The Russian Tea Room

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75 Solid

Founded by the Russian Imperial Ballet in 1927, this throwback institution is a transporting performance of nostalgia.

150 W. 57th St., New York, NY, 10019


Reserve on OpenTable

Known For

The lowdown

Antique-style samovars stand guard between plush leather banquettes, and staff silently glide across crimson carpet to deliver caviar and high tea towers to diners who speak in hushed whispers, as if not to disturb the tsar in the next room. Look closer, though, and you see the gilding peels off easily. But so what? If a chandelier of red Christmas-tree baubles can look amazing, who cares it’s not ruby-encrusted. The stack of tea sandwiches is spare, and the caviar is often slapdab. Servers can be chilly, even by Russian standards. But everyone deserves a taste of Romanov life. To that end, the restaurant has a three-course “business express lunch” and a children’s caffeine-free afternoon tea (PB&J blinis, etc.) for those under 12. For the adults, there are gluten-free and vegetarian tea-service options, as well as the classic. And, for those who aren’t tea-toting teetotalers, take a swim in dozens of vodkas, including a fig-infused bottle, and a seemingly never-ending wine list (with special attention to Champagnes). The classic dishes are what would’ve been served on board if the Concorde had been built by Soviets, top-shelf airplane food. The borscht is lovely, so rich and full of umami it almost doesn’t need any sour cream. Go for the kulebyaka, a Russian classic of salmon and mushrooms wrapped in flaky pastry. Although you’ll likely never roam beyond the main dining room, the Bear Lounge and ballroom private-event spaces will disappoint neither your fellow diners nor your Instagram followers.

What you need to know

Insider Tips High Tea hours are 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Recommended DishesBusiness express lunch; borscht; tea service; vodka flights.

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelPossibly a little too quiet