Where to Experience Tea in the Big Apple, from Fancy to Whimsical

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The best way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city? Why, pausing for a proper afternoon tea, of course! Here’s our very favorite tea houses/services in Manhattan.

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.)

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.)

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 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:

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.)

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.)

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!

Jessica Tiare Bowen
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.

Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.

She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New York...as used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.
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