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Russian Tea Room

I made a reservation at the RTR on an impulse for my anniversary dinner...I'm only in town for a few nights (from LA) and was looking for something romantic and different for my husband and I's wedding anniversary. I looked the Russian Tea room up after watching an episode of friends...(yes that is how out of touch with NYC I am) and went to their website...it looked perfect! Then I went to Yelp and am now doubting my decision! I'm looking for a landmark iconic/romantic/sexy restaurant that is purely New York! I like dark settings which is why the red and dark light interior of RTR struck my fancy.

So should I cancel my reservation @ the Tea Room? Any other suggestions in midtown/Theatre district area? Doesn't have to be Russian food, although I was really looking forward to that since I've never tried it.

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Russian Tea Room
150 W 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

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  1. I can't believe that place is still open. Do not waste your time and money. You're in NYC, for goodness sakes! There are literally hundreds of better (and less expensive) options.

    1. I have to agree with southernitalian. I don't think the food is appalling -- they actually do a good bowl of borscht -- but mostly, it's not very good, either. There are better restaurants, even Russian ones, in Manhattan (for instance, Mari Vanna, a pretty restaurant in the East 20s: http://www.marivanna.ru/ny/#/).

      As far as iconic, romantic and sexy restaurants go in Midtown: Look into La Grenouille and see if that might suit.

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      La Grenouille
      3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

      Russian Tea Room
      150 W 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

      Mari Vanna
      41 East 20th Street, New York, NY 10003

      7 Replies
      1. re: michelleats

        I love Russian Tea Room, but would not choose it for your big special dinner. The atmosphere is great and cozy and different, but the food is not up to snuff for the occasion. I think maybethe food used to be better when it was a true expat russian hangout; I have the old RTR cookbook and there are lots of great russian recipes in there.

        Michelleats made a great suggestion in La Grenouille, that place is absolutely fantastic and special and gracious.

        But if you like high tea, and you have time during your visit, you might want to hit RTR for tea in the afternoon, say starting at 2 or 3.. Also: Make sure to request a booth when you make the reservation.

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        La Grenouille
        3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

        Russian Tea Room
        150 W 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

        1. re: pauliface

          I think La Grenouille is the perfect place for an anniversary dinner -- totally romantic!!!

        2. re: michelleats

          La Grenouille is not sexy. I love the place, but it is not sexy.

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          La Grenouille
          3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

          1. re: gutsofsteel

            I agree - I also love the place, but it ain't sexy when the average age of the clientele is 60.

            1. re: uwsister

              An ageist comment if I ever saw one! Who says people in their 60's -- and beyond -- can't be sexy?

              http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

              1. re: RGR

                Ageism, I agree! I also do not equate sexy with romantic. Here's why La Grenouille is romantic: The flowers! The hushed atmosphere where you can have a nice quiet tĂȘte a tĂȘte. Gracious, seamless service, where waiters don't introduce themselves or intrude on conversation. Beautiful, comfortable room with nicely spaced tables and lovely paintings. Excellent, classic French food. And, of course, the flowers!

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                La Grenouille
                3 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022

                1. re: RGR

                  That's not what I said. Of course people in their 60s and beyond *can* be sexy. However I believe a restaurant generally isn't considered "sexy" by most people if the average clientele is in their 60s. Most people feel sexier in their youth than in their 60s. I say this as someone who's married to a man twenty years senior than her - if my opinion makes me an age-ist, then hey, I guess I am.

                  I agree that La Grenouille is very, very romantic - but not sexy.

          2. Twenty-five years ago, hell yes. Now? No effing way.

            1. i had a meal there a few weeks ago. like many readers of CH, i often take photos of the plates before tasting them. nothing that was served to Ms. Coasts or myself looked good enough to photograph. we left having taken zero pictured. neither of us finished dessert and it wasn't because we were so full from dinner. i vote cancel.

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              Russian Tea Room
              150 W 57th Street, New York, NY 10019

              1. It should be clear by now that the RTR is a bad idea, but I'll add my voice to the chorus. I went there for an event earlier this year, and the only good thing I can say is that at least I wasn't paying for it. Happy hour at the Russian Vodka Room before moving on to a nice dinner somewhere else could be a fun option.

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                Russian Vodka Room
                265 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019