Astor Court at the St. Regis (www.starwoodhotels.com/stregis)
“Old world elegance” is a phrase that should be reserved for places like the St. Regis. Enjoy the traditional afternoon tea or the champagne tea, Tea Time de Madame Clicquot, served daily from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the hotel’s Astor Court. Guests will find an excellent tea selection from T that includes flavored and unflavored black teas, China and Japanese greens, oolongs, whites, and herbals. With Astor Court’s commitment to tradition, customers will find all that is expected from a traditional tea — tiered trays laden with lovely tea sandwiches such as smoked salmon roulades and cucumber napoleons, scones with English Double Devonshire Cream and sweets that include almond pineapple tea cakes and petit fours. The scones consistently receive high praise. Caviar Tea is also available which includes a tasting plate of caviar and champagne along with the traditional tea tiers.
Afternoon tea is served daily. 2 East 55th St. (212) 753-4500.
Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon at the Inn at Irving Place (www.innatirving.com)
Manhattan (Union Square)
Immerse yourself in the warmth and comfort of a stunning Victorian-style inn that received mention in Bruce Richardson’s “Great Tea Rooms of America.” Entering the stately brownstone, guests can sink into a comfortable chair in the inn’s parlor before beginning the elegant afternoon tea in one of the four salons. Flickering candles and fireplaces, fresh flowers, and the warm tea may make Lady Mendl’s a place that you never want to leave.
Guests at Lady Mendl’s will enjoy a five-course royal tea service. Begin with an amuse bouche followed by your choice of finger sandwiches. Tea lovers rave about the inn’s scones with clotted cream and jams and the Lady Mendl’s signature cake which is composed of thin crepes and custard. The cookies come next and all of these lovely bites are accompanied by freshly brewed loose leaf tea. Gluten-free options are available. Reservations are strongly recommended and seating times are strictly adhered to.
The 90 minute afternoon tea is served daily. Reservations are strongly recommended and there are set tea times on weekends. 56 Irving Place. (212) 533-4600.
Palm Court at The Plaza (www.fairmont.com/the-plaza-new-york/dining/afternoontea)
There are few places more associated with afternoon tea than The Plaza in New York. The soaring ceilings and ornate decor of The Palm Court is a must-visit destination for many tea lovers. And any child who grew up reading “Eloise” will dream of joining you.
The Classic afternoon tea includes sandwiches like truffle quail egg salad and Maine lobster, along with freshly baked scones, and an assortment of pastries like sacher torte and hazelnut napoleons. The New Yorker adds more unusual options like prosciutto and mozzarella and Roquefort cheese with grapes and watercress. Desserts, of course, add in local favorites like New York cheesecake and black and white cookies. Chocolate fans will find their own bit of heaven with Chocolate Tea — chocolate fondue with an assortment of fruits and sweets to dip, scones, and chocolate desserts like pot de crème and truffles. The young and young at heart my swoon over Eloise Tea with grilled cheese and cream cheese and jam sandwiches, scones, and dessert options which include cookies and Jell-O. Tea options include the Plaza’s signature teas, classic blends like Earl Grey, premium black and green teas, and herbal infusions.
Afternoon tea is served daily from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. 5th Avenue at Central Park South. (212) 759-3000.
Pembroke Tea Room at the Lowell Hotel (www.lowelhouse.com/restaurants.php)
Manhattan (Upper East Side)
The Lowell has gained a strong following of tea lovers citing the Pembroke Tea Room as a favorite for afternoon tea. Located on the second floor of this tony hotel, the Pembroke is a perfect retreat from the busy city outside.
Twenty teas are included on the menu including the Lowell Hotel Blend of Ceylon, Darjeeling, and jasmine; oolongs; green teas; and herbals. The Classic Tea includes English tea sandwiches like cucumber and watercress and smoked salmon with crème fraiche, scones with lemon curd and Devonshire cream, and an assortment of petit fours, pastries and macaroons. Royal Tea adds champagne, port or sherry. Gluten-free options are available as well as a Caviar Champagne Tea for two which adds an ounce of golden osetra caviar with toast points and Veueve Clicquot champagne.
Afternoon tea is served daily from 3 – 6 p.m. Reservations are required.
28 East 63rd St. (212) 605-6825.