In Food + Drink

Scones And Sparkling: Five Of NYC’s Most Spectacular High Teas

New York is a city that knows indulgence well. A quick stroll along Fifth Avenue will highlight that point clearly. As home to some of the most fabulous bars, museums and restaurants in the world, there’s no denying the city is a destination that promises unparalleled luxury for those seeking it.

And what is more classically elegant than the experience of high tea? From pure opulence in some of the city’s most sophisticated hotels to tranquil teahouses tucked away from the bustle of Manhattan’s streets, New York is certainly not short of fine high tea locations.

For travellers short on time, however, we thought we’d assist in narrowing down the list by selecting five of the most impressive options for NYC high teas:

Seven Seeds

Set on the ground floor of ‘it’ boutique Brooklyn venue, The Williamsburg HotelSeven Seeds is an Eastern European restaurant that prides itself on its warm, inviting atmosphere. Much like the hotel itself, Seven Seeds is an eclectic restaurant that offers a fresh take on high-end, and their Brooklyn High Tea is no different.

Chef-selected sweets and savouries include avocado toast with pistachio dukkah; brie cheese, honey crisp apple & fig jam and lemon meringue. Pair your three tiers of treats with brews like Majorelle mint or smokey earl grey, and opt for a boozy upgrade with a flute of champagne or specially-crafted high tea cocktail.

96 Wythe Ave Brooklyn

Cha-An Teahouse

Cha-An Teahouse is an East Village gem and a favourite among New Yorkers looking to step away from the fast-paced streets and into a quiet escape.

The Japanese teahouse has been designed to feel “like a little piece of Japan,” finished with simple wooden touches and delicate paper lamps. The menu, also mostly Japanese, features matcha and sencha alongside Western dishes that have been blended with Japanese flavours.

Select from the list of handmade desserts, like the black sesame créme brulée and green tea parfait, or try the Cha-An toast options served on house-made bread. Alternatively, you can order the teahouse’s Jewellery Box, which is an assortment of desserts chosen by pastry chef Norie Uematsu.

230 East 9th St. 2nd Floor, New York

The Plaza Hotel

As far as iconic high tea locations go, it’s difficult to look past The Plaza. The distinguished hotel has been serving Afternoon Tea to guests for over 100 years.

Take your place beneath the grand chandelier in the venue’s exquisite Plaza Court and enjoy mouthfuls of caviar blini, lobster roll, sesame milk chocolate éclair and maple-pecan cheesecake.

Being at The Plaza, the tea selection is unsurprisingly comprehensive, and menus include options for premium champagne upgrades or accompanying cocktails. There are also seasonal Holiday selections between November 23rd and January 6th with items like eggnog tarts and ginger bread and banana chocolate cake pops.

Fifth Avenue at Central Park South, New York

Harney & Sons, SoHo

Tea connoisseurs, look no further. Harney & Sons is a tasting bar and lounge that houses as many as 250 different varieties of tea. If you’re after an obscure blend, this is likely going to be the place for you.

While technically, the store does not offer high tea as an experience, the SoHo location does serve ‘Cream Tea’ in-house. The pared-back spread includes a large pot of tea along with scones and macarons for two, both of which are available in a variety of flavours. If you’re still hungry after your first few delicacies, you can also order French pastries from New York institution, Balthazar or an assortment of shortbread cookies.

The tea selection is the real show-stopper here, however. If you’re wondering just how extensive it is, let us give you an idea: there are eleven kinds of earl grey, alone.

433 Broome Street, New York

BG Restaurant

Luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman is another iconic New York site, with the company’s story running deep into the city’s history. While traditionally, you might think of brands like Dolce & Gabbana or Jimmy Choo when seeing the Bergdorf Goodman name, that’s not all the store offers guests.

On the seventh floor of the Fifth avenue establishment, you’ll find BG Restaurant. This in-house dining space happens to boast unparalleled views of Central Park as well as a first-rate afternoon tea menu.

With BG, the experience is a particularly traditional one with Dammann Frères teas served with tea sandwiches; freshly baked scones; fruit preserves; Devonshire cream and petite sweets.

For an additional cost, you can choose to include a glass of Veuve Clicquot yellow label brut NV to your elegant afternoon overlooking the park. Possibly with a new pair of shoes in tow.

754 5th Avenue, New York

(Lead images: The Plaza Hotel / supplied)

Published 20 November, 2019