A colleague at work mentioned Tina’s Tea Room as a good place for a quiet lunch, which led me here a little after noon on a Friday. As many times as I’ve driven by the tea house on Main Street in Carmel, I hadn’t paid enough attention to realize it was a restaurant and not someone’s home.
At the entrance, there is a ‘Please Wait to Be Seated’ sign, but there was no help in sight, so I headed back to the cash register where there was an employee making tea who cleared a table for me and asked for my tea order. I ordered a pot of rooibos tea while I perused the menu.
When my little teapot was brought out, my server turned over the tea timer, which I thought was the cutest little thing! It had 3 different sand clocks for brewing the different tea varieties. I thought it was a nice touch and the tea itself was delicious.
For lunch, I ordered the sausage rolls and salad with apple vinegarette, recommended by my server. I was initially worried about the sausage rolls being too “bready” but it was absolutely delicious! There was a generous serving of sausage filling inside and a thin croissant-like pastry on the outside. The salad was fresh and the vinaigrette was tasty. It was the perfect serving for lunch, but I only ate half of it, knowing I’d be devouring some kind of dessert as well.
While I was at the restaurant, a group of mothers and daughters that had obviously been there for a party were leaving as I walked in and there was a bridal shower of about 15-20 ladies being seated a large table by the pastry counter. I also heard a couple of employees discussing logistics of another 20-person group coming in later that day. It seems like this is a hot spot for girly group events, and with all of the cute finger foods and cakes, that makes a lot of sense.
I came in expecting a quiet, coffee shop-like experience, so in that aspect, this place was not at all what I was looking for. I had vividly pictured in my head coming in, finding a comfy spot by a window to do some research and writing, and enjoying a pot of tea in peace, but this place was noisier and much busier than expected. As long as you’re aware that the atmosphere is that of a normal restaurant you won’t be disappointed. As a place for a light meal or a girly get-together, it’s an ideal spot!