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“Great cafe for tea and Japanese food”
Review of Matcha Time Cafe

Matcha Time Cafe
Ranked #48 of 179 Restaurants in Ellicott City
Price range: US$10 - US$20
Cuisines: Sushi, Japanese, Cafe
Description: Matcha Time Cafe is a Japanese owned and operated tea cafe and gift shop in Historic Ellicott City, Maryland. The cafe features a variety of hand-selected Internationally Award-winning teas along with in-house made pastries, sushi and other goodies. The gift shop features unique items from Japan along with crafts made in the USA by Japanese and American artisans.
Restaurant details
Description: Matcha Time Cafe is a Japanese owned and operated tea cafe and gift shop in Historic Ellicott City, Maryland. The cafe features a variety of hand-selected Internationally Award-winning teas along with in-house made pastries, sushi and other goodies. The gift shop features unique items from Japan along with crafts made in the USA by Japanese and American artisans.
Reviewed 16 January 2017

I love Matcha Time Cafe. I've been going there for about 2.5 years now. In the last year I go about once a week! It's one of the few cafes around that really understands how to properly brew tea, and has many high quality tea options. My husband doesn't really like tea, but loves their iced herbal teas. Matcha Time is a great place to stop in for lunch, a snack, or a drink. You order at the cash register, and they bring the food to you as it is ready (cafe style).

I love Japanese food, and was originally drawn to Matcha Time for their onigiri (rice balls). It's one of the quick foods from Japan that is hard to find at a restaurant. We really love Matcha Time's onigiri! Their menu is a little limited since it's a cafe instead of a full restaurant, but they have weekly specials that often add something to the menu that isn't usually there. Their Japanese fried chicken is SO GOOD! I really wish it was on their menu full time, but I suspect it's rather labor intensive to make.

They have ramen weekends about once a month. It's hardest to find a seat during this time because it's so popular, but it's worth it for some good quality ramen. They also have vegan ramen, which is not particularly common. You can also get food to go; for ramen they give you the broth separate from everything in it so that it doesn't get soggy on the way home, and then you combine when you get there.

The staff here are really wonderful people. Hatsumi-san is really good at hiring good people. Please go and enjoy one of my favorite spots in Howard County!

    • Value
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Thank umhokie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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6 - 10 of 18 reviews

Reviewed 8 January 2017 via mobile

Stopped there for a quick lunch. This is a nice but small Japanese place. The ramen was good. You can choose either regular or large size. In my opinion, the regular size is already pretty large.

The service here is good, too.

Thank Zena S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2016

The place is awesome. The food is amazing and the fact that everything is made fresh is a plus. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Shernise R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 September 2015 via mobile

What a wonderful little gem this cafe is. It's very small, but their food and their drinks are spectacular. I honestly think this place is a must.

Thank Probably C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2015

With the lack of genuine Japanese restaurants in our area - reading through the glowing reviews of this cafe seemed like a godsend. My sister and I decided to take our Japanese mother out to lunch for her birthday.

Parking is a challenge, but we were fortunate and nabbed a spot pretty early. Walking inside, the place is tiny. Two small tables were situated in the front, which were already occupied. I will say, the owner was very accommodating in providing a make-shift place for us to sit - as they bustled upstairs to fetch an extra set-up table with chairs. They set us up in the corner right outside the gift shop.

Now here is where it goes downhill.

Our server came by and handed us menus along with water. After taking our order, (Matcha tea with Onigiri sets) we waited. And waited. We waited 30 minutes - nothing. The server was no where to be found (in the back room?). We waited an hour - still nothing! No tea, no explanation, nadda! It was like we were invisible!

At the hour and 10 minute mark, our server made an appearance...and pointedly ignored us as he attended to another set of newly arrived customers with tea! (Did I mention this place is small?). I convinced my extraordinarily patient mother to just get up and leave. I made my way to the front register to let them know we were gone. What a major disappointment after traveling to Ellicott city!

Who knows? Maybe the stars somehow misaligned to give us such a let-down experience. Still, there's no excuse to leave your customers hanging with no interaction at all. Even a simple, "We're sorry for the delay, it will take another 30 minutes" - would be fine! Even better would be if their tea were actually served - it was something that we were really looking forward to.

I really wanted to like this cafe - but the experience has left me jaded. I can't speak for the quality of either the tea or the food, seeing as how we were left nursing our water glasses for over an hour.

Bottom line - train your staff. Teach them how to interact with customers - basic etiquette. They are the face of your business. If a bad experience occurs with service - it reflects poorly on you.

    • Value
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Thank Kathy A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hatsumi W, Owner at Matcha Time Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded 1 August 2015

Thank you so much for taking the time to post your review and bringing to our attention the situation you faced during your visit!

First, our most humble apologies for any misunderstandings. We are not a wait-service restaurant, but rather a counter service cafe. While we do bring your order to your table, all orders are placed and paid at the service counter as is typical for small cafes. After reading your review, we discussed the situation and found one of our new employees in error in that he neglected to let you know to order up front. His next error was not making anyone else aware of the situation. We have addressed this with all of our employees directly.

I would very much like the opportunity to make things right for you and your mother! Please feel free to stop in for a complimentary Matcha and Onigiri Set and a gift card for a future visit as well. Just let me know when you arrive and I'll take care you of personally.

Thank you,
Hatsumi

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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