My friend Anne and I [L] ended up at the Russian Tea Time on the snowiest day of the year (Yes, in Chicago the blizzards extend well into Spring…). After having walked by this restaurant for years upon years on my way to the Art Institute, I was happy to actually go inside. We entered the cozy restaurant at about 2 PM to find it absolutely packed to the brim with a bus tour of senior citizens. Luckily, we managed to find space at the bar. Looking around the restaurant, it did begin to feel a little bit like brunch with a grandma, with throwback decor and porcelain dolls everywhere, including on top of huge samovars. But also like grandma’s it’s a cozy and inviting space.
The menu was full of Russian, Eastern European and Central Asian specialties (one of the owners is originally from Uzbekistan). Anne ordered latkes ($8.95), which came with sour cream and applesauce. I ordered the the varineky- Ukrainian potato dumplings ($8.95) with carrot salad, sour cream and yogurt sauce. Both dishes were tasty and stick-to-your-ribs good. Perfect for a cold day. The service was pleasant but a bit slow, mostly on account of the tourbus crowd. I would definitely return to Russian Tea Time later to try some of their more exotic specialties like the Uzbek chick pea stew or the Azerbaijani mushroom caps. Appropriately, they also have a nice afternoon tea.