A few years ago I was in London and thought I needed a genuine high tea experience so I made a reservation for tea at Fortnum & Mason. I thought we might get a few lovely little sanwhiches and some nice teas, I totally underestimated the experience. The little sandwiches were more delicious, unique and flavorful. The teas were amazing, I found my all time favorite there The Wedding Breakfast Tea. The desserts were totally out of this world. We were there for hours. It was everything you might hope for but never expect to actually be delivered. Having no access to a private jet, I am unable to just pick up and traipse off the London when the mood strikes me, I am left with trying to replicate the experience and luckily New York City has multiple options for me to explore. Here is my hometown list.
The Plaza: This was a lovely experience. There are different levels of tea, including a Champagne tea. This was the most children friendly, they have the special Eloise tea. The tea is served in Palm Court and provides that combination traditional tea and old time New York experience all in one. I would do this again any time. You do get a bit of a concentration of tourists because, after all it is the Plaza, but well worth it.
The Pierre: You can have afternoon tea at Two E Bar. While the seating is more intimate, meaning a little less pace, the tea was a very comfortable experience. There are multiple versions of teas, and right now they have a special tea with an Indian Asian influence. The service is amazing and the teas were the most unusual. Another strong recommend.
Peninsula Hotel: The Gotham Lounge seems to be a little known gem in the city. We brought our niece to this one and while there was nothing special for children, there were enough cute sandwiches and items in chocolate to interest her. There was plenty of room, we were not rushed through he experience and you get to chose your sanwhiches. The decor was modern and elegant New York. The children’s tea offered our little one endless hot chocolate.
Alice’s Tea Cup: The experience is children focused and is the furthest from that typical expectation of high tea. The experience from salon to salon is inconsistent. There is a large list of teas, and there is Alice in Wonderland themed decor. I avoid this as an option now that I have been. It is a good place if you think you need from freedom and flexibility for your children. The location I went to was small, but you can get in there at any hour.
Laduree: We end on an international note, the teas are amazingly french and delicious. The macarons will be the best you have. The servers all have french accents, its like you are transported to France as you walk through the door. The focus is on the sweet here though. The impossibly gorgeous and scrumptious pastries are everything you want them to be.
Now the list above is fairly small so I will give my high tea bucket list.
- Lady Mendl’s: Looks like the best you can get in New York, my niece is too young to go yet but the menu and decor look amazing at this dedicated tea salon.
- Tiffany’s: The Blue Box Cafe is the closest you can get to actually having breakfast at Tiffany’s but the seating is limited. You can only reserve tables for 4 and this will have a heavy tourist prescience.
- The Carlyle: Tea is serviced in The Gallery on a first come first serve basis. It might not matter what they actually serve, the experience of being in a location with such a long New York history might be enough.
- The Mandarin Oriental: I have high expectations for this one, and I hear it does not disappoint. It can be hard to get a reservation though so book early. I have booked and cancelled several times because other priorities conflicted.
New places are always popping up on my radar and I will someday hit them all. What is on your bucket list?