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victorian

Tea and Sympathy

 (34 reviews)

108 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA 212-989-9735 Website Owner?

Sun 09:30am – 10:30pm Mon 11:00am – 10:30pm Tue 11:00am – 10:30pm Wed 11:00am – 10:30pm Thu 11:00am – 10:30pm Fri 11:00am – 10:30pm Sat 09:30am – 10:30pm
If you're looking for anything British then you're in the right place... Grub, gossip or goodies, we'll see you right in our restaurant or store (see map for details). Our restaurant is open Mon - Fri from 11.30am - 10.30pm and Sat - Sun from 9.30am - 10.30pm . The store is open daily from 11.00am - 10.30pm. If there's anything you want desperately, but you don't see it, drop us an e-mail. If we don't have it maybe we can get it for you.

Recent reviews

    • Sally

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      We had tea for two which featured a nice selection of finger sandwiches including egg salad, chicken, cucumber and tuna. Scones were plain but good and the two cakes and the cupcake were good as well. This tearoom is very small and noisy, so don't expect any elbow room or a private conversation with your friends.

    • Michele

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      Love love love this place. The food is amazing, the staff is amusing, and the Afternoon Tea is just delightful. Nicky's Rules are hilarious. A must try is the Mac and cheese. If it wasn't such a far drive, I'd be there every day. Yummy!

    • Mrs. A

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      There are indeed rules. It could make a person like me nervous at first - and it did. However I thoroughly enjoyed my visit! I came with my daughter and parents. We have been to tea all over the city and a little bit outside as well. The food was excellent. It certainly felt incredibly British. The decor is great as the previous review mentioned, with various British memorabilia. The young ladies who serve were so pleasant it puts you at ease. So while there is a no lingering policy (because they are usually so busy) I also did not feel rushed. We were given the time we needed to eat our food - even wrap up anything we couldn't finish (which I gobbled up almost as soon as I got home and got a second wind). Then there wasn't much lingering to do. You almost WANT to get out quickly to give other people a chance to try this place! And the store next door was such a treat! Candies and sweets that I haven't seen since I was in London. And I bought a special teapot for one as a gift.

    • AmazonV

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      I decided to have dinner at Dinner at Tea & Sympathy around 9 pm on Saturday. There is a list of rules on the door, funny enough that Nicky spells her name the same way. The wait staffs were two girls, one Irish, not sure the other one's accent but it sounded UK/Ireland. Overall it's a tiny place, but when I arrived it was almost full, but no wait. They discourage lingering, but are pleasant, helpful, and it seems (I have never visited England) like a shop you could find abroad. I had the soup of the day, squash soup, with a lapsing souchong. The soup was spicy but nice. It wasn't heavy and I was glad for that on a hot night. The Lapsang Souchong was prepared as loose leaf in a postman teapot. They provided a cup strainer to keep leaves out of your cup while pouring. They failed to mention how long, or that they had not steeped the tea yet. I let it set two more minutes as it was very pale. I think it could have used another minute. The unfortunate part of the large pot and small teacup was that my first cup was weak, my second cup was perfect, and the third cup was over steeped as there is no way to stop the steeping process other than to drink faster. Although there is a no lingering policy I never felt rushed, and the girls knew their product. Sadly I failed to get photos of the outside or inside. The inside walls are decorated with pictures of royalty, and other random British memorabilia. Behind the counter there are many, many different teapots and teacups, which do seem to get used. I wonder if even the ones on the top shelves near the ceiling get used when it gets very busy. The bathroom was next to the kitchen and was tiny. The door stuck, so at first I thought it was occupied, the staff saw me look dejected and pointed out I just needed to pull harder. Overall the place was clean, the food was good, the quality of the tea was good, and the staff was very pleasant and helpful. My only complaint is the need to monitor your own tea after it arrives at an unknown steep time. I would recommend stopping by - the people near me were enjoying mushroom pie, scones and clotted cream, and other delicious looking items. My meal came to $16 including tip. Next door is the store, Carry on Tea & Sympathy's, it is small. The store makes excellent use of their space to offer a large selection of teas and china. They also offer to go service for those not wanting to sit for a meal. Next to the store is an unrelated fish and chips store, making that stretch of street very British.

    • Emily

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      It was such a cozy reprive from the cold, rainy weather! The servers were cheerful and eficiant. One forgot my friend's tea, but another server was very quick to fetch it so she wasn't without for very long at all. I will certainly come back my next trip into New York. I only ordered tea and scones and cannot wait to try the other foods!

    • Robyn

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      It is not a fancy shop but they don't try to be. I have visited several times and the food and tea are always great. Service is fast and efficient They offer tea type food as well as other British dishes. There is a great shop stocked with British imports next door.

    • Rachel

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      People complaining about this place simply do not understand how things are in New York. The teas and casual british fare at Tea and Sympathy are without compare as far as I have found. I've had both breakfast and lunch here countless times and it is consistently flawless every time. Sure, the waitresses are notoriously sassy, but if you treat them respectfully and recognize the fact that they are working with I think one of the tiniest dining areas on the planet you won't have any trouble. I see plenty of people sitting there for some time reading the paper or whatever when there's no line so I'm guessing people who claim it's impossibility haven't really been there very often. If you want tea prepared the way it should be and great british food, go here, be patient for your table and you won't regret it!

    • Kasey

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      I completely disagree with Sands up there - you must just expect everyone to bend over backwards for you, for the restaurant to revolve around YOU. I wonder how many times you've fought with servers over wanting different meal menus at the wrong time of a day. The rules are there for a reason. I've been to tea and sympathy I don't know HOW many times in the 6 years I've lived in New York, have taken countless out of towners and even one welshman there, and have never heard such dissatisfaction. I have found that it is a lovely, cozy place, with great English food, and sweet waitresses who will tell you they need to move you or need you to leave after a meal, but not in any manner that ever offends anyone rational. Like any New York restaurant, the servers are expecting a 20% tip. Like any New York restaurant, they don't encourage squatters. And unlike most restaurants anywhere, the owner is willing to stick up for her employees, which I think is great. Those ladies run around like crazy with all the little bits and pieces that go into serving tea and I have never once seen them drop anything or knock into anyone. And now, off of my rant. Although there is no fancy presentation to the tea or meals, they are very good, very filling. I particularly love the scones with clotted cream, and the lentil stew sheperd's croquette style served at dinner time. And if you have room the desserts are to die for. In the winter bundle up for your wait outside, and in the summer grab a quick iced soy drink across the street at the soy luck club to sip while you wait. If you really want to go to sit and read, go at an off hour - breakfast times are particularly easy to stay for awhile since all the tourists come for tea time and all the locals come for dinner or lunch. Cheers!

    • Sands

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      I will absolutely never go to this place again. I have been there three times. The first time, we were told that we could only order desserts. The second time was so-so.The third time, the waitress insisted on a larger tip and placed my tip back on the table. When I complained to the owner by letter, she telephoned me and was insulted that I had the audacity to complain about the waitress. Keep in mind that she was aware that I had been to her establishment more than once. She was very defensive and arrogant and she refused to back down. To tell the truth, if I had to choose between her and the waitress in terms of attitude, the waitress wins.I know why these waitresses feel comfortable being rude to the customers. It's because they're polite in comparison with the owner and she doesn't care about her customers anyway. Plus, the place was small and smoky. We waited in the cold on the sidewalk for at least a half hour and really, the food isn't all that. I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone for any reason. They get a grade of F for service.

    • Simon

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      It's an authentic cup of English tea, tea cozies and all. They have all the English sweet treats as well. But the service is, well, English. It's not friendly. It's not customer focused. And you will feel rushed, no matter what time of day you're there. (It's also very expensive for what you get). Good place to take a tourist. Not a good place to spend any time sipping a cup of tea and reading a book.

    • Diana

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      The food was good, the restaurant was cute. The waitresses were awful. The moment our group was seated our waitress started glaring at us. And it wasn't just us- it was just about every patron in the restaurant, except for one guy that she apparently knew. It was like she hated every patron on site. It should have been relaxing, but b/c of her bizarre behavior we got out of there as fast as we could. Eek!

    • Debbie

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      My daughter & I recently visited this tearoom & enjoyed it immensely! Yes, we had to wait for a table & it's a tight fit but so are many places in Europe & everyone was friendly. We had a leisurely lunch & then tea & we were never rushed to move along. The food, including dessert (banana chocolate cake w/custard) was wonderful. We were pleased with the reasonable prices too. We have lovely memories of our afternoon at Tea & Sympathy & will definitely go back when in NY again.

    • TeaGal

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      Not for those who want all the bells and whistles of a 'fancy tea salon'. Nicky & her girls have re-created a traditional British cafe. A huge slection of fresh brewed teas are offered, as well as an authenitc Brit menu. There are certain 'rules' for service, so please abide by them! As long as you don't mind waiting outside until your entire party arrives, you will be pleased with what's inside. This is my all time FAVORITE place to go in NYC! If you are a tea lover & Anglophile, this is a MUST for you! The girls are pleasant & yes, you are sometimes rushed, only because there are many trying to vie for the 10 tables offered. Patrons must have a good sense of humor, as I have been moved mid meal to make better accomodations. Nicky also owns the chip shop & British gift shoppe next door with all sorts of wonderful goodies!

    • Patty

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      I went here with my friends over the years in college and eventually during a family visit, I brought my mother and sister. All of a sudden, the rudeness and crassness in which the waitresses treated us was so much more evident.. i heard the waitresses gossip about whether or not the 'foreigners' left tip (we're AMERICAN). Guess they're not used to some diversity up in that overpriced crap tea house.

    • jackie

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      The place is great. It's small and quite charming. They were very friendly, the service was attentive and the food was wonderful, especially our chai chai tea. I came in with a stroller and they offered to keep it in their retail store and offered to get it for me when I was finished. I thought that was great since the stroller does take up some space. Their retail store offered a very big assortment of tea goodies and they were super friendly. It's one of my new favorite places to go!!

    • Kristen

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      A great tea room - steaped in history! A must for NYC! Be sure to read all the 'rules' before you enter! Great for young tea lovers!

    • Alana

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      Absolutely the most unpleasant service that I have experienced. The waitresses take pride in being rude because the owner encourages such behavior. I would NEVER go back there. Even if the food was free!!!!!

    • Jill

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      Very tiny. You are shoulder to shoulder with other customers. You cannot order just a pot of tea since there is a minimum of $10. Scones with clotted cream were good. Variety of British food. Very rushed atmosphere to accomodate new customers waiting in the door. Overall, not what I expected for the price and reputation of being a 'celebrity' haunt.

    • Ellen

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      Small, but cozy. I like that there is always a hum of noise, so that even though you are on top of your neighbors, you don't feel as though your conversation is overheard by all. Food is always fresh and well made. Their cakes are unique and yummy. One of my favorite tea places in the city. The staff is very friendly, except for one waitress who just always seems annoyed. Just sitting at one of her tables means that you get scowled at. She is very slow and just kind of stands by the side ignoring everyone, when she isn't shooting the customers dirty looks. But since I usually take my time there, her slow service is OK. The other waitresses are always willing to help out if you need something. :)

    • ann

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      I was disappointed, I must say. The crowded tables and the way we were rushed through our tea to make room for those who lined up at the door made paying the price for tea and 2 average scones at $10 a bitter cup.

    • Andrea

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      This place is for people who want a true British dining experience, and not the stuffy, upper-crust, la-di-da, afternoon-tea-at-the-Ritz experience. I found the staff to be very friendly and not at all rude. I can't wait to go back. By the way, don't miss the store and the chip shop next to it.

    • Lauren

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      Very traditional and British. The food is great and although every time I go it is very busy and I have to wait I think the service is just fine. The pastries and deserts are especially wonderful and the decor/ambience is very cute and cozy.

    • sue mooney

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      The service is poor and the staff are rude. Ordered tea and wasn't given a choice. Unfortunately one of our party was late so we were asked to leave before we tasted the food and there was only one other table occupied and no lines outside. Will not be going back EVER

    • Anyonecareforaspot?

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      For those who've been and have said 'service is poor to mediocre at best', you just don't get it. One comes to Tea & Sympathy for a decidedly NON New York experience that at times quite literally feels like the Mad Hatter Tea Party. You may be asked to switch seats mid meal to make room for newcomers. You may be told curtly that the tea served is most assuredly *not* Earl Grey, followed by a clucking of the tongue. You may be told that the very idea is heresy. But you may also find that following the house rules will suddenly find you having one of the most lively and lovely times at a meal in your life.Something about the dynamics of that place just incites great (low level, please) conversation. And if there isn't a line, you can linger as long as you like, which I've found to be the case in about 75% of the visits I've had. The trick is to find out when the lulls are and aim for them, if you think you'll get in for Sunday brunch like everyone else in the city, well then, what did you expect if the line is long? While the mention of the place to my expat friends from the UK illicit groans about that 'creaky cornball place, all that wretched God Save the Queen kitsch', as an American craving an escape of the hustle and bustle of the city, it's for that 'kitsch' presicely everything I adore about the whimsical, stiff upper lip cliche of the decor and food/drink revolving around the myth of a proper English Tea in the first place. And anyway, the food is one hundred times better than any food I remember eating when visiting England (and Scotland too, for that matter). Yes the cake is a bit dry, but you must admit that the triple-tiered serving platter it comes on is part of the reason you wanted a Proper English Tea in the first place, yes? (Try the scones with clotted cream, that'll shut you up about any dry cake right away.) The rest of the desserts are heaven sent, and when not having the standard tea, try the Bread Pudding, it's magnificent for those with an unabashed sweet tooth. (For dinner entrees or late lunch, try the Lamb Pot Pie, and the Welsh Rarebit is heavenly as well--and please don't forget to add some Branston's!) The sometimes peppery comments from the waitresses are merely a clear warning that you are most definitely not in Kansas anymore, darling, so behave and believe that when the waitress says something, you can take it to the bank that she's right. Tea & Sympathy is absolutely charming, but just make sure you don't ask for Earl Grey, luv! (Say 'Black tea' instead, that should work)

    • roni

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      i got the afternoon tea service. the tea and sandwiches were excellent but the scones and pasteries were a bit dry for my taste. yes, it was cramped but i really didnt mind it. and for how busy the place was the service was good.

    • Lesli

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      This is by far my favorite teahouse and the one I frequent the most (at least 4 times a year)for at least 8 years now. Yes, it is cramped and the waitresses are always right. But, I have never had bad service or meal here. It is very consistent which I find isn't the case with most teahouses. Just remember to always have your whole party present so you can be seated!

    • Richard

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      Service was poor and not so courteous. Very cramped. Does not provide a warm and cozy atmosphere.

    • Ingrid Chilberg

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      The first rule is that Tea and Sympathy waitresses are always right, so the whiners here likely didn't follow the rule! The food is fabulous and the concept of having a cuppa with some fab tea sandwiches in an English sitting room is well presented here. Cramped? I prefer cozy. Nobody can be a complete stranger and that adds to its charm. FYI the Steak and Guiness pie is the best gift you can give your tastebuds! To those who won't come back again? Thank you for giving up the tables!

    • Sandi

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      TERRIBLE SERVICE. I was treated awfully here. Note that there is a MINIMUM of 9 dollars PER PERSON. It is far from ideal if you want to just get a cuppatea. It is very uninviting and my overall experience was so to put in the mins set that I'll never go back again.

    • Michele Borrelli

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      Really this place has a special spot in my heart. The food and tea is authentically British, served precisely as you'd like. If you're longing for something fancy, this isn't the place. It's small (a bit tight really). However the food and drink are perfect. Very special indeed.

    • Aubrey

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      This is one of my favorite tearooms, but it has a few problems. Firstly, the tearoom itself is quite small. There are only a few tables and everyone is pack together. This makes it difficult with all the dishes on the table. Because of the size, there is often a wait to get in. Secondly, the staff is not always polite. I have been there a few times and found that their attitude varys greatly. On the plus side.. Food is GREAT and there is alway plenty of it. The tea is delicious and the selection is wonderful. Next time you are in NYC, check this place is a must!!!

    • E.

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      A gem. And they know how to brew a proper cuppa. Try the apple crumble.

    • Robert

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      I've enjoyed this place on about ten different occasions. The tea is the best you'll get anywhere, the food is authentic and delicious - very well prepared. Don't believe the negative reports you might read about the service. I've always had a great time. I suspect that the negative reviews come from a few spoiled brats. We're all happy with the idea that the brats won't come back.

    • Troy

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      This is a very small tea house and so popular that you have to wait outside. It is well worth the wait. The tea is excellent and the tea sandwich platter for two is fantastic.