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Aug 29, 2004 10:51 PM

High Tea

  • c

Can someone reccomend their favorite place to have High Tea in the downtown area? Can you describe for me what it is like? Thanks in advance!

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  1. My favorite Afternoon Tea is at the Windsor Arms. It's very traditional. It's a cozy room with a fireplace,sofa's and low or high tables. Each guest gets their own pot of tea with unlimited boiling water refills. The service is impeccable and pleasant. They serve a variety of tea sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and desserts, all of which come out on a 3-tiered tray. Everything is always fresh. It's actually more food than a person can eat. After that a bowl of fruit with whipped cream is served.
    You also have the option of have sherry or sparkling wine.
    You have to reserve early and I think there are two sittings.
    During the Film festival is a fun time to go as you can often see celebrities arriving at the hotel.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Tina12
      Alek in Toronto

      I have to say that I was at Windsor Arms just a few weeks ago with some out of town friends and the place kinda embarrassed me..
      The setting is alright however the furnishings are looking really ratty, they need to be updated...Its also kinda dark and dampy.
      As for the food, I found it pretty substandard on the Saturday that we went..tea was weak, clotted cream was runny, not thick and service was non existant and not very friendly.
      just my 2 cents..been to the King Eddy several years ago and remember a similar subpar experience.
      I think I will try the Four Seasons next time.

      1. re: Alek in Toronto

        I have been to King Eddy, Windsor Arms and Four Seasons many times. I would say Four Seasons has the best afternoon Tea. King Eddy is kind of just for the tea, the coffee is bitter and the scones were hard. Windsor Arms needs new furnitures and you will not be able to get in without reservation! Four Seasons is kind of trendy and at least you can do people watching if you are not there for the tea. Just my 2 cents.

        1. re: Max

          I had afternoon tea at the Four Seasons today. Overall, the experience was satisfactory, but far from perfect.

          The chamomile tea was quite nice and refreshing.

          The sandwiches were above average. The cucumber/cream cheese was nicely presented. The lobster salad was interesting. The duck breast was a little dry, but sweet. The aged cheddar and apple slaw was okay. I enjoyed the apple slaw, but the bread and cheese were nothing special.

          The pastries were very disappointing. All of them hardly worth the calories and fat.

          The scones were buttery, crumbly and delicious and the preserves, lemon curd and devonshire cream were up to my standards.

          All in all, it wasn't bad, but the awful pastries would make me think twice before returning. Also, the service wasn't up to par. I'm far from picky, but they took far too long to offer a refill on hot water.

          I did have their South American with chilie "haute chocolate" and it was deliciously spicy. While the 12$ was pretty steep, I don't regret ordering it.

      2. re: Tina12

        I would agree. Went to High Tea a few years ago at my wife's request and found it very low key and enjoyable. Was just in Victoria, B.C. and went to High Tea at the Empress Hotel and it was a little like a cattle call. Move 'em in. Stuff 'em with (too little) food at an exhorbitant price and move 'em out. Windsor Arms was far better. My wife went to the King Eddie a few years ago and found that the service was terrible and the food was about the same.

        1. re: Attknee

          Have been to Cafe Victoria at the King Eddy more recently (last winter) and was equally unimpressed - even though when the reservation was made, the woman who answered the phone brought up the fact that they had just had a bad review and were making improvements.
          We were in a large group so the waiter dispensed with proper tea service, I can't comment on that. As for the food... too many sweet items, very few savoury. Nothing was remarkable, quality was just okay. The only thing anyone commented on favourably were the scones. And I think I could make better.

        2. re: Tina12

          Thanks everyone. For those of you who have been to the Windsor Arms, what is the price? Do you have to get all the food, or can you order seperate items?

          1. re: cherrytreegirl

            Here is a page from their website. I've also heard that the Royal York is good but I haven't been.


        3. p
          Patricia Wright

          I would recommend the Royal York. Their scones and clotted cream are sinfully good. I have heard others speak highly of the tea at the King Eddie but have not tried it. Pat Wright

          1. Been to Windsor Arms after all the glowing review with 5 other friends. At the end, all of us agreed it was an expensive high tea and also totally unimpressive. The food was VERY bad. The tea was just alright. But for close to $40 per head, how can the food be THAT bad?
            A friend from the same group went to Royal York and had a much better experience. I'm going there next time!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Pum

              For the umpteenth time, IT IS NOT NOT NOT "HIGH" TEA. It is "afternoon tea," the leisurely repast enjoyed by the middle and upper classes of Britain.
              "High tea" is a working class family meal consisting of a casserole of some sort or cold meats with toast, dessert and much tea - really what we would tend to call a "supper" though served without pretentions.

              1. re: John

                No no. You're ALL wrong.
                "High Tea" is an ancient native custom involving the steeping of the herb and imbibing enough to get high.
                John, you should try it out.

                1. re: Maureen

                  yes John, it might help you loosen up a bit

            2. I presume you mean "afternoon tea," not "high tea," which is what workman take as their mid morning break in Britain.

              1. I am a huge tea fan. My favourites are the Prince of Wales in Niagara on the Lake, and The Blethering Place in Victoria. Nothing in Toronto quite hits that high, but my fave is Four Seasons (though more masculine than the usual "tea room"). The food is very good at the Royal York but you are tucked into what feels like a fenced off corner of the lobby. King Eddie not so great but haven't been recently. Have never been able to get into the Windsor Arms due to inability to determine in advance when I will have time for tea!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Jolie

                  Agree with the Prince of Wales recommendation. Would also add Langdon Hall in Cambridge to the list of very nice afternoon teas.

                  1. re: cynalan

                    Was at the Prince of Wales in NOTL today for afternoon tea ($32). Honestly, the sandwiches reminded me of what the Catholic Women's League (CWL) make for parish functions. The delicious salmon/marscapone pinwheels were sloppily sliced so that there were jagged edges. Other sandwiches included ham, cucumber, and egg salad. One giant scone each lacked oomph. Scanty serving of clotted cream. Server did not offer more tea or hot water. No tongs to pick up the soft blackberry mousse cake from the tiered platter. The hostess/server wouldn't seat us in the solarium because of not having "reservations" and the empty table was never filled.

                    I'd rank Prince of Wales as the second lowest of the afternoon tea destinations, with Four Seasons Toronto as the lowest because of their habit of leaving pre-made sandwiches to dry out.