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Aug 8, 2004 09:14 PM

red tea box

  • l

anyone been to/have opinions on the red tea box on queen west? considering lunching there.

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  1. Beautiful presentation but I found the food to be minimalistic and overpriced.

    However, this is a place for special occasions rather than everyday lunches.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Viola

      I went there once last year. If you're on a budget, I'd recommend just going for tea, but not for lunch. The cookies/scones etc. are quite tiny, but good and they have a wide selection of teas from around the world that I'd never heard of.

      The patio at the back was nice. I was in a rather fragile state of mind since my grandmother had passed away 2 days before, and it was exactly what I needed - very charming and tranquil. The service was friendly (but not too bubbly) and not intrusive. My bf and I were able to sit there for about an hour just pondering life.

      1. re: Viola

        I agree with the original poster. The food is very good. I have never seen European food elegantly put in a Bento Box. They take tiny portions to new heights. I don't want to insult the RTB too much because it is a charming little place for lunch. It's the perfect place to take a senior to. Quality with portions that won't overwhelm them. I was hungry shortly after the meal but really enjoyed what I ate. The service was good, but the server seemed like the type who didn't take any crap. The soup sampler was absolutely delicious. The Bento was overpriced. I think if the restaurant was in another area, I could see it being more acceptable to charge $17 for a gourmet Bento Box. But on Queen St. West (which is funky but not high end) it seemed a bit much. Definately worth going back for. But perhaps just for the tea.

      2. I've been to the Red Tea box three times. The first two were quite pleasant, including a delicious afternoon spent on the back patio in the sunshine. Unfortunately, the third time was so insulting that I will never go back and recommend against it whenever asked.

        We arrived with a largeish group - about six of us - on a slow Saturday afternoon in between a wedding ceremony and the reception. We wanted to sit outside, but the very small patio was filled by a table of four and one person at the large table that could otherwise have accommodated us. Our group was split into three and seated in the coach house, which was a moderately acceptable solution. The waitress was very friendly and apologetic that they couldn't put us all at a table but the owner (manager?) turned a fairly cold shoulder to the whole situation. As we were settling in, one of the tables was asked to split up to free the table for a new group of two who had arrived. We were just deciding to leave when the large patio table opened up, so we asked the waitress and she said it was fine with her. We were waiting inside the restaurant for the table to be bussed when I watched the owner/manager give the table to someone else. One of our group approached her and said that we had been given the table by her waitress and she replied that she didn't care what deal we'd struck in her restaurant. Surprised, my friend replied that we wanted to sit together and that he wasn't impressed with the service and wouldn't be recommending it to anyone else. She turned her nose up and said she certainly didn't need our recommendations.

        So, there you go whoever you were. You certainly aren't getting it.

        1. I had a meal here in August 2002 and absolutely loved it... in fact it's one of my favorite food memories. Anyone know if it's still open?

          7 Replies
          1. re: tempest in a teapot

            When I was there in the spring it was certainly still open. And while the food and tea were delicious, we also had an off-putting experience with the service.

            One of our party, who cannot eat gluten, ordered a slice of gluten-free chocolate cake on the recommendation of the waitress. When it arrived, my friend tried the cake and did not like it at all. In fact, she wondered if something had gone wrong with the baking of this particular cake, since it tasted overly mealy to her.

            She informed the waitress of this, and the waitress offered to take the cake back to the kitchen. My friend accepted. The waitress returned (without the cake), and reported that the chef said the cake was just fine. My friend countered that she did a lot of gluten-free baking herself and that she really thought something had gone amiss with this cake, but the waitress was firm in her position. We thought that would be the end of it.

            But then the bill came, and the cake appeared on it.

            I understand the perspective that if you order something and then choose to send it back when there is nothing patently wrong with it, you should be prepared to pay for it. However, this piece of cake was a substantial $9; my friend only ate one bite from it; the waitress did not inform my friend that she would be charged for the item even though it was sent back to the kitchen never to be seen again; the waitress did not offer to bring the slice back for us to finish nor did she offer to replace it. And so, my friend ended up paying $9 for one bite of a piece of cake that she did not enjoy.

            We had all ordered individual pots of tea as well as food, and this final cake business left a bad taste in our mouths.

            1. re: thought_for_food

              why on earth did your friend pay for it ? I would simply have taken it off the bill myself and paid $9+tax less on the cash. If I didn't have cash I would go around the corner to a bank machine - to avoid a "late" credit card charge being added after we left.

              In a roughly similar situation where we were paying on a credit card and the manager wouldn't take the item off the bill I told him we were leaving and if he prevented us I would call the police to tell them we were being kidnapped, and create a row that would cost him far more than the disputed item. He backed right down. Same thing with the idiotic 15% service charge at the old Marché Movenpick self-serve place - I told them I would not pay it and to take it off the bill, and the one occasion when one of the owner/wardens was called by a cashier, I told him I would simply leave if he didn't. Why anyone would react supinely to the tyranny thought for food describes is beyond me. Restaurants are there to serve our needs and provide pleasant experiences, not to be unreasonable or playground bullies.

              1. re: Bigtigger

                Yeah ! Good for you Bigtigger. The service charge at Marche is a blantant cash grab.
                I would have addressed the cake issue with the management.

                1. re: Mila

                  Everything at Marche is a blatant cash grab. Except the 2-for-1 desserts. (Do they still do that?)

                  1. re: Mila

                    We did addess the cake issue with the management. She was dismissive and just insisted that nothing had been wrong with the cake.

                    Yes, perhaps we should just have subtracted $9 from the bill, but we didn't feel like the ethics were sufficiently clear-cut: the cake was what had been ordered, and there was nothing absolutely 'wrong' with it. Plus, were there to buy a birthday meal for a pregnant friend (as an alternative to a nice wine bar), and didn't want to heat up conflict.

                    Upon reflection, I would probably deal with the whole thing differently now, But I won't be returning.

                    1. re: thought_for_food

                      IMO...I understand that they charged you because you ordered it, and if it wasn't to your taste but was ok I think you should still have to pay, but, they atleast have to return the portion or preferably a fresh one to you, I wouldn't pay for the unreturned cake if that is how it went. Management could take the stance of wanting to serve customers well, and in this case -- especially at a place demanding high prices and offering a certain classier than a cafe experience -- they should of been accomodating, or suffer losing customers and being bashed for it....which it appears they are and brought on themselves...

                      1. re: Recyclor

                        Well put, Recyclor. And it's a pity: I really liked the tea and some of the food.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. I also had a bad experience there and agree that the baked goods are awful. It tasted like a chemical cleaning product.

                1. re: pgfuzz

                  You're totally right. They also use metallic type colourings.

              2. Just adding a quick place link to this thread.

                Red Tea Box
                696 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1E7, CA