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“Excellent tea in a cosy, friendly setting that feels like some far off land.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tchai Ovna

Tchai Ovna
42 Otago Lane, Glasgow, Scotland (West End)
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Ranked #485 of 1,722 restaurants in Glasgow
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Late Night
Neighborhood: West End
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Excellent tea in a cosy, friendly setting that feels like some far off land.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012 via mobile

If you want an exceptional range of teas then this is the place to go. Set in a secluded part of Glasgow city centre, this little old building houses quite possibly the best range of tea the city has to offer. Delicious home cooked food, wonderfully friendly staff and clientele make for a very enjoyable visit to this tea enthusiasts paradise. The verandah provides an opportunity for smokers to try a variety of flavoured tobacco through nargile pipes. This is a popular venue for international students and laid back locals. Expect to share a large table with others at peak times.

We will definitely return to this curious little place.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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41 reviews from our community

85% Recommend
    22
    13
    2
    4
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Idiosyncratic - hit or miss”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2012

This tea shop is unlike any that can be found in the surrounding area. The clientele, however, are a certain ubiquitous bohemian type found around the West End and University area. First off, the tea menu is unrivaled, and any fan ought to check this establishment out. The food selection is vegetarian, and the staff stresses its 'ethical' and vegan credentials. It's this attitude that leads me to the conclusion that Tchai Ovna is going to strongly divide opinion. If you're a fan of wool sweaters, political activism, and collect vinyls, I'm sure this will become your favourite spot in no time - and you will find many likeminded people there. Those of a more 'mainstream' persuasion, should check it out at least once, but will most likely find themselves stepping down a rung on the hipster ladder - Offshore is nearby and maintains an artsy crowd without being overbearing.

  • Visited December 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“This place is a must”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2012 via mobile

Wow. Fab tea shop and I don't even drink tea. This is a true hidden gem. I have went many times and find the staff fantastic and the atmosphere is bohemic and trendy. I can't wait to go back

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Unique”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012 via mobile

Chosen for a convenien place to lunch with friends visiting Glasgow and the newly tarted up Hunterian Museum, this proved to be a fabulously individual find. Like it's been beamed in from the Green Man festival, it serves fragrant teas of huge variety and large portions of quality veggie food. Find it down a lane you didn't know existed, then check out the great - and also slightly shambolic - record and bookstores best door.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Most atmospheric Cafe in Glasgow”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

Tchai Ovna has been around a very long time, circa 2000. I remember it first opening, my own assistance in repairing the interior and doing the original garden...the friendly but shambolic mess of it all... but this isn't a trip down memory lane, a fond recollection of the place. Tchai Ovna is genuinely the most atmospheric, community-led cafe in Glasgow, possibly in Scotland.

This converted old stables feels like somewhere between a friend's living-room, a Turkish cafe and part of a strange shanty town. The relaxed atmosphere cannot be beaten and the service is, thankfully, as slow as ever! ;) Yes Tchai Ovna is place to experience, to come and soak up the atmosphere and relax, read a book (yours, theirs, or, if you are brave, one from the teetering piles in the 'Black Books'-style bookshop, next door's 'Voltaire & Rousseau,') or take a turn in the lovely, shady garden, formerly a horribly neglected back-close. It is not a place for a 'quick' cup of tea and coffee. Sadly, the cafe itself is not licensed to cook food (and when you see the kitchen, you will realise it would be impossible!) but a near-by kitchen provides the 'Ovna with *delicious* vegetarian food on a daily basis, which is re-heated on site. The selection of teas will likely confuse and alarm you (Genmai Cha, Hochi Cha, Tchai Nguyen and White Monkey I will happily recommend, to save you time) and, of course, the Shisha's are a delight to puff away on.

Sadly, the corrupt nature of Glasgow City Council has led to a disastrous decision that will see the riverbank, their lovely garden and out-door area, and indeed, the whole lane, destroyed and replaced with hideous tower-block housing developments, so go visit Tchai Ovna, and indeed all the shops on Otago Lane, now before Glasgow's scum-bag property developers, and the councillors in their pockets, get their way and ruin this perfect, magical little corner of the city's west end.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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