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The Empress Tea Room

($$)
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48 people voted
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12924 N. Dale Mabry Hwy
Tampa, FL 33618 (Map & Directions)
Phone: (813) 988-9027

Cuisine: Tea, Bistro, Brunch, Desserts, British
Neighborhood: Tampa
Website: www.empresst.com/
40% say Yum
48 people voted
Add your Vote!

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Restaurant Description

The Empress Tea Room is an experience. From the moment you arrive to this elegant and luxurious location your senses are intrigued. What awaits you beyond the crystal chandeliers? Serenity, charm and the comforting aromas of an Old World tearoom.<br /> <br /> Visit the Victoria Room for formal settings of crystal, linens and fine bone china. Or experience the cool comfort of the Garden Room, an outdoor setting without the Florida heat and humidity.<br /> <br /> Whether you need a quite place to get some work done (yes, we have Wi-Fi), meet with a client in a unique setting, or share a meal with someone special,The Empress Tea Room is the experience you are looking for.<br /> <br /> The Empress is also available for special events and catering. Evening events can be booked for 80 people with a dance floor and banquet style seating for 100. Schedule a free consultation to create a menu suited for your event.
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 11am-3pm & Evenings for Special Events Only

Delivery
No delivery

Payment
Cash, Check, Credit Card

Attire
Casual

Alcohol
Beer and Wine

Price Point
$$ $ - Cheap Eats (Under $10)
$$ - Moderate ($11-$25)
$$$ - Expensive ($25-$50)
$$$$ - Very Pricey (Over $50)

WiFi
Yes

Parking
Parking Lot

Good for Kids
Yes

Reservations
Yes-Reservations Suggested

Outdoor Seats
Yes

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Menu Highlights

Reviews of The Empress Tea Room

June Burns posted on 04/18/2011

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I recently attended the Empress Tea Room on Fowler in Victorian Village for the first time and was amazed how beautiful inside and all the work and effort that goes into the decor, atmosphere, and food but ...it was soooo hot, stuffy, uncomfortable and the staff unfriendly. No smiles. Any request such as for "water" was an effort. And then she never asked if anyone else wanted any water. It was so strange. She would prefer to go get one water at a time for 30 people than offer. We drank hot tea in a hot and stuffy room. I couldn't wait to get out of there. Never again. People don't realize how their poor attitudes take away from the all the work the owner tries to put into a business to make it beautiful and enjoyable.

SANDRA PETTITT posted on 09/22/2010

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I WANT TO TELL YOU THIS WADS THE WORSE TEA ROOM I HAVE EVER BEEN TO. MY FRIEND INVITED ME OVER FROM LAKE COUNTY FOR MY BIRTHDAY AND TOLD THE WAITRESS THAT. IT WAS NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN. WE HAD THE HIGH TEA, THE ONLY GOOD THINGS WERE THE CRAB SOUP AND THE TEA. THE SANDWICHES WERE COLD,VERY SMALL AND SPREAD SO THIN YOU COULDN'T TELL WHAT THEY WERE. THEY WERE SERVED ON A BADLY TARNISHED TWO LAYER TRAY WITH A SELECTION OF THREE SMALL DESERT BITES EACH ON THE TOP LAYER. WE WERE NEVER ASKED IF WE WANTED MORE TEA AND ONLY SAW THE WAITRESS AGAIN WHEN SHE CAME WITH THE BILL. the NEXT SURPRISE WAS A 18% GRATUITY ADDED. I KNOW THIS CAN BE IS THE CUSTOM FOR A PARTY OF 6 OR MORE BUT NEVER FOR TWO PERSONS. WE CAME AWAY HUNGRY,ANGRY AND DISAPPOINTED. THE OWNERS NEED TO VISIT THE GARDEN GATE IN MT. DORA FOR A REAL TEA ROOM EXPERIENCE. YOU MIGHT LEARN SOMETHING.

Elaine posted on 02/19/2010

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With reservations for the four of us gals, we chose the Garden Room....the decor is beautiful, relaxing and intimate. We started with Orange Passion Hot Tea, then a very delicious King Crab Soup (brought memories of New Orleans, for sure). I had the "Regency" sandwich plate which comes with a salad. The "Regency" is a chicken salad with apple and cranberry mix on a croissant....soooo delicious. We were greeted by the Hostess with enthusiasm and treated so well by the waitress. The timing of the serving was good, gave us time for chatting, we were able to eat and leave in a timely manner.<br /> I highly recommend the Empress Tea Room, will be going back, for sure. They have a Birthday lunch we will be taking them up on.

Upset Aunt posted on 09/19/2008

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My niece-to-be's bridal party booked this venue for her bridal shower and she is a fan of tea rooms. The owners overbooked their facility and made promises they could not keep. We waited for nearly an hour and the room was still not available. We waited in an extremely hot and small gift shop area. The staff was rude and unaccommodating. I would not trust these people to with any special events.

Jenny B posted on 09/14/2008

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I was invited to my first “tea party” bridal shower yesterday. This was an experience I was really looking forward to. I arrived at the Empress Tea Room in Tampa on Fowler Ave. at 3:30pm (this is the time our shower was originally booked and planned for). The Victorian village setting was exactly what I had pictured a “tea room” setting to be. The greeting area of the Empress Tea Room is a very small gift shop atmosphere. All the guests began to arrive and the room quickly became crowded and unbearably warm. We were informed by Mike (Owner) the Empress room had overbooked their rooms and we would be seated no later than 4 pm. As this was a special day for my friend, a thirty minute wait was not a problem. <br /> Our party had 30 guests, so you can imagine how crowded a little room meant for a handful of guests was. A few minutes after four, there was still no room available. Some of our guests requested water to battle the warmth of the room we were all standing in. The heat, shoulder to shoulder crowding, and lack of seating was difficult especially for some of our older guests that require a seat after thirty minutes of standing. The Owners (Kim and Mike) treated our requests as a nuisance as if our party were simply a bother to them. They did bring a tray of water after the request was made. These folks offered nothing to add comfort and/or an apology for their overbooking mistake. So far, my first tea party experience was not going along with the experience I had anticipated. Minutes away from an hour of standing and waiting Mike and Kim became hostile with our party and even the bride to be. There were no sincere apologies or any indication they cared to make our situation better. They instead, asked us to leave. Can you imagine waiting nearly an hour in this condition (patiently, I might add), to ask a bride and her guests to leave? <br /> I have never seen any business (especially hospitality) treat customers with such disdain. This was a first time experience for many of our party (my mom and sister were also first time guests) and our first tea party and most importantly a bride’s special day were ruined because “greedy” business owners tried to make twice the money by double booking their establishment. We were able to move our party to another location and had a wonderful time; however, I would not recommend the Empress room for any occasion (especially a special occasion) to anyone! The atmosphere and attitudes displayed by the owners was appalling and disappointing. <br /> I’m still looking forward to my first “tea room party” experience and plan to find another tea room this coming weekend to enjoy it. My advice…. Steer clear of the Empress Tea Room! <br />

posted on 09/14/2008

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I am appolled at the experience I had this past weekend at the Empress Tea Room. This was not my first visit, but I have come to find out that since my baby shower in Oct 07, this Tea Room is under new owndership. I was invited to a bridal shower this weekend and know that only 48 hours prior to the shower the tea room contacted the bride directly to notify that they had double booked and needed to move her time. Of course invitation already out and the time communicated, most of the guest were there prior to the original time. After being told they would be able to seat us only 15 minutes late fromt the original time, we stood in a cramped front room for over an hour. Several requests were made for water as the room was becoming very hot an uncomfortable, but no service was ever present. The owners took no curtosy to the bride or her guest. Customer Service was definately not a concern for this tea room. Come to find out the party that overlapped ours which started at 1:30, had not even been served until 3:30. I feel bad for both parties and honestly would not recommend, nor will I return. I am saddened by this, as it was a favorite place visited with family and friends over the years.

Laura posted on 09/14/2008

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I am beyond disappointed and don't even know where to even begin to tell the story of the "Bridal Shower that almost wasn't"... thanks to the Empress Tea Room in Tampa. My name is Laura and I am the Made of Honor for my best friend Melanie. Many hours went in between the Bride, the Bridal party and myself in choosing a venue that would make the Brides shower one that she will never forget... this is an understatement, The Empress Tea Room is a place that I wish we could forget, lets face it, the entire guest list of 30 guest will never forget it either and probably wish they could.<br /> <br /> There are some reviews listed below that are actually from our "shower that almost wasn't" and therefore urge you to read the other reviews listed so I will not bore you with details that have already been mentioned. What I will mention is some of the details that only myself and the owners Kim and Mike know from the phone call that started four days before Melanie's big day when I called in with the final head count of 27. I was informed that when the deposit was put down on 8/9/08 one of the other bridesmaids Michelle and the bride Melanie were told that in order to ensure a private room we would need to have a minimum of 30 people. Not being there at the time of the deposit I had informed Kim (the owner) that I was not aware of this detail and would call Melanie to confirm this. Well it seems that this little detail was never mentioned to either one of them. I immediately called back Kim the owner and told her that in fact this was not what the bride was told. Kim had said that if we did not want other people (complete strangers) joining our party that we did not have a choice. (FYI...Could you imagine being seated in the middle of someone else's bridal shower) I with a bit of my Jersey attitude agreed but was not happy. should a have known then to trust my gut that something was not going to go well. <br /> <br /> Fast forward 51 hours before the official start time of the shower. I receive another call from Kim (owner) advising me that she had a problem. She had told me that she just got off the phone with the bride (which I find out later was a call that was made in error) and she had told the bride that all was well (which was an outright lie). All was not well because Kim had advised me that they had a booking error and that the time period and that a party that was set just before us will run into our time that we booked. I got a little bit more of an attitude when she had mentioned that she just spoke to the bride and told her all was fine. Great, now I get to tell the bride a little thing like her shower will have to be moved but only around 30 minutes...30 MINUTES seemed like a lot but what were we going to do. Kim advised me that there is a good chance they can turn the room in around 15 minutes or so and brought extra staff in to hopefully make the transition smooth. So now 30 people were invited but I trusted in the words that were told to me by the owner. Kim and I had more words about how was this error not caught only 2 days prior when you told me about the minimum amount of people that we had to book, they did not notice this on Tuesday for a shower on Saturday? The bottom line was it was pretty much a battle of attitudes. She had my deposit and it was less that 51 hours to go so whats a made of honor supposed to do?<br /> <br /> Again, if you read the below reviews you'll know what happens next, but another tidbit or two that was missing was how when after nearly an hour, the prior party was still in the "private room" that we reserved and that still did not allow the time that would take to have the room set for another party. I said to Mike (owner) that perhaps it be better if we left (30 guests in all) that Mike (owner) said and that even if I moved the party to something like Outback I would have to wait at least another hour (with quite an attitude I will add)... I lost it... "I did not put a deposit down at Outback nearly 6 weeks ago!!!" At this point my blood was boiling, the bride was in tears and the guests, well over half of the guests had pretty much went next door for ice-cream to get out of the sweltering lobby area. At that point myself, the bridal party and my 30 guests were asked to leave... I could not believe my ears, after all of the promises that were made to me by Kim the owner, how this was pretty much going to be a day the bride will never forget, well as I had mentioned earlier SHE WILL NEVER FORGET... and neither will the other 30 guests that were treated like we were just a number...oh by the way, speaking of just number, that was what Kim had mentioned in her parting words... we were JUST 30 people of the over 100 guests she had served that day... so there we have it, she did not need us nor want our business and she made that perfectly clear in her attitude. <br /> <br /> If you told me that I could have stayed and have the whole thing free, I would have NEVER stayed. The attitude and arrogance in which these new owners have is one that I still shake my head over. "Treat others as you would like to be treated" must be something that they throw out in the dumpster at the end of the day. <br /> <br /> So just think about it, do you really want to take a chance of having this happen to you, friend or a family member?

Melanie posted on 09/13/2008

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I have frequented this tearoom for years, so was very excited to be able to recommend it to my bridal party for my bridal shower. However, the establishment has recently changed hands, and it was not a good change. The owners informed us 48 hours before our event that we had inadvertently been "double-booked", and asked us to switch rooms and be seated in the smaller Garden room in the back. As their own literature states that the max capacity for that room is 20, and we were expecting 30 guests, we declined to make the switch. Kim assured me several times that we would only have about a 15 minute delay, and our event that was scheduled for 3:30 pm would definitely be underway no later than 3:45 pm. No problem, right? <br /> <br /> As the time dragged on, and all 30 of our guests were crowded into the tiny gift shop area of the establishment, people began to get testy. After we had been there for about 40 minutes we asked if water could at least be served as it was sweltering and folks were feeling miserable! We were treated with complete disdain and nasty attitudes by both Kim, and her husband, Mike! It was as though their scheduling error was our fault! <br /> <br /> As a business owner for more than 10 years myself, I was at a complete loss to how anyone could treat their customers in the manner that we were treated. Embarrassed for the situation, hungry, thirsty, and exhausted after a very stressful 55 minute wait, and with no end in sight we packed the entire party up and went to a different location. An extremely disappointing outcome to what should have been a phenomenal and relaxing day shared with my closest family and friends.

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