17 Fabulous Places For Afternoon Tea In NYC

The best way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city? Why, pausing for a proper afternoon tea, of course! Here’s a comprehensive list of all the tea houses I’ve personally been to in NYC, and a bit about my experience at each. I’ve bolded my absolute favorites.

Fancy and Classic:

The Palm Court at The Plaza (note: they have an adorable tea service for children, too, so it’s a great place to take your favorite little one on a special date.)

The Pembroke Room at The Lowell (note: these guys were FANTASTIC with accommodating for both gluten-free and vegetarian services.  it’s also much quieter than any of the other services I went to on this list, providing an intimate experience.)

The Whitby (note: love that they serve afternoon tea ALL DAY, not from specific hours like most of the other places.   also, you can opt for the “healthier” version of an afternoon tea, getting gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and sugar-free, if you’d like.)

The Crosby Street Hotel (note: this spot is owned by the same people who operate The Whitby, so you’ll get a similar vibe, with an option of a healthy menu.  main differences is this has been around longer, so is typically pretty crowded, and is in Soho, while The Whitby is in Midtown.  you also have the option to receive tea on the outdoor terrace during the summer months.)

Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon (note: nestled in a beautiful downtown townhouse complete with a fireplace, this truly gives you the experience of what a proper tea service must have looked like back in the day.)

BG at Bergdorf’s (note: go here for the full “ladies who lunch” experience.)

St. Regis (note: the decor here is enchanting, with the ceiling painted with clouds and a harpist performing during tea)

The Pierre Two E (note: for being the legendary Pierre Hotel, I think I was expecting to be blown away by this tea.  don’t get me wrong, it was fine, but had we not had a Groupon for this particular experience, I would have been disappointed with the service.  although it’s worth noting that maybe it was BECAUSE we had a Groupon that service was so/so?  regardless, it wouldn’t be at the top of my list for fancy hotel teas going forward.)

The Russian Tea Room (note: this is by far my least favorite on this list, as I didn’t find the staff to be very accommodating with my vegetarian diet ((all the savories had meat and they didn’t offer any substitutions OR reduction of price)) nor were the treats very memorable…but since it’s such a NYC institution, I felt I had to add it to the list;-)

Fancy and Whimsical:

Garfunkel’s (note: this afternoon tea is held in a 1920’s speakeasy that is a bar in the evenings. at $35 for the full elegant setting, it’s probably the best value on this list.)

Laduree in SoHo (note: they don’t have the traditional tiered tea setting, but you can order separate desserts along with your tea.  they also have a gorgeous back garden, enclosed during the cooler months.)

Kings’ Carriage House (note: nestled in a beautiful uptown townhouse, this is the UES version of Lady Mendl’s…only erring more British.  i loved their mismatched china, and in fact, this is where my mother-in-law hosted my baby shower!)

Rose House (note: located in Flushing, Queens, this spot is a little bit of a trek, and it’s located in a shopping mall, so not exactly your traditional tea house.  BUT.  that being said, it’s truly one of my favorites if you’re up for a commute.  it’s decked out in pink, they serve the best milk tea I’ve ever had, and since there’s not the same space restrictions as tea spots in Manhattan, it feels really roomy.  it’s also a steal, as last time I went you could get tea for two for $35!  just know going in that English is limited, and they are not great about accommodating food restrictions–in lieu of vegetarian savory sammies, they just gave me more sweets–which I was A-OK with!)

Casual and Cute:

Alice’s Tea Cup (note: if you’re REALLY trying to make a meal out of afternoon tea, go here, and for $100 two people can have unlimited tea, scones, sandwiches, and sweets.  you’ll also run into the most children at this place, so if it’s a grownup vibe you’re going for, this is probably not the best choice.)

Podunk (note: this place has the best food on the list, in my humble opinion.  family owned and operated in the East Village, it’s truly adorable, but tiny –so make a rezzie–and has no bathroom. UPDATE: while, sadly, the original teahouse is not open currently, they will be starting an afternoon tea service at Pink Moose soon, which I’m delighted to try.)

Tea & Sympathy (note: you WILL wait for this place, and rezzies aren’t accepted, but they have a great selection of British food, along with tea service, so it’s something fun to experience at least once!)

Best Place to While Away an Afternoon Alone With a Book:

Radiance Tea House & Books on 55th Street (note: I’ve literally gone in here and spent HOURS nursing one pot of tea, and they’re completely cool with that.  they don’t have the traditional tiered setting, but have a huge selection of chinese and herbal teas that the other places don’t, as well as really good chinese food.)

I’ll be sure to update this list as I continue to explore more tea services in NYC (there are so many!)

And do tell…anywhere not on here that I should run out and try immediately?  Where is your favorite place for a special tea service?  Share below!

p.s. in case you missed it, our guide to tea time from the Brits, and my tea party baby shower!

16 Comments

  • Yacon Root says:

    Great Website. Very much enjoyed reading.

  • We’ve been meaning to do a follow-up to our post and we definitely had a few of these places on our wish list! Can’t wait to check them out!

  • eileen g says:

    great ideas. I surely will try some of these places. Tea & Sympathy especially has been on my radar.

    Alice’s teacup is adorable. but my experience is that they are one of those popular NYC restaurants that believes it is very important and you are lucky to be dining with them and so gracious customer service is not really necessary. i.e.: you can’t make a reservation unless you have large party. For a party you must have a set menu; no you can’t change anything on that menu; no you can’t have birthday cake for a birthday party because the menu includes pudding not cake; no, you can’t even buy one of our cakes; yes you must pay extra if the children in your party want to eat a lunch item that doesn’t include peanut butter, even if they are allergic to peanut butter, etc. Taking reservations means not making people wait, not making people wait is gracious; forcing people to show up and try their luck is not.

    • Used York City says:

      Such a good point, Eileen, I had no idea they were so strict! I hate when places don’t do substitutions, especially when you’re paying a pretty penny to eat there!

  • Gabrielle says:

    Ooh yum! You can never have too many afternoon teas – or at least a list of places you intend to enjoy said afternoon teas haha :) Alice’s Tea Cup sounds spectacular!

    aglassofice.com
    x

  • Afternoon tea is such a fun treat! I’ve done the Plaza and Russian Tea Room, and hope to one day try them all! It’s good to have goals, right? 😉

  • inna says:

    Beautiful photography
    I probably can not go back to NY soon, at least I can enjoy your posts ♡♡
    Loving your blog
    x
    Inna

  • Maddy says:

    Oh my gosh, YES! I’ll be back in NYC again next month and I’ve got to try at least one of these. Which would you choose if you could only go to one?

    • Used York City says:

      Woohoo! I’d say if you’re planning to get dressed up and be fancy, go to the Pembroke Room. If you want a cute tea you can enjoy in your jeans, try Podunk. Both of these have the best food on this list and the service is wonderful–just very different vibes!

  • Sarah says:

    Yes! I’ve been meaning to ask you for tea suggestions for when my mom comes to visit, so this is perfect! Is the Radiance place where we had book club?

    • Used York City says:

      Yay, so glad it was helpful! And yes, it’s the spot on 55th we had book club with the bridal party!;-)

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