For the food alone, afternoon tea isn't a steal. With prices starting in the 20s and running up to the 50s, taking tea is more of a special treat where you pay for the atmosphere as much as the food. And, of course, the luxury to lounge around for hours with no bother—an experience that is well worth it. The standard afternoon tea consists of four elements:
- Savory: Tea sandwiches and savory tarts
- Scones: Most often served with devonshire cream, lemon curd, and fruit jams
- Sweet: Cakes, petit fours, fruits tarts, eclairs
- Tea: a few places have an in-house tea line, but most outsource their tea. There's nothing wrong with outsourcing, but it's very important that the teas are brewed to order using real loose leaves, not tea bags. If you're going to pay this much, nothing is worse than seeing a limp tea bag or two hanging out of the teapot.
For the most part, the three food elements are served all at once on a three tiered tray, but many places also split up the three components and serve each as an individual course. You might lose out on the fun of three tiers, but this guarantees warm scones. It's a win-win either way.
Today we give you our eight favorite places for afternoon tea in New York, from luxurious hotels to casual tea shops.