A dozen places to enjoy afternoon tea in Toronto

A dozen places to enjoy afternoon tea in Toronto

You could squeeze in a late dinner reservation for the most special lady in your life this weekend. Or you could idle an entire afternoon away with tea, twee treats, each other’s company and—because sometimes earl grey isn’t enough—a glass (or five) of bubbly. Here, 12 of the city’s best tea experiences.

After Queen Tea Shop

7355 Bayview Ave, Thornhill, 647-627-8580, Facebook

Just north of the city, there’s a twee, 10-table tea shop tucked in a strip mall, its entrance nearly hidden by a Longo’s. With its floral-printed wallpaper and mismatched, wall-mounted porcelain plates, this cozy spot feels more Notting Hill than Thornhill. The gold-framed painting of the Queen Mum and the antiques strewn about complete the Victorian look. Tea is served in vintage English china and comes with traditional nibblies such as scones, macarons, cucumber and egg salad sandwiches. It’s by-the-book British afternoon tea, and in this case, that is a very good thing. $28.

Available: Wednesday to Monday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 

Bampot Bohemian House of Tea

201 Harbord St., 416-537-5959, bampottea.com

The vegetarian-friendly Bohemian High Tea features an assortment of savoury and sweet treats to be enjoyed over board games in the teahouse. Customize the spice level on the gluten-free veggie deluxe pizza, then finish with fruit, nuts, scones and jam, plus a choice of two cakes. The whole shebang comes with two teas. $55.

Available: Monday, 5 to 11 p.m.; Tuesday to Thursday, noon to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 12:30 a.m.; Sunday noon to 11 p.m.
 

Colette Grand Café

Holt Renfrew Yorkdale Mall, 3401 Dufferin St., 416-789-6644, colettegrandcafe.com

For those seeking an Instagrammable afternoon, there’s afternoon tea at Colette Grand Café. The Parisian-inspired patisserie tucked into Holts has teamed up with Qeelin, a Hong Kong-based jewelry brand, to offer an opulent service. Despite the jewellery-brand partnership, there are no glittering keepsakes to take home (though for an extra $15, you can start everything off with some sparkling). Qeelin’s contribution to the tea service is the sculptural canapé and dessert stand, which is meant to look like a calabash—because nothing says tea time like a gourd. $65 per person.

Available: Daily, from 2 to 6 p.m.
 

Dufflet

787 Queen St. W., 416-504-2870, dufflet.com

Best known for their decadent cakes, Dufflet’s petite Queen West storefront does a tea service on Sunday afternoons. A tray of macarons, scones, cucumber canapés and other sweet two-bite treats, arrives with a choice of 10 Sloane teas. Those who prefer a traditional cuppa can opt for a pot of Darjeeling or Earl Grey. For the caffeine-free set, options include a cacao chai as well as a delightfully potent peppermint. $30 per person.

Available: Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.
 

Kitten and the Bear

1414 Dundas St. W., 647-926-9711, kittenandthebear.com

This charming tea shop, known for making small-batch preserves and fluffy scones, recently moved to a slightly bigger—but no less adorable— space on Dundas West. Their Jam and Tea service features fresh baked buttermilk scones, clotted cream, a choice of Sloane Fine Tea or 49th Parallel Coffee, and a flight of their seasonal preserves, like peach-orange blossom or damson plum and earl grey. $24.50 per person.

Available: Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 

Ladurée

Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 3401 Dufferin St., 416-629-2391, laduree.com

The luxurious French patisserie’s pastel pink boutique offers a luxurious afternoon tea set that starts with made-to-order finger sandwiches, mini croque monsieurs and a seasonal fruit salad. The pièce de résistance is its tower of pastries which includes a selection of macarons, freshly baked madeleines and financiers, and petit fours. It’s served with coffee, tea or hot chocolate. $50.

Available: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 

Old Mill Inn

9 Old Mill Rd., 416-207-2020, oldmilltoronto.com

For more than 100 years, the Old Mill has been serving a classic assortment of scones and sandwiches (smoked salmon, asparagus and cream cheese pinwheels, mini egg salad croissants) for afternoon tea. There’s a whole whack of pastries, too (mini lemon meringue tartlets, chocolate gold-Leaf garnished French macarons) and the inn even has its own Centennial tea blend (black tea with jasmine and bergamot oil). $39 per person.

Available: Tuesday through Saturday, 2:30 to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 3:30 to 5 p.m.
 

Omni King Edward Hotel

37 King St. E., 416-863-4125, omnihotels.com

The city’s oldest tea room is a gleaming mix of traditional glitz and glamour, and with a variety of afternoon tea offerings that changes with the seasons. The premium tea selection is a staple, but the finger foods change to reflect what’s in season. A strawberry-and-rhubarb shortstack smacks of spring flavours. Even the savoury bites, such as an egg mimosa-and-asparagus pinwheel, are highly seasonal. $54 per person.

Available: Friday to Sunday, 1:30 to 5 p.m.
 

St. Regis

325 Bay St., 416-306-5800, marriott.com

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Introducing The Art of Afternoon Tea | Now available each Saturday and Sunday from 2-5pm in #AstorLounge, located lobby level. 🍵✨ Afternoon tea is said to have been introduced in the mid-1800s by the Duchess of Bedford, who enjoyed gathering friends over a cup of tea and a slice of bread and butter to stave off hunger between lunch and dinner. These occasions became a favorite pastime of many luminaries, including ‘The’ Mrs. Astor, who adopted the tradition at The St. Regis New York. For her, afternoon tea was a joyful occasion and an opportunity to host gatherings with close friends as a prelude to her grand galas. Today, Time for Tea remains a quintessential St. Regis tradition, offering guests an impeccable selection of fine teas and refreshments in an inviting and intimate setting. The ritual is tailored to reflect the distinctive location and clientele of each St. Regis address. Reservations can be made through OpenTable. #LiveExquisite #NewEraOfGlamour

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The St. Regis isn’t shy when it comes to pomp… or price points. Here, evenings (even Mondays) kick off with champagne sabrage, and the hotel is so gilded it would make Midas blush. The St. Regis recently launched their tea program, and it is delightfully over the top. Service commences with a flute of bubbly and the customary scones with clotted cream and jam, but the true tea enthusiasts don’t come to snack on almond financiers or sip Sloane tisanes, they’re all about the pu-ehr teas. Pu-ehrs are super exclusive fermented black teas imported from China’s Yunnan province. There’s even a tea on offer that was picked back in 1980, and a pot of the 39-year-old stuff goes for $125. $65-$210 per person.

Available: Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.
 

T-Buds

3343 Yonge St., 2nd. Fl., 647-352-3624, t-buds.com

This uptown spot has dozens of teas on offer, ranging from herbal blends, to single-source estate teas, as well as a wide variety of black, green, white and red teas. Their daily afternoon tea offerings are equally varied. The entry level option, The Cream Tea, comes with a pot, scones, spreads (mascarpone and jam) and fruit. Those a bit more peckish might want to level up to The Classic, which comes with a mini quiche, scones, and finger sandwiches such as cucumber-watercress and smoked salmon. Chocoholics will be wooed by the Chocolate Afternoon Tea, an order of which begets all sorts of cocoa goodies including chocolate-infused scones, petit fours, mousse, and more. $12-$36 per person.

Available: Tuesday to Sunday, all day.
 

The Ritz

181 Wellington St. W., 416-585-2500, ritzcarlton.com

The Ritz’s signature afternoon tea service has been revamped with an emphasis on chocolate. As always, the indulgent afternoon affair includes a glass of bubbles. The savouries include a selection of fancy sandwiches including an one with poached lobster and sweet pea hummus on cloud-soft pain au lait bread. The sweets, meanwhile, run through the whole chocolate spectrum from milk (chocolate chip scones) to white (raspberry and white chocolate mousse). $54 per person.

Available: Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 3 p.m.
 

The Windsor Arms

18 St. Thomas St., 416-971-9666, windsorarmshotel.com

At this Yorkville favourite, guests are encouraged to don fancy headwear while enjoying their dainty egg salad, shrimp pinwheel sandwiches or goat cheese and caramelized shallot quiche. Along with plain or cranberry scones with house-made preserves and clotted cream, guests will also enjoy old-school petit fours, including ganache-coated layered cakes. Monday to Thursday, $40 per person; Friday to Sunday, $50 per person.

Available: Daily from 12:30 to 6 p.m.