New York Tea

Tea time in New York: as the temperatures dip, many of us yearn for a soothing cup of tea to keep us warm and toasty. Manhattan has lots of cozy tea houses and more exotic tea salons, which are great destinations for cozying up with a book or meeting a date. We've got the best in intimate tea hideaways, some with a twist or two, like champagne tea service.

New York Tea: Russian Tea Room

afternoon tea russian tea room

What was founded 90 years ago as a place for the Russian cultural and intellectual elite to meet and play has become a New York cultural institution of its own. Afternoon tea, long a tradition, has expanded to include menus for children, vegetarians, and gluten-free guests. For NYC's Summer Restaurant Week, look for a $39 special menu, available at lunch and dinner from Mondays through Fridays. Start with a Traditional Tea Room Red Borscht or Tea Room Salad, followed by mains like Vegetable Wellington, Boeuf à la Stroganoff, Côtelette à la Kiev, or Kulebyaka, a pastry-wrapped salmon favorite.

New York Tea: West Village

Bosie Tea Parlor new york tea

The West Village’s Bosie Tea Parlor offers service for one or an intimate tea for two. Beyond the teapot, you'll find delectable mini-scones clotted with cream and jam, tea sandwiches, tasty mini tea cakes, and a choice of macarons. Celebrate winter with house's posh champagne service, which offers a selection of more than 100 hand-sourced and blended fine loose teas along with yummy pastries and macarons, handcrafted by a French pastry chef. Indulge in a glass of Perrier-Jouet champagne, as well as some tea, scones, tea sandwiches, and other delicacies. The teas, which are certified by the American Tea Masters Association, are under the direction of tea master Kiley Holliday. To earn her title, the tea sommelier studied all aspects of the drink, including history, taste-testing, blending, and pairing.

New York Tea: East Village

Those seeking a traditional Japanese experience should explore Cha-An Tea House. You'll find an extensive selection of fine teas and several dozen food and dessert offerings, each presented in the appropriate style. The inviting space boasts wooden floors, tables, and booths, as well as chic bamboo room dividers for privacy. Fresh flower sprigs accent each table. The tea house was established in 2004 by Japanese restaurateur Bon Yagi, but chef Tomoko Kato is the master behind the bites. Trained in home-style Japanese cooking and French pastry, she apprenticed at Bouley Bakery with Bill Yosses, the Obama administration’s pastry chef. Visitors to Cha-An have the option of one of two Cha-An “sets,” featuring a range of dishes, tea, and delicious desserts.

New York Tea: Upper East Side

Kings Carriage House

The Kings’ Carriage House opened its doors in 1994. It ranks among Manhattan’s top 50 restaurants for décor and is noted for its topnotch food. Proprietors Elizabeth King and Paul Farrell have successfully recreated the elegance and unparalleled hospitality of a European manor house. Their intimate two-story tea establishment is adorned with gilded paintings, glimmering crystal chandeliers, and an interesting mix of antique furnishings. The space exudes an aristocratic atmosphere. For those who yearn for a true tea adventure, King’s Carriage House offers a Tea-Party-To Go: complete with tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets, which can be served off the premises.

New York Tea: Gramercy Park

Lady Mendl's has been consistently ranked among the best and most romantic salons in New York City. This ultra charming salon is housed in a Georgian brownstone and offers an opulent five-course tea, served in a whimsical parlor. Patrons sip in style from hand-culled vintage Wedgwood teacups as they nibble dainty finger sandwiches and house-baked scones. The result is a mod take on traditional afternoon tea.

New York Tea: Midtown East

The iconic Palm Court at The Plaza was recently re-launched, with a complete renovation by a master architect. From morning to evening, The Palm offers classic American menus in a glam atmosphere. It’s all about the finer details. Here, afternoon tea is a truly memorable experience complete with an enticing tea list and custom tableware and china. A decorative stained glass dome ushers a touch of old New York to the space—yet the hospitality and service offer a modern spin. The grandeur and greenery of next door Central Park is incorporated in lots of garden and plant elements, such as soaring palm trees, leafy potted plants, and a charming trellised bar.

About the Author

Regina Molaro is a freelancer writer whose work spans from luxury to fashion, art, lifestyle, and beauty. Her work has appeared in Modern Luxury Hawai‘i, as well as Bespoke Magazine and In Season—the in-house magazines at the St. Regis and Mandarin Oriental New York.

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