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The Best Afternoon Tea in Toronto

Posted by Robyn Urback / September 11, 2012

Best Afternoon Tea TorontoThe best afternoon tea in Toronto lets you play "Queen" (or for the anti-monarchists... "merit-based elite") for a few hours. While part of a great tea is very much about the spread — divine smoked salmon sandwiches, warm scones, sweet petit fours — superb afternoon tea is made by the feeling it affords. Feel free to stick out that pinky finger while sipping at the Windsor Arms, or bring back silk gloves if headed to the Ritz. It will all fit in seamlessly if you've arrived at the right spot for an afternoon tea. Here is the list of the best afternoon tea in Toronto.

See also:

The best tea in Toronto
The best brunch in Toronto

Windsor Arms

Windsor Arms

No surprise here that the Windsor proves best in show. The posh practice has, after all, had 85 years to perfect its scones and devon cream. That's quite a few pots, all in all. Afternoon tea is served at the Windsor Arms three times daily, with a menu of elegant loose leaf teas (of course) and salmon caviar and cucumber sandwiches to nosh. A gluten-free menu is also available on request. Afternoon tea starts at $35 per person. More »

King Edward Hotel

King Edward Hotel

King Eddy does his afternoon tea on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with the option to jazz up your berry pudding and egg salad and arugula sandwich with a little Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial. But if 2 p.m. is still too early for your first glass of bubbly, the standard afternoon tea comes with more than enough options including a dozen loose leaf teas, finger sandwiches, pastries, and scones ($35). The hotel even offers a kids’ version of afternoon tea with milk in lieu of lapsang. More »

Old Mill Inn and Spa

Old Mill Inn and Spa

Old Mill Inn’s afternoon tea is a wallet-friendly (or should that be, “coin purse”-friendly?) option at just $20 and change per person during the week. Despite the modest price tag, it still comes with a refined list of mostly classic tea selections, along with currant and lemon scones, some tarts and other sweets, and an assortment of “finger delights” including black olive and sundried tomato and cucumber and fennel cream cheese. Add sherry or champagne for a few (several) extra dollars. More »

Library Bar at Royal York

Library Bar at Royal York

To the backdrop of literary classics and old wingback chairs, you can enjoy Royal York’s Chantilly cream-filled pastry swans just as thousands of others have done before you. But back in 1929, guests didn’t have to worry about someone’s iPhone ruining the ambiance — just something to think about. The $35 tea includes sandwiches of P.E.I lobster and mango salad, a spread of pastries and crumpets, and your pick of about a dozen loose leaf teas. More »

Red Tea Box

Red Tea Box

Call it an “Asian” twist on Western-style afternoon tea. Red Tea Box does its tea daily from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (and all day Sunday), allowing you to pick from a menu of tea bento boxes. Traditionalists can stick with the Madhatter’s box of sandwiches and bites, or else opt for a box with yuzu tarts and curry puffs, spicy pork, or sweet rice. Most tea bento boxes are priced $25 to $27. More »

MoRoCo

MoRoCo

For those who want a little chocolate with their Piper Heidsieck glass of champagne. Yes, afternoon tea at MoRoCo comes standard with champagne (which explains the $48 price tag) along with your choice of hot tea or sipping chocolate. Plenty of pastries and sandwiches to eat, of course, and a kid-friendly menu for all those little ones who tag along. The latter menu includes Nutella sandwiches — can I still get that? More »

DEQ

DEQ

What is a list of best afternoon teas if it doesn’t include a mention of the downtown Ritz? The DEQ lounge at the Ritz-Carlton offers a delicate spread for around $40, which includes its own signature “not-so” classic teas (think sparkling wine and vodka). Served just on weekends from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., DEQ pairs its spectacular skyline view with dainty little sandwiches and the obligatory pastries and scones. More »

t-buds

t-buds

Afternoon tea is not just for downtown elites! t-buds up at Yonge and Lawrence does its own version daily between 12 p.m. and just after 5 p.m. The spread starts with a quiche, followed by finger sandwiches, baked scones, petit fours, and fruit. Sparkling jasmine tea for sipping, and a pot of tea to go alongside. Not too shabby for $24 per person. More »

Discussion

31 Comments

Cyril Sneer / September 11, 2012 at 03:04 pm
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Cool! I had no idea there were actual afternoon tea "places".
C. / September 11, 2012 at 03:31 pm
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MoRoCo??? seriously???
P / September 11, 2012 at 04:29 pm
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Are the prices for DEQ per person? $38 / $48 pp seems pretty steep for afternoon tea.
lg / September 11, 2012 at 04:30 pm
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I have had Afternoon Tea at the Windsor Arms three times and it was lack luster and over priced. The service is sub-par and the tea is never hot enough. I would not recommend it.
Alison / September 11, 2012 at 04:32 pm
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Windsor Arms is so overrated. The room is pretty, and that is about the best thing to say about tea there. The service and quality of food (and tea) at Royal York really beats it hands down. MoRoCo is fun, and you can get their amazing mac&cheese with your tea, but they bring everything out all at once
Lloyd Penney / September 11, 2012 at 04:32 pm
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There's a great little tea shop at the northwest corner of Burnhamthorpe and Martin Grove called The Victorian Garden Tea Room. Michelle Kelly is your host, and the shop is in the front, the tea room is in the back. She has a nice menu of foods to have, including the grand Victorian afternoon tea. We plan to be there with a lot of friends having afternoon tea in September 16.
sue / September 11, 2012 at 07:49 pm
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Lobby Bar at Four Seasons.
sue replying to a comment from P / September 11, 2012 at 07:51 pm
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that`s pretty much the average price for afternoon tea.
ybok / September 11, 2012 at 07:54 pm
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just dont go to the restaurant at the ROM.. i remmeber taking some over the top maintenance girl there for 'afternoon tea' and i got gouged 2 bills for some dwarf cupcakes and a pot of tea 'from the balmy shades of some mountain in some country you'll never learn about'. fuck there goes my berlin deposit.
Christine / September 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm
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I, too, highly recommend the Victorian Garden Tea Room. It's a lovely little oasis in Etobicoke. She has a delightful gift shop at the front, and a quaint dining room with delicious afternoon teas in the back!
Kimi / September 14, 2012 at 11:06 am
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t-buds is all kinds of awesome! I went there with some friends and we had their heavenly crepes and tea. The food was delicious and the place is chic and homely at the same time. Loved it.
BillyO / September 14, 2012 at 05:33 pm
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Just wait until Oct/Nov when the new Four Seasons opens. If you are going to drop $40+ on tea and scones might as well do it there.

I will check out t-buds though
laura c / September 16, 2012 at 09:48 pm
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I can't believe Windsor Arms is on this list. It was the worst Afternoon Tea experience I've ever had. With a tattered napkin, sandwiches that look like they have been manhandled and poor service. Read my review. http://www.yelp.ca/biz/windsor-arms-hotel-tea-room-toronto-2#hrid:F_54WYZaYx9ac7wNJrDMoA
Elizabeth / September 25, 2012 at 08:41 am
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I concur with Lloyd Penney. The "Victorian Garden Tea Room" is a delightful place to spend an hour or so. Reservations required.
It is a tiny place, but the ambience is wonderful. Personal service is great as is the food. I've been taking my grandchildren there since they were about 5 and 6 yrs. They can don pretty hats and peruse the magnificent shop filled with teacups, laces, dolls, etc., etc.
Cosplay / September 26, 2012 at 05:25 am
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Are the prices for DEQ per person? $38 / $48 pp seems pretty steep for afternoon tea.
vaentina / October 5, 2012 at 12:28 pm
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Laura Bee / December 10, 2012 at 02:55 pm
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Went to the King Edward for afternoon tea, and was super disappointed. The sandwiches were dry, and when they re-filled my teapot with hot water it must have come from a jug that they usually keep coffee in. The tea was ruined and tasted like coffee from that point on. A pretty basic mistake for anyone serving tea. The service was lack-lustre with the server looking half asleep for the entire experience.

Alucarda / January 20, 2013 at 02:17 pm
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The Windsor Arms gluten free menu is disgusting. The bread on the sandwiches is hard and flavourless (which is par for the course with GF bread), and the filling isn't even seasoned! My friend took a bite of one and deemed it "inedible at best". They forget that many of us who were recently diagnosed with a gluten allergy may have eaten there before and know what the filling is supposed to taste like . Also with the regular menu, you get a goat cheese tart as a first course and they don't even try to replace it with anything else. You just get nothing. My friends felt so bad about how pathetic my gluten free tower was that they gave me all the gluten free petite fours on their tower to make up for being "ripped off". If you're not going to offer a GF substitution for every item on the tower at least throw in an extra GF petite four or something. The GF scones were quite good though, so if you you do go there, just order the "cream tea" which is just the tea and scones - no sandwiches. Not worth the extra money to get the full tea.
roxsanna / March 10, 2013 at 10:54 pm
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I have a question.. for MoRoCo is it 45 dollars per person, or is it all together?
Jasa Beli Barang / March 23, 2013 at 03:27 am
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Alethea / April 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm
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Zed / May 10, 2013 at 09:24 am
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I have been to Windsor Arms for an Afternoon tea a few times, and I am really surprised that some people had a bad experience there.

Yes, the price is a little higher at Windsor Arms, but I was extremely impressed with the quality of the scones and the tea. The service was great and I am happy to go there again. One of the other places, where I have enjoyed the Afternoon Tea as well is Annona Restaurant inside Hyatt.
Samantha / May 16, 2013 at 06:36 pm
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The Shangri-La opened recently, they hands down have perfected afternon tea service in this city. Stunning presentation and beautiful lounge. they have like 100 teas to choose from too!
Kathleen / May 17, 2013 at 04:29 pm
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I have to say, the Windsor Arms should definitely not top this list. Yes, the tea room is quite lovely, but the food incredibly subpar - the savoury food is bland (and the bread from the sandwiches are pulverized) and clearly and the pastries are all clearly made elsewhere and are mediocre and not fresh. If you truly enjoy afternoon tea I recommend the Royal York, where the tea and food is far superior. The Windsor Arms high tea is has become no more than a brand name who's quality does not live up to their overrated reputation.
tealassy / January 26, 2014 at 11:55 am
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'Will not go to MoRoCo again. Yes their washrooms are beautiful but service is quite pretentious - after we received the bill - there was a mandatory 20% listed for tip on top of the already pricy afternoon tea tag. Then, they give you the option to tip as you decide and when we did, their tone changed. They became quite rude. They left a bad taste in our mouth in what could have been a great experience. As far as the spread, it was nothing special. Teas are too strong, scones and sandwiches, dry. King Eddy is excellent and the best one downtown by far, their tea selection is the best. For anyone looking for a countryside experience, I recommend checking out Terra Cotta restaurant in Caledon. Their afternoon tea is unmatched. The scones and Devonshire cream are the best I ever tasted.
Cathy / February 5, 2014 at 02:14 pm
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Windsor Arms should absolutely not top this list. Last couple of times we were there service was sub-par and the sandwiches tasted like they had been made the night before.

Best in show is the Library Room at the Royal York and Victorian Gardens on Burnhamthorpe - they should top your list. Both provide excellent service. Michelle of the Victorian Gardens is an excellent hostess - treats you like a real guest!

The Royal York also changes up their menu occasionally which makes for an interesting experience each time and not the same old thing.

KIA / February 24, 2014 at 04:22 pm
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I went to four season for afternoon tea. Not bad, but we each paid $52 FOR TEA!!! it was 15 of us. We could of gone for a nice dinner with that price tag :)
sbobet / March 3, 2014 at 05:01 pm
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Neil Bevan / March 14, 2014 at 03:35 pm
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English & Miller is located 1hr north of Downtown Toronto.
Their fabulous High Teas are served on mixed vintage china and set in a contemporary British tearoom with views across the Lake in Downtown Barrie.
Definately worth the short drive!
Annmarie Cser / March 17, 2014 at 08:07 am
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After reading almost every single review at various places that offered afternoon tea, my friends and I decided on the Windsor Arms Hotel. It was the most expensive and so we figured it'd be the BEST one. We were wrong. Okay I won't say it was a horrible experience, but for $45.00 per person, we expected MORE. We got to chose a tea each, which was brought out in cute little tea pots, and we also received a food platter which contained savoury items like small itty bitty quiches, bite sized chicken and veggie sandwiches. (We received 3 quiches, because there were 3 of us?) We asked for more but they were $3 EACH! But we did get 6 scones, which to me seems like - "oh here, these are filling, eat more of these."
Also, my tea cup had left over tea inside which made it look stained and dirty, and there was dried up jam on my napkin.

Overall, it was great to experience this old English tradition and I would definitely do it again, but not at the Windsor Arms Hotel.

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