DINING: Soup worth savoring at Clearwater tea house

Taiwan Tea House

Lou Harry
January 5, 2013
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Dining - A&E

There’s been a boom in strip center regeneration around the spot where 86th Street morphs into 82nd. And while we’ll get to some of the higher-profile newcomers beginning next week, I thought I’d start this month’s Clearwater restaurant roundup with a visit to a mom-and-pop eatery that has quietly established itself in the area as others have come and gone.

ae-taiwan-house01-1col.jpg Noodles and fried chicken add heft to the Steaming Soup at Taiwan Tea House. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Taiwan Tea House (4040 E. 82nd St., 598-9733), with a nondescript storefront that could be mistaken for a retailer, makes its first impression with a tea and smoothie lineup nearly as populated as its food menu. We bypassed sodas for the Strawberry Green Tea ($2.75) with chewy boba balls (a 50-cent upgrade), an equally satisfying Mango Green Tea ($2.75), and a Honeydew Smoothie ($3.50) that reminded us how overpriced lesser versions tend to be elsewhere.

Table reaction was mixed regarding the Shrimp Chive Cake ($2.75). I found the pungent chive-packed orbs unique and flavorful. After a taste, my dining companions willingly turned over the rest of the four-piece plate to me. There was more sharing of the Edamame ($2.75), with thin, spiced pods that fell apart while the soybeans were sucked out.

Most of the lunch entrees are served with a soup of the day. On our visit, it was Tomato Tofu in a chicken broth—simple and perfectly fine, but not nearly as return-visit-inducing as the main soups. The Deep Fried Chicken w/Noodle ($6.99), for instance, offered the kind of big-bowl pleasure that makes you wish everyone at the table had ordered it, so that you could take your sweet time savoring the hot broth, thick knot of noodles, and pounded-thin chicken breast.

The Lemon Chicken ($6.99—also available with pork or shrimp) and the Asparagus Cooked with Special Sauce w/Rice ($6.99) exceeded the quality of most Chinese takeout places. Both sided with unexciting crab Rangoon, the former could have used more chicken in the broccoli/celery/carrot heavy mix (not that we’ve got anything against fresh-seeming veggies). The latter had the opposite problem: Menu syntax led us to believe it would feature more of the titular vegetable rather than some scattered tips that didn’t dramatically affect the taste of the dish. Still, the fresh flavors made a difference.

That emphasis on freshness, combined with reasonable prices and comfortable, clean atmosphere, makes it easy to understand how the understated Taiwan Tea House seems to have built a strong local following. If the mall and chain eatery options are overwhelming, consider a peaceful stop.•


First in a month-long look at Clearwater-area restaurants.


  • Spicy Wontons
    Thanks for the review ... next time I visit, I will have to venture out of my comfort zone, the noodles with fried chicken looks great! I usually stick with the sesame pork (such tender and lightly fried morsels of meat) and the spicy wontons. I love those wontons, they're steamed rather than fried, and served in a spicy but not homicidal pepper sauce that really wakes up the taste buds.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. In reality, Lilly is maintaining profit by cutting costs such as Indiana/US citizen IT workers by a significant amount with their Tata Indian consulting connection, increasing Indian H1B's at Lillys Indiana locations significantly and offshoring to India high paying Indiana jobs to cut costs and increase profit at the expense of U.S. workers.

  2. I think perhaps there is legal precedence here in that the laws were intended for family farms, not pig processing plants on a huge scale. There has to be a way to squash this judges judgment and overrule her dumb judgement. Perhaps she should be required to live in one of those neighbors houses for a month next to the farm to see how she likes it. She is there to protect the people, not the corporations.

  3. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/03-111.htm Corporate farms are not farms, they are indeed factories on a huge scale. The amount of waste and unhealthy smells are environmentally unsafe. If they want to do this, they should be forced to buy a boundary around their farm at a premium price to the homeowners and landowners that have to eat, sleep, and live in a cesspool of pig smells. Imagine living in a house that smells like a restroom all the time. Does the state really believe they should take the side of these corporate farms and not protect Indiana citizens. Perhaps justifiable they should force all the management of the farms to live on the farm itself and not live probably far away from there. Would be interesting to investigate the housing locations of those working at and managing the corporate farms.

  4. downtown in the same area as O'malia's. 350 E New York. Not sure that another one could survive. I agree a Target is needed d'town. Downtown Philly even had a 3 story Kmart for its downtown residents.

  5. Indy-area residents... most of you have no idea how AMAZING Aurelio's is. South of Chicago was a cool pizza place... but it pales in comparison to the heavenly thin crust Aurelio's pizza. Their deep dish is pretty good too. My waistline is expanding just thinking about this!