When you need to take a break for some badly needed girl talk, head over to Russian Tea Time with your favorite gal pals for lovely afternoon tea. A culinary landmark in downtown Chicago for more than 20 years, this welcoming spot is an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of the city, perfect for relaxing and catching up on the latest news.
The moment you enter, you’ll feel as if you’ve taken a step back in time, with gorgeous dark paneling, gold chandeliers, and relaxing balalaika music bringing to mind an era of Tsarist extravagance. Owner and chef Klara Muchnik and her son, Vadim, are waiting to welcome you, and you’ll feel like Russian royalty when they gracefully take your coats and escort you to a red curved booth underneath a golden chandelier, the table set with exacting precision.
You’re here for their afternoon tea service (served daily from 2:30 to 4:30) so choose from from the restaurant’s more than 20 varieties from around the world and order a pot or two to share. What will it be? White peony, mango, or passion fruit? Sip on your steaming selection from an elegant glass and nibble on a raisin scone as you listen to your friends’ life updates.
Share the juicy details stemming from your latest drama while you try a selection of small tea sandwiches, or “savories,” including a salmon and cream cheese tea bite with fresh dill. But the pièce de résistance is Russian Tea Time’s selection of tempting mini-sweets such as its Napoleon torte or a mini-apricot plum strudel.
Now, it’s time to get the gossip: “She said what?” “He did that?” “You’ve got to be kidding me!” And, if you find your teacups getting empty but your girl talk still going strong, don’t worry — the tea keeps on flowing until you’re completely caught up on all the important stuff.