facebook twitter pinterest instagram You Tube

Concierges' Guide to London: Restaurants: Tea Time

Compiled by Lisa Sweetingham, Jennifer Ryan, Bruce Wallin, and Amanda Millin

< Back to Concierges' Guide to London 

APSLEYS, A HEINZ BECK RESTAURANT "Very popular" afternoon tearoom is home to England’s first tea sommelier, Karl Kessab. The elegant establishment, within The Lanesborough hotel, also might be home to the country’s first gluten- and dairy-free tea service. (AH, CS) +44.20.7333.7254, www.lanesborough.com

THE CARAMEL ROOM The Berkeley hotel’s "clever" Prêt-à-Portea service celebrates haute couture with sweets designed to resemble au courant dresses, handbags, and other women’s fashions. "The women say, ‘Oh look, I’ve got a little Birkin that I’m about to eat!’" The menu, which changes every six months, has featured treats inspired by the designs of Paul Smith, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Louboutin. "It appeals to an older and a younger crowd." (AH) +44.20.7201.1619, www.the-berkeley.co.uk

THE ENGLISH TEA ROOM Storied setting at Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair, where tea is "served properly" until 6 pm. The "small," "very traditional" room has "very good" service and food. "The ham for ham sandwiches is baked on premises, and the scones are made in an oven the chef ordered especially for scones. I don’t think you get that attention to detail anywhere else." (AD, ST, MW) +44.20.7493.6020, www.brownshotel.com

FORTNUM & MASON "Lovely" afternoon tea served in the five eateries within the 300-year-old specialty grocery store that is a veritable "monument to teas, jams, and sweets." For a more formal experience—elegant "old-world atmosphere," piano accompaniment—reserve a table at the fourth-floor St. James’s Restaurant and choose from "a wonderful array of estate teas from around the world." (MB, MDC, BM, GM, MW) +44.20.7734.8040, www.fortnumandmason.com

THE FOYER "Old-school" tea service in a formal setting filled with "gloriously decadent Art Deco" furnishings. Set directly off the lobby at Claridge’s, this "traditional place for birthdays" and special occasions has a "wonderful" selection of 30 teas from around the world. (MB, GM, CS) +44.20.7409.6307, www.claridges.co.uk

THE PALM COURT A "very popular" British "institution" that is "right up there with Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard as far as top experiences in London." But The Ritz’s daylong tea service, from 11:30 am to 7:30 pm, is considered a "tourist trap" by some. "They stack them up: in, out, have your tea, go. Next lot. It’s not what afternoon tea is about." Regardless, "it’s always booked up," so call "about three months in advance" for a table on the weekends. Jacket and tie required. (MDC, AD, CS) +44.20.7493.8181, www.theritzlondon.com

THE STAFFORD LONDON "Get away from the touristy" spots for "really, really nice" afternoon tea in the lounge of this discreet hotel on St. James’s Place. The "very old-fashioned" English setting attracts a "business" crowd. "It’s a perfectly kept secret. Either you know about it or you don’t." (AH) +44.20.7493.0111, www.kempinski.com/en/london

THAMES FOYER Elegant but informal afternoon tea under a picturesque glass cupola. "It’s the heartbeat" of The Savoy, itself a Covent Garden institution that just reopened after a $300 million renovation. "It sums up what The Savoy is about." (BM) +44.20.7836.4343, www.fairmont.com/savoy

WINTER GARDEN RESTAURANT Enjoy French pastries and scones in a traditional dining room "surrounded by towering palm trees" and located under "a soaring eight-story glass-roof atrium." From outside the Landmark London Hotel, on Marylebone Road, "you’d never guess" what’s inside. (GM) +44.20.7631.8000, www.wintergarden-london.com

Read Next Article >>
Various packages are available for the experience at the Venetian hotel, which runs from December 5...
Photo by John Farrell
The high-end restaurant chain has opened its 11th location, providing surf-and-turf fine dining...
Chefs David Bouley, Dean Fearing, Pierre Gagnaire, Nancy Oakes, and Wolfgang Puck nominated this...
The food and hospitality staple of California wine country is hosting 12 holiday charity dinners in...
Dining tables are overtaking gambling tables as Sin City’s hottest spots…
Photo by Ted Morrison
In the Piedmont region of Italy, where Cristiano Cremi­nelli’s family has been curing artisanal...
Photo by Deborah Jones
Chef Thomas Keller and a coterie of fans toast the legendary restaurant’s 20th anniversary…
The experience take places from July 30 through August 30 and joins together the visual and...
Santa Maria–style barbecue and other Southern California fare were among the event's culinary...
Seven of the world’s most influential chefs—each with a Michelin three-star restaurant and a spot...