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. Today we give you our eight favorite places for afternoon tea in New York, from luxurious hotels to casual tea shops.
'Afternoon Tea' on Serious Eats
Could it be possible that the city's best afternoon tea is also the city's most well-priced afternoon tea? Welcome to Bosie Tea Parlor in the West Village.
The waiters are all male. And nearly all of the diners are females—how great is that? Welcome to tea at Lady Mendl's, a Victorian tearoom tucked inside the Inn at Irving Place, just steps away from Casa Mono.
Afternoon Tea at The Mark, a Jean-Georges restaurant, is a quiet and precious affair. It's $40 per person for the full tea service, though you may opt for only savory or sweets, at $22 each. Tea is served daily from 3:00-5:00pm and reservations are recommended, to seats on the plush hotel couches. Whether you're alone or with friends, each person is presented with individual three-tier trays.
We've mentioned Cha-An frequently in the past, most often for the lunch deal and sweet takes on classic Japanese desserts. A little-known offering at Cha-An is the Afternoon Tea, perhaps the cheapest in the city at $18 per person.
The Tea Set opened in the West Village late last year, earning a short article in the New York Times and not much press after. And it's for that reason this place remains a quiet gem. A sliver of a spot right off Greenwich Avenue, the entrance is blocked by construction right outside and health nuts at Equinox across the street. But make your way to this colorful restaurant/tea shop and you'll be glad you did.
Afternoon tea is served daily from 2pm at the Crosby Street Hotel. Hotel guests may opt to take tea in the private drawing room, and others simply dropping by will find a cozy spot inside the hotel's Bar and Terrace. The price of $34 per person is about what you can expect at most Manhattan hotels' teas—where you pay just as much for the Soho setting as you do the food.
It's an informal set up, one that couldn't be less like the white-tablecloth afternoon teas that dominate Manhattan, and it's a place that I return to time after time.