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Aug 8, 2010 02:41 PM

Tea in Japanese Gardens?

Has anyone been to the summer-long traditional afternoon tea ceremonies held at the Botanical Gardens' Japanese Pavilion?

My girlfriend loves tea and being from out of town and with limited time to spend in the city this summer, I thought it might be an interesting way to spend a couple of hours in nice surroundings.

I'm just wondering what to expect as I've searched high and low with little information, even on the Botanical Garden's website... Has anyone been and would you recommend? Is it kitschy or touristy at all?

How does this 'tea ceremony' work exactly?

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  1. not sure about the Botanical garden tea. Been wanting to try that for ages, but i still haven't. What type of tea does she like? Green? Black? Oolong? flavored black? flavored green? herbal.......It would help if you are more specific.

    8 Replies
    1. re: hala

      I assume it's a traditional japanese tea ceremony with matcha and all that jazz.

      From the webbie :

      Quand : 13 h 30 et 15 h 00*
      * [Relâche le 26 juin]
      Tarif : 6 $ (participant), 3 $ (observateur)
      Durée : 45 minutes
      Lieu : Salle pour la cérémonie du thé
      Note : Il est impossible de réserver pour participer à cette activité.
      * On suggère de s'inscrire au Pavillon japonais de 30 à 40 minutes avant le début de l'activité

      1. re: Maximilien

        Well I just realised that in addition to the above, it's apparently only held on Saturdays, so I guess that's out for this week as neither of us will be around.

      2. re: hala

        Well I guess she drinks green and herbal the most... but enjoys any and all teas. I was more asking specifically with the Japanese Gardens in mind though, as I was interested in making an afternoon out of it. Unless you have suggestions for a really must try place. I do know about Gryphon D'or and we've done that before and enjoyed it. Was hoping to get feedback on the Botanical Garden Japanese Tea Ceremony specifically though. Will try to give it a go next weekend...

        1. re: OliverB

          too late at night for my brain to work. There is a place at the old port one or two blocks down from the basillica on st urbain that serves tea ( i think it is called salon du the) they have excellent green tea from china (very few non-green). They do not have a traditional tea ceremony but the way they serve their teas is very theatrical with the special slotted trays that you see in chinese stores and water served at the temperature that your specific tea is brewed best at. From the outside, it does not look like a tea shop as they have just a few tables and lots of teapots on display in an almost museum like manner. I would spend an hour or so there then take a walk at the old port.
          but if you want to spend the whole afternoon I would go to Maiter Chocolatier for high tea (reservations needed). They serve scones, finger sandwiches and migniardises including macarons and the best chocolates in montreal if you're lucky. all for around 35 dollars. their teas are black and green based blends that are made especially for them.
          Or you could go to a tea tasting at camellia Sinesis :)
 They do have a workshop on the tea ceremony, but it is not offered frequently.

          Of all these suggestions, Maitre chocolatier is the must try place, especially if you've never done high tea.

          1. re: hala

            Thanks so much, I love what I'm seeing from Le Maître Chocolatier... is it recommended over Gryphon?

            I think this is on our to-do list this week!

            1. re: OliverB

              The room and the food at Maitre Chocolatier are more elegant and romantic.

              1) the last few times i went the husband was not there, and he's usually half the fun.
              2) both places require advance reservations.
              3) what is on offer at maitre chocolatier varies so, it might not fit the description in these links- but it is always good.

            2. re: hala

              hala, that tea room/shop is on St Sulpice I believe, between Notre Dame and St Paul.

              1. re: superbossmom

                Thank you superbossmom! You are right, as usual.

        2. I haven't been but here is the information from the official website:

          I don't think it has anything to do with English afternoon tea or High tea as places like Gryphon d'or or Maitre chocolatier offer. That being said, English afternoon tea is also really fun!

          5 Replies
          1. re: SourberryLily

            Good point sourberrylily! The similarity is that both are activities a tea lover would enjoy:)

            1. re: hala

              Has anyone ever been at the Ritz for the afternoon tea?

              1. re: mystikdrey

                and do you happen to know how much it is (an old Chowhound thread from 2002 said $15-20CAD - I am guessing it is much more expensive now!)

                1. re: unlaced


                  The Jardin Botanique says it's 6$ for the tea ceremony. If it's like chinese tea, there are no cookies or side dishes served. Just tea.

                  If you're asking about afternoon tea, english style, i have a tiny warning. Last winter i went through all the threads and called up all the places to do one of these and found that many of the hotels (RItz, Saint-James etc) were undergoing "renovations" and it was temporarily unavailable. There was no mention if it would start again.

                  Cheapest afternoon tea i found was Cafe London Bus. It's a cute place with lots of london memorabilia. The table was all cute and the scones were AMAZING but a little small i must admit. It was 15$. Gryphon d'Or is suppose to be very good and that one is cheap too.

                  If you're going anywhere else, then you better call because i think that anything older the 6 months might be outdated. Speaking from experience :)

                  8630 Rue Sherbrooke E, Montreal, QC H1L1B7, CA

                  1. re: unlaced

                    The Ritz has been closed for well over a year now for major renovations, and they're going very slowly, so don't count on finding afternoon tea there in the near future.

            2. Just want to thank you for the Maitre Choclatier recommendation... it was exceptional and a really unique experience! Not something you'd do every day and it wasn't cheap at $80 tax & tip-in for two people (I think they charge about $35 per person) but it's definitely worth trying at least once!

              The selection of teas were wonderful although I'd wish we'd known at the time (I only inquired afterword about their pricing) that you have an unlimited selection and can sample as many different flavors and pots as you'd like. The homemade scones, jams, jellies and spreads were out of this world though. The best I'ver ever had... the english cream and strawberry preserve were absolutely killer! And the huge platter of refreshing cucumber, fresh tomato and cracked pepper, apple and blue cheese, etc. sandwiches were incredible. It was so much fun and everything was delicious! I'm definitely going to make it a point to revisit at least a couple of times a year. Not sure if it just happened to be the hot weekday afternoon (Wed. 3-pm) but we were the only ones in the building. The room itself is lovely as it's one of those classic Montreal Victorian-style apartments on Sherbrooke just before Guy and the interior is furnished in a classy antique decor yet still retains the feel of enjoying afternoon tea in an upstairs Westmount flat due to the oversized fireplace and mantle and room layout. The tea was great, the food was better and overallt he experience was definitely worth trying at least once! Thanks again for the great recommendation - it's a completely different kind of "high tea" than Gryphon D'or and not something we locals get to experience very often within our Quebec culture. The one regret I have is not sampling any chocolate given the name of this place!! Next time..

              6 Replies
              1. re: OliverB

                Hi everyone! Just wondering if somebody knows a place were to buy a Japanease tea matcha whisk. My friend was so impressed by the tea ceremony at the Botanical garden that we both want to prepare a matcha at home. He knows were to get matcha, but apparently the whisk is harder to find in Montreal.

                1. re: vval

                  IIRC, Camellia Sinensis carries them. But call first to make sure, just in case.

                  1. re: cherylmtl

                    Gonna echo cheryl's thoughts on calling the places first.
                    Camelia Sinensis is a good choice.
                    L'amours des thés, which has several boutiques is another :
                    There was a tea shop with loads of accessories on Notre-Dame, in Old Montreal but i don't remember the name.
                    There is Lee Kwok Keung in Old Montreal also near the Basilique notre dame, run by chinese people i think.

                    Chinatown has a few tea shops and asian ustensil stores so if the above fails, just go there and look around.

                    If all else fails, just order it online!

                    Lee Kwok Keung
                    451 Rue Saint-Sulpice, Montreal, QC H2Y2V8, CA

                    1. re: SourberryLily

                      You could also call Miyamoto, which isn't a tea shop, but carries many specialty items from Japan.

                      350 Victoria Ave.
                      Westmount, QC
                      Phone: 514-481-1952

                  2. re: vval

                    vval: Did you go with your friend to the botanical gardens Japanese tea ceremony? If so, you would be the only poster so-far who could recollect the experience for us. I too have been curious about it. Thanks so much if you are able to share your experience (or your friend's experience).

                  3. re: OliverB

                    I am so happy you liked it! It is really a great place for a date:)