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Best English High Tea in NoVa

wayne keyser Jan 4, 2008 07:42 PM

I say "high tea" knowing that's not really accurate, but hoping to avoid suggestions for where to buy some tea.

My wife and her mum want to go out for an afternoon tea and feel well-treated, generously-provided (within reason) and happy to have had the experience.

Anyone have experiences to share?

  1. monavano Jan 5, 2008 04:51 AM

    The British Pantry in Aldie, Va. does a proper afternoon tea with tea sandwiches, scone, clotted cream and jam...Having tea at the British Pantry followed by a stroll in Middleburg just up the road (route 50) makes for a lovely afternoon.


    1. c
      ChowPup Jan 5, 2008 04:19 PM

      I used to own a tea shoppe in Northern Va. I went to every hotel tea in town. As of now, the BEST one hands down-is the Ritz Carlton tysons Corner. And please DO call if what it really is....afternoon tea.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ChowPup
        bachinskin Jan 5, 2008 04:37 PM

        I second the Ritz Carlton recommendation. The British Pantry is kind of country quaint and the offerings include commercial cookies instead of fresh made pastries. I have been there and didn't think it was a treat at all. But the Ritz Carlton, now that's a treat.

        1. re: bachinskin
          annissam Jan 8, 2008 12:37 PM

          I also vote for Ritz Carlton but I must say that I like the Pentagon City one a lot. (Menus are the same) I like the one in Tyson's but I like the room at Pentagon city - with its dark decor and fireplace - better than the many windowed room in Tysons. But both are nice - just depends on what setting you are looking for.

        2. re: ChowPup
          marybrandon Feb 9, 2008 12:35 PM

          Have you been to the RC in Pentagon City and DC, if so, how would you rate them?

        3. b
          bacchante Jan 7, 2008 12:09 PM

          Here is an off the wall suggestion, which I know about because I am a gardener. Green Springs Garden in Annandale offers tea in an historic house on the property. It may even be pretty close to what you're calling high tea. I can't vouch for the chowishness or foodieness of it, but the setting, both inside the house and the surrounding garden, is lovely. Sometimes that goes a long way toward the total experience, particularly for something like tea. Note that for ethnic food, I would never recommend a place based on it's ambience, but this is different.

          Not sure what the winter hours are for this, or whether reservations would be required in the winter, as they tend to be in summer. I'm sure a call to Green Springs would clarify.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bacchante
            roepanella Jan 7, 2008 09:14 PM

            I hosted a formal tea there last June and it was delightful. They featured lovely scones with clotted cream, fruit tarts, finger sandwiches and pastries that were more than expected in the historic house as described above. The pots of tea were served by educated and dedicated volunteers which allowed for special flavor selections, and the gardens are a delight. It's a 16 acre historic gem deeded to the Fairfax County Park Authority, located 2 miles west of 395 just off 236, 15 minutes south of DC

          2. c
            chriscatva Jan 7, 2008 01:53 PM

            I enjoy the British Pantry as well, but would also recommend the Madison Tea Room in Warrenton. Warrenton's Main Street is also a nice place for a stroll. I couldn't find a web site for the tea room, but here's one with some info:

            (And if you go back up a level on that site, there's information on other tea rooms in Virginia.


            Another option might be Hunter's Head Tavern in Upperville (www.huntersheadtavern.com), which offers tea Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons. I've only had dinner there, and it's very British pub-like. I'd expect tea to be good but can't vouch for it. I'd call ahead if you want to consider it.

            1. s
              SpareRib Jan 8, 2008 02:13 PM

              You have to go a long way to beat the Ritz in Tysons Corner. If you are really lucky when you go they will have scones and clotted cream on the menu for dessert. It's death on a plate, but what a way to go!

              1. chowser Jan 9, 2008 06:44 AM

                For pampering, the Ritz Carlton can't be beat, either Pentagon City or Tysons. Pentagon City, as mentioned, has a clubbier feel. If it were colder, the large fireplace would be a great addition.

                1. c
                  coweepooh Jan 11, 2008 08:16 AM

                  id have to say the Tysons and Pentagon City Ritz are very similar but offer slightly different items in both the tea and the food...

                  The Ritz Pentagon City seemed more casual to me but theyre undergoing renovations so it wasnt in the regular tearoom and they didnt have this "pear" tea I LOVED at the Tysons Ritz, the lady mentioned they have a different tea company they use there?

                  Both were very enjoyable but the Park Hyatt is great too...you get an all you can eat dessert buffet along with your tea...its not a set price, so it just depends what tea you order..

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: coweepooh
                    marybrandon Feb 9, 2008 12:51 PM

                    Does Park Hyatt offer finger sandwhiches, scones, clotted cream, petit fours, etc, or just the dessert bar? Also have you been to the Ritz in DC? I am helping to plan a bridal tea an am looking for a cosopolitan setting, good tea, and all the bite sized delights. I am leaning toward one of the Ritz hotels but if PH had that plus a dessert bar I'd be sold!

                  2. MsDiPesto Jan 11, 2008 09:20 AM

                    Doesn't the Willard do afternoon tea?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: MsDiPesto
                      atraveler Jun 8, 2010 06:47 AM

                      I know this is very late (2 years in fact)..but the Williar tea is just ok. The Mandarin Oriental offers a fantastic high tea. Very pampering and the food is yummy. Not sure if it is still offered though.

                      1. re: atraveler
                        Manassas64 Jun 9, 2010 10:31 AM

                        I did tea at the Willard, but it wasn't their regular daily tea it was a special event with Placido Domingo's opera students, so it may have been more elaborate than their regular tea.

                    2. c
                      coweepooh Dec 2, 2010 10:59 AM

                      We tried out the Mansion on O Street, not your usual high tea at all since I think its one of the few I would bring young children to--they even had PB&J sandwiches and carrot sticks with dip in the buffet assortment room...

                      Here's pics from our visit


                      Definitely worth checking out since it's very unique and the treasure hunt at the end was lots of fun!!

                      The Mansion on O Street
                      2020 O St NW, Washington D.C., DC 20036

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