The Best Afternoon Tea In NYC

Where to eat tiny sandwiches and bite-sized desserts while sipping tea with your pinky in the air.
The Best Afternoon Tea In NYC image

photo credit: Emily Schindler

Do you need caffeine in order to form a coherent sentence? Are sandwiches something you're fond of? Has sugary food ever made you happy? These are all rhetorical questions. You may think you're not an afternoon tea person, but you really are. Who wouldn’t want to eat dainty little sandwiches that would be a full meal for Stuart Little, or pastries so meticulously crafted it would almost be a shame to consume them, all while getting a pinky workout?


photo credit: Brooklyn High Low


Prospect Heights

$$$$Perfect For:Afternoon TeaBirthdaysSpecial Occasions


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We'd bet our last doily—this tiny, eclectic tea parlor in Prospect Heights has the best afternoon tea in New York (available Friday-Sunday). You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a dotty British grandma’s drawing room as you sit on a divan and sip perfectly brewed tea out of mismatched china cups. The savory bites here are exceptional, and you might even find yourself recreating the cheddar and Branston pickle sandwich at home. There are warm scones and homey, delicious desserts, and a few different tiers to choose from for different budgets.

photo credit: Emily Schindler


This cozy cafe tucked in the back of one of Soho’s fanciest chocolate shops makes a pretty solid afternoon tea for $70 per person. You can switch between unlimited coffee or tea throughout service, and we love to start with a dark chocolate mochachino before moving on to a pot of chocolate rose black tea. As part of your set, you’ll get a seasonal soup served in a tiny silver cup, an array of finger sandwiches, excellent scones with clotted cream and two jams served in tiny crystal jam goblets, and some solid desserts. Tea is served all day, every day, and you don’t need a reservation.

There is no better place in NYC to cosplay the main character of your favorite Victorian novel while eating tiny sandwiches. This elegant spot is housed in a Gramercy brownstone decorated with museum-quality vintage furniture, and afternoon tea here is an hours-long affair. We particularly love the scones and tea sandwiches, though we recommend choosing a pot you love rather than getting the tea pairing.

Tea service in this opulent green, gold, and red dining room is always a fun option before a performance at Carnegie Hall (right next door in Midtown). For $145 per person, you get a three-tiered tray of savory sandwiches followed by a substantial selection of sweets. It’s a lot of food. The smoked sturgeon sandwich is a favorite, and you should reach for the chocolate chip scone and mini red velvet cupcake first among the desserts. At least two genuine Picassos and one Chagall hang on the walls (alongside many reproductions). The staff won’t tell you which paintings are real just in case you’re secretly a Danny Ocean-level art thief.

For a trip down Sweet Street, head to Sarisa Cafe, a Thai dessert shop in Midtown. Walk up to the second floor, and settle into a green velvet chair in a room that smells like sesame and sweet rice. Or try to get a seat in the comfy lounge chairs by the massive front windows overlooking 53rd Street. Available Friday-Sunday, their afternoon tea sets are among the more affordable options in Manhattan, at $70 for two people. Go with an even number of people, and enjoy bottomless herbal tea with around nine bite-sized desserts each, almost all of which are made with coconut and palm sugar.

No one makes macarons as good as Ladurée, so we’re pleased to report that they’re a centerpiece of the afternoon tea set at this frothy French chain with a picturesque courtyard in Soho. On your tower, you get three macarons per person, plus another six to take home. This experience leans heavily on the sweet side, but everything is perfectly pastel and delightful. Instead of a variety of bite-sized pastries, you’ll get one full-sized dessert per person, as well as two large tea sandwiches. The sandwiches are a bit boring, but of higher quality than the ones served at most tea parlors.

A great walk-in option, afternoon tea at Angelina near Bryant Park is a little different. While you can get it with tea, you really should get it with the cafe’s signature hot chocolate. Extra-thick and rich, the hot chocolate comes with a sidecar of Chantilly cream. You’ll also get a glass of orange juice (weird but okay?) and some excellent mini sandwiches, including the tiniest, most adorable croque monsieur on the planet, plus macarons and financiers. Tea is $44 per person, and we love this for a solo weekday afternoon experience.

This East Village location of Prince Tea House (one of a handful in NYC) has nicely upholstered seating, wainscot paneling, and chandeliers—all of which gives this place the feel of a restaurant you’d find inside a fancy department store. Their relatively affordable afternoon tea ($37 for one, served every day) includes atypical open-faced sandwiches, including one with pastrami and melted swiss. The best item is the warm, fluffy scone with clotted cream. You’ll get a teapot all to yourself, which comes on top of a candle to keep your tea warm throughout your meal.

A massive space, The Whitby has a bunch of random mismatched things that look like they were collected from various estate sales. Afternoon tea starts at $75 and it’s perfect for when you want to dress up a little, sit in front of a full set of gold-trimmed dishware, and have a crisp linen napkin placed on your lap. The food is mostly fine, although the lemony crème fraîche in the smoked salmon sandwich is a nice detail, and we’d happily eat the cubed coconut and pumpkin dulce de leche lamington any day. We also like that they use loose leaf tea. It gets crowded, so make a reservation.

No one can ever accuse the people behind Lillie’s of mailing it in when it comes to decor. The super high and ornate ceilings make you feel like you’re in a palace. Direct your eyes to the stained glass windows, and now this place looks like a church. Their $45 afternoon tea, only offered at Lillie’s Midtown location, comes with a solid chicken salad and mint pesto sandwich, delicate macarons, a selection of mini ​​creme brûlées with perfectly brittle tops, and more—all served on flowery Victorian dishware. This place is on the same street as multiple Broadway productions, so go for tea service before a weekend matinee.

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