The origin of afternoon tea is believed to have begun in England with Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford in 1840. Anna, who struggled with hunger pains every afternoon, began having small sweets and snacks with her tea in the afternoon, in order to help her last until the evening meal that was usually served around 8:oo p.m. The trend soon caught on throughout England, and eventually in other countries as well.
Afternoon tea has become increasingly popular in the United States, thanks to companies like Destination Tea, who offer reviews and descriptions of various popular places where you can go to enjoy afternoon tea throughout the United States. In as chic a city as New York, it's no surprise that there are many different wonderful places to enjoy an afternoon tea. When choosing 10 of the best, Angela of Destination Tea looks for "gracious service, memorable ambiance, high-quality tea selection, and delicious, scratch-made food." Here are 10 of the best places for afternoon tea in NYC.
10 The Baccarat Hotel
In partnership with Mariage Frères tea, the Baccarat Hotel offers guest an exquisite afternoon tea expeirence. The Baccarat Hotel is from the well-known French crystal company, so the Grand Salon where they host their afternoon tea is floor-to-ceiling crystals, with multiple breathtaking chandeliers twinkling away.
The hotel offers four different afternoon tea packages some of which are named after historical figures who have had an impact on the hotel company's history, as well as a vegan tea selection. With delicious items on the menu like quiche Lorraine, cucumber tea sandwich, chocolate sacher torte, and lavender shortbreads, guests are sure to love this afternoon tea. Packages range from $65 - $115 per person.
9 Bergdorf Goodman
Complete some shopping with your friends, and then take a break and enjoy an afternoon tea package. Located on the top floor of the Bergdorf Goodman department store, guests can enjoy a beautiful view of Central Park from this 7th floor lookout.
The beautiful decor, crisp linens, and delicious food make this a popular place for people to enjoy a light lunch or an afternoon tea. With such delectable items on the serving tray as freshly baked scones, fruit preserves, and a variety of petite sweets, this restaurant is sure to delight customers. Tea service is offered for $45 per person.
8 Tea and Sympathy
Tea and Sympathy is a British restaurants that focuses on British cuisine, including a wonderful afternoon tea spread. They also sell lovely teapots and cups, British groceries, and lots of other little items that will remind you of being in Britain.
Their afternoon tea is very popular, and the little restaurant is often quite packed. The tea trays are packed high with traditional finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream, and a selection of sweets that will touch every sweet tooth! Afternoon tea packages are $40 per person or $75 for two people.
7 Janam Tea at Garfunkel's
Janam Tea at Garfunkels serves organic specialty teas exclusively from single-estates in India, offering wonderful aromas and flavors that are warm and unique. The teas are cultivated on tea gardens throughout India, and guests can try unblended black, oolong, green, and white teas, all offering different flavor experiences.
Along with the delicious Indian teas, you will also receive a tea platter piled high with delicious items such as cucumber on white with mushroom scallion cream cheese, scones with clotted cream and preserves, and brown butter cookies. Afternoon tea packages are $40 per person.
6 The Met
There are so many things to enjoy when visiting the Met in New York City, and it is truly a place that shouldn't be missed if you are passing through as a visitor. The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers incredible exhibits to view that are changing regularly, offering new and exciting things to see.
Their afternoon tea service is very enjoyable and a popular thing for visitors to experience while touring the museum. It is served between 2-4 p.m. with reservations, and it costs $30 per person. They provide a lovely selection of teas, as well as currant scones with clotted cream and blueberry jam, tea sandwiches, a soup shooter, and assorted tea tarts.
5 The Plaza Hotel
The Plaza Hotel is well-known for it luxury accommodations, celebrity visitors, and exquisite attention to detail. The Palm Court at the hotel is where guests will continue to be impressed with the hotel's finery and attention to detail, as it has been known for its afternoon tea for over 100 years.
The Champagne Tea that they offer provides guests with delicious items like their lobster roll, herb-roasted prime rib sandwich, freshly baked seasonal scones with Devonshire cream and house-made preserves. Finish the meal off with delectable pastries and sweets like Victorian sponge cake, candied flower petals, and fresh seasonal fruit tart. Afternoon tea packages range between $79-$129, depending on what package is chosen.
4 The Pierre
Recognized by Town & Country Magazine as the best afternoon tea in New York City, the afternoon tea that is offered at The Pierre is truly second to none. Afternoon tea is held in the neo-classical lounge, Two E Bar, and they also offer Tiffin & Tea service as well. All of their delicious tea items are baked fresh in house by the hotel's full pastry team.
Guests are treated to miniature lobster rolls, spiced chicken tartlet, cranberry scones with Devonshire cream, strawberry lemon pavlovas, and coffee opera cake, just to name a few of the delicious items. Afternoon tea packages are $74 per person, or $89-94 with the addition of some champagne.
3 Blue Box Café
It is no surprise that an afternoon tea at Blue box Café would be spectacular, as the restaurant is owned and operated by the infamous jewelry company Tiffany & Co. The soft blue hues that the jewelry line is famed for are studded throughout the cafe, making the ambience clean, fresh, and light-hearted.
Located on the 4th floor of the company's New York flagship store, the café takes popular New York dishes and adds a unique Tiffany twist to them, making this tea experience one of the best. Guests will enjoy finger sandwiches, a Tiffany's bird's nest, sweet and savoury scones, and many delicious sweets like chocolate ingot. Afternoon tea at the Blue Box Café costs $52 per person.
2 The Whitby Hotel
The Whitby Hotel is known for offering a quiet, intimate place for guests to enjoy an afternoon tea service. The hotel's beautiful decor adds to the elegance of the event, with gorgeous chandeliers shimmering and twinkling above.
Guests can choose between traditional tea selections, or for an additional $3, they may choose one of the hotel's specialty teas, such as Jasmine Silver Tip or Lemon Verbena. Along with tea, the hotel provides class finger sandwiches, scones with cashew cream, and delicious sweets like chocolate panna cotta. Afternoon tea service is provided for $50 per person.
1 Gotham Lounge at The Peninsula
The Gotham Lounge at The Peninsula creates an elegant and intimate backdrop for your afternoon tea experience. Neutral decor is complimented by rich, royal blue wing chairs, allowing guests to sit comfortably while enjoying their tea.
The Lounge provides delicious tea sandwiches, such as elderflower and cucumber, and hibiscus flower lobster salad. Along with the sandwiches, guests will enjoy candied fruit scones and wonderful sweet treats like isphan cake and strawberry inspiration. AFternoon tea packages are $80 per person.