Some of the best afternoon tea services in the city take place inside iconic New York hotels. Here are five of our favorites. By Carly Petrone.
Astor Court at St. Regis
2 E. 55th St.
New York, NY
Dine as Lady Caroline Astor did during Afternoon Tea at The St. Regis New York. Back in the 1890’s, this socialite established the famous “Astor 400,” a list of New York’s most influential society members who gathered inside this luxurious hotel to catch up on the latest gossip. Today, you can take part in that tradition by sitting down for afternoon tea at Astor Court. The menu offers a selection of teas, ranging from Herbal Infused to Rooibos, as well as plenty of savory sandwiches and small bites created by Executive Chef James Ortiaga. Favorites include Duck Prosciutto with pineapple, cilantro, and truffle oil on a Belgian endive as well as Lump Crab Salad with lemon vinaigrette on a mini brioche. Pastry Chef, Jeffery Wurtz, offers a modern take on the hotel’s iconic pastries with adorable New York Cheesecake bites, decadent Dark Chocolate Mousse creations, and assorted French Macarons. There are also plenty of options for the gluten-free eater. Of course, it wouldn’t be a tea service without freshly baked scones with Double Devonshire cream, seasonal fruit preserves, and lemon curd. Afternoon tea is offered daily from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. and the restaurant’s new Caroline’s Tea menu debuts on May 1st so make sure to make your reservation today.
The Palm Court at The Plaza
Fifth Avenue at Central Park South
New York, NY 10019
There’s nothing more iconic than sitting down for Afternoon Tea at The Plaza. Make sure to look up at the soaring stained-glass dome as you walk to your table at The Palm Court. The potted plants and ceiling-high palm trees that surround the restaurant will make you feel like you’re dining at nearby Central Park. Guests have the option to choose between The New Yorker Tea ($75), The Champagne Tea ($95), or The Children’s Eloise Tea ($55) menus. Nibble on tiers of sweet treats and tea sandwiches like Parisian Ham with white cheddar and Bavarian mustard on a Pretzel Ficelle or a classic English Cucumber with goat cheese, mint-green goddess cream on rye bread. A freshly baked stack of scones lie tucked away ready for the side Double Devonshire Cream, Lemon Curd, and Preserves that is left on the table. Wash it all down with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Brut or Moet & Chandon Brut Rose Imperial. Enjoy your own very large pot of tea – choose between Darjeeling, English Breakfast, Rooibos, and Lavender Oolong to name a few. Kids can end their meal with their very own stick of fluffy pink cotton candy. Now that’s a tea party.
The Star Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton
50 Central Park South
New York, NY 10019
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The Star Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton offers a rotating Afternoon Tea menu ($65) that changes with the seasons of Central Park (located right across the street). Tea drinkers will be happy to know that an actual Tea Sommelier chooses the variety of soothing teas that accompany your meal. Sip on Cherry Blossom Green Tea, Black Tea, Oolong, or White Tea – you can even add on a glass of Yellow Label Veuve Clicquot Champagne with the Star Lounge Enhanced Afternoon Tea option for an additional $24. Snack on an assortment of sandwiches like Smoked Duck Salad, Watermelon Radish with Meyer Lemon Aioli, Pickled Shrimp, and Bourbon Black Pepper Smoked Salmon. It’s hard to pass up their petit fours – their Rhubarb Financiers and Chocolate Dipped Sable Breton with Strawberry and Orange Essence are certainly standouts. Homemade Golden Raisin Scones with Fruit Preserves and Devonshire Cream round out this epic afternoon meal that will leave you anything but hungry.
Pembroke Room at The Lowell
28 E. 63rd St.
New York, NY 10065
Enjoy a quieter, more intimate tea service at the Pembroke Room at The Lowell on the Upper East Side. Open up the large French doors into their European-inspired salon where high tea is served on a beautiful table that sparkles with crystal and gleaming silver. All three menu options, the Classic Pembroke Tea ($55), The Pembroke Royal Tea ($65), or The Lowell Imperial Tea ($97), include seasonal tea sandwiches like Scottish Smoked Salmon with Caviar, Lobster Rolls, and Cucumber and Dill as well traditional scones and Petit Fours, Assorted Fruit Tarts, French Pastries, and Macarons. Definitely try their Nuit a Versailles tea, which features bergamot essential oil, kiwi, yellow peach, orange blossom, and violet blossom flavors. This Sencha tea is adorned with orange blossom and pink corn-flower petals, making it more than Instagram worthy.
The Gallery at The Carlyle Hotel
35 E. 76th St.
New York, NY 10021
Legendary decorator Renzo Mongiardino designed The Gallery inside The Carlyle Hotel with a very specific vision. Inspired by the sultan’s dining room at the Topikapi Palace in Turkey, this two-tiered restaurant exudes elegance with its deep red wallpaper, antique banquettes, and red-fringed velvet chairs. Sip on imported teas, Lavazza espresso, or Stumptown iced or French pressed coffee during this decadent Afternoon Tea service. This is definitely the place to go if you’re looking for exotic teas like Assam, Lapsang Souchang, and Verveine. Fill up on a selection of sandwiches, English scones with all the trimmings, and plenty of miniature pastries. Tea time in The Gallery goes from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and costs $52 per person.