Best Afternoon Tea Experience in NYC
Could you kindly send your thoughts on the absolute best afternoon tea experience in New York? My mother in law is coming to NYC for her 60th b'day, and I would love to take her for an afternoon tea jaunt. Price is not a consideration, but "fun-ness" is. : ) Would love to take her somewhere slightly (or totally) fancy, with great tea and food, but also a great atmosphere. Please advise.
Almost any hotel in that neck of the woods [the nether regions of the Upper East Side] will surely put on a fine afternoon tea. The Sherry Netherlands, the Pierre, the Mark, Waldorf, St.Regis, the Plaza [supra], Four Seasons, the Peninsula, even over to the Mandarin Oriental [I mean, how could those guys *not* have a wonderful tea service!] even down to the Algonquin.
You might also consider museum cafes -Sabarsky, MoMA, Frick, Met, MAD (this last is a beautiful room!)- most of which are a pinch noisier, but classy -tea-classy, true, Bloomsbury classy, but classy.
All this talk makes me pine for Payard, though; why that place was forced to close taunts my whole belief in world justice. That, and the Wild Lily in Chelsea.
re: Phil Ogelos
I share your sentiments on Wild Lily! It was a charming place.
I've been to all the places you mentioned in your first para except for the Mark and the Peninsula. Of those, I was most impressed by the St. Regis (the ambiance and the food) and the Mandarin Oriental (the view; food, not so much).
Earlier this year, I went back to Lady Mendl's and thought it was on a downward trend, compared to my earlier visits. The sandwiches and scones did not taste very fresh, but perhaps it was an off day.
I loved Wild Lily, gloria, and regret that it's closed; I was there for its last day.
I mentioned it in the same para as Payard to lament the demise of both of them,
(omitting the "RIP" because that seemed a little bit too obvious to say.)
Sorry to hear the M'Oriental has substandard food as part of a tea service;
you'd think with a name like that, they wouldn't.
EDIT: I'm chuffed that the St. Regis has taken on the mantle of respectability that the Plaza's so casually let slip. New Yorkers like to think we have standards to uphold, quite apart from what fancy real estate deals wreak. I don't know when last C'Hounds were at the Plaza but it's a sad, sad shell of its former [culinary] self.
Lady Mendl's at the Inn at Irving Place is a fun place for tea. Off the beaten track though -- it's at 56 Irving Place, which is about 17th and Lexington. The room is furnished with low chairs and a tea table, very civilized. And the service is great. The five "course" tea is $35.
Another favorite of mine is the Pembroke Room at the Lowell Hotel. On the upper east side at 28 East 63rd Street, the dining room is plush and fancy, with lots of space between tables. Both of these would please your mother in law, I'll bet. Be sure to call ahead for reservations.