It’s All in the Leaves: Tea Time in New York City

As the New York Times reported earlier this year, this city of coffee drinkers is converting to tea. The traditional British afternoon break is becoming more common in this busy city, where a little bit of relaxation, and endless tea, is never a bad thing. Check out the best places to have tea in NYC—and enjoy some finger foods while you’re at it.

Mandarin Oriental


Afternoon tea at midtown’s Mandarin Oriental is truly a unique, luxurious experience. Reservations required in advance. Tea imported directly from China is blended specifically for the Mandarin Oriental, and includes varieties like lychee green or the Rose of New York, made with floral Ceylon black tea. Tea sandwiches and pastries also include Asian influences, evident in the radish and watercress and sheep’s milk cream sandwich and the coconut green tea tartlette. Tea time is also available with cocktails (try the Green Samurai: Ao Vodka, fresh kiwi, celery, apple juice, agave), champagne or rose champagne.

The Palm Court


Afternoon teatime at The Plaza Hotel may seem like a trap for tourists, but if you ignore a few too many shopping bags and New York memorabilia, you can enjoy a luxurious afternoon at this classic New York destination. Serving tea since 1907, the Palm Court took a summer hiatus, but will return this fall with its signature finger sandwiches (including curried lobster salad and smoked salmon with wild sturgeon), scones, sweets, and of course, a well-curated selection of tea. Champagne is also available, because what would a relaxing afternoon be without a little bubbly?

St. Regis Hotel


This “modern glamour” tea room brings on the luxury for tea time. The St. Regis’ tea selection offers high-quality teas for every palate, including the delicate white tip darjeeling “the champagne of teas” and of course, a glass of Laurent Perrier to accompany your steeped delicacies. Savory sandwiches include roast beef with horseradish cream and English cucumber, and freshly baked scones as well as sweet tea pastries are also available.

The Pierre


Known as one of the best afternoon teas in New York, The Pierre Hotel hosts teatime from 3-5 p.m. and the two hours will fly by. Ask for any special off-menu blends for any extra treat. The menu includes caviar and buckwheat blinis, deviled eggs with red sorrel, and cranberry scones with Devonshire cream and homemade lemon curd.

Ritz Carlton

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Offered daily from 2-4 p.m., the Ritz Carlton’s is a teatime you definitely want to visit. Be sure to reserve in advance to enjoy specialty teas and as well as sweet and savory pastries. Stroll through Central Park after tea if you for any reason feel guilty about excessive macaron consumption.