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Nov 21, 2006 06:31 PM

Decent afternoon tea in Toronto?

With the cold weather and all, I've been wanting to sit down to a long afternoon tea. I used to go to the Intercontinental Hotel on Bloor, but they stopped serving tea. The Windsor Arms, I understand, is great, but they're super-busy esp. on weekends. Any other recommends? Thanks.

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  1. don't let anyone talk you into the red tea box, fgs. I cannot imagine where you could find more pretentious, RUDE, fake-accenty people. Honestly i took a gf from NS there this summer and I was mortified by their behavior.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nummanumma

      who has fake accents? han and man (proprietresses)? they are from singapore, so they have weird pseudo-brit accents!

      1. re: nummanumma

        Had a bad experience as well. Cupcakes tasted like laundry detergent. Quite expensive.

      2. That's a disappointment. I buy my green and white teas at the red tea box and have always found the sales assistants helpful and friendly.

        I was planning on taking my wife there for afternoon tea this weekend. You've made me rethink that plan.

        2 Replies
        1. re: andreas

          I had the opposite experience at Red Tea Box. I was there Sat Nov 4th and we had incredible service despite the fact that they were super busy. We were there for quite a while, from 12:30 to 3pm. They gave us a lot of space to sit back and enjoy our tea and lunch. I will definitely be returning. The soup sampler was fantastic. Maybe I just have good service karma?

          1. re: fickle

            I really really should have good service karma, believe me! Maybe I had a one-time awful experience-

        2. We went to Epic on the weekend - it was good. Not great. But good. When I reserved, I mentioned it was my husband's b-day and they brought an extra cake on a separate plate wtih happy birthday written in chocolate on the plate... nice.

          1. Can you book at The Red Tea Box or should we just turn up early enough to get a table?

            1 Reply
            1. re: andreas

              They don't take reservations, and will scare you into coming at off-peak times. I found the Red Tea Box servers friendly but inefficient and very slow in responding to immediate needs.

              At Windsor Arms, if you want to relax and not feel rushed, book ahead for the 3:30 seating, not the 1:30 seating. They take reservations, which are usually needed on weekends.

            2. Try La Tea Da, a small but lovely tea room on Queen Street East in the Beach. The do a full cream tea, or you can just get their scones (yum) and tea. The food is great and the atmosphere is fun and not too formal, although the cups are definitely china. Of course they serve tea and scones with wonderful jams and clotted cream, and a great array of teas.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Phoenix

                I looked attheir website and amazingly they don't seem to know the difference between afternoon tea and high tea! This does not inspire confidence.

                1. re: wordsworth

                  the owner is from the caribbean and perhaps not as bothered by the distinction. the above posted described the food - is that not more relevant? it is a tea house, with very good offerings - from the selection of teas, to the little sandwiches, to the really excellent scones. there is usually a special soup available as well.

                  1. re: Kasia

                    It is not, however, a distinction to be ignored. For many of British extraction, calling afternoon tea high tea is like our calling supper breakfast. If you see they're calling it the wrong thing, you might hesitate to venture inside and try it.

                    That aside, I agree La-Tea-Da serves a wonderful tea, with delicious (never enough!) house-made sandwiches and scones, in a pleasant, unstuffy atmosphere. (They could lose the omnipresent Dufflets pastries though and find a decent alternative.) It's also guy-friendly, which is a change from many tea places that veer towards frilly ladies-only, even if unintentionally.

                    1. re: Kasia

                      I think if you check, you will find that the owner of La Tea Da is not Caribbean, but is 3rd. or 4th generation Canadian, and even then not from the Islands. It's a fine distinction, but one that is very important to the people concerned.

                      1. re: Leslieville

                        that is an important difference, of course. i'm pretty sure i got that info from a Now review ages ago, as i've never talked to the owner about it. sorry about that.

                  2. re: Phoenix

                    La Tea Da is so disappointing.
                    I've been there about a month ago.
                    I saw they serve clotted cream on their website, but they don't.
                    I asked for it, but the lady answered me that clotted cream is served on special occasion and they charge more money in that case!!!
                    They shouldn't have said that on the website!!!
                    It seemed quite expensive compared to the quality.