Whether it’s an alternative to coffee in the morning, a cozy drink on a cold rainy day or a relaxing way to end a meal, there is nothing like a good cup of tea. As lovers of tea, one of our favourite indulgences is going for High Tea.
We were first introduced to High Tea while living in London, England one summer. It was a friend’s birthday and instead of going out for dinner, we opted for traditional afternoon tea. Dressing up in our most elegant summer dresses, six of us headed to the Savoy Hotel to enjoy scones, tea sandwiches, pastries, tea, and champagne for the birthday girl. It was divine.
Whether it’s for a special celebration, or simply an outing with girlfriends (it’s a great alternative to brunch), we’ve found three places in Toronto that offer both traditional and variations of this popular British custom.
The Windsor Arms Hotel – 18 St. Thomas St.
Perfect for a bridal or baby shower, or even just an afternoon tea, we’ve found that The Windsor Arms offers the most authentic High Tea experience in the city. With options to sit in the French-style lobby tea room or the majestic purple room with its original 1927 working fireplace, you feel as though you’ve been transported to another time and place. The price ranges from $30 during the week to $38 on the weekends for “Full Tea”, which includes scones, tea sandwiches, desserts and a selection of teas. While the Windsor Arms is definitely on the more expensive side, it is well worth it for the experience and delicious food.
Red Tea Box – 696 Queen St. W.
While High Tea at the Red tea Box is not exactly traditional, it is most definitely a whimsical experience. When walking into the store/restaurant, you feel as though you’ve just stepped into the world of Alice in Wonderland, with colourful, ornate pastries and quirky mismatched furniture, silverware and tablecloths. A variety of prix-fixe options are available including the “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” (including scones, sandwiches, tea cakes and tea for $27), Tea Bento, South East Asian Tea, Tea Feature, and Dessert Bento. We’ll be heading back again to try each of these cool options.
T Buds – 3343 Yonge St.
For a more casual yet equally fun and delicious High Tea experience, T Buds on Yonge (north of Lawrence) offers an extensive selection of teas and sandwiches available for afternoon tea. For $22, you’re served the traditional High Tea spread upstairs in the Tea Lounge. A bonus at T Buds is that it is first and foremost a tea shop. The staff are very knowledgeable, and if you enjoyed the tea you sipped, you can buy it downstairs to recreate a tea party at home.
If you’re looking for something new and different to do in Toronto then we definitely suggest you try High Tea; if not for the tea, then at least for the tea sandwiches! Who can say no to delicious little crustless bites of goodness?