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Recs for high/afternoon tea in Boston

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coweepooh Mar 24, 2011 03:53 PM

I'm looking into booking a girls day high/afternoon tea at one of the Boston hotels like the Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Fairmont Copley or Ritz Carlton...

Was trying to gauge what people's thoughts were on the afternoon teas at each of these places and which one they liked the best overall :)

thanks!

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Four Seasons Restaurant
249 Lake Ave, Worcester, MA 01604

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    bostongal RE: coweepooh Mar 24, 2011 04:03 PM

    The Taj is still very elegant (and expensive) but I am dying to try afternoon tea at the Boston Harbor Hotel since the view would be lovely. I didn't think the high tea in the Bristol Lounge at the Four Season was very special.

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    Bristol Lounge
    200 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

    Four Seasons Restaurant
    249 Lake Ave, Worcester, MA 01604

    1 Reply
    1. re: bostongal
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      granolagurl RE: bostongal Mar 25, 2011 10:53 AM

      The hubbie and I had afternoon tea at The Taj just a couple of weekends ago. He had never been to afternoon tea before and I wanted him to experience what it is all about (e.g. little crustless sammies-aka: sandwiches, etc.). I had done a bunch of research re: Boston afternoon teas and The Taj seemed to get the best reviews. So off we went! The room was nice but we were placed at a table right next to the violinist, but I had to ask to be moved (as there was a draft on that table and it was a cold, snowy day in Boston-brrr....). The service was less-than-wonderful (abrupt/rushed) and the tea was not hot enough, although the food was all quite tasty (not the most amazing I have ever had, but there was nothing that we really disliked). We both got an order of the sammies and sweets (although could have easily "shared" one order, rather than gorged on two). The sammies were okay (we didn't scream in ecstasy), and definitely overpriced, while the sweets left me in a sugar coma (there were a lot!). All in all, a pretty "good" afternoon tea, although certainly not remarkable. A solid B-

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      surferbettygal RE: coweepooh Mar 25, 2011 12:55 PM

      I haven't had tea at the Ritz on the Common. I loved tea at the old Ritz. I didn't care for it at the Four Seasons however that was probably 10 years ago. A group of us went for the holidays and they server was so mad that we asked for tables close to each other - not across the room from each other!

      I've always liked the Boston Harbor Hotel and the prices were so reasonable! I haven't been in a while but you get the exact same items as The Ritz or the Four Seasons.

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      Four Seasons Restaurant
      249 Lake Ave, Worcester, MA 01604

      1 Reply
      1. re: surferbettygal
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        gourmaniac RE: surferbettygal Mar 25, 2011 01:48 PM

        The Swan Depot at the Park Plaza was my best experience. The room is nothing special but the tea person was a helpful expert and allowed us to try several different and special teas (single plantation etc). The food was tea flavored and interesting. It was different than a typical British tea service in a good way.

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        Crazy Egg RE: coweepooh Mar 26, 2011 01:48 PM

        I cannot comment on The Taj for afternoon tea, but I have been to:

        1. Four Seasons, Bristol Lounge (holiday tea): The food was relatively good. Nothing bad, but nothing wonderful that I would write home about. The tea selection was good, but as with most places, the tea ends up being over-steeped by the end of the meal. Nice atmosphere, and average service.
        2. Ritz Carlton (current location, holiday tea): The food was not as good as the Four Seasons, though the tea selection was. The room was too modern for me. I liked the feel of the sumptuous room at the old Ritz better. Service was spotty as the holiday season rush seem to bog them down. I also sensed attitude, though again it could be due to the 2 chowpups I had in tow. Service is probably better during non-holiday. My tea was definitely over-steeped with one chowpup having too much sugar. :)
        3. Boston Harbor Hotel: The food was really mediocre, but the room and views were lovely and worth it. Tea was okay. Service was quite nice, but we were placed real close to the pianist and it was a little difficult to have a conversation. Again, over-steeped tea at the end.
        4. The Swan Depot: If you enjoy the nuances of tea, you will enjoy the Swan Depot. There is a tea sommelier there and you can request a nice selection of teas, some of which can be very rare. Tea selection is amazing and the tea is perfect tempersture and never over-steeped. The food was really mediocre, and all I really wanted was to sample the tea, so I was okay with it. Service from the sommelier was attentive and the tea information was incredible. The atmosphere of the Swan Depot was okay, but the teas certainly cannot be beat.

        One place I am dying to try is L'espalier and I have heard many good things about it. Upstairs on the Square has an afternoon tea as well that I haven't tried.

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        Bristol Lounge
        200 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

        1 Reply
        1. re: Crazy Egg
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          trueblu RE: Crazy Egg Mar 26, 2011 03:16 PM

          Great report! I've done tea at the old L'Espalier, where it really was an occasion -- the atmosphere made it a very nice tea. Haven't been to the new location (for tea, have eaten there) since for me, afternoon tea is just as much about atmosphere as the meal, and I'm not a huge fan of the new space.

          From (vague) recollection, I think they do change pots through service at L'Espalier to prevent the tea from being over-steeped, but that might have been someplace else!

          tb

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          InmanSQ Girl RE: coweepooh Mar 28, 2011 12:34 PM

          Boston Harbor Hotel
          http://www.roweswharfseagrille.com/se...

          I have been several times and have always really liked it. The setting is lovely, tea selection is wonderful, the food is lovely, and service is very nice.

          The food is not life changingly unique, but everything is well execute. Afternoon tea is not supposed to be really weird though...there should be some well made scones, some finger sandwiches, and some bakery desserts, period. Their finger sandwiches are actually quite tasty and pretty neat (they have a light and dark rye checker board with smoked salmon and creme fraiche that really cute and yummy) . Their desserts are also all really well baked (I really liked their pecan squares). I have had some wonderfully complex and delicious teas ( their harvest blend is wonderful). Their prices are also extremely affordable, which makes it a more frequent treat option.

          Harbor Tea (champagne, fresh cut strawberries and Devonshire cream, plus the traditional scones, tea sandwiches, and pastries + 1 pot tea) $26
          Traditional Tea ( classic line up of scones, tea sandwiches, and pasties + 1 pot tea) $18.50
          Light Tea (2 scones + 1 pot tea) $10.50

          1. c
            coweepooh RE: coweepooh Apr 5, 2011 08:45 AM

            Thanks everyone for the detailed reviews. This was definitely a pretty tough decision since there didn't seem to be a standout winner from the replies below or other reviews.

            However, since I won't be in Boston forever, I decided to go with The Taj afternoon tea. Booked it for this weekend and will update after!

            I'd have to say I'm interested in checking out the Four Seasons and the Boston Harbor Hotel ones too if I get a chance.

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            Four Seasons Restaurant
            249 Lake Ave, Worcester, MA 01604

            1. c
              coweepooh RE: coweepooh Apr 13, 2011 06:50 AM

              We ended up going to the Taj Lounge. However, this past weekend there wasa private function being held in the regular "afternoon tea" lounge, so they seated everyone in another room.

              It was okay, a little sterile, but I understand this is not their usual place/setting, so it was forgivable haha.

              The service was actually pretty good, only had to wave down the waiter once or twice. There was a lady playing the harp which was relaxing.

              The food was okay, I've had better at the Ritz in Pentagon City, VA and the Ritz in Tysons Galleria, VA. But the sandwiches were the best part I think...so cool that they had "New England" type bites like a mini crabcake and a mini lobster roll in a bun!

              Next time I think we may try the Four Seasons or the Boston Harbor Hotel...

              Thanks everyone for the recs/info!

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              Four Seasons Restaurant
              249 Lake Ave, Worcester, MA 01604

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