Autumn is fast approaching, bringing with it colder, crisper weather and the need for warming snacks and beverages. Ward off any fall chills by ordering a piping hot tea at afternoon tea services around the city. Here, five options with superb sweets, scones, and sips.
The seventh floor is the best floor of Bergdorf Goodman. Mainly because it houses BG Restaurant, which in turn offers afternoon tea in a swoon-worthy setting. Make sure to ask for a table with one of the plush cocoon “whisper chairs” when making a reservation—they’re an essential part of the experience. Savory dishes include the classics, like egg salad and cucumber-cream cheese. Just save room for the divine salted caramel tart. 754 Fifth Ave., 212-872-8977
Scones are the highlight of afternoon tea at The Peninsula. They’re among the best in the city, served warm from the oven with a buttery, golden crust and a delicate interior. Moist crumbs beg for a slather of the Devonshire cream and house-made lemon curd, which is simultaneously creamy and tart. A set of jams and preserves are also made in-house and change seasonally. We’re fans of the apricot and raspberry. 700 Fifth Ave., 212-956-2888
At The Pierre, afternoon tea is served inside the luxe Two E Bar/Lounge just off the lobby. Tea here feels secluded and seductive, so a glass of Champagne to accompany would be most fitting. Tea sandwiches and sweets are sized perfectly for a single bite—look out for the caviar-buckwheat blini sandwich, and mini crêpes wrapped with dates and baba ganoush. We’d gladly devour a dozen and then finish on the coffee opera cake. 2 E. 61 St., 212-940-8113
The Mandarin just revamped their afternoon tea menu, and notable highlights include a fragrant rose tea customized for the hotel, a new quartet of tea sandwiches (such as egg salad on checkerboard brioche), and this magical dessert tier. Think chocolate-chai macaroons, coconut-green tea tarts, and almond-blueberry financiers. And don’t forget about the killer views of Central Park from any table at the Lobby Lounge. 80 Columbus Cir., 212-805-8800
The number one tea to order at the Ritz-Carlton is the spicy chai. Unlike other teas on the menu, this comes prepared with a perfect balance of cream and just a kiss of sugar. There’s a lingering heat from the spices, perfect for a soon-to-come autumn afternoon. Pair a pot of chai with the signature Ritz-Carlton scones—they’re delightfully oversized with a crackly sugar crust. So decadent. 50 Central Park S., 212-308-9100