It's no wonder that the teahouse Franchia fancies itself as an oasis of calm in a turbulent world: it's an offshoot of Hangawi, the serene Korean vegetarian spot whose owners have been nourishing bodies and soothing nerves for years. Their elegant new Murray Hill "shrine: is equipped with a tea bar; a vegetarian kitchen specializing in green-tea-flavored pancakes, noodles, and bread; and a mountain-temple-style traditional tearoom. If you manage to achieve enlightenment, you can take a little bit home with you-everything's for sale, from the poetry-inscribed ceramic cups to the house wild green tea.
Colorful vegetarian Franchia, 12 Park Ave (34th St), is a serene spin off of Hangawi, the Korean vegetarian restaurant nearby. Franchia offers teas and elegant light food. Silky green tea noodles, steamed dumplings that look like oversize cappelletti, and the rice bowl called bibimbap, which is done as a salad, are all to eat in or take out. And unlike Hangawi, you keep your shoes on.
According to franchia.com: "There are many ways to reduce stress, but one simple and little known way is through tea."At Franchia, it’s not so little known; I see a woman slide behind a table after her workday and wail, "I neeeed tea?quot; The front room is lined with tea-oriented gift items, and Franchia offers illustrated instructions on how to make tea using their tea sets ("Step 7: Take in the fragrance of the tea while drinking slowly.") The inside is far more posh than the casual (yet inviting) outdoor seating area of green umbrellas and molded white chairs would indicate. It’s raining again, so we can’t sit outside. Three levels of dining are set off by heavy dark-wood grating and a bright green alcove. The flowered ceiling in light green is spectacular and attracts my gaze even longer than my compact does. Expansive gorgeous ink abstracts on rice paper dot the walls. A ceramic oil lamp is lit, someone strikes the gong near the entrance, flute music plays.
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Teahouse review: Franchia by A.Reed Several blocks east of the Empire State Building, the triplex Korean teahouse Franchia brightens a bland stretch of park Avenue with its 3-story window and white sidewalk tables. This "tea shrine in another space and time", is a mountain-temple design, with palatial floral ceiling and Chinese ink paintings on cream colored wall. The ground floor tea bar for take out or drinking-in faces simple dark wood tables where guests can dine and savor 15 premium loose-leaf teas and assorted herbal tisanes ($5 to $10). Display shelves exhibit ceramic tea ware, the Franchia line of rare teas, and "tea starter kits". This stylish vegetarian temple exudes philosophy in every cup ("tea tao"), and educates in weekend workshops for the tea-challenged. The formal atmosphere is conducive to special holiday meals and events. Poetry-engraved plates and brochures extol "harmony, balance, peace of mind," although harsh acoustic and tight seating might thwart lofty goals at peak hours. click here for full review
Of all the most exquisite experience in life, sharing tea with dear friends at Franchia is one of the highest. Thank you all for wonderful service, delicious meals and a sublime moment for being together in the presence of tea.
My compliments to the tea master and staff - very serene environment and beautiful art. Best wishes.
Thank you very much. We loved learning of the traditional tea ceremony.
-Valerie and Brent Keast
You have created a wonderful restaurant. I wish you success in this venture. The tea is delicious and I love vegetarian food. Your restaurant promotes a calm and peaceful atmosphere and mood. Best wishes.
Everything is beautiful and excellent service.
The most delightful place I have ever eaten in. All my love and good fortune to you.
-Natalie and Josef
Very relaxing, peaceful, and refreshingly different. We will be back.
-Cooper, Kavi and Karuna
Excellent food and service.
-Ian and Marjorie Ross
What a pleasure!
-James Norwood Pratt