention that I have taken tea in London at the Waldorf, in Edinburgh at the Sir Walter Scott tea room, in Paris at Laduree, and in Rome at Babbingtons. As well I have enjoyed tea in a number of lovely tea rooms in New Jersey plus one on Cape Cod, The Tea Shoppe in Mashpee Commons. Now THAT was a tea worth trying. I suggest Dunbar Tea Room contact them for suggestions. My husband and I love visiting the village of Sandwich on Cape Cod, but we were so disappointed in the Dunbar House Tea Shop afternoon tea. Sorry to give such a poor recommendation.

    • Katie L.

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      I go here several times a year and love the casual, yet elegant atmosphere, the hot scones from the oven with jam and whipped cream, the unique and high-quality daily specials, and the gift shop, which is the best of the many tea shops I've been to. The service is efficient, but not overly charming like you may find at a more family style tea room. This place has been rated as one of the top tea rooms in north America and featured in Victoria Magazine. An excellent value for the money - afternnon tea is $10.95 and cream tea is $5. Daily specials include a quiche, an entree, and a homemade soup. My favorite is the chicken, parsley, & leek pie in pastry crust. They also offer some beer and sherry I think. They hve a fbulous dessert table filled with pies, cakes, square bar desserts, and tarts, ALL HOMEMADE! You must try this place. I like it as much as the Ritz for tea, although it is a completely different experience.

    • Wendy

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      I have been to Tea at Kensington Palace and th eRandolf in oxford as well as several in America and I must say I have never been to a better Tea than a Tea at the Dunbar.